June 12, 2015 |

Recap: Partner Appreciation Event


Last week, to celebrate all of the hard work our partners have put in throughout the year, we partnered with TargetX to hold a Partner Appreciation Event at the Academy of Vocal Arts. We had more than 50 guests from over 35 college partners, arts and culture partners, and corporate partners attend for a special student-led panel followed by a reception.

The panel featured Rohan Shah, a graduating high school senior who will be attending Penn in the fall; Kevin Murray, a Drexel University senior; Tiara DeGuzman, a junior at Rutgers University – Camden; and Shiza Francis, a sophomore at Villanova University. Each of them gave their “insider perspective on student success,” talking about what made them choose the schools they did, the student services and civic engagement opportunities that were available, and what succeeding as a student meant to them. Didn’t make it to the event? We’ve got the best handpicked quotes from all four students below.

Quotes have been lightly edited for clarity.

Rohan Shah, University of Pennsylvania ’19

On which post-SAT mailings from universities actually worked

“If the postcard or mailing was very specific with regards to what sorts of scholarships I was able to get from those schools, I was more likely to be interested.”

On the importance of opportunities after school 

“I was interested when schools actually said what sorts of opportunities I would be able to receive going out of college. Penn, for example, had a lot of flyers with statistics like ‘85% of our graduates have a job going out of college.’”

On the importance of summer programs and mentors

“I was a Penn Apps Fellow last summer, and I was an intern at a local big-data marketing startup here in Philadelphia in the Cira Center. As a Fellow, I was under current Penn students, and one of those students was Fabio Fleitas. He was a huge help when I was deciding where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do in college. So doing these sorts of programs in college and even high school really helps you meet new people who are like-minded and going in the same direction as you.”

Kevin Murray, Drexel University ’15

On why he chose Drexel

“The reason I chose Drexel was, first, that it offered me a chance to be in a city. At Drexel, we always say that Philadelphia is our campus.”

On student services

“Drexel went towards a model called Drexel Central where everything was centralized, a one-stop-shop method, and it has really changed how a Drexel student is able to process along as a student. You walk in and there’s a greeter and a touchscreen where you scan your ID and it asks you ‘What issue are you having today?’. You select one and your name goes up into a queue on a screen and you wait there for someone to be assigned to you.”

On the importance of exploring your environment

“I’m from the suburbs, so for me it was really important to go out and explore by myself but also with friends and other people across the campus to see what Philadelphia is like for the people living there, beyond just the students.”

On what’s really important in college

“It’s always important to remember that as a college student you are a temporary resident of a city, and you need to go in and make an impact while you’re there and assist the community and always remember that you want to leave where you’ve been better than when you got there.”

Tiara DeGuzman, Rutgers University — Camden ’16

On getting the best of both worlds

“The reason that I chose my campus is that I wanted the opportunity to have two cities: Camden and Philadelphia.”

On services she has really appreciated during her time at college

“We have a lot of services that I didn’t even consider. Civic engagement is a huge thing on our campus and I didn’t know going in how important it is to engage with Camden. Around our campus, we have up to three or four soup kitchens, we have CFET, which is the Center for Environmental Transformation right down the street, and RAs are required to go there every year to learn about Camden and to see the community and work with people. We also actually have civic engagement scholars, who are people who come to Camden and dedicate themselves to 300 hours of service every year.”

On the universal importance of business

“Also, we have a great business school, and I know that whatever field you’re going into, you need to have some business smarts, business writing, leadership skills and communications skills.”

On the advantages of assuming a leadership position

“When you are a leader on campus, there are so many more resources than when you’re an average student. Being able to have personalized help, being in the honors college, being able to have personalized academic advising, that’s something that has allowed me now to feel comfortable academically and also as a student.”

Shiza Francis, Villanova University ’17

On careers services

We have a really great career services department and essentially you can just walk in. They also have workshops for freshmen that are geared towards building their resume, having mock interviews on campus. They’ll also send out a newsletter that says who’s recruiting on campus by major. It’s just on the student to utilize the resources.”

On student initiative

“A university can do everything in its power to convey its services, but at the end of the day, it’s up to the student to open that email.”

On the depth of civic engagement at Villanova

“Going to campus I was really surprised at the community. We have essentially two institutions: the Matthew J. Ryan Center for the Study of Free Institutions and the Public Good and the Center for Peace and Justice Education. With the Ryan Center, we think philosophically about the big questions and then the Center for Peace and Justice focuses more on the social sciences — we have classes on topics like poverty and discrimination. Programs from these centers are actually hard to get into and I think that speaks to the kind of character we try to build at Villanova.”



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