Why Penn?

“The Admissions Committee would like to learn why you are a good fit for your undergraduate school choice (College of Arts and Sciences, School of Nursing, The Wharton School, or Penn Engineering). Please tell us about specific academic, service, and/or research opportunities at the University of Pennsylvania that resonate with your background, interests, and goals.”

Standing alone on the stage I faced the spotlight shining on my glistening bald head. The make up artist had done a brilliant job of adding a grim and menacing guise to my face. No, I wasn’t losing any hair at this tender age but I had shaved my head voluntarily to add depth to my character. It wasn’t normal for a junior to shout at seniors or make a mockery of their doings. On stage, I wasn’t the sincere boarding school student giving umpteen hours to perfect dialogues; I was my character.

Acting in stage productions gives me the leeway to divorce myself from my personality in the real world and take on the demeanor of a scripted character, with his own background, dreams and aspirations. From the sympathetic principal of a high school to the ruthless bully, from the flamboyant chairman of a firm to the overweight shy girl, I adopt the characteristics of these fictitious beings and give them life. Having followed and admired Stanislavski’s method acting and emotion memory, I feel I have lived many lives in my short span of seventeen years in the shoes of the many characters I have played. At Penn’s College of Arts and Sciences, I want to seize opportunities to evolve new personalities while remaining true to myself.

Most importantly academically, I intend to explore diverse subjects and try new roles as I have done on stage. As a budding diplomat in the high school community, I want to involve myself in the recently established Penn Program for Opinion Research and Election Studies through the Fox Leadership program, and join the Undergraduate Assembly to voice my opinions. Having spoken to Professor Nagel of the Political Science department, I was delighted to note the opportunities to integrate my interests in public policy and citizenship in an academic field of study through the senior research project. Like my strolls on the steps of the theater while reciting my lines, I imagine walking through the mature tree lined central pathway, Locust Walk, while recollecting Professor Merlo’s last ECON 232 class on the impact of voting procedures on government, with one of my peers. It would be an intellectually stimulating experience for me to add to Professor Lapinski’s class on voting and media at Penn contrasted with the pluralistic and rather rowdy democracy in India. Exploring the role of a diplomat, I would join the International Affairs Association in order to satisfy my desire for knowledge about diplomacy in global politics and further contribute to ILMUNC held annually.

My desire to develop diverse facets of my intellectual persona attracts me to the integrated studies program at Penn, which will help me pursue my interests in political science and economics while simultaneously satisfying my interests in philosophy and film. If, given an opportunity, I would be glad to try the Study Abroad program to France to garner a wider experience of different systems for a semester or carry out independent research projects in political economy. My desire to attend Penn magnifies as I learn of the possibility of juggling a plethora of opportunities while pursuing my academic endeavors. I imagine myself as the fierce sports fan, painted in red and blue and cheering for the Quakers at the Palestra, or as the fine dining connoisseur daring to risk, pleasing my palate at Penn’s Gastronomy Club?

My curiosity and inquisitiveness constantly drive me to add new chapters to my ‘acting journey’. I crave academic pursuits and I can already see myself adding new ‘lives’ to my present life through the myriad opportunities present at Penn. In the small town experience in the midst of the vibrant city of Philadelphia, I sincerely believe that I can add to the rich mix, which is the Penn experience.

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