SOTONG GUIDE PART 1: Pre-Departure

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SOTONG GUIDE PART 1: Pre-Departure at Wikia

First and foremost, congratulations on making an excellent decision to join our ranks. But this is only the first step in a long and stressful process to settle all sorts of admission matters. Follow this guide religiously and it will greatly ease the process. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact the Club Singapore executive committee at or your helpful upper-classmen buddies.

A) Advance Registration

Advance registration is not very important, because you will have a chance to register for your classes again when you arrive in fall. Of course, places are not guaranteed, and especially if you have already decided on a major, this should give you an idea of where you can start. And if you have further doubts, ask your buddies / advisors, they’ll get you the answer.

A good guide is as follows:

1) 1-2 courses for major pre-requisites or major related courses. 2) 1-2 courses for other prospective majors or schools that you may be interested in. 3) 1-2 courses just for fun!!!

You also have a few weeks before the “ADD”/”DROP” dates – the “ADD” date is the last date you can add a course, and the “DROP” date is the last date you can drop a course, so you generally can go course shopping for the first week or so. For some courses, you can drop them after the results of the first midterm come out (if they come out poorly, that is) as long as the “DROP” date hasn’t passed.

You can also withdraw from a course at any date before finals, but there will be a Withdrawal grade marked on your transcript, which looks ugly. It is not unheard of to withdraw from a certain course, say, 3 or 4 times.

Generally, you cannot take more than 5 courses in your first semester, and not more than 6 courses in your second semester, because Penn loves you and doesn’t want you to die, even though you hate yourself and want to lock yourself in the room and study everyday.

Most importantly, check out the Penn Course Review (Accessible from Penn Portal). Essential info about every course offered!!!! You should also check out the Penn Course Register for any updates on course schedules.

Recommended Courses

College • ECON 001 • PSYC 001 o Take BFS version if possible; last semester to take the course with renowned Prof. Shatte, who is probably the main reason why so many people like PSYC 001 • PSCI 001 • Freshman Seminar o A select group of small seminars (i.e. <15 students) only admitting freshmen. Usually quite interesting, relatively easy, discussion-based, and freshman year is your only chance to take them.

Wharton • ECON 001 (see above) • MATH 104 / 114 (see above) • Writing course (see above) • STAT 101 / 430 o Wharton Core requirement, 101 is relatively easier than 430 since 430 is the honors equivalent) • MGMT 100 o Wharton Core compulsory for Wharton freshmen. A lot of politicking and team dynamics involved.

Alternatively (assuming you have econ/math) • CHIN 381 – Commercial Chinese I o Fulfils Global Environment and Language/Arts/Culture o Very very easy course with very nice teacher. Meet a lot of other Asians. • CHIN 382 – Commercial Chinese II o Fulfils Global Environment, Language/Arts/Culture o Same very nice teacher, a little bit harder, but actual potential of learning something • MKTG 101 o Wharton Core requirement, quite easy course. Has an honors section. o You could also do MGMT 101, which has a rather heavy workload. The new MGMT 101 syllabus encompasses group work as well, so it’s probably not advisable to do MGMT 101 together with MGMT 100: too much group work will drive you crazy with out-of-class meetings and trying to handle lazy group members. o Try not to touch FNCE and ACCT until second semester, and if you want to do OPIM, do it with a bunch of other people for group work.)

Bioengineering • BE lab (compulsory) • BE 200 or BE 100 o freshmen take 100, Singaporeans take 200 • MATH 240

Huntsman • HIST 107 o compulsory Huntsman freshman course, fulfils Hist/Tradition *and* International Studies • Language course (start off on your target language) • MGMT 100 (see above) • ECON 1 (see above) • STAT 101 / 430 or MKTG 101 (see above)

Some other recommended classes to take

Humanities Economics classes are good general knowledge for anyone. Penn English department is excellent for modern work. Languages French, German, Spanish and Japanese are popular, there are many others too. Writing Fulfill your writing requirement early to get the most out of it, and prepare you for future classes that involve prose. There are many different options. Fun Classes Fine Arts classes like Photography, Pottery, and Drawing are popular

Advance Credits

Although it is not guaranteed, Penn usually recognizes credit for the ‘A’ level subjects as such. Arts subjects are also not as clear-cut as the sciences, and may take some haggling. There has been a major crackdown in terms of credit distribution, especially for Math and Econ. Check the respective departmental websites for updates as policies change every year.

To get Advance Credit, go to the Office of Transfer Admissions at College Hall with a certified copy of you’re a Level cert. The nice lady there will take care of the rest, although some haggling may be required.

Math C gives MATH 104 (but only with a Merit for Math S) No credit. Retrocredit for MATH104 will be awarded for completion of MATH240 Physics PH93,94,50,51, (the equivalent of PHYS 150 and 151, (3 cus) Chemistry CHEM 094 (???)No credits given. Waiver for chem lab will be given after your lab report has been evaluated by the chem. department Biology BIOL 091 (allows you to take 123 instead of the 101-2/121-2 tracks) Computing NIL (but it sure does help in CSE) Economics waiver for ECON 001 and 002 (Note: waiver =/= credit, you still need to fulfill your Society requirement) Literature ENG 100 and ENG 101 (fulfils the Arts General Req, and your Writing Req) History 2 General History Courses. One fulfils Distribution for Hist & Tradition Req for College, the other fulfils Free Elective. Geography NIL (you may be able to fight for something, no guarantees)

To claim your credit, go to the Office of Transfer Credit in College Hall with a copy of your A-level transcript, and you will receive a transfer credit form which you will need to bring to the relevant departments to sign, and then bring back to the Office of Transfer Credit. Try to do this before the end of the semester, as they get rather bitchy about late transfer credit.

If you want to place out for credit, contact the relevant departments for the dates of placement tests. (These usually occur before and/or during the first week of school, so be prepared to come early) Commonly, placement tests are taken for Math, Chem and Bio.

National Service Deferment

Penn is familiar with the situation of Singaporean males, and will willingly grant a two-year deferment of studies. Here is a step-by-step guide of the process, from the point you receive your acceptance letter and yourself accept the place.

1. You can mail to the Admissions Office about your request for deferment of studies. 2. Admissions will send you a mail (I got a snail mail) explaining the situation. This is what I got: a. ”We have received your letter requesting a two year postponement of your admission to the University from September, 1999 to September, 2001. While it is very difficult for us to guarantee admission a full year in advance, the University recognizes your country’s national service mandatory assignment. We are therefore, willing to make an early commitment to those students who have definitely decided to matriculate at the University of Pennsylvania but who wish to delay admission.” 3. There are certain conditions though: a. You should not be pursuing full-time study with the intention of accruing credit during the interim period. b. All academic work during the deferral period will not be awarded more than one semester’s worth of advanced standing. c. If you wish to receive a full year’s credit, please reapply as a transfer student. 4. These conditions are largely meaningless, if you ask me, because they don’t apply to NS. So if you are agreeable, write back a second time to confirm your definite intention to matriculate at Penn 2 years later. If you’re not agreeable, then you’ll have to lose your current place in Penn and reapply 2 years later against the general competition. 5. The Admissions Office will then reply to your confirmation. This is what I got: a. ”Your request for delayed matriculation has been granted and your application has been placed in holdover status. We will look forward to receiving a progress report from you during the ensuing year, and you can expect to receive in April a confirmation letter of your acceptance and matriculation information for September, 2001.” 6. Progress report: send around April–August of next year. There’s no real deadline per se, but finish it fast and you can just forget about the whole thing. Simply state what you’ve done, your experiences in NS, what you’ve learnt etc.

B) Visa Application

There are 2 types of US Student Visas available: F-1 and J-1

• Make sure you opt for the F-1 visa even if you are on a government scholarship. • There is a 2-year no stay clause for the J-1 which means you can’t get a job in the US for 2 years after graduation

Getting the Visa: • The US embassy in Singapore is a big grey ugly building opposite Gleneagles Hospital along Napier Rd. • Full information on the visa application procedure can be found online at 1. GET I20 2. Make appointment at embassy 3. Fill out the DS-156 and 158 forms. Guys also have a DS-157 to do 4. IMPT Purchase Cashier's Order for S$160 for the embassy appointment 5. Passport photo NOT our usual size, they specify 2 inch by 2inch so u may want to print or bring a ten dollar note to the embassy where they have those instant photo services 6. SUPERIMPT Pay your SEVIS fee by going to this is NOT mentioned on the usembassy site except in a tiny corner on so remember to do this. (daylight robbery this one) 7. Proof of finances etc. 8. Rough gauge of waiting time: if your appointment was at 8.45, expect to be done by 12. do not come late. bring a book =) 9. You will be given an on the spot interview. The embassy official may be very rude and brisk but he's just trying to get your application done as fast as he can. His only role (i think) is to ensure your papers are in order and that you intend to return to singapore after your 4/2 years here (since ur applying for a nonimmigrant student visa)

10. They will take your passport and your I20 and you will have to return to the embassy in about 2 or 3 days at the appointed time to get it back with your pretty new visa. 11. When you're on the plane here, you will fill out another card called the I94 (got to ask for it, SIA gives everyone the tourist card by default iirc). this card + your passport + I20 guard as you would your life 12. Scholars remember to keep receipts for everything *wink* SEVIS fee no receipt but i used a printout of the last screen and that was fine with them.

As an alternative to all this you can simply turn to the US Education Info Center at bestway building (opposite MAS building) and hand them a big wad of cash to do everything for you. I didn't think it was worth it because they take a lot of fees as comission and anyway you still have to fill out your own forms and go down for your own interview so whats the point when you already know the step-by-step

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