What to Study at Penn? What Not to Study?
- by Arjun Mahadevan
As a high school senior—an extremely undecided high school senior—I truly had no clue what I wanted to study when I was in college. Three years later, I now realize that Penn was the perfect school for me as Penn enables me to study and explore all of my interests.
Pursuing an uncoordinated (as in, not part of a coordinated program) dual degree is the best decision I have made at Penn. When I first arrived as a freshman, I was in the College of Arts and Sciences and I remember looking at the list of College majors online and thinking to myself, “How am I supposed to choose one?” There were many things I found myself interested in. In high school, I had always been a “math and science” type of person, so part of me was considering a science major such as physics or chemistry. Another part of me was considering math or economics. I even thought the science technology and information major looked extremely interesting, and throughout my first semester at Penn, I really didn’t know how I was going to be able to winnow down my interests and choose one major. However, during my second semester, I took my first class in Wharton, Statistics 101, and as I walked into Huntsman Hall for the first time as a student, I remembered Wharton from my tour of Penn as a high school junior.
This tour was given by a Wharton Ambassador, and—little did I know—two years later, I would not only be in Wharton but also be a Wharton Ambassador myself. I had also learned about the option to apply for a dual degree, and I remember during my Wharton information session, part of me really wanted to become a part of Wharton and learn business. I started meeting with the dual-degree academic advisor, and at the end of my freshman year, I submitted my application to Wharton to join as a dual-degree student. When I found out that I had been accepted, I remember thinking, “In my Penn essay, I wrote about Penn’s interdisciplinary nature drawing me to the school, and—what do you know—one year later, I am interdisciplinary.”
I am currently studying Mathematics in the College and concentrating in Statistics in Wharton. Through my math classes, College elective classes that have involved Mandarin and computer science, statistics classes, Wharton core classes, and Wharton business breadth classes that have included a venture capital class and a sports business law class, I have truly been able to take every class I am interested in at Penn while studying my two favorite subjects intensively. At times, the course load and work can be heavy, but I know that there aren’t many, if not any, schools in the country where I would have the opportunity to study what I am studying here. A great Penn experience, in my opinion, involves balance in one’s social life, personal life, and academic life, and thanks to my dual degree, I know I have great balance in my academic life.
Editor’s note: This article first appears on the Undergraduate Division’s Student Voices blog on April 10, 2015.