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Inside the challenges of navigating OCR at Penn as a first-gen, low-income student

With a high grade point average and a slew of difficult classes under his belt, first-generation, low-income student Min Choi hoped to secure a sophomore summer internship. However, Choi lacked any familial connections in the banking and consulting industries which took a toll on his application process.

“I got rejected by every single big company and I realized I need a network,” Choi, currently a Wharton senior, said. “I had horrible sophomore slump.”

Like Choi, many FGLI students say they face additional hurdles in the on-campus recruiting process due to their backgrounds. In addition to networking, FGLI students cite lack of “soft skills,” expensive business attire, and competition with wealthy peers as key issues.

Penn’s Career Services Executive Director Barbara Hewitt has made it an ongoing goal to address these issues. The office provides a Quaker Career Closet that offers low-income students with professional clothing for interviews.

It also recently formalized a partnership with Career Wardrobe, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that supplies professional clothing to those in need throughout the city. Career Services covers students’ transportation costs to the philanthropy’s location

So far, 65 students have requested to visit the site this semester Read more…