Have you ever wondered what transfer students think of dear old Penn? Regardless of your answer to the previous question, we’re about to let you know. Opting to start over at a completely new school despite having a less–than–great experience their first time around is hard, but whether Penn rises to expectations is a different story. Read on to hear about Penn through the eyes of some newly converted Quakers.

Peter Romanello (C '19)

Peter felt that his old school, Wesleyan, was too polarized. To him, there were two types of people: The typical liberal kid who conformed to the school’s standards, and the athletes. He described Penn’s community as having a bit more variety, “There are people I’ve met that are in Theta, and they are a member of the Kelly Writers’ House, or they’re in Greek life in a variety of clubs. So it really kind of allows you to just kind of, like, cultivate the different aspects of your personality." Since his arrival to Penn, Peter has already noticed differences in the way people socialize... or don’t. “[At Wesleyan], you’d see everyone, like, a lot—really frequently— whereas here I’ve noticed even so far that you have to actively seek people and make plans because...you still don’t run into everyone."

Cole Leonard (W '19)

Cole comes to us after deciding to switch from engineering at Penn State to business, ultimately wanting a different business program (not because, as Street suggested, “State” was just one extra syllable too many). While he, self–admittedly, doesn’t have a ton of experience on campus yet, he’s got us pegged “...I expected it to be pre–professional, I expected it to be competitive, all the Penn stereotypes.” As for what he expected of the student body... Yeah, he’s figuring it out. “I expected them to be very diverse people with a whole bunch of different interests, but I was very surprised that everyone seems to be pushed into the same career path. So many people I’ve met, like English majors, are like ‘Yeah I want to work for Goldman’ and I didn’t really expect that much of it."

Yossi Sachi (C '19)

Middlebury, Vermont is not the college to go to if you want any sort of “downtown” life. There’s Middlebury... and only Middlebury. Yossi realized this in his first year, “There weren’t really restaurants or, like—it was very isolating. It was like very, like, just the fact that there were no other outlets, you were like stuck in like the middle of nowhere.” Yossi chose Penn because he wanted a campus and a "downtown" life. Speaking of downtown, Yossi discussed Penn’s exclusivity. It surprised him that even though he got into Penn, there are a lot of hoops you have to jump through if you want to be any sort of “somebody”. 

Alyssa Vacarro (N '19)

Alyssa bounced from Pace University, to Bucks County Community College and finally to Penn, where she’s enjoying life so far (Ed. note: Please stay, you’re super nice). “Everybody here is really relaxed and really easy to talk to. I thought it would be more of, I don’t know how to phrase that, I was worried it would be more of like an uptight environment where people didn’t really interact with each other, but that’s not what I’ve found at this school.” Leave it to the nurses to be welcoming. “Everybody in my classes has been really wonderful and they’re all really dedicated to what they want to learn so that’s, like, a nice change of pace that they have a clear–set goal that they want to achieve and they’re working hard for it.”

Lacy Lee Nguyen Wright (C '18)

Looking for a stronger art history department and the ability to study outside and street art (murals!), Lacy transferred to Penn from UC Santa Barbara. Here, she is already finding a more engaging academic community, “I came from a school where I would have classes that were 400 people, and so the professor never knew your name and you could never show up and they wouldn’t care to a class where I was two minutes late and my professor was like ‘Okay we can shut the door now that you’re here.’” Though, before she got here, your fellow Quakers didn’t really sell Lacy on our community, c’mon people, “I was scared because even people that did go here would tell me that it was going to be really cutthroat if you wanted to get into clubs and everyone would judge you before they’d be friends with you so I had my first week of outfits all picked out to make sure I’m not going to look like some California beach bum, but it worked out really well and I met a good group of people here."

Rachel Pester (C '19)

Rachel’s experience was similar to Yossi’s—Durham wasn’t any sort of “city” aside from the fact that it was home to her previous school, Duke. She came to Penn because she wanted to be closer her native North Jersey.  As Rachel sees it, compared to other more local universities, “Penn has a really good transfer community so I wanted to like go into a place where I like knew people and um, assimilate fairly easily. Like if I didn’t get into Penn I probably wouldn’t have transferred.”  Street infiltrated their Facebook group, and can confirm it is hoppin'.

Will Welland (W '19)

Will came to Penn for a more concentrated business education with an open mind, but has already noticed some differences in his time here as compared to the year he spent at Brown: “I feel like Penn is so much more, I’d say the two key things are way more pre–professional and way more social.” Even though we’re the #SocialIvy, we might not be as socially aware as Brown, “I feel like if anybody said something that was problematic at Brown it would get called out and there was way more of a culture of people being good about that whereas here, I’m not saying there’s problems like that, but there’s been times where I’ve heard something where I was like, ‘You can’t say that, they can’t say that,’ and it wasn’t really, no one said anything about it."


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