Extracurricular 13

I’ve read a lot about the crazy competitiveness at Penn regarding becoming a member of the executive board of different pre professional organizations/clubs, but how exactly does the process for becoming an officer work, specifically for premed societies? Is it similar to high school for officer of clubs, or is it way different?

On another note, do most Penn premed undergrads who go to med school end up becoming members of the boards of different societies (i.e. is this a common feature of most med school apps from Penn UGs and is thus expected of applicants by med schools)?

I can't speak to pre-med-specific examples, but engineering orgs have a similar reputation of being kind of cut-throat for admission. Once your in the organization, a lot of the decisions around who becomes an officer are really up to how committed  you are to the org / your interest in the role.

Just looking at the stats, seems like 170 people end up going to med school each year from penn, and basic math seems to say it's impossible for all of these ppl to be on the board of pre-med societies or pre-med clubs. You're much better off on focusing on what you enjoy rather than title-chasing. I'm not a board member in the three main orgs that i'm a part of, but i find the work I do to be extremely rewarding even if I don't have "supreme leader" next to my name (although now that i think about it that would be lowkey nice).

TL;DR you'll find what you love to do here; there are so many opportunities if you just look beyond the titles! Hope this helps, and good luck with your first year!

Zesty Zebra, 2/22/2020 6:50 PM

might be nice to not join pre-med societies tbh while you're on the path; i have a friend who really likes not being part of the premed frats and societies. it's less stressful, and you'll be surrounded by people with different interests (premed culture can be overly intense and suffocating at times). and seriously, like zesty zebra said, please go find what you're interested in!

Hopeful Horse, 2/25/2020 9:15am

For Penn Labs, as an applicant developer next semester, do I need to know JavaScript and how to use the Git Control System/Github, etc.?

Depends on what role you're applying for, for web frontend you definitely need to know JavaScript and React, but there are different standards for each team (Platform: Python and Django; Android: Kotlin; iOS: Swift). The team leads are mostly looking at your technical skill; Git / Github are easy to teach once you're onboarded. Feel free to email me at for more info :)

Zesty Zebra, 2:50 PM, Nov 25, 2019

How hard is it to join clubs at Penn?

It's typically dependent on the type of club and role you're interested in. There are plenty of interest-based organizations and cultural groups open to anyone, as well as pre-professional and skill-based organizations that are more selective and require applications.

Definitely don't be afraid to apply to any clubs you're interested in! It's helpful to reach out to upperclassmen who are already a part of those groups for more information on the club and their application process.

Dynamic Dino, November 8, 2019, 6:27 PM

What is the time commitment for Kite and Key, and how do I apply to be in it?

Not exactly sure on the details, but this might be able to help: (good luck!)

Perky Puffin, April 25, 2019 10:48 AM

How do I get into the club that I want?

Depends on the club. Certain clubs require you to apply and interview for acceptance. From my experience the most intense club application processes seem to be primarily connected to Wharton. Other clubs, for example Colleges Against Cancer, Medlife, Step Up, Active Minds, and certain club sports, don't require applications or try outs. Other clubs, like performing arts groups, will require auditions or applications of some sort and the competitiveness varies by club. I would suggest reaching out to club executive board members to express interest and ask any application questions you have.

Trusty Turtle, April 22, 2019, 11:48 PM

What is the IAA?


Absent Aardvark, April 22nd, 4:56 PM

What groups on campus are actually wholesome?

Kind of depends on what you mean by wholesome? If you mean non-alcoholic, you'll be hard pressed to find any group that doesn't have BYOs or mixers – that shouldn't be an issue, though, since drinking isn't a required thing for most clubs anyways.

Some groups that I think are actually a really tight-knit community include cultural show groups for cultural clubs (PTS, CSA, and VSA especially), the Signal, and in general any performing arts group.

LOL, I guess church groups are wholesome by nature?

Absent Aardvark, April 14th 6:58 pm

Penn Beekeeping Club has some fun events! They keep bees.

Zesty Zebra, April 14th, 7:01 pm

Opinion on senior societies?

I recently joined a senior society - there are a good amount at Penn! But, I wasn't super attached to getting in. I found myself naturally wanting to reach out to the people who were already in this senior society because I thought what they've done / worked on at Penn is so cool! I've talked to my junior friends about their thoughts on senior societies as well, and generally all of us feel like it's a great way to get to meet new people in your last year at Penn, but none of us put too much pressure on ourselves on getting in. It's been a bit of an ongoing struggle for me to "find my community" at Penn, so I'll say that I am quite happy that I got into this senior society :) I feel accepted here.

Wallowing Whale, April 14, 2019 6:20PM

Is it worth still trying to join and recruit for clubs my junior year?

I'm a believer that it's never too late to join clubs! They're a great way to meet new people to try out something new :) There's a club for just about anything!

Chunky Chipmunk, April 9 2019 8:00PM

Are consulting clubs worth it? I haven't been accepted to any of them...

I spent a little over a year in a consulting club, so I'm a bit biased but I think yes – you're working with clients (which range from startups to Fortune-500s in our case) and expected to provide solid analysis and recommendations to them. You learn a lot through working on the projects, building up industry expertise: for example, through my projects, I learned more about the retail industry and digital marketing, which I probably wouldn't have gotten exposure to as early without it (I didn't take MKTG 101 until junior fall).

It develops your presentation skills, both in formulating recommendations, making slides (ha, fun), and most importantly public speaking when you're faced with clients who may work full-time jobs in the industry (or in the case of startups, have dedicated their dreams to this cause) but you're the one communicating ideas to them about improving their business. Also, projects can be interesting things to talk about on a resume.

You don't have to be set on a consulting career to benefit from the clubs, although it is true that a good chunk of club members end up in consulting roles. It can be a good way to see if it's a fit for you too! If you're worried about getting in, I'd look into some basic MKTG 101 concepts for putting names to the ideas that clubs might be looking for you to identify/use!

Bovine Bear, April 9 2019, 2:41 PM