First of all, congrats to all who were accepted into the M&T Program this year- I enjoyed meeting you at M&T day! Looking back to this time last year, I was faced with a decision that seemed impossible to make. I was accepted early action to MIT, and decided to apply for regular decision to one more school – Penn’s M&T program. When decisions for Penn came out I was torn between joy and a sudden wave of indecision. I had been certain of attending MIT for the past three months, and now I was no longer sure of which to school to choose. A few phone calls later, and my cross-country flights were changed so that I could visit both Penn and MIT for their respective preview weekends. And it was this visit that made all the difference to me.
The style of each weekend was very different, but what really made the biggest impressions on me were the people I met and the atmosphere at each school. The M&T program had a fantastic sense of community, as everyone from sophomores to super-seniors (students who decided to stay at Penn an extra year for their masters) came out to welcome us and answer any questions. On paper, both programs are incredible, with the top engineering and business programs respectively. The diversity of opportunities was equal between the schools, with students from each going to work and intern at places like Google, Blackstone, and NASA, among others. I still did not have the certainty to make my decision, and the incredible people I met at both schools didn’t make it any easier.
When it came time to decide, the best thing for me was to map out my options and look ahead to imagine the next four years at each school. I researched the study abroad programs I would choose, the websites for particular clubs I wanted to join, and everything in between. But the crux of my decision rested on the integrated dual degree program here with M&T versus the more single-minded track at MIT, with the possibility of another degree on the side. I could not decide which area I would focus on at MIT- there was no way for me to know yet as a senior in high school. With this in mind, I made my decision on May 1st to come to Penn as an M&T and I have not regretted my decision since.
Lauren is a current M&T freshman in the Class of 2016 from Boise, Idaho. She is contemplating studying either Systems Science or Computer Science within Penn Engineering and has yet to declare her concentration in the Wharton School. In her spare time, Lauren is involved with the M&T Club Board, Undergraduate Assembly, and the Wharton Trading Group.