you have a great writing style as i said on your other essays...
It's really intriguing and it does show that you have a passion for UPenn, as to answer your second question.
So many prospective biology students (which I am looking at becoming, either through Bioengineering or Pre-Medicine) only look [...]
Many look at this chemistry as the "dirty work" en route to more glamorous work. But can't there be an alternative?
You said that you wanted to keep this part, but it's way too long. You can simplify this, because you're not really answering the question here - it's just a lead on. (Lead on is necessary, but shouldn't be too lengthy!). For example:
Many prospective biology students looking to major in Pre-Medicine forget to appreciate the chemistry involved in it. For me, it is a completely different story. The research opportunities at Penn is one of the academic community that I am most interested in.
Now you have a good set-up. What you need to do from here is to say why you're interested in research opportunities. Do you have a passion for it? Are you willing to learn more about Biochemical researches? (i'm not an expert at this field so i'm obviously lost, but you know what i mean when i say biochemical researches :))
The emphasis on development for the future in work towards PhDs and other advanced degrees finally can provide me a sense of direction. This accounts for the other major problem with so many prospective students in science; they don't understand how what they do relate to their potential future, their past doesn't co-exist.
Great, the university can provide you with something. However, this isn't what the question is asking you. Here, you're answering the question "how can the university contribute to you?" and NOT "how can you contribute to the university?" What can you do for the research thingies at UPENN? Can you help them research something? Can you bring in your academic knowledge about this field and contribute to the research thingies? Can you help the wider society with this research? Make a special medicine to combat poverty? (again, im not an expert on this field!)
p.s. It was good to state the specific department (Roy and Dianna blah blah blah).
However, the prestigious Vagelos program is hardly the only answer. The fact ...
...rather than someone tell me what resources and faculty and appropriate and how to approach them, and how to obtain funding, is paramount.
Again, the same as above. you're saying a lot of things how you can benefit from many opportunities at Penn, which isn't nailing the question. It's not hard to sort this out. You can go on saying about how there is a personalized nature of these meetings, and that when you attend UPENN and get given the opportunity to attend the Vagelos program, you can contribute by showing your truest interests to others outside of UPENN with these personalized meetings. In fact, repeat this process with the paragraph before this. It's really easy to tweak. Remember, show HOW YOU can contribute to the university, NOT how you can gain from the opportunities.
It's through my realizations in the lab about the need for openness and [...]
We will all have our problems, but I can be part of the answer.
Perfect. This part is answering the question. Do the same for other paragraphs.
But even if I could see shade of promise in the future, my eyes were still staring [...]
[...] but the pureness that struck me for so long was gone. Was this was college does to you?
Another lead-on, it's necessary, but again, too long. Get to the point faster. Your point is that you're interested in American Asian thingy at UPENN. You do not need a colossal explanation for why you have been interested in this.
But there's so much more in the Asian American Studies Program. [...]
[...] the impact made at UPENN that is truly distinguishable.
This part is unnecessary - you still have the flow of the essay without it, and it's way more concise than before. BECAUSE:
the opportunity for me to contribute to this culture through my eight years experience of tabla (Indian drum) playing, and the zeal through my comprehension of Sikh history in nine years experience at the Sikh Youth Symposium is tremendous. Once again, I can be part of a group and its growth and its development and unity. But what makes this so special is that this group's identity is only beginning to be realized, and the potential a group that has already had such an impact is unfathomable.
NOW you're up for it again, you're telling them how you can contribute.
Overall, you have this structure which is really good for any writer of any essays. You open with a BOOM BAM introduction and you catch the attention of the readers. Then you go on with a lead-on, you say what the community is, and then you say how you can contribute to them with your previous experiences and passion. You conclude with referring back to the introduction, giving the readers a circular feeling and an end to the essay. It's a perfect format for any writer.
However, the lead-on is too big. The 'what you can contribute' part is too small. 'how you can contribute to the larger penn community' is virtually non-existent. You need to say how you can contribute to the larger Penn community too (i gave you a few suggestions above).
I used to have the same problem too - i called it Expansion and Contraction (like nailing and hammering!). You expand the parts that are necessary (how you can contribute to the wider society and the community), and you contract the parts that are not needed (what caught your attention and the lead-ons that you have).
Keep up the style! And you did manage to nail the question this time, you just didnt hammer it properly. Pull it back out and hammer it straight in.