Transfer kids are everywhere. You know, those kids that join us from other institutions sophomore or junior year and complain every time you make too many references to the quad or freshman year NSO? Everywhere. On campus. Off campus. Greek. Unaffiliated. In SO MANY of my classes. Even my travel buddy this summer transferred here after a year at GW.
In some hostel somewhere in Europe, I asked her why. “Why are there so many transfers at Penn?” “Penn is a very specific place,” she thoughtfully replied.
In her opinion, Penn accepts transfers into the sophomore class based on how many people chose to leave after their freshman year (a system whose actuality Eric Furda, the Dean of Admissions, vaguely denied: “I do not see transfers as a way to simply 'backfill' students who may transfer out of the institution.”)
And there are a lot of transfers, my friend went on to say, because there are a lot of people for which Penn simply isn’t a fit. Her evaluation? “There’s uptown people, downtown people and the people in the middle who generally don’t feel that they belong. It’s my theory that the only ‘third party’ people that are really happy are fundamentally anti-social.”
This blew my mind — could there really be a whole chuck of people at Penn that isn’t as happy as I am? Do you have to be either a niched stereotype (see Ego's guide to Penn people and their off-campus gathering spots, page 4) or antisocial to love Penn?
It turns out, to my relief, that Penn only enrolls around 150 transfer students each year — apparently much less than some Ivy peers like obvious I-would-hate-to-go-there standouts like Cornell and Columbia. Maybe things aren't black and white as my transfer friend seems to think. Still, it's not hard to believe and simultaneously troubling to imagine that the Penn Bubble Society is largely constructed of well-defined and scarily formulaic communities.
So freshmen: while we may hate your annoying innocence (see Lowbrow's annual and ever humbling Freshman Superlatives, page 15), you have a unique advantage over all of us. Rush is still months off and your freshman hall — diverse though it may be — is still close knit and blind to the divergeant paths imminent in your futures. Take this time to explore. Try new stuff! (Maybe an art class, see the back page.) Make a dent in our before-you-graduate Penn Bucket List (see the feature, page 8). Most importantly, find yourself before you find your 'people.' You'll be all the happier for it.
'till next Thursday,