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Penn Dean Eric Furda Talks ED on "The Choice"

Sally_RubenstoneSally_Rubenstone 3012 replies1111 postsCC Admissions Expert Senior Member
edited October 2011 in University of Pennsylvania
Current University of Pennsylvania students or Penn wannabes might want to check out the Q&A session with Penn Dean Eric Furda on The New York Times blog, "The Choice." Answers From the Admissions Dean of the University of Pennsylvania, Part 1 - The Choice Blog - NYTimes.com

Of note to me, when discussing the Early Decision advantage at Penn, Furda maintains that " ... students who apply early decision to Penn share a demonstrated passion for our academic programs, the campus community and the city of Philadelphia, and we respond to this pool with a higher admit rate than in regular decision."

However, I've found that many students in my own purview who apply ED to Penn are doing so not because they are truly besotted with either Penn or the City of Brotherly Love but because they like Penn alright and feel that the ED advantage there may give them their best shot at an Ivy.

Sure, there are some students who are truly taken by Penn's opportunities (e.g., Wharton, Huntsman, and some other special programs). But in most of my advisees, I don't see the passion for Penn as much as I see a passion to go Ivy.

Any thoughts from current Penn applicants ... especially ED applicants?
edited October 2011
69 replies
Post edited by Sally_Rubenstone on
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Replies to: Penn Dean Eric Furda Talks ED on "The Choice"

  • IRJunkieIRJunkie 387 replies35 postsRegistered User Member

    Thanks for your insight, but I think you're looking at a very limited sample of kids. You're a college counselor, meaning many of the kids you help are indeed prestige-obsessed.

    But, as you mentioned, Penn does have some incredible, unparalleled opportunities -- many of which cannot be found at any other undergraduate institution in the world. However, it's the confluence of the Ivy League academics, state school partying, innovative spirit, etc. that make Penn so attractive. I'm a kid from Mississippi with -- dare I say it -- a decent shot at HYPSM. I have a 2390 SAT, have won a national championship in my main extracurricular activity, etc. However, I'm going to apply ED to Penn -- and I couldn't be more proud of it.
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  • kafkarebornkafkareborn 675 replies77 postsRegistered User Member
    IR junkie you do not have a decent shot at HYPSM ....


    I'm happy you're going for PENN though. Go to the place you love and excel there, that's what I say. I'm planning on Wharton myself.
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  • nirvanatearnirvanatear 260 replies4 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    I'm applying to Penn because of its reputation in finance and its unique opportunities.

    Penn is not my absolute first choice, but I am certain I'll be really happy at Penn if accepted. So why not the extra ED edge?
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  • vonlostvonlost 18647 replies13932 postsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    ^ So why not ED or RD to your first choice?
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  • Sally_RubenstoneSally_Rubenstone 3012 replies1111 postsCC Admissions Expert Senior Member
    IRJunkie--thanks for your response. I bet that Penn will be lucky to get you (and I bet that they will get you, too ... though, of course, it's not really responsible to make such assessments without a lot more information).

    And, to nirvanatear and vossron ... I know it goes against conventional wisdom, but I actually think it's fine to apply ED to a college that is not a clear-cut first choice as long as it's one of several front-runner colleges that you've researched well and one where you're at least fairly convinced you'll be happy.

    Getting this convoluted and frustrating process out of the way in December can be such a blessing, and landing at a great college that may not be a total "dream school" is just fine ... especially because the concept of the dream college may be .... well ... just a dream.
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  • ShizzleShizzle 1273 replies59 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Penn is my absolute first choice so I'm applying early.

    There's always the factor of getting into HYSPM and all, but I favor Penn... even tho I'm a prestige whore. lol.
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  • ilovebagelsilovebagels 3433 replies66 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    IRJunkie ftw! :)
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  • vonlostvonlost 18647 replies13932 postsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    Same (almost) question: Why not apply ED to your first choice?

    One reason: Your first choice doesn't offer ED. Izitso?
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  • JHSJHS 18338 replies71 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    At the schools I know best, dozens of kids apply ED to Penn every year, and lots of them are accepted. In many cases, Penn really is their dream school. Often they are immigrants, or children of immigrants, and they put a high premium on remaining close to their families. Often they have been involved in scientific research at Penn or Penn-related institutions for years, and going to Penn will let them continue working with people they know and admire, on projects in which they are already invested. They feel they understand and trust Penn's financial aid policies. Sometimes they are children of alumni and have been wearing red and blue since birth. They are thrilled to go to Penn.

    In other cases, they may be a little more ambivalent, but in the final analysis what they conclude is that Penn has everything they want in a university, and they will be happy to go there. And if they are accepted, they ARE happy to go there, and even happier once they are there and it is even better than they expected.

    I don't see anything wrong with either group.
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  • Sally_RubenstoneSally_Rubenstone 3012 replies1111 postsCC Admissions Expert Senior Member
    And if they are accepted, they ARE happy to go there, and even happier once they are there and it is even better than they expected.

    Four years ago, a friend's daughter applied ED to another Ivy and was deferred ... and then denied in April. Penn was the only highly-selective school that admitted her. She enrolled and soon insisted that it was where she was meant to be all along. Now, as a senior, she continues to be besotted.

    So this harks back to my theory that 17- and 18-year-olds can't often determine that one college is the clear-cut right choice (just as many of us, far older, still don't always know what's good for us ;)).

    Thus, I continue to contend that, if a senior is equally interested in a number of colleges but with no definite front-runner, it can be wise to simply select one from this bunch and aim for ED (assuming of course that finances and junior grades or other extenuating circumstances don't make ED a bad bet).
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  • vonlostvonlost 18647 replies13932 postsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    "assuming of course that finances ... don't make ED a bad bet"

    Good point. We're talking about the case of applying ED to other than the dream school, so the student would not be able to compare financial aid offers, and could end up paying unnecessarily more to the non-dream school. So maybe only the wealthy should apply ED to a non-dream school (unless the non-dream school has a known financial aid policy so that the student knows what the price would be).
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  • IRJunkieIRJunkie 387 replies35 postsRegistered User Member
    FYI: I lied in my previous post. I scored a 2360, not a 2390.
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  • qwt2qwt2 297 replies83 postsRegistered User Member
    ^lol. might i congratulate on your acceptance..RIGHT NOW?


    i'm applying to penn b/c i really indeed love it. if penn were not an ivy (ie, if it were like northwestern) i'd still apply ED. when i visited, i definitely fell in love with the people and the campus. when i researched, i found penn's BBB which is absolutely perfect for my future.
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  • Sally_RubenstoneSally_Rubenstone 3012 replies1111 postsCC Admissions Expert Senior Member
    So maybe only the wealthy should apply ED to a non-dream school (unless the non-dream school has a known financial aid policy so that the student knows what the price would be.

    Some students apply ED to non-dream-colleges because of the good financial aid. ED can be a smart bet for students who need a lot of money because ED improves admission odds at most colleges, and this includes the Ivies and other colleges that meet 100% of need.

    Back when I worked at Smith, Smith was need-conscious, and there were borderline candidates who were admitted via Early Decision who then received full funding ... even if their need was high. Because their commitment to Smith was clearly strong, the college accepted them, even though they weren't super strong. But those same applicants might have been rejected outright in the Regular round because they needed a lot of dough. So often ED can be a smart move for applicants who require a lot of money.

    Not surprisingly, it's the middle-class students who often get caught in the middle. Their EFC's may be too high for them to receive much (or any) need-based aid, but the cost of paying full-freight at a pricey college can often be beyond their family's means, regardless of what the EFC proclaims. So these are the students who may be dependent on merit aid or who would be grateful for even a small need-based grant. Thus ED can be a tough call because then there is no chance to compare aid offers.
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  • PEPPERM1NTPEPPERM1NT 3 replies0 postsRegistered User New Member
    i spent the summer at penn, living on the quad and taking classes there, and fell in love with not only the campus but the city itself and the people there. it also has all the facilities and amazing opportunities i need to pursue biomedicine and biology, it's perfect. i really just wouldn't apply to a school with binding early decision if i wasn't 100% positive i would want to go there. big names don't mean much to me, nor should they to anyone else. i mean when i told ppl at my school in the middle of nowhere in the midwest where i was going for the summer they said university of pennsylvania? thats the same thing as penn state right? uhhhh no. but don't apply ed to a school just cas it's yale or harvard, there's so much more to college than that.
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  • brainiac212brainiac212 102 replies4 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Penn is my ABSOLUTE first choice, there is nothing that would make me happier than to go to Penn.

    I have been in love with the school for years and it upsets me that not all ED applicants actually have Penn as their first choice, they take away opportunities to kids who actually have Penn as their number one choice school.

    Although it is a reach, my fingers are crossed! I have never wanted something more in my entire life, and think that it is the best college I have seen. You should only apply to a school ED if it is your first choice and you honestly think it is the best fit for you. If you are just applying for the name, then you are just a very shallow person and should probably spend time getting to know yourself and what works best for you, and what college would be a good fit, regardless of the name.
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  • bangaboobangaboo 71 replies11 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    I wholeheartedly agree ^^
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  • nymets113nymets113 43 replies4 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    I know at least one person who likes another school more but is applying to Penn ED because of its name and the fact that ED will get her into a prestigious school, even though she would be happier elsewhere. That being said, I am applying ED (wharton) and can't remember wanting something this badly. It's why I can't sleep right now after 1 am.
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  • nate24nate24 30 replies8 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Sally R. I take offense to your statement. I applied ED to penn CAS, even though I was nationally ranked in my main EC (top 25), had a 34 on my ACT, 800 and 790 SAT II's. I was also part of a nationally selected student conference, and had varsity letters in 3 sports. I am also a semi URM. (latino)

    I was told by counsellor that I had a great chance at HYPS, but I looked beyond the names, and saw that Penn was the only choice for me. Never regretted it since...

    So please refrain from your gross exaggerations regarding this great school. To me, Penn was never considered a "backup ivy", and neither was it for my peers (many of whom were more qualified than I am.)
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  • ciaobella!ciaobella! 74 replies6 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Um, Nate. Sally Rubenstone clearly agrees with you, and even stated that SOME do appreciate the full merits of Penn. But remember the other applicants who are are HYPS-struck. Many of the people who GO to HYPS had Penn on the back burner. Generalizations are never 100% true, but they are still partly true.

    In response to the whole middle class ED dilemma:
    Wharton is my absolute, absolute first choice, but I freaked last minute to apply ED. Just like you said, I couldn't take the risk of being bound to an unknown financial aid package. Then again, I just eliminated a higher chance of getting admitted.
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