I mailed out my acceptance letter to them today. I will be spending the next year in the beautiful city of Philly, and I'm psyched! It was hard saying no to Michigan (you guys know I'll always love Michigan) but... when it came down to it, Penn's program fit more with what I was looking for in preparing me to teach in an urban school in the future.
I also loved the campus when I visited it. Like Michigan, it has a college town feel to it, even though it's in the middle of the city. I didn't feel stressed when walking around, and it was pretty relaxed. Things are close by, so it's easy to go out and buy food or other things. Public trasportation was amazing - definitely a big plus when living in the city! I also visited Columbia University this break, but didn't end up liking the program all that much. I thought that by doing the campus visit I would be able to learn more about the program, but the people who had lunch with us were not in the program, and couldn't answer my questions. I did get an information packet, but the specific program I applied to (teacher education) seemed to be lacking in ways that Penn and Michigan were strong in. The campus was beautiful... but it wasn't what I was looking for.
During my time in Orlando, I heard back from Stanford, my top choice. I didn't get in. I wasn't too sad about it - after all, I already had some other great options! After comparing Michigan and Penn... it came down to the fact that Penn was focused on urban education. Every single student gets placed in an urban school, while at Michigan, there was only one school in Detroit, and it was for high achieving students... not the population I'm looking to work with. Since Penn is in the middle of the city, urban communities are close by and easy to get connected to, while Michigan is in Ann Arbor, a wealthy town. Somehow, Penn just seemed to fit, in every way that I was looking for. There just seemed to be a lot of opportunity for what I hope to do in the future.
Thanks, God, for the opportunity of a lifetime. I hope I can make the most of it and serve You well. I wasn't so sure about my calling all throughout college - there were always doubts - but it seems as though all those doubts have been washed away. You've made it very clear that this is what You've called me to, and I pray that You'd be with me as I move to a new and unfamiliar place.
If you're on the east coast next year, don't forget to come visit! :)