Middle schoolers get an inside look at Penn

Johnny Irizarry, director of La Casa LatinaPhoto credit: Candace diCarlo

For 40 local eighth graders, Penn’s College Day was much more than just a campus tour.

It was a simulated day-in-the-life of a Penn undergraduate that highlighted fun activities around campus, and underscored the hard work that it takes to be a successful college student.

“We wanted to show them how interesting the classes were, how nice the dormitories were, how cool it was to experience the college diet,” says Cornelius Range, a freshman in Penn’s School of Arts and Sciences and a co-organizer of the event, held on April 3. “We wanted to use that as the means to motivate the students to work hard in school so one day they can experience it for themselves.”

College Day for the students from the Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander University of Pennsylvania Partnership School included a talk from undergraduate tour guides about living away from family, on their own. The middle schoolers also learned about University traditions and campus activities beyond the classroom, hit up the Dining Hall in 1920 Commons for an all-they-could-eat buffet, and took a management class in which they had to create a business plan around a product aimed at college students.

The day ended at Irvine Auditorium, where Penn students shared stories about college life, and the University dance group, Freaks of the Beat, performed.

Faizan Khan, a freshman in Penn’s Wharton School and a College Day organizer, says hosting middle school students instead of high school sophomores or juniors gives the young people more time to prepare for college. “If we get them at middle school, they have a full four years of high school to shine,” he says. “Of course, [college] comes with a lot of responsibility, and we tried to reinforce that throughout that day.”

Originally published April 6, 2009

Originally published on April 6, 2009