Prior to this year, I had actually never heard of the University of Pennsylvania. It was introduced to me by a very special friend, who also happens to be an ILC Alum: Cindy Reyes. The University of Pennsylvania is one of our nation’s top universities, with an acceptance rate of 9.4%. For every 9 students that get accepted, another 91 get rejected; however through all her hard work and dedication Cindy managed to get a full ride to that very University with Early Admission. When I heard she had been accepted, I couldn’t have been happier, but this also raised a bit of curiosity. If there were students within my school, within my district getting our nation’s finest academic institutions, why couldn’t I do the same? I was constantly asking Cindy questions about the whole application process and what it was like for her, if she had any advice, etc etc. She mentioned the significance of grades and tests scores; however what she placed the most emphasis on was individuality--whether it be one’s circumstances, or personality. What sets this applicant apart from the rest? That is what they look for. She received her acceptance and scholarship through the Questbridge National College Match. They took into consideration her circumstances, her interests, as well as her academic achievements. They matched her to UPenn believing it best suited her interests. Whenever I ask her about the application process, she mentions how strenuous it had been, but when I ask if it was worth it, the answer is always a yes.
|Cindy Reyes herself|
Penn is the largest school in the nation to offer an all-grant financial aid program for undergraduates. Penn’s policy states that financial aid awards will include grants and a work-study job, and will not include loans. All dependent undergraduates eligible for financial aid at Penn receive all-grant aid packages, regardless of family income level. 57% of admitted undergraduates identified as black, Hispanic, Asian, or Native American, and the average financial aid package for incoming freshmen was about $45,000. If that doesn’t qualify as impressive, I don’t know what does; and in regards to graduate admission, Penn offers over 116 different professional and graduate programs. Fees and tuition vary by schools, however merit based scholarships and loans are also provided.