In true Penn fashion, I came in as a freshman with sky–high ambitions. I wanted to join every club, make all the friends, take every cool class, and seize every opportunity. While those expectations weren’t all feasible, I did join the very first club I applied to: ADAB. ADAB stands for the Admissions Dean’s Advisory Board—a board dedicated to supporting the initiatives of Penn Admissions and providing student feedback for the Admissions Office.
As someone who held so many opinions on the college admissions process, I was ready to apply the minute I realized that ADAB existed! Luckily, my video application garnered me an interview in College Hall with the co–chairs at the time, Rachel and Zannie, and I was chosen (along with two other applicants) as the newest member of ADAB.
Getting into ADAB was an incredibly momentous experience for me. Not because it was a prestigious, selective club with really cool members, but rather, because it was the first time I was given the direct opportunity to affect change for high school students like myself. I was raised by two immigrant parents, neither of whom received a college education. They gave me all the support they could, but I had no blueprint as I went through the college process. To add to that, I went to a high–quality yet underfunded public magnet school in Philadelphia, which meant that there were 5 college counselors for 2400 students. While my peers in a few counties over in the suburbs were getting one–to–one college counseling on a regular basis, it was hard to pin mine down (through no fault of her own) due to the huge amount of students she was responsible for. That’s all to say that I was ready to help make Penn more accessible to students like me and students in even more difficult situations.
My journey with ADAB formally began at a welcome dinner with the student board joined by members of the Penn Admissions staff, and then-Dean of Admissions, Eric Furda. The dinner was electric, with all of us sharing our ambitions for this upcoming year of ADAB, riffing off of each other’s ideas and jokes. It cemented that ADAB was the right place for me, and the following two years would be full of amazing meetings fueled by Insomnia Cookies, Beiler’s Donuts, and Zesto’s Pizza (which could be considered as campus delicacies!).
Over the past two and a half years, we’ve worked on multiple projects and initiatives. Last year, we helped to reform school–specific info sessions, working with admissions officers as well as liaisons in the College, Wharton, Nursing, and Engineering to streamline the presentations to make them as inclusive and equally–enriching experiences as possible. After that, when COVID–19 hit, we worked to make sure that the Class of 2024 was welcomed into the Penn community in the virtual space. We took over the official Facebook group with posts every single day, introducing incoming freshmen to what life at Penn was like pre-pandemic.
Most recently, we said goodbye to our beloved Dean Furda as he embarked on a new chapter in his career. It’s been incredibly bittersweet, and as a group and as individuals, we’ve gotten to know him pretty well. But looking ahead, it’s going to be pretty awesome getting to know our new Dean of Admissions, Whitney Soule. Being part of ADAB as an entirely new Dean takes the helm is so exciting, and I’m so happy I’m going to be part of this experience.