A Freshman Perspective on the Joseph Wharton Scholars Program

Hi everyone! My name is Olivia, and I am a freshman from Scotch Plains, New Jersey. It’s only been about three months since college began for me, yet I am truly having the time of my life. Penn is such a great place; I love it so much!

Upon being admitted into Wharton, I received an invitation to the Joseph Wharton Scholars program. I was pretty surprised, seeing as I had never heard about the JWS program before. After reading the description, I was still confused as to what exactly the program entailed, but I did grasp the fact that the program consisted of honors courses both inside of Wharton and outside of it (JWS students take honors non-business seminars through the Benjamin Franklin Scholars program, which is a Penn-wide program). Another component was a requirement to do research during my senior year.

I hesitated to accept my invitation to JWS. I questioned myself and whether I’d be able to handle a seemingly rigorous program on top of already being at a school with a rigorous curriculum. And research?? What could I possibly conduct research on??

But after giving it some thought, I realized that I should accept the invitation. What did I have to lose? And, just as in high school, I enjoyed having the option to take honors courses and decided I should seize the opportunity to do so again. So, I finally decided to accept the invitation to the JWS program as well as the invitation to the BFS program that comes with it.

Fast forward to now, and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of the JWS program! The required honors course for first-semester freshmen is Finance 103, a course in business economics. My professor is Dr. Asher, who is also the director of the entire JWS program and other Wharton research programs. Not only is he a brilliant guy with so much experience in the finance/economics world, but also he is such a nice man, and a great teacher! As expected, the curriculum is rigorous, and Dr. Asher’s exams are certainly intense. But I am truly learning an incredible amount from the course, and I find everything we learn super interesting. We are currently studying macroeconomics and, specifically, looking at the different ways to calculate GDP and examining what exactly goes into the measurement of GDP.

Another great aspect of the JWS program is the sense of community it gives you. It’s been great getting to know my 30 other classmates, both inside and outside of the classroom. In fact, this past Friday was the JWS Annual Fall Alumni Dinner. We spent the evening in New York, mingling and eating dinner amongst alumni from the program. It was great to hear about their experiences in the program as well as the valuable advice they gave us in regards to Wharton, Penn, and just life in general.

In conclusion, I love the JWS program so far and can’t wait to see what other experiences and opportunities that will result from it. And, as a word of advice, it doesn’t hurt to try something! When an awesome and beneficial opportunity presents itself, seize it!

Hi everyone! My name is Olivia Nelson, and I am from Scotch Plains, NJ. I am a member of the Class of 2017 in Wharton, concentrating in Marketing and Finance. Aside from Wharton Ambassadors, I am a member of SPEC Concerts, SPEC-TRUM, the John Marshall Pre-Law Honor Society, Penn Colleges Against Cancer/Relay for Life, and the Joseph Wharton and Benjamin Franklin Scholars Programs. My goal is to go onto law school after college, and become a corporate lawyer. I enjoy traveling, going to concerts, and spending time with family and friends! If you have a question about Penn or Wharton, you can contact me or another student ambassador via our Ask an Ambassador form.