Quaker Mentality: Alana Andrews’ Journey into the University of Pennsylvania


After years of hard work and perseverance, senior Alana Andrews has been accepted to the University of Pennsylvania as part of the Class of 2026.

As part of the eight Ivy League schools in the United States, the University of Pennsylvania is arguably one of the most prestigious schools students have the chance to attend, especially for those like senior Alana Andrews, who hopes to study business during her time at college.

But what exactly does it take to get into a college with an acceptance rate of only 9% (IPEDS 2020)? Is it really all about the grades, or does it have more to do with your character, your passions, and your drive to succeed? 

Andrews, who recently got into the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, gives students some insight on what led her to this point, and her big plans for the future.

For anyone who knows a bit about Andrews, it is evident that she is a visionary — be it the two books she had published or the LLC  she started years ago, Andrews is no stranger to hard work. But, the road to such success was not easy. Her dream began in the heart of California, with Stanford University being the perfect fit for all of her entrepreneurial goals. Being born in California surrounded by all of her loved ones, Andrews knew from the fifth grade that Stanford was meant to be her future almamater. But, somewhere along the way her dream evolved into something even bigger: becoming a Quaker.

My brother Shang, now in college, brought up the ‘college talk’ at the table during a family brunch in 2020. He got really serious with me about my interests and what I plan to pursue in college because he knew of my love for business,” said Andrews.

She learned that Stanford didn’t offer an undergraduate business degree, and if she went there, she would likely major in economics, which Andrews said “is not a passion” of hers.

“That’s when he brought up the idea of the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania [UPenn or Penn]. I had heard of Wharton and UPenn before, as I was accepted into their summer program [Leadership in the Business World – LBW] in 2020, but didn’t allow myself to consider any other school than Stanford – I truly had tunnel vision,” said Andrews.

The concept of “tunnel vision” can be plaguing to students actively applying to colleges, but Andrews has found the bright side to a typically stressful experience: knowing that you will end up at the school you belong at. “I really hope to take out not just learning business concepts and fundamentals, but to develop strong leadership skills as well, which Wharton emphasizes as part of their curriculum,” said Andrews.

Andrews is eager to learn from the vast majority of esteemed faculty at Wharton and cannot wait to see the values she takes away from such a selective experience. 

I hope to improve and learn more about entrepreneurship, economics, investing, financial markets, marketing, making optimal business decisions within a company’s operational systems, company management, team building, and so much more,” said Andrews.

As far as the foundation she has already built for herself here, including her company SWEY To Play and her brand So Positive Initiative LLC, these endeavors will not be too far away from her future at Penn. 

“I am beyond excited to bring SWEY to Penn. One of the ways that I plan to do this is through the Venture Lab,” she said. 

The Venture Lab is the seven-story hub of entrepreneurship on campus, which opened in fall 2021.

“It includes makerspaces, design labs, engineering labs, media spaces, retail labs, an 800 square foot test kitchen, work rooms, group works spaces, and so much more,” said Andrews. “I’ve connected with an executive of the lab to learn more and am blown away by its resources. I plan to work within the programs at the lab, some of these including their pathways, funding and pitch opportunities, etc. and am planning to tour the facility and meet some members of the incredible team this spring.”

At the age of 17, Andrews has set out an incredible life ahead of her. None of it she has done alone, and it  has been a years long process to get where she is today.

“I think it’s important to challenge yourself and feel like my acceptance was truly a 17-year journey. Throughout my schooling, I focused on identifying what I was passionate about and honed in on it and created systems to scale my passions to help others and lead to impact; this is what I believe led to my acceptance,” said Andrews. “I think that in school, it is key for students to know that there’s no ‘cookie-cutter’ way of getting into these institutions, as long as you focus on your passion and create something that you love from and can show what you’ve created, that’s key.”

Andrews further credits her parents for always nurturing even her wildest dreams.

“My parents have put so much into ensuring that I was able to attend the college of my dreams by empowering me in my studies and supporting me in attending extracurricular programs, visiting schools, and really everything I have ever dreamed to create from my passions,” said Andrews.

Andrews can be categorized as many admirable things: an inspiration, a successor, and a true advocate for her endeavors.