|Students who got into UPENN say:|
Essay (21) |
| | I didn't have stellar scores, I didn't have amazing grades.
I made my application "distinct". I went and talked to actual faculty -- members of the pharmocology graduate program admissions board/council, profs in the chemistry department, some of the CSE faculty. I let them know what exactly I was about and who I was. In turn, I walked away with a recommendation from a pharm professor that I did internship work for.
my GPA was about a 93; my SAT was a 1420, SAT II mathIIC was 710, SAT IIC bio-M 720, SAT II Wri 660. I'm the first generation of my family to graduate from high school, I'm also from one of the top public schools in the state (which, conveniently is located in Philadelphia also) and I live about 10-15 blocks west of campus.
Penn is required to admit 100 students from the greater phila. area and a certain percentage must be public school graduates.
Well, I first met a required level of academic achievement and standardized test scores. But what distinguished me were other non-academic achievements. I play jazz professionally as a saxophone player and have appeared in clubs and concerts throughout the Philadelphia area, gigging frequently for small parties, etc. I was the member of my high school jazz band and a prestigious jazz ensemble at Philadelphia's famous Settlement Music School. I also was in the show orchestra, pep band, concert band, and orchestra at my high school and I jammed a lot and gigged with my good friends. I also performed community service through Hebrew high school which I attended bi-weekly until 11th grade. I am also an artist and I submitted a portfolio of my work with my application. I am also triple legacy. Work hard in high school. GPA is the most important thing, do well on SAT I's and II's. The thing that separated myself from everyone else, though, was extracurriculars and the leadership I demonstrated in those activities. For the most part, all the kids applying to UPenn will have the grades and the scores. Find something you're interested in and pursue it. Don't spread yourself too thin, but really focus on what you want to do and be a leader. Don't be afraid to be assertive. You need good grades and SATs, but those alone won't get you very far. Rather than going for sheer volume of activities in high school, find something either really interesting or something that you're really good at, and concentrate on that... it will make you stand out more than the person who was in every club at your school.