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"Work while others are wishing." | A Wharton School Student's Advice on High School Courses

We had the opportunity of interviewing SN, a student at the University of Pennsylvania about: College Applications


Here are some of his qualifications:

  • A sophomore at UPenn, Wharton School of Business

  • Maintained a 4.4 GPA in high school

  • Previously involved in Model United Nations, Varsity Soccer, Varsity Tennis, Wind Orchestra, Marching Band, Mu Alpha Theta, National Honor Society

Here are some important words SN shares:

  • "I started doing most things second semester of junior year, but I would definitely recommend getting an earlier start than I did."

  • "I see a lot of people applying to 20+ schools but at the end of the day, you can only go to one"




Q: What were some important steps you took to prepare for college and when would you suggest taking them? (researching, taking the SAT/ACT, writing essays, etc.)

A: I started doing most things second semester of junior year, but I would definitely recommend getting an earlier start than I did. I would start doing some preliminary research and prep around sophomore year, and then really get serious (start taking SAT/ACT, brainstorm essay topics, narrow down a list of colleges) by the beginning of junior year.




Q: What did you consider when choosing colleges to apply to and attend?

A: I considered a lot of factors but to list a few I thought about ranking for my desired major, overall ranking, location (I wanted to stay on the eastern side of the US), campus, academic culture, and how I felt regarding whether it was the right fit for me. For example, when I visited Penn, I immediately felt that it was a good fit for me. I did not get this same feeling at MIT or Yale.




Q: How did you determine which teachers to ask for teacher recommendations? Did you already have a plan and build up a good relationship with them?

A: I was very close with my world history teacher and I had him for multiple classes every year of high school. He was also the advisor for MUN, so I knew him from that as well. I had always known that he would be my first letter of recommendation. For the second, I chose my English teacher because I had him twice, we were fairly close, and I trusted his ability to write a good letter.





Q: What is one thing you wish you knew when applying for colleges?

A: I wish I had known how to plan an effective timeline. If I had started earlier this would’ve been much more feasible, but I felt like I was rushing on everything throughout the entire process and there were a lot of scary deadlines that could’ve been avoided. A friend of mine actually started a site called Virtual Vine where you can get advice on this kind of thing, so I would really recommend checking it out.





Q: What is something you avoided when applying for colleges?

A: I avoided applying to way too many schools. I see a lot of people applying to 20+ schools but at the end of the day, you can only go to one. I narrowed it down to 2 safe schools, and 4 reach schools. This is on the conservative end for sure but I would keep it to 5-10.



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