BackgroundInterview Date:January 2019
Gender Identity: Female
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2019
High School Experience: Public high school in North Jersey with about 300 people in my graduating class. There was a big culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: Yes
Majors: Marketing and Legal Studies
Minor: Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Extracurricular Activities: I was in a business fraternity, Drexel DECCA, LeBow BRIDGE, and have competed in a dozen case competitions across North America.
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience? In what ways?
Doing the case competitions has made a huge impact on who I am today. It made me a much more comfortable speaker, pretty good at thinking on the fly, and at this point surviving any curveball thrown at me. I realized I work well under pressure, and those skills I’ve learned have helped me with co-op interviews and getting my name out there.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
We have a lot of group work, which is good, but it can also be a pain. Wherever you go for your job you’ll be part of a team and have to do group work. I have a lot of reading especially for my Legal Studies Major. For my Entrepreneurship Minor I’ve had to read at least 12 books.
Is there anything you feel either of your majors’ departments do especially well or especially poorly?
My major’s department is moving toward making you create actual marketing campaigns and working with local businesses in Philadelphia. I think they are lacking in the shift toward digital marketing. I’ve been working in marketing for two years now, and they aren’t teaching us how it is done in the real world anymore.
Can you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s competitive or collaborative?
It’s definitely collaborative. Every major in the business school works in teams, and you have your friends to rely on. I don’t know if it’s competitive in terms of your course load, but it is in terms of getting the co-ops available.
How do the co-ops work?
Drexel overall has a big co-op system. Essentially you are at the school for five years. Three of those years you spend 6-months in classes, and 6-months on a co-op. You’ll get a list of companies that work with Drexel for co-ops. Some are around the world, but most are in Philly, and you apply three months before your cycle begins. They can get competitive because we have companies in high demand like Goldman Sachs or Johnson and Johnson, but there are only so many positions available. You can also do your own search and get a co-op with any company willing to make that adjustment to let you work there for 6-months.
What has been your favorite class in your major?
Data-Driven Digital Marketing.
How accessible have the professors in your department been?
Very accessible. I feel comfortable going right up and knocking on their doors.
How does the quarter system impact your coursework?
The classes are essentially 10 weeks long, so everything other students learn in their semester school over 14-16 weeks, we cram into this 10-week period. It’s difficult if you are not keeping up with your work and staying ahead of everything.
Why did you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I picked my major because I took a marketing class in high school and thought it was cool. I added Legal Studies later on because I thought I wanted to go to law school, and this would be a good way to learn more. I was going to graduate super early so I added a minor that way I wouldn’t graduate as early, and Entrepreneurship seemed cool because it was in a different school.
How was transitioning academically as a first-generation college student? Are there systems in place that help you transition?
It’s hard to say. At Drexel, I can see how other people know what they are getting into before going into college, but I didn’t because no one in my family has. At the same time, I think I pick up things quickly and understand what is going on. Personally, I don’t think it really affected me that much aside from applying and getting into college because my parents didn’t know I needed SAT tutoring and classes. I’m in a learning community for underrepresented students at Drexel called LeBow BRIDGE, and a lot of the members are also first-generation students so I know I have that support if I need it. It’s an invite-only program, so you have to have a strong high school academic record.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Race Street Residence with 1 roommate and 2 suitemates
Sophomore: Off-campus apartment
Pre-Junior: Off-campus apartment
Junior: Off-campus apartment
Senior: Off-campus apartment
What was your favorite living situation?
Since you are Drexel for five years, you are called freshman your first year, sophomore your second year, a pre-junior your third year, and then junior and senior. I would avoid Drexel housing as much as you can. You must be considered a pre-junior to live off-campus, which is based on the number of credit hours you have.
How was transitioning from your hometown in Northern Jersey to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania?
I grew up in the suburbia life and Drexel is in the heart of Philly. You have to be careful when you’re walking around, but nothing crazy is going on.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
It’s pretty safe. You always need to be careful, but the campus police are always going around. If you’re walking home late at night, a lot of the police are riding bikes so they will walk you home. You can also call them to walk you anywhere on campus which is a great option to have.
Pros and Cons of being in the University City neighborhood of Philadelphia?
1) It’s access to public transportation. The main train station is right on campus.
2) Philly in general is an awesome city with so much to do. We definitely recommend it if you’re into exploring.
3) Its proximity to the University of Pennsylvania. I utilize lots of their resources and meet up with their organizations.
1) The amount of street traffic it gets. It’s by a lot of major highways so commuting to your co-op can get annoying.
2) The street parking is not the best.
3) The weather can be bad.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
I’d go to a lot of house parties in the beginning. [Now that I’m 21], I’ve been going to bars which is a lot of fun. We’ll Uber to a bar or club in Center City or the neighborhoods of Philly, which is basically all I do now.
What nights of the week do you regularly go out? Are there certain places you go on certain nights?
During the week, we will sometimes do something close to campus on Tuesday like Taco Tuesday at Drinker’s Pub, Thursday people go to a bar on Penn’s campus, and Friday is up in the air. Usually, the bars will charge a cover on Saturday, so it’s iffy if we go because people don’t want to pay.
What’s an alternative to going to a party or a bar that you like to do?
I go to concerts all the time and there are a bunch of great venues. There are a lot of beer gardens too, which I wouldn’t count as going out in terms of partying and dancing. In the winter, you can go ice skating at Penn Landing or walk around South Street where there is always a festival going on. Phillyvoice.com lists events going on that week. This weekend we went to Blue Mountain to snowboard, and I also go hiking a lot.
What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
Only the fraternities can have parties. They will either have registered parties, so it’ll be a huge thing, or a smaller kickback where it’s only the fellow fraternity brothers and then girls. People seem to stop going to fraternities their [when they turn 21] to go out to bars. I wouldn’t say the Greek life is crazy, but it exists and is there. [About 1,700 undergraduate students, or about 11% of students, make up the Greek life scene.]
How did you meet your closest friends?
A lot of them are in my classes and the business fraternity I’m part of, and just by chance really.
If at all, how did being a first-generation student affect your social transition?
I don’t think it affects my social transition. I feel that the way I interact with people is the same as I did in high school. I was in honors and AP classes, and it’s the same type of people at Drexel.
How would you describe the overall social scene?
It exists, but you need to be outgoing. You can make friends at Drexel but it’s easy to be in your own little world. There is literally a group for every type of person, and it doesn’t matter what you’re into. If you’re anti-social, or super social, you can find people to go out with or be sober and play board games with. It doesn’t matter who you are, you will find your friends.
To what extent do you think people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
My group of friends is diverse in terms of race and sexual orientation, but I can’t say the same about other people. It’s a very diverse school, and you can see that diversity within groups. [In the Class of 2022, about 50% of students are White, 22% are Asian, 10% are international students, and 6% are Hispanic.]
How would you describe the student body?
A lot of people come to Drexel their freshman year and either drop out or get kicked out because it’s a hard school to be at, or they can’t financially stick with it. Once you get past this, most of the people are career oriented and have their focus and goals in mind for their next step after Drexel. People are super focused, motivated, and determined. You really have to be, in order to keep up with your peers. People are also nice. [For the Class of 2021, about 89% of students returned the next year.]
Do you feel more so like you’re a resident of the city than a student at your school?
It depends. When I am on co-op I definitely feel like a resident of the city because you’re working 9-5 Monday through Friday, so your whole focus is going to and from work. On the weekends, I always leave Drexel’s campus and do my own thing. I have friends that just moved to Philly, so when I hang out with them, I don’t feel like a Drexel student.
How has the size of your school influenced your social experience?
In general, it’s pretty big, but in the business school, you know a lot of people. It’s big enough that you can always meet someone new, but it’s small enough that word carries and you have to be careful of your reputation. [Drexel has an undergraduate population of about 15,500.]
Do you think people are happy with their choice of Drexel by the time they graduate?
I think it depends. People are happy if they took advantage of the opportunities Drexel can provide you. The people who dislike it are those who have never done anything such as holding a position or being in an organization. Everyone is very thankful because they graduate with a year and a half or more of work experience, which has allowed me to get interviews at places I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
Within our business fraternity we have a huge alumni network, and I know some people from four years ago that are doing well at their job. Aside from these alumni, I haven’t been talking to any others.
What have you used the career office for? How helpful have they been?
They force you to meet with them after your co-ops, but I don’t know how helpful the overall career office has been for me. I personally have not utilized them, but the business school also has their own career coach. She will help you with your business specific career stuff. If you have any questions, they make themselves pretty accessible.
Have you learned any computer programs or computer languages that have been or will be especially helpful professionally?
On co-op I dabbled a little with HTML, but I haven’t taken any classes specific to this.
Have you used financial aid? If so, accommodating was the office to your needs? Were they responsive to your questions?
It’s questionable. They can make you run around in circles a lot. One year I had my loans completely screwed over, but I was able to manage it. I would recommend that if you get a full ride at another school, file for a financial aid appeal at Drexel to get more scholarship.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Drexel before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew if you were a National Merit Scholar they would give you a free ride. This could be something to strive for as a high schooler.
What is something a prospective student may have missed on a visit that is worth checking out?
The tour is pretty thorough, but I would take a tour of Penn’s campus because it’s right there. You will be walking through it a lot when going to restaurants. If you’re coming down to visit, you should 100% walk around Center City. If you’re outgoing, you’ll be spending a lot of your time there.
Reasons to attend Drexel:
1) There are lots of opportunities within the city and at Drexel.
2) The co-op program itself. Being able to work and actually make decent money while getting that work experience has helped me so much in the process of getting a full-time job.
3) The city of Philadelphia itself is amazing and has lots of things to do.
Reasons to not attend Drexel:
1) It’s very fast paced and can be overwhelming if you’re not ready for it.
2) It’s not a huge party school. People at other schools say they go out every day and for the most part, as a Drexel student you go out one night a week because of homework.
3) There is zero school spirit. There is no football team, and everyone here is either in sweats or business suits.