We believe that teaching should not be limited to the classroom, but rather that learning also occurs on a daily basis through conversations with peers. As a result, we are committed to recruiting and supporting students from a variety of racial, ethnic, cultural, national, and socioeconomic backgrounds as well as students with various sexual orientations and gender identities. There is no “typical” SP2 student; each student brings different perspectives, experiences, and beliefs to SP2.
During the 2015-2016 academic year, members of our student body—SP2’s largest to date—came to Philadelphia from 15 countries and 32 U.S. states. They brought with them their experiences in 71 different academic majors from 155 universities the world over, knitting together perspectives and practices gained in fields from English and Economics to Philosophy and Film, from Human Services and Humanities to Anthropology and American Studies. Over one-third of these students self-identified as students of color, and still more forged new paths in the histories of their families, as members of their first generations to attend college. SP2 is proud to encourage the pursuit of these paths for all students, regardless of personal or family financial circumstances: 90% of SP2 master’s students who requested grant assistance from the School received it—an investment based on our firm belief in their promise and potential as scholars and as agents of meaningful social change.
SP2 actively recruits students with diverse academic experiences. Our students earn their undergraduate—and sometimes master’s—degrees from a wide variety of institutions (including public and private HBCUs, MSIs, HSIs, community colleges, and liberal arts colleges) and engage in full-time, part-time, non-degree, transfer, study abroad, and sub-matriculate coursework. Additionally, students major in a variety of fields at their undergraduate institutions, enabling SP2 students to offer and encounter cross-disciplinary perspectives in every class.
We welcome students of all identities and experiences to SP2 and are dedicated to reviewing all applications holistically, without merely relying on GPA or standardized test scores. The interview is a critical step in our admission process, as it allows us a better understanding of each student’s singularity and wholeness and helps students, in turn, to discover if SP2 will empower them to meet their goals. We aim to be transparent throughout the admissions process and are dedicated to sharing information with any interested students through scheduled information sessions, recruitment events, and personal pre-application appointments.
At SP2, we are dedicated to creating a supportive and responsive environment where our students can thrive academically, socially, and emotionally. Our faculty, staff and students try to actively nurture a culture of diversity and inclusion so that students feel welcomed and respected. Our student services and support team works closely with students, and our faculty and staff are always available to provide informal support, individualized advising, and linkages to the many resources on Penn’s campus.
We encourage students to participate in SP2 student organizations that offer opportunities for students to connect with and support one another.
Penn’s many campus hubs and communities provide further safe spaces where our students can find support and a sense of belonging.
There are many opportunities for students to enhance their academic experience at SP2, enabling them to interact with diverse groups of peers and faculty and address issues related to diversity, inclusion, oppression, and social justice. These opportunities include, but are not limited, to participation in student government and SP2 student organizations—listed above—and representation on program governance committees. Additionally, students are invited to participate in town hall meetings and engage with ActionSP2.
SP2 students are also able to engage with the wider University’s diverse body of students through lectures, student groups, films, and other Penn sponsored events. These interdisciplinary opportunities enable students to consider issues that cross disciplinary boundaries. Each of SP2’s programs is collaborative in nature, and engaging with others at the University allows students to begin to build meaningful connections with those who may be future colleagues in efforts for social justice.