The insider's guide to the Jerome Fisher Program at the University of Pennsylvania

OPA! Helping Incoming Students Transition to Penn

by Steven X., M&T Class of 2015

by Steven X., M&T Class of 2015

Last summer, I was one of our M&T Orientation Peer Advisors, or OPAs. It’s a rather straightforward arrangement: commit to M&T as an incoming freshman, and one of the M&T OPAs will personally help you over the summer with all of the questions and concerns that you have, may it be about majors, course selection, housing, or anything else that comes to mind.

In my experience, questions that come up often deal with choosing engineering majors and selecting courses for the Fall semester through advance registration. For an incoming student, both are areas that can be difficult to figure out because of the multitude of options and a lack of understanding about the details of those options. This can lead to difficult decisions when combined with the interests of incoming students; choosing between electrical engineering, material science, and computer engineering is not simple when there’s only about a year’s worth of flexibility for a choice. In the end, it doesn’t take a lot of time to discuss questions with incoming freshmen, but it can be a lot of help to them.

For OPAs, it’s an experience that can be flexibly paired with travel, work, and classes over the summer and an opportunity to meet a few of our new faces before the semester begins. But at the crux of the matter, it’s enjoyable to be an active part of the supportive M&T community as an OPA.

Steven is a current M&T sophomore in the Class of 2015. He studies Computer Engineering within Penn Engineering and has yet to declare his concentration in the Wharton School.

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