President Amy Gutmann welcomes students to Penn Preview Days

Students admitted to the Class of 2014 and their family members attending Penn Previews Days were recently treated to a surprise visit from President Amy Gutmann and the Penn Quaker.


Video Credit: Kurtis Sensenig

During Penn Preview Days, now through April 19, Penn will host 400-900 admitted students and parents each day. The high school visitors from all over the U.S. and many foreign countries are among those offered a spot in the Class of 2014 in the just-completed regular-decision admissions process.

During the first Preview Day on campus, Gutmann strode in with the Quaker and told the crowd of about 450: “I’m not here to close the deal; I’m just here to sweeten the deal,” before she shared what she said are the three things that stand out about the Penn experience.

First is the set of opportunities that are available to Penn students, ranging from the “incredibly energetic, green and beautiful campus,” to the ability to mix and match majors, to career opportunities and the intellectual pursuits they can share with some of the most accomplished professors in the world.

“Doctors in the medical school love to have students work in their labs,” she said.

She pointed out the range of arts, music, athletics and recreation opportunities, as she praised the newly renovated music building’s amenities and the 24-acre Penn Park that will open during the students’ second year here.

Secondly, she said Penn students can learn leadership by taking the reins of student organizations, doing research with faculty or participating in some 60 service-learning courses. “We create leaders and we create them while they’re on campus,” she explained.

Finally, Gutmann emphasized what the students can learn from their peers. “You can learn as much from them as you can learn in class, leading activities or doing independent research.”

These accepted students are an elite group, representing the 14 percent selected from among almost 27,000 applications—the lowest percentage ever admitted, and the highest number to ever apply to the University. Students admitted through the early-decision process a few months back also visit during Preview Days.

Preview Days spotlight Penn’s academic excellence, allow admitted students to interact with current students and show them why attending Penn and living in Philadelphia will be academically and personally rewarding.

Members of the admissions staff and about 200 current students have volunteered to share their time and Penn success stories with the visitors. Other events include meeting with undergraduate school advisors and financial-aid representatives. The visitors can also tour the College Houses as well as the libraries, the study abroad office, the music and fine arts departments, the fitness center and more.