Academics 30

What is the easiest foreign language to fulfill the requirement?

It's said that football players take Swahili for the easy A. I can't say whether it's true or not, but there's your option.

Perky Puffin, 4/22/19 7:51 PM

If you have any experience with Spanish, you can take a placement exam (just like you would take with any foreign language) and be put in the correct level for you. The Spanish department is really great and the course load is pretty manageable in my experience. You might want to follow in the football player foot steps though and take Swahili. Live your life.

Trusty Turtle, April 22, 2019, 11:35 PM

Can you take a placement exam more than once (if you fail the first)? What score do you usually need to pass them, and how often are they offered?

Typically you cannot take a placement exam more than once, although you might want to check the specific department's policies. For chemistry, you can only take the placement exams once, and the passing score is usually about 70%. Chem placement exams are offered at the beginning of each semester. Language placement exams also usually happen at the beginning of each semester, but again you should check with the department in question!

Extroverted Eel, April 19, 2019, 8:33 AM

Will my lifestyle as a premed be a lot better at a place like Brown or are there better resources at Penn that are worth it?

I cannot speak to being a pre-med at Brown, but I can talk about Penn.

There are a lot of resources for pre-med students at Penn such as dedicated advising and online resources. With a science major, a pre-med schedule is certainly easier given that some of the requirements (if not most) will be covered by the major itself. However, with a non-science major, that becomes more difficult. There are also plenty of research and medical volunteering opportunities, you just have to look around and take advantage of them.

tl;dr Yes, Penn has a lot of opportunities for a pre-med. Effort required.

Obnoxious Otter, April 14 2019 23:20

How easy is it to do a major in a language?

Majoring in a language can be very rewarding if you are interested studying a variety of topics about culture, civilization, etc. in addition to the language itself. If you are only interested in language classes, a minor would be more useful. Making a language a second major is also doable - it all depends on how willing you are to commit time for a language into your schedule.

Obnoxious Otter, April 14 2019, 23:03

I recently switched my major from CIS to EE, and I feel like I made a mistake because everyone says CIS is where it's at - in terms of jobs and just the general landscape of the world. Would love to hear from EE majors :)

I'm in MEAM so I got the opinion of my friend in EE:

"I agree that there are many more high paying jobs in engineering available for people with a CIS skillset, however being an EE major does not exclude you from getting these jobs or interviews if you have the skills required (you'll probably have to teach yourself tho). I've found that people view EE as more rigorous than CIS so it will actually differentiate you since there are so few people doing EE. That being said, just study what you want to study and you'll end up in a job/career/classes that you'll find most worthwhile."

Angsty Armadillo, April 14th 2019, 10:09pm

Is it possible to get an uncoordinated dual degree between Wharton and Engineering and still graduate in four years?

Yes! It will depend on your AP credits, the progression of classes you take, and the specific major/concentration, of course. Double-counting becomes your friend. You can talk to your academic advisors, fellow peers who have gone through the process, or department coordinators like Desirae Cesar (SEAS - CIS) for example.

Plan (very well) in advance, and knock out pre-reqs as you can! Make sure you check in with your department advisors as well, to avoid getting nasty surprises right before graduation.

Bovine Bear, April 14 2019, 6:28 PM

Advice on studying abroad / whether it is worth it / how to make the most out of your experience?

I spent this spring abroad, and it was definitely worth it! It's a great experience to get away from the everyday constancy of Penn, immerse yourself in a different national and school culture, and see new places and things - even if it does mean leaving friends and hitting some of the "exchange student stereotypes."

From my own experience and things I wish I'd done, here are a list of recommendations to make the most out of your experience abroad!

- Make sure you know what you can/can't get credit for in advance of even applying!
- Talk with Penn Abroad, your own advisors, family and friends, to decide on a place to apply. Some schools abroad have really strong programs in certain departments, and others offer diversity in courses that Penn might not.
- Be familiar with the school systems in your countries of interest. Some European or English schools, for example, don't give you as much flexibility with electives as Penn might - and differences in assessment work too. (Ex: I've had no midterms this semester, but all my grades depend on a single final assignment. Yikes.)
- Make sure you can graduate. < This is important.

- Yes, the abroad stereotype! Wholeheartedly recommend at least visiting somewhere new, whether that's a new country with a new language, a special event or celebration, or just somewhere really cool.
- Plan and book in advance, don't leave having regrets.
- Go with friends - either meet people abroad (other exchange students will probably be more down) or grab friends from Penn who are abroad.
- Consider solo-tripping: spend anywhere from a couple days to a week or so on your own traveling - it can be pricier and definitely more lonely, but for many people is a new and memorable experience.
- Visit something cool and new, or do something wild.
- Be informed about travel regulations and such abroad. Ex: Schengen area, when to get your passport stamped, RyanAir (lmao)

Everything Else
- Don't forget to experience the city and country you're in! It can be easy to miss some of those things especially if you're out having fun or at the library studying.
- Make sure to call home!
- Don't get too much FOMO :)

That being said, there can be a lot of reasons why abroad might not make sense. Either for financial (Penn financial aid carries over, but doesn't factor in costs of travel or fluctuating exchange rates), academic, or personal reasons, if you don't have the full flexibility to spend a semester away, don't stretch yourself too thin for it (a lot of students don't go abroad). Penn Global Seminars and Penn Summer Abroad are other options to look into!

Bovine Bear, April 14 2019, 6:23 PM

How far are CAS classes from the Hill? (Econ major here)

Many of the classes are pretty close to each other. Intro Econ classes are usually held in Meyerson Hall, which is just across the street from Hill. Other classes within CAS won't necessarily be that close, but they will certainly be within a couple of blocks, which is super manageable.

Zesty Zebra, April 14, 2019,  6:57 PM

Are residential programs worth it?

It's cool how many residential programs there are at Penn. :) I've heard that some are great; people become good friends, plus there are cool opportunities to explore your interests (trips, workshops, etc.). However, my experience was not amazing... I think it depends a bit on the RA (or whoever leads your residential program) and the size of your hall. I was happy that I got into a really competitive residential program in the Quad, but in the end, we only maybe had 2 events related to the program (besides free food every few weeks), and since my hall was so big, I felt a bit overwhelmed and didn't get close to anyone. The people in my hall are all unique and brilliant, so I regret not making more of an effort to get to know them.

Wallowing Whale, April 14, 2019, 6:50PM

Will my lifestyle as a premed be a lot better at a place like Brown or are there better resources at Penn that are worth it? (Deciding between Penn, Cornell, and Brown)

There's really no way of knowing what your experience will be like because 1) everyone's journey is subjective and 2) premed will be tough anywhere. I will say here at Penn, the premed track is notoriously difficult. There are the general requirements that all students must complete for medical school, meaning premeds tend to major in Biology or Biological Basis of Behavior (BBB), where most of the requirements are fulfilled. But, many premed students here also pursue liberal arts majors such as Health and Societies to get a more well-rounded education, while also taking the necessary biology and chemistry courses.

I don't know much about Cornell, but I believe Brown--unlike Penn--doesn't have any general requirements or sectors students need to fulfill, enabling students to double major more easily. I'm not sure this will make premed easier, but it might let you spread out and explore courses.

Perky Puffin, April 12 2019, 4:28 PM