University Scholars  
This program promotes the ideal of a community of scholars: a working relationship and exchange of ideas among faculty and students. With a commitment to independent thought and research, the program allows students to explore the links among questioning, research, and knowledge, and thus become better prepared to delineate and solve problems. University Scholars are students who want to learn beyond the boundaries of formal coursework. The primary aim of the program is to encourage independent intellectual initiative, whether  undertaken in archives or with test tubes, stock market series or microscopes. The University Scholars program is overseen by the University Scholars Council, which is composed of distinguished faculty members from all academic fields. Students can apply to the University Scholars program from the end of their freshman year through the first semester of their junior year. However, students who plan to be abroad junior year MUST apply to the program no later than the second semester of their sophomore year. Applicants must meet with the University Scholars academic advisor at least one month before the deadline for each cycle, to begin to prepare for applying.
University Scholars are expected to be significantly involved in research and planning to continue in it, although not necessarily in the same topic/discipline. They should also have specific ideas of what they would like to study and be able to give evidence of their commitment to research, e.g., having talked with professors with whom they might work, or having already begun some research on their own, perhaps in the form of a paper or independent study. These specific ideas of intellectual and academic plans will be the backbone of any University Scholars application essay. For more information see www.upenn.edu/curf/uscholar/index.html.
Penn students are eligible for many fellowships, and have consistently obtained some of the most competitive in the country.  For example, in the 1990s, eight Penn sophomores and juniors
received the prestigious Truman Scholarship.  In 2001, twenty-three Penn undergraduates received national awards such as the Rhodes, Marshall, Fulbright, Beinecke, Mellon, Gates, Rotary, National Science Foundation, Luce and Soros Fellowships.  Many of these awards are for sophomores and juniors, so students are encouraged to look at the directory and visit CURF early in their academic careers. Several presentations are offered during the year to provide students with general fellowship information as well as information on specific fellowships.  Additional information is available online at www.upenn.edu/curf/ fellowship.html.
The College House System
Living intersects with learning at the University of Pennsylvania, where every corner of the campus and every hour of the day are filled with the activities of an extraordinary collegiate community. A vital part of this lively picture is the University’s innovative system of 11 College Houses, where a majority of undergraduates live. The College Houses stand at the center of the Penn undergraduate experience, bringing together undergraduates, faculty, staff and graduate students to form shared communities within the larger context of Penn’s vibrant campus.
Each College House offers its own unique combination of architectural features, specialized programming and distinctive staff, while also providing advising and support for academic and co-curricular activities. Students from all four undergraduate Schools, in any year of their academic careers, may choose the College House that best suits their interests, confident that the same outstanding services are available everywhere. In all Houses, enormous strength is derived from the interaction of students of different ages, varied experiences, and diverse interests.  Traditionally,Du Bois, Gregory and Stouffer house an equal number of first-year and upperclass students.  Hamilton, Harnwell and Harrison have largely upperclass populations.  Hill