“To succeed, jump as quickly at opportunities as you do at conclusions.”

~Benjamin Franklin

Author: Patrick Bredehoft

Future Interviewers

As we look ahead a mere few weeks to the graduation of Penn’s Class of 2013, those of us at the Penn Alumni Interview Program are taking Ben Franklin’s thoughts about opportunity to heart.  With the Interview Program now under the umbrella of Alumni Relations, we’ve found a host of opportunities to engage these alumni-to-be in our global efforts to offer an interview to every Penn applicant.

Yesterday was Hey Day, where current Penn juniors mark a collective rite-of-passage in becoming seniors. It was also Final Toast, where current seniors look ahead to their lives beyond Penn, and to their new roles as university alumni. Final Toast prompts no shortage of nostalgia for the hundreds of students who attend, but it’s also a venue to discuss what it means to be an alumnus or an alumna of America’s first university—these young alumni will have opportunities to serve, to join new communities, and to make profound contributions wherever they go.

For more than fifty years, Penn alumni have been offering interviews to prospective students, in ever-increasing numbers. This past year, Penn alumni interviewed more than 22,000 students, hailing from all 50 states and from 127 countries. No matter where a young alumna is headed (and many are still trying to figure that out!), she will have the opportunity to meet with other alumni interviewers, as well as to offer something of her time at Penn to applicants who are eager to learn more.

We’re ecstatic to have registered so many Penn ’13 grads as alumni interviewers; we hope that by the time these students don their caps and gowns, more than 500 of them will have joined the Interview Program.

As we’ve spoken with these seniors, we’ve been amazed by the profound and lasting impact that this particular tradition has had on Penn’s students. Many of the seniors who sought us out had a similar refrain: “When I applied to Penn, my alumni interviewer made me even more interested in the university.  I swore that if I went to Penn, I would conduct interviews myself after I graduated.” Equally exciting for us is the second-most common comment we hear from seniors: “When I applied to Penn, I was never offered an interview.  I promised myself that if I went to Penn, I would make sure that I conducted interviews after I graduated.”

Whether young alumni join in this effort because they benefited from the experience directly, or because they want to offer future students an opportunity they never had themselves, we’re glad to be a part of a decades-old Penn tradition that provides a wonderful opportunity for applicants and alumni alike.


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Filed under Interview Program, Patrick B.

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