Congratulations Class of 2019 Parents and Families!

As your Penn child begins his or her senior year at Penn, your family will begin preparing your son or daughter for post-grad life and their upcoming Commencement from Penn next May. Your child will be presented with new opportunities, as they begin or continue their job search or apply for graduate programs in the Fall, while finishing their current studies and enjoying their last year as an undergraduate. Our colleagues in the Office of Alumni Relations and the Office of Career Services have joined us in providing some helpful information on what to expect over the next year to best support your senior student. 

Penn Traditions and Hey Day

Penn Traditions grew out of a desire to connect the student experience with the alumni experience, as well as to increase student awareness of Penn’s most honored traditions. Established in February 2004 by Alumni Relations and the Penn Fund, this program has grown in leaps and bounds over the years and has even developed new customs that students now view as part of Penn’s rich history.

On April 26, 2018, the Class of 2018 participated in the Penn Tradition known as “Hey Day”. Established in 1916 as a “Moving Up” celebration, Hey Day is an event where juniors don brightly-colored T-shirts, fake straw hats, and canes and process down Locust Walk toward the college green. This exuberant tradition marks students’ official passage from juniors to members of the senior class and attendance has grown into thousands over the years. At the same time, the senior class is “Moving Up” to alumni status at “The Final Toast,” just across College Green. For pictures of this event, please click on the following link: Hey Day Pictures.

Commencement 2019

It is never too early to prepare to celebrate! Commencement 2019 is scheduled for Monday, May 20, 2019. The Commencement ceremony is a celebration of all graduates and will feature the conferral of degrees, the awarding of honorary degrees, and greetings by University officials and the Commencement speaker who will be announced in the Spring of 2019.
We encourage you to make your travel and accommodation arrangements far in advance. For a list of hotels on and nearby campus, please visit Penn Travel.

Commencement at Penn is filled with several days of activities leading up to the University Commencement ceremony. To get an idea of what Commencement 2019 will entail, please click here.

The Transition to Senior Year: A Note from Career Services

Senior year is a time of transition. Some students look forward to graduation and moving on, while others do not feel ready. This is also the time when students have to implement their postgraduate plans: applying to jobs, graduate or professional school and/or competitive fellowships. This can be an extremely taxing experience for students; it can feel like an additional course. On-campus recruiting (employers come to Penn to interview potential employees) starts early in the fall semester. For some students, particularly those looking for business-related jobs, on-campus recruiting is an excellent resource. For others, the best way to find a job is not through On Campus Recruiting (OCR), but through our specialized career fairs (for example, the international fair, the government and policy fair, the start-up fair), or through direct application to employers later in the year.

For those seniors applying directly to a health professions school, applications are typically submitted over the summer, with interviews following during the fall and winter. For those students applying to fellowships, the most competitive have very early deadlines, so getting letters of recommendation together by late summer is very important. For those interested in law, PhD or other graduate programs, fall is the time to apply.

Career Services counselors are available to address anything and everything that has to do with helping students face life after Penn. This can include assistance with applications, personal statements, resumes, cover letters, interviewing and negotiating. Counselors can also be a good sounding board as seniors grapple with decisions about their next steps after graduation. You can be helpful by encouraging your student to utilize Career Services. You might also offer suggestions of contacts they can approach for networking, which is essential in many fields. And most importantly, let them know you have every confidence in their ability to achieve their goals.