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The University of Pennsylvania

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Date: Apr 04 2007
Major: Business - Management and Administration (This Major's Salary over time)
Penn is terrific at what it is: a large, urban campus. If you are the type who is not seeking to have your hand held as you navigate your college years, Penn is outstanding. It has tremendous intellectual and cultural resources, it resides within a city that is similarly blessed, it has some extremely strong departments and professors, and great diversity in social outlets and personality types.

That said, the onus is entirely upon the student to seek out, find and take advantage of all of these assets. One should not come here expecting the feel of a small liberal-arts college (I did my grad work at Dartmouth and there is a huge difference). People who are lazy are allowed to coast through. People who are introverted might have a hard time finding their "place" socially. The greek system might annoy you if it's not your thing (and you let it annoy you). Job search and career planning upon graduation is the student's job with limited support. And the school's administrative practices can seem uncaring and impersonal.

But there are practically limitless options for the self-motivated, mature individual who takes charge of their own experience. In this respect, Penn does a much better job of preparing you for life in the real world (a bit like Harlem, once you've lived there, you can safely live just about anywhere) than smaller, more intimate settings.

On the flip side, I did very very well at Penn, and probably graduated without a single professor remembering me or knowing my name. I might have been pushed harder and been mentored more at a smaller school, but Penn was exactly what I was looking for upon graduating high school.

So pros and cons. Penn compares very favorably against other urban campuses in my opinion. But if you are deciding between Penn and a place like Williams or Amherst or Middlebury or Swarthmore, spend the time figuring out which type of environment is right for you.

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