Penn expands college resource event to help Philly students

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

by Isaac Riddle

For years the University of Pennsylvania’s Ivy in Your Backyard event served as an information session and recruitment event for Philadelphia students considering the Ivy League university. After a hiatus of more than a decade, the event returns, but this time with a broader purpose.

“With everything going on in the School District this year, we decided it would be best to take that same branding element of Ivy in Your Backyard, but really open ourselves as a resource to Philadelphia students, since many schools do not have access to a full-time counselor,” said Danielle Branch, Philadelphia region admissions director at the University of Pennsylvania.

The free event, hosted by Penn’s admissions department, the Office of Student Financial Services, and the Kelly Writers House, will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26, at the Irvine Auditorium on Penn’s campus.

The focus of the event is to help students search for the college that might best meet their needs while understanding what colleges are looking for and finding ways to fund their education.

Financial Services staff at Penn will guide parents through the financial aid process and help them obtain fee waivers for college applications.

“We hope that parents walk away knowing that financial aid is available to them,” said Branch.

The Kelly Writers House, the writing hub at Penn, will host a writing circle workshop that will help students work on their college essays and personal statements.

“We want to show them how to make their voices heard through some of these personal statement questions they may encounter,” said Branch.

The Ivy in Your Backyard event is open to all Philadelphia public and parochial high school students, with registration priority for public school students. The event can accommodate 400 participants, and families wanting to attend must register beforehand.

“We are looking to have as many Philadelphia public high school students register as possible,” said Branch.

“We would love to see maximum capacity for this event.”

Isaac Riddle is an intern at the Notebook.