UPenn (CAS and Wharton) - Absolute Target?

(Freshman) I attend an extreme non-target and was weighing my options to potentially transfer into a top-tier institution for my junior year (obviously the likelihood of me being accepted is practically non-existent but I'm curious nonetheless). Consistently across these threads I see UPenn being mentioned as a high-end target. However, most of the time this pertains to only Wharton with some people stating that CAS is a target in of itself and others claiming that Wharton makes recruitment very difficult for CAS students. It is important to note that I would not be able to apply to Wharton (during what would be my sophomore year) because I would be transferring as a junior as per their transfer website. Can someone, preferably someone who has been or is at UPenn, provide any commentary on this?

Comments (31)

  • Intern in IB - Gen
May 23, 2020 - 1:11pm

Tldr; while UPenn CAS is still an Ivy League, it's second-tier to Wharton and you would likely be better off at a different ivy vs CAS where you're not automatically second-tier for your own school's recruiting

May 26, 2020 - 10:11am

Wrong. CAS students get access to the exact same interview slots as Wharton, and tons of CAS students who pursue IB/HF/PE get those jobs. The biggest differences are that a) Wharton kids will often have an edge in getting the interview slots and b) Wharton kids will often be better prepared for the interview as it draws from the work they actually do in class. However, if a CAS student is well-prepared for an IB interview they have every bit as good of a shot at securing it once they are in the room.

  • 4
May 23, 2020 - 1:10pm

See, I don't think many people shit on the CAS program itself. It is just that it feel kinda bad to be kinda sidelined/limited from day 1. However, it is also an ivy school so if you go there it will definitely be a step up from your nontarget. If you really do go to an extreme non-target, I also assume your school isn't ranked that highly which will make transferring harder. If I'm not wrong, I think a lot of Ivy transfers come from peer schools (Other ivies, Nw, Duke, Gtown, other T20s...)

  • Intern in IB - Gen
May 23, 2020 - 1:52pm

Usually yes I think so but I believe they also have precedent of taking rando low ranked schools or community college kids who prove exceptional (4.0s, ivy-level SATs)

May 23, 2020 - 2:01pm

Uhhhhh, they definitely do take some kids from lower ranked schools. But, I think a lot of it is either special cases (veteran, community college) or a peer (T20) school. Not to say you have no chance, but the odds definitely aren't in your favor. This is in contrast to the fact that if you have a good reason + the GPA at a peer school, your chances are much higher.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
May 23, 2020 - 4:16pm

Do you mean transfers to Penn specifically? I was under the impression that being at a peer school gave you almost no chance at transferring and that they preferred people with worse off backgrounds. For example, a huge proportion of transfers to Princeton are military.

May 23, 2020 - 4:55pm

It depends. Like there is a monumental difference in applying to Penn as a transfer (which takes like 170) versus Princeton which takes like 13 military veterans. Not all ivies have the same transfer friendliness. Most of the 170 transfers will be from T20s just because they go to better schools (so long as they have a reason for transferring). Like Penn is more likely to take the Gtown transfer who wants to study Engineering at Penn (b/c Gtown doesn't have engineering) over somebody from UFresno saying the same thing. At the end of the day, they will take the most impressive applicants (who also come from top schools consequently). The only Ivies that really only care about veteran / special case transfers are Dartmouth/ Princeton. Like look at Brown's transfer page and see that most of the schools are either well-known or are community colleges (https://admission.brown.edu/transfer/candidates)

  • Intern in HF - Other
May 24, 2020 - 11:44pm

Princeton is up its own ass and only takes ~unique~ transfers but all the other Ivies just take smart/passionate kids from any school. I am an Ivy transfer and know some of all backgrounds at most of them. It's as difficult as applying out of high school though, probably even harder as a junior since I've met far fewer junior transfers.

Most Helpful
  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Gen
May 23, 2020 - 1:55pm

There are a lot of CAS kids with the same jobs as Wharton students.

May 23, 2020 - 4:13pm

just make sure you don't drop the gpa to 2.8 or something at CAS. I know someone in a similar position, difficult to redeem yourself and diminishes top MBA chance too.

also depends on how non target you are

is it DeVry? or Indiana? or Michigan? or Duke I think you'd be much better off doing well where you currently are if it's towards the latter ones

May 23, 2020 - 6:15pm

idk man, just wanted to make sure

his username sounds asian chinese, I am minority so I get to say this - with some racial profiling I'd say there is a good chance OP is being overly hard on himself

someone once told me 'mY schOoL is suPeR nOn tArgET'. he/she went to a top 7 school just not HY

May 24, 2020 - 6:56am

Recent Wharton Grad here... you'll be totally fine going into finance as a grad of the College (lmao no one really calls it CAS).

Many College students that maintain high GPAs, demonstrate a clear finance interest via extracurriculars, and commit networking have literally the same career starts as Wharton students. The only caveat here is that the more niche job prospects are probably reserved for Wharton students (e.g. HF, PE).

If you do transfer in, majors that I remember being popular with College kids that eventually went the finance route are PPE (Politics, Philosophy, Econ) and just Econ (be warned that it's hella theoretical). But honestly if you demonstrate that you're intelligent and legitimately interested in finance, no one really cares.

The transfer to the College will prove more than worth it: Penn in general is still a very solid target with a huge network. Don't sweat feeling that you're at a disadvantage too much, you'll have the same opportunity to join finance clubs and network to make up the perceived difference.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Jul 31, 2021 - 4:49pm

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jul 31, 2021 - 5:57pm

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