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University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) 2023-24 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

Regular Decision Deadline: Jan 5

You Have: 

University of Pennsylvania 2023-24 Application Essay Question Explanations 

The Requirements: 3 essays of 150-200 words

Supplemental Essay Type(s):  Community , Why

Write a short thank-you note to someone you have not yet thanked and would like to acknowledge. (We encourage you to share this note with that person, if possible, and reflect on the experience!) (150-200 words)

Gratitude is quickly becoming a practice we are encouraged to connect to and reflect on regularly, hence the popularity of gratitude journals and exercises. (Brainstorming method alert!) It’s not a surprise, therefore, that the admissions department at UPenn wants to learn about what you value and how you express gratitude. Think about times when you have felt acknowledged, heard, and seen; moments when you have felt that swelling in your chest, as your heart grows three sizes. Who would you like to thank and why? What impact did they have on your life? How did their actions affect the way you think or approach new ventures? Remember that this essay or “note” needs to reveal information about how you process, appreciate, and/or draw inspiration from the action of others. Ultimately, admissions wants to know more about how you relate to others in the world and how you repurpose good intentions. Bonus points if you share your “thank you” note with the associated party after hitting submit!

How will you explore community at Penn? Consider how Penn will help shape your perspective, and how your experiences and perspective will help shape Penn. (150-200 words)

Admissions wants to know how you will participate in the Penn campus community, so start by thinking about what you’d like to do when you’re not cramming for exams or soaking up your professors’ sage wisdom (a little website research could come in handy here). If that hypothetical exercise is not producing quality ideas, think about the here and now. Where can you be found when your homework is done? How do you spend your weekends? Think of an activity or topic that gets you interacting and connecting with other like-minded peers. Once you have something in mind, explore Penn’s website to see if they have a similar group or community that you’d like to join. Admissions wants to know what your area of influence will look like at UPenn: an on-campus job, a unique hobby, or maybe an organization to which you contribute innovative ideas and exquisite cake decorating skills (bake sale, anyone?). Finally, remember to address how UPenn will shape your perspective and vice versa. Will the Black Wharton Undergraduate Association help you to explore your entrepreneurial interests? Will your plethora of non-profit internship and volunteering experiences make you a fantastic addition to and a natural leader in the Social Impact Consulting Group? Whatever you write about, make sure your response to this prompt shows that you have put some serious thought into what your life will look like at UPenn.

If Applying to Wharton:

Wharton prepares its students to make an impact by applying business methods and economic theory to real-world problems, including economic, political, and social issues. please reflect on a current issue of importance to you and share how you hope a wharton education would help you to explore it. (150-200 words)  , to help inform your response, applicants are encouraged to learn more about the foundations of a wharton education here . this information will help you better understand what you could learn by studying at wharton and what you could do afterward.* , if applying to arts and sciences:, the flexible structure of the college of arts and sciences’ curriculum is designed to inspire exploration, foster connections, and help you create a path of study through general education courses and a major. what are you curious about and how would you take advantage of opportunities in the arts and sciences (150-200 words) , to help inform your response, applicants are encouraged to learn more about academic offerings within the college of arts and sciences at college.upenn.edu/prospective. this information will help you develop a stronger understanding of how the study of the liberal arts aligns with your own goals and aspirations.*, if applying to engineering: , penn engineering prepares its students to become leaders in technology, by combining a strong foundation in the natural sciences and mathematics, exploration in the liberal arts, and depth of study in focused disciplinary majors. please share how you hope to explore your engineering interests at penn. (150-200 words) , to help inform your response, applicants are encouraged to learn more about penn engineering and its mission to prepare students for global leadership in technology here. this information will help you develop a stronger understanding of academic pathways within penn engineering and how they align with your goals and interests.*, if applying to nursing:, penn nursing intends to meet the health needs of society in a global and multicultural world by preparing its students to impact healthcare by advancing science and promoting equity. what do you think this means for the future of nursing, and how do you see yourself contributing to our mission of promoting equity in healthcare (150-200 words)   , to help inform your response, applicants are encouraged to learn more about penn nursing’s mission and how we promote equity in healthcare here.  this information will help you develop a stronger understanding of our values and how they align with your own goals and aspirations. *.

With each of these prompts, admissions is hoping to gain insight into your goals and ambitions. Whether you’re hoping to combat societal issues through business, explore your curiosity through The College of Arts and Sciences’ curriculum, become a leader in tech, or promote equity in healthcare, your response should reveal new information about your passions, motivations, and vision for the future. Since you only have 150-200 words to work with here, you won’t be able to walk admissions through your journey to the college of your choice, but you can offer insight into the kind of work you’d like to do and the impact you’d like to have post-graduation. Just keep in mind that the best responses will cite specific resources at Penn in order to show that it is Penn, specifically, that will be instrumental to your future success.

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UPenn Supplemental Essays 2023-24 – Prompts and Advice

August 11, 2023

upenn supplemental essays

The University of Pennsylvania accepted 40% of applicants back in 1980—as of 2023, that figure had plummeted to 7.4%. Those wanting to join the Quaker campus a generation ago could gain acceptance simply by producing strong grades and test scores. Today, applicants find themselves in a hyper-competitive admissions process. In 2023-24, they need to find ways to separate themselves from tens of thousands of similarly-accomplished peers. This brings us to the topic of this blog: the UPenn supplemental essays.

(Want to learn more about How to Get Into UPenn? Visit our blog entitled:  How to Get Into Penn/Wharton: Admissions Data and Strategies. Here, you’ll find all of the most recent admissions data as well as tips for gaining acceptance.)

The UPenn supplemental essays present applicants with just the opportunity they need to showcase their unique personality, writing ability, passions, and talents. Further, those who generate responses that are authentic, honest, and compelling can truly capture the attention of a Penn admissions reader.

Below are UPenn’s two general essay prompts for the 2023-24 admissions cycle. The College Transitions team also offers accompanying advice about how to tackle each one.

UPenn Supplemental Essays – Prompt #1

1) Write a short thank-you note to someone you have not yet thanked and would like to acknowledge. (We encourage you to share this note with that person, if possible, and reflect on the experience!) (150-200 words)  

In essence, this one is about how you express gratitude. A mature young person realizes that their success was not achieved in a vacuum. Rather, it was likely aided by many adults and peers. The target of your letter could be a parent, other relative, teacher, coach, spiritual leader, friend, classmate, fellow team member, or boss. This prompt, which debuted last year, is an excellent opportunity for highly-decorated applicants to display their appreciative and humble side. We recommend taking their advice and actually sharing the letter in real life. This will likely make the essay more authentic and from the heart. The more sincere your essay turns out, the better it will likely be received by UPenn (and its intended IRL target!).

UPenn Supplemental Essays – Prompt #2

2) How will you explore community at Penn? Consider how Penn will help shape your perspective and identity, and how your identity and perspective will help shape Penn. (150-200 words)  

Keep in mind that Penn has already seen the President’s Volunteer Service Award and the impressive number of hours you volunteered at multiple nonprofit organizations. They know that you have been an active member of your high school/local community. The admissions committee now desires to understand precisely how you will contribute to  their  community of almost 10,000 undergraduate students. Highlighting the link between your past efforts and future aims is critical here. For example, if you dedicated many hours working with people with Alzheimer’s Disease throughout high school, it will be more impactful when you now express your commitment to joining Penn’s Alzheimer’s Buddies organization.

The strongest Penn community essays show evidence of meaningful school-specific research. This research process will actually give you a better idea of how you would sincerely like to become engaged at each prospective school on your list. Admissions officers will appreciate a Penn-centric answer far more than a generic (often recycled from app to app) response. Moreover, given the word count, you’ll be able to produce the strongest response if you focus on just one or two specific aspects of your identity and perspective.

UPenn Supplemental Essays – School & Program-Specific Prompts

In addition to the above, you’ll also need to write an essay that is specific to the undergraduate school or coordinated dual-degree program you’re applying to. Below, we’ve covered how to approach the most popular choices:

1) The College of Arts and Sciences

The flexible structure of The College of Arts and Sciences’ curriculum is designed to inspire exploration, foster connections, and help you create a path of study through general education courses and a major. What are you curious about and how would you take advantage of opportunities in the arts and sciences? (150-200 words) 

To help inform your response, applicants are encouraged to learn more about academic offerings within the College of Arts and Sciences at  college.upenn.edu/prospective . This information will help you develop a stronger understanding of how the study of the liberal arts aligns with your own goals and aspirations.

UPenn Supplemental Essays (Continued)

In this essay, admissions officers want to see evidence of your drive, passion, and intellectual ambition. Further, they want to learn your specific plans for continuing to be academically engaged while at the University of Pennsylvania. Great things to highlight here include:

  • Firstly, Specific courses offered in your discipline of interest at UPenn.
  • Next,  Penn professors  whose work/research/writings you find fascinating and how you would ideally like to connect with them as an undergraduate.
  • Additionally, academically-focused student organizations  at Penn.
  • Undergraduate research opportunities  in the summer or during the school year as well as independent research you would like to conduct under faculty supervision.
  • Lastly,  Study abroad  opportunities.

In addition to Penn-specific offerings that you are dying to take advantage of, you can also cite past experiences which will ideally be tied into future ventures. For example, if you were captain of the robotics team in high school—and hope to continue robotics in college—you might note why you’re interested in joining the UPennalizers, Penn’s student-run robotic soccer team.

2) School of Engineering and Applied Science

Penn Engineering prepares its students to become leaders in technology, by combining a strong foundation in the natural sciences and mathematics, exploration in the liberal arts, and depth of study in focused disciplinary majors. Please share how you hope to explore your engineering interests at Penn. (150-200 words) 

To help inform your response, applicants are encouraged to learn more about Penn Engineering and its mission to prepare students for global leadership in technology  here . This information will help you develop a stronger understanding of academic pathways within Penn Engineering and how they align with your goals and interests.

Similar to the prompt for the College of Arts and Sciences, you’ll want to research Penn’s engineering offerings. You’ll want to pay particularl attention to those related to your primary major of interest. You can discuss several that you find most compelling. Great things to highlight here include:

  • Specific courses  offered in your discipline of interest at UPenn.
  • Penn professors  whose work/research/writings you find fascinating and how you would ideally like to connect with them as an undergraduate.
  • Academically-focused  student organizations  at Penn.
  • Undergraduate research opportunities  in the summer or during the school year. Also, independent research you would like to conduct under faculty supervision.

3) School of Nursing

Penn Nursing intends to meet the health needs of society in a global and multicultural world by preparing its students to impact healthcare by advancing science and promoting equity. What do you think this means for the future of nursing, and how do you see yourself contributing to our mission of promoting equity in healthcare? (150-200 words)   

To help inform your response, applicants are encouraged to learn more about Penn Nursing’s mission and how we promote equity in healthcare  here .  This information will help you develop a stronger understanding of our values and how they align with your own goals and aspirations.

There are two prongs to this prompt. First, the admissions committee wants to understand how you think scientific advancements and increased equity will impact nursing as a profession. Since you’re applying to this program, it’s likely that you believe in the benefit of both objectives. Therefore, you don’t need to spend time convincing the admissions committee that you’re on board. Instead, and based on what you understand about the nursing field consider discussing what types of positive impact nurses who are prepared for the profession in such a way can have on patient outcomes and/or healthcare in general. Lastly, if you don’t know much about the current landscape, be sure to do some research,

Second, Penn wants to understand how you—as a nursing student—will contribute to the mission of promoting equity in particular. Based on what you know about Penn’s nursing programs and initiatives (which, again, will require some research) how do you see yourself getting involved?

4) The Wharton School

Wharton prepares its students to make an impact by applying business methods and economic theory to real-world problems, including economic, political, and social issues. Please reflect on a current issue of importance to you and share how you hope a Wharton education would help you to explore it. (150-200 words)  

To help inform your response, applicants are encouraged to learn more about the foundations of a Wharton education  here . This information will help you better understand what you could learn by studying at Wharton and what you could do afterward.

To craft a strong response to this prompt, you’ll first need to choose an issue that is important to you. The issue can be on either a global, regional, or community scale. If you pick something general (and popular), like climate change or AI, consider choosing a specific angle that relates to you personally. For example, while “climate change” in general is an absolutely massive undertaking that will be difficult to differentiate, discussing the impact of flooding on your city’s downtown businesses could be far more specific and accessible.

After choosing an issue and sharing why it’s important to you, you’ll then need to discuss how Wharton’s specific offerings will help you explore it. Excellent possibilities include:

5)  DMD: Digital Media Design Program

Why are you interested in the Digital Media Design (DMD) program at the University of Pennsylvania? (400-650 words)

6) Huntsman: The Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business

The Huntsman Program supports the development of globally-minded scholars who become engaged citizens, creative innovators, and ethical leaders in the public, private, and non-profit sectors in the United States and internationally. What draws you to a dual-degree program in business and international studies, and how would you use what you learn to make a contribution to a global issue where business and international affairs intersect? (400-650 words)

7) LSM: The Roy and Diana Vagelos Program in Life Sciences and Management

The LSM program aims to provide students with a fundamental understanding of the life sciences and their management with an eye to identifying, advancing and implementing innovations. What issues would you want to address using the understanding gained from such a program? Note that this essay should be distinct from your single degree essay. (400-650 words)

8) M&T: The Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology

  • Explain how you will use the M&T program to explore your interest in business, engineering, and the intersection of the two. (400-650 words)
  • Describe a problem that you solved that showed leadership and creativity. (250 words)

9) NETS: The Rajendra and Neera Singh Program in Networked and Social Systems Engineering

Describe your interests in modern networked information systems and technologies, such as the internet, and their impact on society, whether in terms of economics, communication, or the creation of beneficial content for society. Feel free to draw on examples from your own experiences as a user, developer, or student of technology. (400-650 words)

10) NHCM: Nursing and Healthcare Management

Discuss your interest in nursing and health care management. How might Penn’s coordinated dual-degree program in nursing and business help you meet your goals? (400-650 words)

11) BIO-DENT: Seven-Year Bio-Dental Program

  • Please list pre-dental or pre-medical experience. This experience can include but is not limited to observation in a private practice, dental clinic, or hospital setting; dental assisting; dental laboratory work; dental or medical research, etc. Please include time allotted to each activity, dates of attendance, location, and description of your experience. If you do not have any pre-dental or pre-medical experience, please indicate what you have done or plan to do in order to explore dentistry as a career. (250 words)
  • Describe any activities which demonstrate your ability to work with your hands. (250 words)
  • What activities have you performed that demonstrate your ability to work effectively with people? (250 words)
  • Please explain your reasons for selecting a career in dentistry. Please include what interests you the most in dentistry as well as what interests you the least. (250 words)
  • Do you have relatives who are dentists or are in dental school? If so, indicate the name of each relative, his/her relationship to you, the school attended, and the dates attended.(250 words)

12) VIPER: The Roy and Diana Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research

How do you envision your participation in the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER) furthering your interests in energy science and technology? Please include any past experiences (ex. academic, research, or extracurricular) that have led to your interest in the program. Additionally, please indicate why you are interested in pursuing dual degrees in science and engineering and which VIPER majors are most interesting to you at this time. (400-650 words)

How important are the UPenn supplemental essays?

There are six factors that UPenn considers “very important” in evaluating a candidate and the essays are among them. In addition to the essays, UPenn gives the greatest consideration to the rigor of an applicant’s secondary school record. Of equal consideration are GPA, standardized test scores, recommendations, and character/personal qualities.

UPenn Supplemental Essays – Want Personalized Essay Assistance?

In conclusion, if you are interested in working with one of College Transitions’ experienced and knowledgeable essay coaches as you craft your UPenn supplemental essays, we encourage you to get a quote  today.

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A licensed counselor and published researcher, Andrew's experience in the field of college admissions and transition spans two decades. He has previously served as a high school counselor, consultant and author for Kaplan Test Prep, and advisor to U.S. Congress, reporting on issues related to college admissions and financial aid.

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How To Answer UPenn's 2023/24 Supplemental Essays: Tips & Insights

How To Answer UPenn's 2023/24 Supplemental Essays: Tips & Insights

What's New in 23/24?

What Are UPenn's 2023/24 Essay Prompts?

Short Answer Questions

School Specific Questions

Dual Degree & Specialized Programs Qs

The University of Pennsylvania's supplemental essays for the 2023/24 admissions cycle delve into applicants' gratitude, community perspectives, and alignment with specific schools and specialized programs within the university. With new school-specific prompts and detailed questions for coordinated dual-degree and specialized programs, UPenn seeks to understand applicants' unique stories, motivations, and fit with their chosen academic paths. Applicants must navigate through these meticulously crafted prompts, ensuring authentic, insightful, and well-researched responses highlighting their fit, contributions, and aspirations within UPenn's diverse and dynamic community. Explore our detailed guide and examples to craft compelling essays that resonate with UPenn’s ethos and your personal narrative.

What did Upenn students write their Common App essays about?

UPenn's 2023/24 Supplemental Essay Updates: What's Changed?

Achieving admission to the University of Pennsylvania , with its selective acceptance rate of around 4% , is a remarkable feat. In the nuanced arena of college admissions, your supplemental essays are crucial in illustrating your unique story and alignment with UPenn's values.

Prestigious institutions like UPenn meticulously refine their application processes each academic year to ensure they acquire a thorough understanding of their prospective students.

For the 2023/24 admissions cycle, UPenn has instituted several key changes to its supplemental essay questions:

  • Introduction of School-Specific Prompts: Each undergraduate school within UPenn now presents a unique question, reflecting its educational ethos and mission. This change underscores the university's emphasis on ensuring applicants have a deep understanding and alignment with the specific values and focus of the school to which they apply.
  • The School of Nursing is emphasizing its commitment to addressing global health needs and promoting healthcare equity.
  • The College of Arts and Sciences is highlighting its flexible curriculum that encourages exploration and the creation of interdisciplinary connections.
  • The Wharton School focuses on the practical application of business strategies and economic theories to address real-world challenges.
  • The School of Engineering and Applied Science is spotlighting its integrative approach to technology education, blending natural sciences, mathematics, and liberal arts.
  • Introduction of Coordinated Dual Degree and Specialized Programs Short Answer Prompts: For students applying to the coordinated dual-degree and specialized programs, U Penn has introduced specific essay prompts to gain deeper insights into the applicants' specific interests and motivations in these specialized areas.

DMD: Digital Media Design Program

Huntsman: the huntsman program in international studies and business, lsm: the roy and diana vagelos program in life sciences and management.

  • M&T: The Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology

NETS: The Rajendra and Neera Singh Program in Networked and Social Systems Engineering

Nhcm: nursing and healthcare management.

  • Seven-Year Bio-Dental Program

VIPER: The Roy and Diana Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research

  • New Essay Requirement for Transfer Students: A new essay question has been introduced specifically for transfer students, seeking to understand their motivations for transferring and their aspirations in changing their educational institution.

These updates indicate UPenn's evolving admissions approach, emphasizing a heightened emphasis on ensuring a mutual fit and understanding between the applicant and the specific school within the university they seek to attend. It reflects a commitment to fostering a student body that is deeply aligned with the values, focus, and mission of their respective schools and the university.

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What Are UPenn's Supplemental Essay Prompts for 2023/24?

Embarking on the application journey to the University of Pennsylvania necessitates a thorough understanding of its supplemental essay prompts, which are meticulously designed to gain a deeper insight into the applicants’ profiles. These prompts are crafted to explore your gratitude, perspectives on community, reasons for transferring (for transfer students), and your alignment with the ethos of the specific school within UPenn to which you are applying.

Penn Supplemental Short Answer Prompts (Required)

  • Thank-You Note: Write a short thank-you note to someone unthanked and reflect on the experience. (150-200 words)
  • Exploring Community: Discuss how you will explore community at Penn and how your experiences and perspectives will shape it. (150-200 words)

Transfer Essay (Required for Transfer Applicants)

  • Detail your reasons for transferring and what you hope to gain by changing institutions. (4150 characters)

School-Specific Prompts

  • School of Nursing: Reflect on the future of nursing concerning global health needs and promoting equity, and how you see yourself contributing to promoting equity in healthcare. (150-200 words)
  • College of Arts and Sciences: Describe your curiosities and how you would leverage the flexible curriculum of The College of Arts and Sciences to explore them. (150-200 words)
  • The Wharton School: Reflect on a current issue of importance to you and how a Wharton education would help you explore it. (150-200 words)
  • School of Engineering and Applied Science: Share how you hope to explore your engineering interests at Penn, considering its mission to prepare students for global leadership in technology. (150-200 words)

Coordinated Dual Degree and Specialized Programs Short Answer Prompts

For students applying to the coordinated dual-degree and specialized programs, UPenn has introduced specific essay prompts to gain deeper insights into the applicants' specific interests and motivations in these specialized areas.

  • DMD: Digital Media Design Program: Why are you interested in the Digital Media Design (DMD) program at the University of Pennsylvania? (400-650 words)
  • Huntsman: The Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business: What draws you to a dual-degree program in business and international studies, and how would you use what you learn to contribute to a global issue where business and international affairs intersect? (400-650 words)
  • LSM: The Roy and Diana Vagelos Program in Life Sciences and Management: What issues would you want to address using the understanding gained from such a program? Note that this essay should be distinct from your single degree essay. (400-650 words)
  • M&T: The Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology: Explain how you will use the M&T program to explore your interest in business, engineering, and the intersection of the two. (400-650 words) Describe a problem that you solved that showed leadership and creativity. (250 words)
  • NETS: The Rajendra and Neera Singh Program in Networked and Social Systems Engineering: Describe your interests in modern networked information systems and technologies, such as the internet, and their impact on society, whether in terms of economics, communication, or the creation of beneficial content for society. (400-650 words)
  • NHCM: Nursing and Healthcare Management: Discuss your interest in nursing and health care management. How might Penn's coordinated dual-degree program in nursing and business help you meet your goals? (400-650 words)
  • Seven-Year Bio-Dental Program: Please list any predental or premedical experience. This experience can include but is not limited to observation in a private practice, dental clinic, or hospital setting; dental assisting; dental laboratory work; dental or medical research; etc. Please include time allotted to each activity, dates of attendance, location, and a description of your experience. If you do not have any predental or premedical experience, please indicate what you have done or plan to do in order to explore dentistry as a career.
  • VIPER: The Roy and Diana Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research: How do you envision your participation in the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER) furthering your interests in energy science and technology? (400-650 words)

UPenn’s application process is notably competitive, and these prompts offer a unique opportunity to showcase your gratitude, community perspective, and the distinct perspectives you'll bring to the UPenn community.

Explore these UPenn essay examples for further inspiration to see what successful applications entail!

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How Talia Got Into Penn with Crimson

How to Answer UPenn’s Short Answer Questions?

Write a short thank-you note to someone you have not yet thanked and would like to acknowledge. (we encourage you to share this note with that person, if possible, and reflect on the experience), - 150 to 200 words.

This prompt invites you to express gratitude and reflect on the impact of kindness, support, or mentorship. It provides a glimpse into your values, relationships, and ability to acknowledge and appreciate the people around you .

Express Genuine Gratitude

Ensure that your thank-you note emanates sincerity and genuine appreciation. Choose someone whose impact or gesture truly made a difference in your life, and express your gratitude authentically and heartfeltly.

Be Specific

Detail the specific act, gesture, or support you are thankful for. Clearly articulate what it meant to you and how it impacted you. Specificity conveys sincerity and provides a clearer picture of your relationship and the context.

Reflect on the Experience

Don’t just stop at the thank-you note. Dive deeper into reflection, exploring how expressing this overdue gratitude felt and what it taught you about appreciation, relationships, and acknowledgment.

Connect to Personal Growth

If possible, link the act of gratitude to your personal development or perspective. How did this act of kindness or support shape you, and how does it inspire you to act moving forward?

Example Response

Dear Mrs. Anderson, I am writing to express my heartfelt gratitude for your unwavering support during my high school journey. Your encouragement to explore my interest in environmental science, even facilitating my independent project on local ecosystems, has been pivotal in shaping my academic path and personal growth. Your belief in my potential has not only bolstered my confidence but also inspired me to advocate for environmental causes. I have not only learned about science from you but also about the impact of kindness, mentorship, and belief in someone’s potential. Thank you for being a remarkable educator and mentor. Reflecting on this, I realize the power of expressing gratitude and acknowledging the impactful gestures of others. Sharing this note with you has been a heartwarming and enlightening experience, reminding me of the importance of appreciating and vocalizing our thankfulness. It has inspired me to be more vocal in expressing gratitude and to pay forward the kindness and support I have received. Warm regards, [Your Name]

UPenn's first prompt is an invitation to expressing genuine gratitude and sincere reflective insight. It allows you to showcase your appreciation for impactful relationships and gestures while providing a window into your values, emotional intelligence, and interpersonal relationships . Ensure your response is genuine, specific, and reflective, offering a glimpse into your character and personal growth.

How will you explore community at Penn? Consider how Penn will help shape your perspective, and how your experiences and perspective will help shape Penn.

This prompt seeks to understand your perspective on community, past experiences with community involvement , and how you plan to engage with and contribute to the Penn community.

Integrate Past and Future Community Involvement

Reflect on your community involvement and how those experiences have shaped your perspective and values. Then, consider how you will transfer these experiences and values into your future involvement at Penn.

Explore Specific Opportunities at Penn

Research and identify specific communities, groups, or opportunities at Penn that align with your interests and past experiences. Be specific about how you plan to engage with these communities and what you hope to contribute and learn.

Reflect on Mutual Growth

Consider how being a part of the Penn community will shape your perspective and experiences and vice versa. How will you grow from being a part of Penn, and how will Penn grow from having you as a part of its community?

In my neighborhood, I initiated a project, "Tech for Seniors," where we assisted elderly individuals in navigating digital platforms, bridging a generational and technological divide. This experience taught me the power of inclusivity, empathy, and the impact of collective efforts in community building. At Penn, I am drawn to the Penn Aging Research Center, where I aspire to merge my interest in technology and community service to enhance the quality of life for the elderly population. Furthermore, I am excited to engage with the Civic House, utilizing its resources to extend my community involvement, particularly in addressing technological disparities in local communities. I envision contributing to Penn by bringing my passion for technological literacy and community service, fostering a spirit of inclusivity and collaborative impact. Simultaneously, being immersed in Penn’s diverse and socially active environment will undoubtedly broaden my understanding of community needs and innovative service, shaping a mutually enriching journey.

UPenn's second prompt is a canvas for you to illustrate your understanding and commitment to community involvement. By revealing how your past experiences, values, and future aspirations will intertwine with the Penn community, you can effectively communicate your potential contributions to academic and campus life at Penn while spotlighting how’ll you’ll benefit as well . Ensure your response is genuine, specific, and reflective, demonstrating a clear vision of your community-engaged journey at Penn.

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School Specific Prompts

School of nursing, penn nursing intends to meet the health needs of society in a global and multicultural world by preparing its students to impact healthcare by advancing science and promoting equity. what do you think this means for the future of nursing, and how do you see yourself contributing to our mission of promoting equity in healthcare.

This prompt seeks to understand your perspective on the future of nursing , particularly in the context of global health needs and promoting equity, and how you envision contributing to this future through Penn Nursing.

Understand and Align with Penn Nursing’s Mission

Before crafting your response, delve into Penn Nursing’s mission and initiatives toward promoting healthcare equity. Understand how they integrate science and social equity in their curriculum and community involvement. Aligning your response with their values and initiatives demonstrates a strong fit and genuine interest in Penn Nursing.

Reflect on the Future of Nursing

Consider the evolving needs of global and multicultural societies in healthcare. Think about how advancements in science and a focus on equity can shape the future of nursing, addressing disparities and enhancing healthcare outcomes.

Personal Contribution towards Equity in Healthcare

Reflect on your experiences, aspirations, and the skills you hope to gain from Penn Nursing. How will these enable you to contribute to advancing science and promoting equity in healthcare in the future?

Penn Nursing's mission resonates with my experiences volunteering in underserved communities, where I witnessed stark healthcare disparities. The integration of advanced science and a staunch commitment to equity at Penn Nursing signifies a future where healthcare transcends barriers, ensuring accessible and quality care for all demographics, irrespective of socio-economic and cultural divides. I interpret this as a call to mold nursing professionals who are not only proficient in medical science but also champions of social equity. My aspiration is to specialize in pediatric care with a focus on mental health, an often-neglected facet in multicultural societies. Leveraging Penn Nursing’s robust curriculum and its emphasis on equitable healthcare, I aim to develop programs that address mental health in children from marginalized communities, ensuring they receive adept care and support. My commitment is to ensure that advancements in healthcare science and practices are accessible and beneficial to all layers of society, aligning with Penn Nursing’s mission to promote healthcare equity on a global scale.

UPenn's School of Nursing prompt provides a platform to showcase your understanding of the intricate balance between scientific advancement and social equity in healthcare. By aligning your experiences, aspirations, and the skills you hope to acquire from Penn Nursing, you can effectively communicate your potential role in shaping a future in nursing that is scientifically advanced and equitably accessible. Ensure your response is well-researched, genuine and demonstrates how you and Penn Nursing can mutually contribute to each other and the broader healthcare landscape.

College of Arts and Sciences

The flexible structure of the college of arts and sciences’ curriculum is designed to inspire exploration, foster connections, and help you create a path of study through general education courses and a major. what are you curious about and how would you take advantage of opportunities in the arts and sciences .

This prompt invites you to explore your academic curiosity and how you plan to navigate through the College of Arts and Sciences flexible curriculum to forge your educational and career path.

Deep Dive into the College of Arts and Sciences

Ensure you thoroughly understand the College of Arts and Sciences offerings and structure . Explore the general education courses, majors, and any unique programs or opportunities that pique your interest. Demonstrating knowledge about specific aspects of the college’s curriculum and how they align with your aspirations will underscore your genuine interest and fit.

Express Your Curiosity

Identify and articulate the areas within arts and sciences that you are eager to explore. This could be a specific field of study, interdisciplinary interests, or particular courses and programs. Ensure your curiosity is genuine and resonates with your experiences and aspirations.

Leverage Opportunities

Discuss how you plan to utilize the flexible structure of the curriculum to explore your interests, make connections between different fields, and carve out your unique academic and career path. Mention specific courses, professors, research opportunities, or extracurricular activities with which you plan to engage.

My curiosity lies at the intersection of psychology and visual arts, exploring how art can be utilized as a therapeutic tool. The College of Arts and Sciences at UPenn, with its flexible curriculum, provides a fertile ground to explore this interdisciplinary interest. I am particularly drawn to the “Visual Studies” major, which allows an exploration of perception and representation through various lenses, including psychological. I aim to leverage the “Independent Study” option to delve into art therapy, under the mentorship of professors who specialize in related fields, such as Professor [Professor's Name], whose work in [specific area] resonates with my interests. Furthermore, engaging with organizations like the “Penn Art & Culture Collective” will allow me to practically apply my learnings and contribute to the community. My goal is to weave a path that intertwines psychological theories with art practices, developing therapeutic modules that can be utilized in mental health interventions, thereby navigating through the rich and flexible curriculum that the College of Arts and Sciences offers to forge a career that amalgamates art and psychology.

The College of Arts and Sciences prompt seeks to understand your academic curiosity and how you plan to navigate and leverage their flexible curriculum to explore your interests and carve your path. Ensure your response is informed, genuine, and demonstrates how the College of Arts and Sciences will facilitate your academic and career journey in the arts and sciences . Your response should reflect a well-thought-out plan that aligns with your interests and the college's offerings.

The Wharton School

Wharton prepares its students to make an impact by applying business methods and economic theory to real-world problems, including economic, political, and social issues.  please reflect on a current issue of importance to you and share how you hope a wharton education would help you to explore it. .

This prompt seeks to understand your awareness of global issues, your perspective on them, and how you envision utilizing a Wharton education to address these challenges.

Identify a Pertinent Issue

Choose a current issue that genuinely concerns you. This could be related to economics, social justice, environmental sustainability, or any other domain that intersects with business practices and economic theories.

Understand Wharton’s Offerings

Ensure you have a deep understanding of what Wharton offers . Explore specific courses, professors, research initiatives, and clubs that align with your interest in the chosen issue. Demonstrating a clear understanding of how Wharton can help you explore and address the issue will underline your genuine interest and fit.

Connect Issue, Education, and Future Impact

Articulate how a Wharton education will equip you with the knowledge, skills, and network to positively impact the issue you've identified. Be specific about how certain aspects of Wharton’s offerings will facilitate your exploration and solution-building related to the issue.

The growing wealth gap, exacerbated by the pandemic, is a pressing issue that intertwines economics and social justice. Wharton’s emphasis on applying economic theory to real-world problems aligns seamlessly with my aspiration to develop scalable solutions for income disparity. The “Business Economics and Public Policy” major, with courses like “Business in the Global Political Environment,” directly speaks to my interest in understanding and navigating the intersection of economics, business, and policy to address socio-economic disparities. Engaging with initiatives like the “Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative” will provide a platform to explore practical policy implications of economic theories. Moreover, participating in the “Wharton Social Impact Initiative” will allow me to explore sustainable business practices that can drive social change. I envision leveraging Wharton’s rigorous education, research initiatives, and practical platforms to develop and implement business practices and policies that mitigate wealth disparities, driving equitable economic growth.

Wharton’s prompt invites you to showcase your awareness of global issues, your perspective, and how you plan to utilize their offerings to explore and address these issues in the future . Ensure your response is informed, genuine, and demonstrates a clear pathway from the issue, through Wharton’s education, to future impact. Your response should reflect a well-thought-out understanding of the issue and Wharton’s offerings and articulate a clear vision of how you plan to bridge the two during and after your education at Wharton.

How Ken Got Into UPenn Wharton with Crimson

School of Engineering & Applied Science

Penn engineering prepares its students to become leaders in technology, by combining a strong foundation in the natural sciences and mathematics, exploration in the liberal arts, and depth of study in focused disciplinary majors. please share how you hope to explore your engineering interests at penn..

This prompt seeks to understand your passion for engineering, your career aspirations in the field , and how you plan to leverage Penn Engineering’s unique curriculum to further your interests and goals.

Articulate Your Engineering Interests

Clearly define what aspects of engineering fascinate you. Be explicit about your interests, whether it's a particular field (like biomedical engineering or computer science) or a specific topic (like artificial intelligence or sustainable design).

Understand Penn Engineering’s Offerings

Deeply explore Penn Engineering’s curriculum, resources, and extracurricular opportunities. Identify specific aspects that align with your interests, such as courses, professors, research labs, clubs, or initiatives.

Connect Interests, Education, and Future Aspirations

Demonstrate how Penn Engineering’s offerings will facilitate your exploration and advancement in your areas of interest. Connect the curriculum and opportunities at Penn Engineering directly to your career aspirations and explain how they will help you achieve your goals.

The intersection of robotics and healthcare has always fascinated me, especially in developing assistive technologies for individuals with mobility impairments. Penn Engineering, with its robust curriculum and the GRASP Laboratory, provides a perfect environment to delve deeper into this intersection. The “Robotics” major, offering courses like “Medical Robotics” and “Introduction to Robotics,” directly aligns with my interest in developing healthcare solutions through technology. Engaging with the GRASP Lab will provide hands-on experience in robotics research, while the “Penn Health-Tech” initiative will offer insights into healthcare needs and facilitate the translation of technical solutions into practical healthcare applications. I envision utilizing Penn Engineering’s interdisciplinary approach, combining technical knowledge with liberal arts exploration, to develop assistive technologies that are not only functionally effective but also accessible and user-friendly. By integrating technical expertise with an understanding of user needs and healthcare challenges, I aspire to create technologies that enhance mobility and independence for individuals with impairments, contributing to more inclusive and accessible healthcare solutions.

Penn Engineering’s prompt invites you to showcase your engineering interests and how you plan to explore them at Penn . Ensure your response demonstrates a clear understanding of your interests, how Penn Engineering’s offerings align with them, and how you plan to leverage these opportunities to further your career aspirations in engineering. Your response should reflect a genuine interest in a particular engineering domain and a well-thought-out plan for utilizing Penn Engineering’s resources to explore and advance in this domain.

Dual Degree & Specialized Program Prompts

Why are you interested in the digital media design (dmd) program at the university of pennsylvania, - 400 to 650 words.

The DMD program at UPenn is a unique blend of engineering, computer graphics, fine arts, and design, aiming to prepare students for a plethora of careers in the digital media domain . Your essay should reflect a clear understanding of the program and a well-articulated reason for your interest.

Understand the DMD Program

Ensure you have a deep understanding of what the DMD program entails. Explore the curriculum, the faculty, the projects students work on, and the careers it leads to. Mention specific aspects of the program that appeal to you and are aligned with your career aspirations.

Articulate Your Interest in Digital Media Design

Clearly define your interest in digital media design. Discuss any experiences you have had in the field, such as projects, internships, or courses, and how they have shaped your interest and prepared you for the DMD program.

Connect Your Interests, the DMD Program, and Future Aspirations

Demonstrate a clear path that connects your past experiences, your interest in the DMD program, and your future career aspirations. Explain how the DMD program is the perfect next step for you and how it will help you achieve your career goals.

Highlight Your Fit and Contribution

Discuss how you will contribute to the DMD community and how your unique perspective and experiences will add value to it. Mention any specific ways in which you plan to get involved and contribute to ongoing projects or initiatives.

Ever since I designed my first mobile app as a high school sophomore, the amalgamation of design, technology, and user experience has captivated me. The Digital Media Design (DMD) program at UPenn stands out as a unique program that perfectly intertwines engineering, computer graphics, and design, offering a comprehensive approach to digital media that aligns seamlessly with my interests and aspirations. My journey in digital media design began with [Specific Project/Experience], where I explored [Specific Elements/Technologies]. This experience illuminated the profound impact of integrating aesthetic design with robust technology to create user-centric digital solutions. What excites me about the DMD program at UPenn is its interdisciplinary approach, combining courses like [Specific Course 1] and [Specific Course 2], which will equip me with the technical prowess and design thinking necessary to innovate in the digital media space. Moreover, the DMD program’s emphasis on collaborative projects and its connection with the [Specific Lab/Research Group] will provide a platform to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world problems, furthering my skills in practical applications of digital media design. I am particularly drawn to [Specific Project/Research] being conducted at [Specific Lab/Research Group] and am excited about the prospect of contributing to this work with my skills in [Specific Skills/Technologies]. In the future, I aspire to [Specific Career/Project Aspirations], creating digital solutions that [Specific Impact/Outcome]. The DMD program, with its robust curriculum, hands-on projects, and a vibrant community of innovators, is the ideal environment for me to hone my skills and work towards this aspiration. I am particularly excited about [Specific Element of DMD Program] and look forward to contributing to the DMD community through [Specific Contributions].

Your essay should demonstrate a clear understanding of the DMD program, a well-articulated path that connects your past experiences, your interest in the program, your future aspirations, and a genuine enthusiasm for the program and the field of digital media design. Ensure your response is specific, detailed, and authentic, reflecting a true interest and understanding of the DMD program and how it will help you achieve your career goals .

The Huntsman Program supports the development of globally minded scholars who become engaged citizens, creative innovators, and ethical leaders in the public, private, and non-profit sectors in the United States and internationally. What draws you to a dual-degree program in business and international studies, and how would you use what you learn to contribute to a global issue where business and international affairs intersect?

The Huntsman Program is a unique intersection of business and international studies, aiming to cultivate leaders who can navigate the global business landscape with a deep understanding of international affairs. Your essay should reflect a clear understanding of the program and a well-articulated vision for how you will leverage it to address global issues .

Understand the Huntsman Program

Ensure you have a deep understanding of the Huntsman Program, including its curriculum, philosophy, and outcomes. Mention specific aspects of the program that appeal to you and how they align with your career aspirations.

Articulate Your Interest in Business and International Studies

Clearly define your interest in the intersection of business and international studies. Discuss any experiences you have had in these fields, such as projects, internships, or courses, and how they have shaped your interest and prepared you for the Huntsman Program.

Identify a Global Issue

Choose a global issue where business and international affairs intersect and discuss why it is of importance to you. Ensure that the issue is something you are genuinely passionate about and that it has enough depth to explore in your essay.

Connect Your Interests, the Huntsman Program, and the Global Issue

Demonstrate a clear path that connects your past experiences, your interest in the Huntsman Program, and your future aspirations to address the global issue you have identified. Explain how the Huntsman Program is the perfect next step for you and how it will help you achieve your goals related to the global issue.

Discuss how you will contribute to the Huntsman community and how your unique perspective and experiences will add value to it. Mention any specific ways in which you plan to get involved and contribute to ongoing projects or initiatives.

Navigating through the complex tapestry of international markets and geopolitical climates has always fascinated me, particularly in the realm of sustainable business practices. The Huntsman Program, with its dual-degree in business and international studies, presents a unique and compelling pathway to delve deeper into this intersection, enabling scholars like me to devise solutions that are both economically viable and globally sustainable. My interest in this intersection was sparked by [Specific Project/Experience], where I witnessed firsthand the impact of [Specific Aspect of Business/International Affairs]. This experience underscored the necessity of intertwining robust business strategies with a nuanced understanding of international relations to forge sustainable global solutions. One pressing global issue that captivates my interest is [Specific Global Issue], particularly how [Specific Business and International Affairs Elements] intersect. This issue not only has profound implications for [Specific Outcomes/Challenges] but also presents opportunities to [Specific Solutions/Opportunities]. The Huntsman Program, with its rigorous curriculum encompassing [Specific Courses/Aspects], and its vibrant, globally-minded community, provides an unparalleled platform to explore this issue in depth. I am particularly drawn to [Specific Element of the Huntsman Program] and see it as a pivotal enabler in devising innovative solutions for [Specific Global Issue]. In the future, I aspire to [Specific Career/Project Aspirations], leveraging the knowledge and skills garnered from the Huntsman Program to [Specific Impact/Outcome]. I am excited about the prospect of collaborating with like-minded peers within the Huntsman community and contributing to [Specific Projects/Initiatives] during my time at UPenn.

Your essay should demonstrate a clear understanding of the Huntsman Program, a genuine interest in the intersection of business and international studies, and a well-articulated vision for how you will leverage the program to address a specific global issue. Ensure your response is specific, detailed, and authentic, reflecting a true interest and understanding of the program and the global issue you have chosen to discuss.

The LSM program aims to provide students with a fundamental understanding of the life sciences and their management with an eye to identifying, advancing, and implementing innovations. What issues would you want to address using the understanding gained from such a program? Note that this essay should be distinct from your single degree essay.

The LSM Program is designed to equip students with a robust understanding of both life sciences and management, enabling them to drive innovation in these fields. Your essay should reflect a clear understanding of the program and a well-articulated vision for how you will leverage it to address specific issues in the life sciences .

Understand the LSM Program

Ensure you have a thorough understanding of the LSM Program, including its curriculum, philosophy, and outcomes. Mention specific aspects of the program that appeal to you and how they align with your career aspirations.

Identify a Relevant Issue

Choose an issue in the life sciences that you are passionate about and discuss why it is of importance to you. Ensure that the issue is something you are genuinely interested in and that it has enough depth to explore in your essay.

Connect Your Interests, the LSM Program, and the Issue

Demonstrate a clear path that connects your past experiences, your interest in the LSM Program, and your future aspirations to address the issue you have identified. Explain how the LSM Program is the perfect next step for you and how it will help you achieve your goals related to the issue.

Discuss how you will contribute to the LSM community and how your unique perspective and experiences will add value to it. Mention any specific ways in which you plan to get involved and contribute to ongoing projects or initiatives.

The intersection of life sciences and management, particularly in the realm of biotechnological innovations, has always captivated my interest. The LSM Program, with its interdisciplinary approach, offers a unique platform to delve into this intersection, enabling scholars to drive innovations that can address pressing issues in the life sciences. My interest in this field was sparked by [Specific Project/Experience], where I witnessed the profound impact of [Specific Aspect of Life Sciences/Management]. This experience underscored the necessity of intertwining robust scientific research with strategic management to bring innovations from the lab to the market. One issue that I am particularly passionate about is [Specific Issue in Life Sciences], especially considering its implications for [Specific Outcomes/Challenges]. This issue presents opportunities to [Specific Solutions/Opportunities], which can be explored and implemented through the integration of life sciences and management. The LSM Program, with its robust curriculum encompassing [Specific Courses/Aspects], and its vibrant community of innovators, provides an unparalleled platform to explore this issue in depth. I am particularly drawn to [Specific Element of the LSM Program] and see it as a pivotal enabler in devising innovative solutions for [Specific Issue in Life Sciences]. In the future, I aspire to [Specific Career/Project Aspirations], leveraging the knowledge and skills garnered from the LSM Program to [Specific Impact/Outcome]. I am excited about the prospect of collaborating with the LSM community and contributing to [Specific Projects/Initiatives] during my time at UPenn.

Your essay should demonstrate a clear understanding of the LSM Program, a genuine interest in the intersection of life sciences and management, and a well-articulated vision for how you will leverage the program to address a specific issue in the life sciences. Ensure your response is specific, detailed, and authentic, reflecting a true interest and understanding of the program and the issue you have chosen to discuss.

M&T: The Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology: Prompt 1

Explain how you will use the m&t program to explore your interest in business, engineering, and the intersection of the two..

The Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology (M&T) is designed for students who have a keen interest in both engineering and business. Your essay should reflect a clear understanding of the program and a well-articulated vision for how you will leverage it to explore the intersection of business and engineering.

Understand the M&T Program

Ensure you have a thorough understanding of the M&T Program, including its curriculum, philosophy, and outcomes. Mention specific aspects of the program that appeal to you and how they align with your career aspirations.

Articulate Your Interest

Clearly articulate your interest in both business and engineering, providing examples from your past experiences that demonstrate your passion and aptitude in these areas.

Explore the Intersection

Discuss the intersection of business and engineering, providing specific examples of issues or opportunities that lie at this intersection that you are interested in exploring further through the M&T Program.

Connect Your Interests, the M&T Program, and Your Future Aspirations

Demonstrate a clear path that connects your past experiences, your interest in the M&T Program, and your future aspirations. Explain how the M&T Program is the perfect next step for you and how it will help you achieve your goals.

Discuss how you will contribute to the M&T community and how your unique perspective and experiences will add value to it. Mention any specific ways in which you plan to get involved and contribute to ongoing projects or initiatives.

Navigating through the realms of business and engineering has always been a focal point of my academic and extracurricular pursuits. My involvement in [Specific Project/Experience] illuminated the profound impact that can be achieved at the intersection of these two disciplines, particularly in the realm of [Specific Aspect of Business/Engineering]. A pressing issue that captivates my interest is [Specific Issue at the Intersection of Business and Engineering]. This issue presents a myriad of challenges and opportunities, such as [Specific Challenges/Opportunities], which can be navigated effectively through a robust understanding of both business and engineering. The M&T Program, with its interdisciplinary curriculum and vibrant community, provides an unparalleled platform to delve deeper into this intersection. I am particularly drawn to [Specific Element of the M&T Program] as it aligns perfectly with my interests and aspirations in [Specific Issue/Area]. In the future, I aspire to [Specific Career/Project Aspirations], leveraging the knowledge and skills garnered from the M&T Program to navigate the complex landscape of [Specific Issue/Area]. I am excited about the prospect of collaborating with the M&T community, contributing to [Specific Projects/Initiatives], and exploring innovative solutions at the intersection of business and engineering.

Your essay should demonstrate a clear understanding of the M&T Program, a genuine interest in both business and engineering, and a well-articulated vision for how you will leverage the program to explore specific issues or opportunities at the intersection of these two disciplines. Ensure your response is specific, detailed, and authentic, reflecting a true interest and understanding of the program and the issues you have chosen to discuss.

M&T: The Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology: Prompt 2

Describe a problem that you solved that showed leadership and creativity., - 250 words.

This prompt seeks to understand your problem-solving, leadership, and creative thinking skills through a specific example. Your response should succinctly narrate a situation, your actions, and the outcomes, showcasing your abilities in a compelling manner.

Identify a Relevant Problem

Choose a problem that allowed you to demonstrate both leadership and creativity in your solution. Ensure that the problem and your role in solving it are significant enough to showcase your abilities.

Structure Your Response

Given the word limit, structure your response to clearly outline the situation, your actions, and the outcomes. Ensure each aspect is clearly communicated and that your leadership and creativity are evident.

Highlight Your Leadership

Discuss how you took charge of the situation, the decisions you made, and how you motivated and coordinated with others. Highlight any specific challenges you overcame and how you navigated through them.

Showcase Your Creativity

Demonstrate how you thought outside the box to come up with innovative solutions. Highlight how your creative approach was instrumental in solving the problem.

Reflect on the Impact

Briefly discuss the impact of your solution, providing specific outcomes where possible. This could include the immediate outcomes as well as any longer-term impact that your solution may have had.

When our school’s annual event faced abrupt cancellation due to unforeseen circumstances, I spearheaded a team to transition it into a virtual format, ensuring continuity of a cherished tradition. The challenge lay in replicating the interactive and engaging aspects of the in-person event in a virtual environment. My creative approach involved leveraging various online platforms to create a multi-dimensional virtual experience. I coordinated with tech teams to integrate virtual reality (VR) environments, enabling participants to navigate through a simulated version of our school, attending different activities and sessions. Leadership was crucial in coordinating diverse teams, managing resources, and ensuring effective communication. I facilitated collaborations between the tech team, event organizers, and participants, ensuring a seamless transition to the virtual format. The event not only witnessed a record participation but also opened avenues for inclusive participation from international students, enhancing global engagement. This solution not only addressed the immediate problem but also introduced a new, inclusive format for future events.

Your response should succinctly and effectively communicate a problem, your leadership and creative approach to solving it, and the impact of your solution. Ensure that your abilities are clearly showcased through your actions and that the outcomes reflect positively on your problem-solving skills.

Describe your interests in modern networked information systems and technologies, such as the internet, and their impact on society, whether in terms of economics, communication, or the creation of beneficial content for society. Feel free to draw on examples from your own experiences as a user, developer, or student of technology.

This prompt invites you to explore your interests and experiences related to networked information systems and technologies, and their societal impact. It's an opportunity to showcase your understanding, passion, and vision regarding the intersection of technology and society.

Express Your Interest

Begin by articulating your interests in networked information systems and technologies. Discuss any specific aspects or technologies that particularly captivate you and why.

Highlight Personal Experiences

Share specific experiences as a user, developer, or student of technology that have shaped your interests and understanding. This could include projects you’ve worked on, courses you’ve taken, or personal experiences that have influenced your perspective.

Discuss Societal Impact

Explore the impact of networked information systems on society, considering various dimensions such as economics, communication, and content creation. Provide your insights into both the positive and negative implications, showcasing your nuanced understanding of the topic.

Incorporate Real-world Examples

Use real-world examples to illustrate your points, whether they are drawn from your personal experiences or from notable developments in the field. Ensure that these examples effectively support your discussion and showcase your knowledge and engagement with the topic.

Envision Future Possibilities

Consider discussing where you see these technologies heading in the future and any potential innovations or developments that you find particularly exciting or concerning. This is an opportunity to showcase your forward-thinking and visionary mindset.

Connect to the NETS Program

Towards the end, weave in how the NETS program at Penn aligns with your interests and how you envision leveraging the program to further explore and impact the field. Be specific about aspects of the program that resonate with you and how you see yourself contributing to and benefiting from it.

My fascination with networked information systems, particularly blockchain technology, stems from its revolutionary potential to democratize finance and enhance data security. My journey began with developing a decentralized voting system for our school elections, ensuring secure and transparent processes. This project not only fortified my technical skills but also illuminated the profound societal impact of secure and transparent networked systems. Blockchain, with its decentralized and immutable nature, has the potential to redefine economic structures, enhance data integrity, and democratize access to financial systems, especially in underbanked regions. However, it also poses challenges, such as energy consumption and regulatory dilemmas, reflecting the multifaceted impact of networked technologies on society. My experiences as a developer and user have underscored the importance of ethical considerations and user-centric design in developing technologies that are equitable, accessible, and beneficial to society. The NETS program, with its interdisciplinary approach and focus on the societal implications of networked systems, presents the ideal platform to deepen my understanding, engage in innovative projects, and develop solutions that positively impact society.

Your response should weave together your interests, experiences, understanding, and vision related to networked information systems and technologies, effectively showcasing your passion, expertise, and potential to contribute to the field. Ensure that your discussion is supported by specific examples and that your connection to the NETS program is clear and compelling.

Discuss your interest in nursing and health care management. How might Penn's coordinated dual-degree program in nursing and business help you meet your goals?

The NHCM program at Penn uniquely intertwines nursing and healthcare management, offering a comprehensive perspective on patient care and healthcare administration. Your essay should reflect your passion and rationale for intertwining these fields and how the NHCM program aligns with your aspirations.

Express Your Dual Interest

Begin by elucidating your interest in both nursing and healthcare management. Discuss why you believe these fields are interconnected and vital to your career aspirations. Ensure that your passion for both fields is evident and balanced throughout the essay.

Personal and Professional Motivations

Share experiences, observations, or learnings that have shaped your interest in nursing and healthcare management. This could include personal experiences, interactions with healthcare professionals, or insights gained through academic or extracurricular activities.

Highlight the Significance

Discuss the importance of integrating nursing with healthcare management, considering aspects like patient care, healthcare administration, policy-making, and healthcare innovation. Your insights into why a dual understanding is crucial in contemporary healthcare will underscore your informed interest.

Articulate Your Goals

Clearly define your short-term and long-term goals within the realms of nursing and healthcare management. Be specific about the impact you wish to make, the roles you aspire to undertake, and the advancements you wish to contribute to.

Connect to the NHCM Program

Detail how the NHCM program at Penn will facilitate your journey towards your goals. Discuss specific aspects of the program, such as courses, faculty, resources, or opportunities, that resonate with your interests and aspirations. Ensure that your connection to the program is specific, genuine, and well-researched.

Contribute and Gain

Reflect on what you will bring to the NHCM community and how you will leverage the program. Consider how your unique experiences and perspectives will enrich the community and how you plan to utilize the knowledge and experiences gained through the program in your future endeavors.

My journey through volunteering in a local hospital illuminated the intricate dance between empathetic patient care and meticulous healthcare management. Observing nurses who seamlessly integrated clinical expertise with administrative acumen highlighted the pivotal role of dual expertise in enhancing healthcare outcomes. My goal is to innovate healthcare delivery by intertwining clinical excellence with strategic management, ensuring equitable, efficient, and empathetic healthcare solutions. My experience developing a community health initiative for underprivileged neighborhoods underscored the importance of strategic management in amplifying the impact of nursing interventions. It is this symbiosis between nursing and management that I am eager to explore and deepen through the NHCM program. Penn’s NHCM program, with its rigorous curriculum, esteemed faculty, and myriad opportunities for practical application, presents the ideal platform to forge my path in healthcare. Courses like “Healthcare Management” and “Nursing in the Community” directly align with my interests, while the opportunities for internships and global experiences will facilitate practical application of theoretical knowledge. I bring with me a fervent passion for community healthcare, experiences in grassroots health initiatives, and a perspective shaped by on-ground realities. At NHCM, I aim to deepen my expertise, engage in collaborative learning, and contribute to the community, ultimately driving forward my vision for an integrated, innovative, and inclusive healthcare future.

Your essay should weave together your interests, experiences, goals, and connection to the NHCM program, showcasing a genuine, informed, and passionate commitment to nursing and healthcare management. Ensure that your essay is well-structured, specific, and reflective, effectively conveying your unique journey, vision, and fit for the NHCM program.

Seven-Year Bio-Dental Program: Prompt 1

Please list any predental or premedical experience. this experience can include but is not limited to observation in a private practice, dental clinic, or hospital setting; dental assisting; dental laboratory work; dental or medical research; etc. please include time allotted to each activity, dates of attendance, location, and a description of your experience. if you do not have any predental or premedical experience, please indicate what you have done or plan to do in order to explore dentistry as a career..

This prompt seeks a detailed account of your experiences and future plans related to the dental field. It’s crucial to provide a comprehensive, clear, and structured response.

For Those With Predental/Premedical Experience

Detail your experiences.

  • Description: Clearly describe each experience, ensuring to highlight your role, responsibilities, and learnings.
  • Time and Duration: Mention the total hours and the timeframe during which you gained this experience.
  • Location: Specify where the experience took place.
  • Reflection: Briefly reflect on what each experience taught you about the field and your career aspirations.

Variety and Depth

  • Ensure to showcase a range of experiences, if possible, to demonstrate a well-rounded exploration of the field.
  • Highlight experiences that had a significant impact on your decision to pursue dentistry.

Connect to Your Aspirations

  • Subtly weave in how these experiences have shaped your understanding of dentistry and affirmed your career choice.

Example Entry

  • Experience: Dental Assisting at [Clinic/Hospital Name]
  • Duration: June 2022 - August 2022, 150 hours
  • Location: [City, State]
  • Description: Assisted with dental procedures, sterilized equipment, and engaged in patient care. This hands-on experience underscored the importance of precision and patient rapport in dental practice, solidifying my commitment to pursuing dentistry.

For Those Without Predental/Premedical Experience

Express genuine interest.

  • Clearly articulate why you are interested in dentistry even without direct experience.

Alternative Experiences

  • Discuss any experiences that, while not directly related to dentistry, have helped shape your career aspirations and transferable skills.

Future Plans

  • Detail specific, actionable plans to gain experience and explore the dental field in the future.
  • Mention any scheduled experiences, planned shadowing, or courses you intend to take.

Demonstrating Commitment

  • Highlight how your actions, even without direct experience, showcase your commitment to pursuing dentistry.
While I have not yet gained direct predental experience, my engagement in [related experience] has honed my [specific skills] and affirmed my interest in healthcare. I have enrolled in a dental shadowing program scheduled for [month, year] and plan to volunteer at [specific location] to gain hands-on insight into dental practice. My commitment to exploring dentistry is underscored by [specific actions/qualities], and I am eager to deepen my understanding through continued experiences and education.

Ensure your response is clear, detailed, and reflective. Whether detailing past experiences or outlining future plans, showcase a genuine, informed commitment to exploring and contributing to the field of dentistry. Your experiences and plans should collectively convey your enthusiasm, understanding, and dedication towards a career in dentistry.

Seven-Year Bio-Dental Program: Prompt 2

Describe any activities which demonstrate your ability to work with your hands..

Dentistry is a profession that demands precision, dexterity, and adept manual skills. This prompt seeks to understand your foundational experiences that demonstrate your ability to work with your hands and potentially correlate to the manual skills required in dentistry.

Highlight Varied Experiences

  • Artistic Pursuits: If you’ve engaged in painting, sculpture, or any other form of art, discuss how you’ve honed your hand-eye coordination and attention to detail.
  • Craftsmanship: Activities like woodworking, sewing, or mechanics showcase your ability to manipulate tools and create detailed work.
  • Musical Instruments: Playing instruments, especially those that require intricate hand movements like the piano or violin, can illustrate dexterity.
  • Cooking or Baking: These activities often require precise measurements and manual skills, which can be relevant.

Detail Your Involvement

  • Clearly describe your role and involvement in each activity.
  • Mention the duration and level of commitment to each activity.

Reflect on Skills Developed

  • Discuss specific skills developed through these activities, such as fine motor skills, precision, patience, and creativity.
  • Reflect on how these skills might be transferable to a dental career.

Connect to Dentistry

  • Subtly draw parallels between the manual skills utilized in these activities and those required in dentistry.
  • If possible, relate it to any experiences or observations of dental practices.
  • Activity: Pottery Crafting
  • Duration: 3 years, weekly classes
  • Description: Engaging in pottery has honed my manual dexterity and spatial awareness. Molding clay into detailed shapes and creating symmetrical, aesthetically pleasing pieces requires a steady hand and attention to detail. These skills, akin to those utilized in dental procedures, have not only enhanced my appreciation for meticulous handwork but also underscored the importance of precision and artistic understanding in creating functional, visually appealing structures.

Your response should provide a clear, detailed, and reflective account of your experiences that demonstrate manual dexterity and how these skills might translate into a dental career. Ensure to convey a genuine appreciation for activities that require hand skills and a thoughtful understanding of how these skills are relevant to dentistry. This will showcase your preparedness and intrinsic alignment with the skillset required in the dental profession.

Seven-Year Bio-Dental Program: Prompt 3

What activities have you performed that demonstrate your ability to work effectively with people.

Dentistry is not only about technical skills but also about interpersonal skills, as dentists work with diverse groups of people, including patients, staff, and other healthcare professionals. This prompt seeks to understand your experiences and skills in working with others.

Highlight Diverse Interactions

  • Team Projects or Group Work: Discuss any collaborative projects or activities where you worked in a team, focusing on your role and contributions.
  • Volunteer Work: Share experiences where you worked with people in a service capacity, such as volunteering at community centers, hospitals, or events.
  • Leadership Roles: If you’ve held leadership positions in clubs, sports, or other organizations, discuss how you managed and worked with your team.
  • Customer Service Roles: Jobs or roles in retail, restaurants, or any customer-facing position can showcase your ability to manage and interact with people effectively.

Demonstrate Key Skills

  • Communication: Highlight instances where effective communication was key to success or resolving issues.
  • Empathy: Share experiences that required understanding and empathizing with others’ perspectives or emotions.
  • Conflict Resolution: Discuss any situations where you played a role in resolving conflicts or facilitating smooth interactions.
  • Collaboration: Provide examples of how you worked cohesively with others to achieve common goals.

Reflect on Learnings and Growth

  • Discuss what you learned from these experiences and how they shaped your interpersonal skills.
  • Reflect on how these experiences have prepared you for interactions in a healthcare setting.

Relate to Dentistry

  • Draw connections between the skills developed through these experiences and the interpersonal skills required in dentistry.
  • Mention any interactions or observations in dental settings that further inspired or informed your understanding of patient-doctor interactions.
  • Activity: Volunteering at a Local Community Center
  • Duration: 2 years, bi-weekly involvement
  • Description: My role involved organizing and facilitating community events, where I interacted with individuals from varied age groups and backgrounds. This experience enhanced my communication and organizational skills, as I coordinated with team members and engaged with community members to ensure successful events. I learned the importance of empathy and active listening, especially when interacting with elderly individuals who often shared personal stories and experiences. These skills are crucial in dentistry, where understanding and addressing patients’ concerns and anxieties is pivotal.

Your response should weave through your experiences, skills, reflections, and their relevance to dentistry in a cohesive manner. Ensure to provide specific examples and insights from your experiences, demonstrating a deep understanding of interpersonal skills and their application in a dental career. This will showcase your preparedness for the people-oriented aspects of a career in dentistry.

Seven-Year Bio-Dental Program: Prompt 4

Please explain your reasons for selecting dentistry. please include what interests you the most about dentistry as well as what interests you least..

Navigating through this prompt requires a balanced reflection on your passion and pragmatism towards a career in dentistry. It's essential to showcase genuine interest and understanding of the field while also acknowledging its challenges or less appealing aspects.

What Interests You Most

1. personal experiences:.

  • Reflect on any personal experiences that drew you towards dentistry, such as dental visits, braces, etc.
  • Discuss any interactions or observations with dentists that left a positive impact.

2. Impact and Service:

  • Highlight the aspect of service and impact in dentistry — helping people improve their oral health, confidence, and quality of life.
  • Mention the satisfaction derived from immediate results and direct impact in healthcare.

3. Interdisciplinary Nature:

  • Discuss how dentistry combines various fields — healthcare, biology, engineering (prosthetics, orthodontics), and even art (aesthetics, restoration).

4. Patient Interaction:

  • Mention the appeal of continuous patient interaction and building relationships over time.

5. Technological Advancements:

  • Express interest in the evolving technology in dentistry, such as laser treatments, 3D printing, etc.

What Interests You Least

1. be honest but tactful:.

  • Choose an aspect that is genuine but ensure it is not central to the profession.
  • Avoid cliches like “there’s nothing I dislike” – authenticity is key.

2. Challenges in Patient Management:

  • Discuss challenges like managing anxious or non-cooperative patients while maintaining empathy and professionalism.

3. Administrative Aspects:

  • Mention the potential tedium of administrative tasks, paperwork, and management aspects of running a practice.

4. Continuous Learning Curve:

  • Acknowledge the demanding aspect of continuous learning and adaptation due to evolving dental technologies and methods.

5. Ethical Dilemmas:

  • Discuss navigating through ethical dilemmas, such as treatment refusals or non-adherence to advice.
I was drawn towards dentistry during my orthodontic treatment in high school, witnessing the profound impact it had on my confidence and oral health. The multifaceted nature of dentistry, intertwining healthcare, engineering, and aesthetic artistry, fascinates me. Particularly, the ability to alleviate pain, enhance aesthetics, and consequently, uplift an individual’s self-esteem and quality of life is profoundly impactful. However, the administrative aspects, such as managing paperwork and insurance claims, seem less engaging to me. While they are crucial for practice management, I find them to be a diversion from the core clinical and patient-care aspects that primarily draw me to dentistry. Nonetheless, I perceive them as a necessary component to facilitate the smooth functioning of a dental practice, ensuring that the clinical aspects can be executed effectively.

Your response should offer a well-rounded view of your perception of dentistry, reflecting both your passion and realistic understanding of the profession. Ensure to convey how the positives outweigh the negatives for you and how you are prepared to navigate through the less appealing aspects, showcasing a mature and informed perspective towards a career in dentistry.

How do you envision your participation in the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER) furthering your interests in energy science and technology? Please include any past experiences (ex. academic, research, or extracurricular) that have led to your interest in the program. Additionally, please indicate why you are interested in pursuing dual degrees in science and engineering and which VIPER majors are most interesting to you at this time.

Envisioning participation in viper, 1. interdisciplinary approach:.

  • Highlight the appeal of VIPER’s interdisciplinary approach to energy research.
  • Discuss how the blend of science and engineering will enable you to explore innovative solutions to energy challenges.

2. Research Opportunities:

  • Mention specific research labs, projects, or professors in VIPER that align with your interests.
  • Discuss how engaging in research from early on will deepen your understanding and skills in energy science.

3. Real-world Impact:

  • Express your desire to contribute to tangible solutions for global energy challenges.
  • Mention how VIPER’s focus on translating research into practical applications resonates with you.

Past Experiences

1. academic:.

  • Mention any coursework or projects related to energy science, physics, chemistry, or engineering that piqued your interest in the field.

2. Research:

  • Discuss any prior research experiences, especially those related to energy, and what you learned from them.

3. Extracurricular:

  • Highlight participation in science clubs, competitions, or projects related to energy solutions.

Pursuing Dual Degrees

1. bridging theory and application:.

  • Discuss how pursuing dual degrees will equip you with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills to innovate in energy solutions.

2. Comprehensive Understanding:

  • Mention how the dual degrees will provide a comprehensive understanding of energy from both a scientific and engineering perspective.

3. Career Goals:

  • Relate the dual degrees to your career aspirations in energy research, policy, or technology development.

VIPER Majors of Interest

1. specific interests:.

  • Mention the VIPER majors that align with your interests and why they appeal to you.
  • Be specific about the aspects of the major that excite you, such as particular courses or facets of the curriculum.

2. Future Applications:

  • Discuss how the majors will equip you for your future career or research aspirations in the energy sector.
My fascination with energy science was ignited during a high school project on photovoltaic cells, where I explored the intricacies of converting sunlight into electricity. This interest was further fueled by my internship at [XYZ Lab], where I delved into research on enhancing the efficiency of solar panels using nanotechnology. VIPER, with its robust interdisciplinary approach, stands out as the epitome of energy research education, offering a unique blend of theoretical knowledge and practical application through its dual-degree program. Engaging in cutting-edge research under Dr. [ABC], particularly in [specific project or lab], aligns seamlessly with my aspirations to innovate in renewable energy technologies. The dual degrees in [specific majors] will not only deepen my understanding of energy science but also equip me with the engineering prowess to translate theories into tangible technologies. My goal is to contribute to developing scalable and sustainable energy solutions, and VIPER is the quintessential program to catalyze my journey in navigating the complexities and challenges of the energy landscape.

Ensure your essay reflects a genuine interest and understanding of energy science and the VIPER program. Connect your past experiences, current interests, and future aspirations cohesively, showcasing a clear pathway of how VIPER will be instrumental in furthering your career in energy research and technology.

General Guidelines for Answering UPenn's Supplemental Essay Questions

1. immerse yourself in upenn’s culture:.

  • Understand UPenn’s Programs: Dive deep into the specifics of UPenn's programs, courses, and faculty to demonstrate a genuine interest and understanding of what the university offers.
  • Align with UPenn’s Values: Ensure your responses resonate with UPenn’s ethos, particularly its emphasis on interdisciplinary learning, innovation, and impactful leadership.

2. Showcase Your Individuality:

  • Highlight Unique Experiences: Your unique experiences, challenges, and perspectives are valuable—ensure they shine through in your essays.
  • Your Contribution to UPenn: Clearly articulate how your uniqueness will contribute to the UPenn community and its diverse tapestry of cultures and ideas.

3. Articulate Clear Goals and Aspirations:

  • Career and Academic Goals: Be clear about your academic and career aspirations and how UPenn’s specific offerings align with them.
  • Interdisciplinary Interests: UPenn values interdisciplinary studies. Showcase your varied interests and how you plan to intertwine them during your time at UPenn.

4. Authenticity and Sincerity:

  • Be Genuine: Authenticity in your responses will resonate more than trying to present an image you think the admissions committee wants to see.
  • Reflect True Interests: Discuss programs, courses, and opportunities that genuinely excite you, not just those that seem impressive.

5. Precision and Clarity:

  • Concise Writing: With stringent word limits, ensure your responses are concise, clear, and to the point without sacrificing depth or meaning.
  • Prioritize Information: Choose the most impactful experiences and insights to share, ensuring they provide new information beyond your Common App essay.

6. Engage with Engaging Narratives:

  • Storytelling: Weave your experiences and insights into a compelling narrative that provides a window into your world and aspirations.
  • Relatable Experiences: Choose relatable stories and experiences and provide tangible evidence of your qualities and interests.

7. Flawless Presentation:

  • Proofread Thoroughly: Ensure your essays are meticulously proofread and free from grammatical or syntactical errors.
  • Seek Feedback: Obtain feedback from mentors, peers, or teachers to ensure clarity and impact in your writing.

8. Connect to the UPenn Experience:

  • Visualize Your UPenn Journey: Ensure your essays provide a clear picture of how you envision your time at UPenn, both academically and personally.
  • Community Involvement: Discuss how you plan to engage with and contribute to the UPenn community, both on and off campus.

9. Embrace the Opportunity:

  • More Than an Application: View these essays as an opportunity to genuinely present who you are and articulate your fit and enthusiasm for UPenn.
  • Showcase Your Journey: Use this platform to provide a holistic view of your journey, your aspirations, and why UPenn is the ideal place for you to realize them.

10. Stay Informed:

  • Keep Updated: Ensure you’re aware of any recent developments, new programs, or initiatives at UPenn that might align with your interests and aspirations.
  • Showcase Current Relevance: Relate your interests and experiences to current global or social contexts, showcasing your awareness and engagement with the world.

Navigating UPenn’s supplemental essays requires a blend of authenticity, clarity, and a deep understanding of what UPenn offers and values. By intertwining your unique journey, aspirations, and experiences with UPenn’s offerings and ethos, you can compellingly convey your fit and potential contributions to the UPenn community.

For further insights and examples, exploring the U Penn essay examples might provide additional perspectives on crafting standout applications.

Final Thoughts

Embarking on your journey towards the University of Pennsylvania is about more than academic achievements; it's about crafting a narrative that intertwines your unique journey, aspirations, and potential contributions with UPenn’s rich legacy and vibrant community. Your supplemental essays provide a pivotal platform to showcase your character, aspirations, and the distinctive value you would bring to the UPenn community.

Every UPenn aspirant brings a unique story and perspective. This is your opportunity to eloquently articulate yours, ensuring it resonates with UPenn’s ethos and offerings. Approach your essays with authenticity, depth, and a palpable passion for your narrative and future aspirations.

If you find yourself questioning whether your essay genuinely encapsulates your essence or stands out amidst a sea of applications, our essay review service is here to assist you. Our seasoned experts will provide comprehensive reviews and feedback, ensuring your essay resonates powerfully with UPenn’s admissions officers. For additional insights and inspiration, our ebook , featuring essays from students who secured spots at top-tier institutions, can be a valuable resource. Moreover, our compilation of successful UPenn essay examples will offer invaluable perspectives and inspiration.

For those embarking on their college application journey, consider scheduling a free consultation with our experienced college counselors. We are committed to assisting you in crafting an application that enhances your chances of becoming a part of UPenn’s vibrant community. Your dream of joining the ranks of UPenn’s Quakers is within reach, and we are here to support you at every step of your journey.

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Key Resources & Further Reading

  • Everything you need to know about US Application Supplemental Essays
  • Acing your College Application Essay: 5 Expert Tips to Make it Stand Out from the Rest
  • How to Tackle Every Type of Supplemental Essay
  • 2023-24 Common App Essay Prompts
  • What are the Most Unusual US College Supplemental Essay Prompts?

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UPenn Supplemental Essays 2023-24

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The UPenn supplemental essays are a key component of your UPenn application. As an Ivy League school, the University of Pennsylvania has an extremely competitive application process. Moreover, with the UPenn acceptance rate at 6% ( per U.S. News ), every part of your application counts. So, it’s crucial that each UPenn supplemental essay highlights the best aspects of your application. 

This guide will detail each of the UPenn essay prompts and provide tips for your UPenn supplemental essays. For each UPenn supplemental essay, we’ll break down the best way to tackle the prompt and how to choose a topic.

Overall, the University of Pennsylvania essays are the best way to communicate directly with the UPenn admissions officers. So, it’s important that your essays speak to your individual strengths. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the UPenn supplemental essays!  

UPenn Supplemental Essays: Quick Facts

University of pennsylvania application quick facts.

  • UPenn Acceptance Rate: 6% – U.S News ranks UPenn #7 in National Universities 
  • UPenn Application Requirements: In order to apply to UPenn , students must submit their UPenn application through either the Common App or Coalition App. Students must also provide an official high school transcript, school report, and letters of recommendation. 
  • Early Decision: November 1 st
  • Regular Decision: January 5 th
  • UPenn Supplemental Essay Requirements : UPenn requires three supplemental essays for every applicant. This also includes one school-specific essay that will depend on the program you are applying to. Additionally, students applying to the coordinated dual-degree and specialized programs will have an additional program-specific essay to complete. 
  • UPenn Supplemental Essay Tip: Your UPenn supplemental essays should highlight different themes/topics from your personal statement essay. The UPenn supplemental essay prompts are designed to paint a more holistic picture of your application. So, make sure your topics are unique and specific to your experience! 

Does UPenn have any supplemental essays?

Yes, UPenn has several different supplemental essays. We will detail the UPenn supplemental essay prompts later in this guide. In addition to the 2 required UPenn supplemental essays, UPenn requires a third school-specific supplemental essay.

Be aware of the UPenn essay deadline, and give yourself enough time to write and edit your UPenn supplemental essays. The UPenn essay deadline is the same as the application deadline , so be sure to start your UPenn supplemental essays early!  

How many essays does UPenn require?

Most students will be required to complete three UPenn supplemental essays. Each student will be required to complete the first two UPenn essay prompts, and then one school-specific essay prompt. Those applying to one of the coordinated dual degree and specialized programs will also need to complete an additional UPenn essay. Up next, we’ll take a look at each UPenn supplemental essay prompt. 

UPenn Essays: A Thank You Note

upenn supplemental essays

The first UPenn supplemental essay prompt is only required for first-year applicants. 

Write a short thank-you note to someone you have not yet thanked and would like to acknowledge. (We encourage you to share this note with that person, if possible, and reflect on the experience!) (150-200 words)

The thank you note prompt is designed to help UPenn Admissions learn about who you are through your relationships. So, in your essay, they want to hear about the people who have helped you become who you are today. This UPenn supplemental essay is a great chance to share something deeply personal while showing your appreciation for someone important. 

Think carefully about what story fits in the greater context of your application. You can pick a teacher, coach, mentor, community leader, friend, or family member – it’s up to you! Additionally, in this University of Pennsylvania essay, you’ll need to draw your reader in with context and details. Writing about a specific anecdote can anchor your essay and also help your reader feel the impact of this particular relationship.

There’s a lot you might be thankful for. However, try to think of people who have helped you grow as a person or learn some kind of lesson. That way, you can capture something about who you are and what you admire in others. It may take several drafts to get your UPenn supplemental essays within the word count, so be mindful of the UPenn essay deadline! 

UPenn Supplemental Essays: Community Essay

upenn supplemental essays

The second UPenn supplemental essay prompt is the closest to a why UPenn essay. 

How will you explore community at Penn? Consider how Penn will help shape your perspective, and how your experiences and perspective will help shape Penn. (150-200 words)

This why UPenn essay prompt is framed specifically around community. So, think about the community you’ve built in high school and how you’ll create a new network in college. What clubs, sports, or organizations are you interested in joining? Moreover, how do you envision your community forming at UPenn? Additionally, try to be specific to the unique opportunities at UPenn – what are you most excited about experiencing on campus?

Your why UPenn essay should make it clear to admissions officers that you’ve done your research. So, beyond listing specific details, you should have a clear perspective on how UPenn will help shape you over four years. Think about what you’re bringing to the UPenn community and what you hope to get out of it. Your why UPenn essay should be founded in reciprocity, so think about what you have to offer as well as what UPenn offers you. 

Be sure to hit all points of the UPenn essay prompts as well. It can be easy to focus on how you’ll build community. But, be sure to reflect on your experiences and how they will shape Penn as well. With a smaller word count, this can be a challenge. However, focusing on one aspect of the UPenn community can help. Your why UPenn essay should be unique to you and your passions. So, take the time to do your own research and find something that really excites you!

UPenn School Specific Short Answer Prompts

upenn supplemental essays

Applicants need to write one more UPenn supplemental essay, which will depend on the school or college they’re applying to. These school specific UPenn supplemental essays help UPenn understand your academic goals. So, don’t neglect them.

Here are the school specific UPenn supplemental essay prompts: 

Doing research.

Compared to a why UPenn essay, these UPenn supplemental essays specifically discuss your intended major. These UPenn supplemental essays resemble other why major essays you may encounter for other schools. So, if you want some inspiration, you can build off the foundation highlighted in these why major essay examples . However, it’s important that your UPenn supplemental essay highlights specific information for the UPenn program you’re applying to. 

Comprehensive research is key to these UPenn supplemental essays. So, look into the major or program you’re applying to and try to find specific details to include in your essay. Try to find individual classes , professors , or research projects you can highlight. Connect your interest in your chosen major to the specifics of your program. Then, be sure to explain how UPenn will help you achieve your academic and even future career goals. 

Choosing a Major

These UPenn supplemental essays aim to capture your passion as well as your experience within your chosen major. So, think carefully about why you’ve chosen a particular school or college. If you’re still unsure about what major to select, check out our webinar on Deciding Your College Major . Your excitement about your major will help you feel confident tackling this University of Pennsylvania essay! 

UPenn Supplemental Essay: Dual Degree/Specialized Programs

Students applying to one of UPenn’s dual degree or specialized programs also have specific UPenn application requirements. To apply, students must complete an additional University of Pennsylvania essay.

Here are the prompts for the dual degree/specialized programs UPenn supplemental essays: 

upenn supplemental essays

Understanding the University of Pennsylvania essay prompts

Overall, each of these University of Pennsylvania essay prompts is extremely specific. So, just like with the why UPenn essay and the program-specific UPenn supplemental essays, research is key.

With the competitive UPenn acceptance rate and its highly-ranked programs , admission is selective to these dual-degree programs. These UPenn supplemental essays help the UPenn admissions team understand your interest in these programs. Dual degree/specialized programs can be extremely demanding. So, you’ll want your University of Pennsylvania essay to communicate your passion and dedication to that specific program and field.

Identifying which UPenn Supplemental Essays to answer

upenn supplemental essays

The UPenn supplemental essays you complete will depend on which school you’re applying to. Your UPenn supplemental essay requirements will populate based on your school/college selection via the Common App or Coalition App. So, you will easily see which University of Pennsylvania essay prompts are required.

The first two UPenn supplemental essay prompts, including the why UPenn essay, are required for all applicants. The third prompt will depend on which school you are applying to, but all applicants will complete a school-specific essay. Students who are applying to a dual degree or specialized program will also write a fourth UPenn supplemental essay.

To find out which UPenn supplemental essays you will need to complete, explore UPenn’s majors . Then, you can check to see which school or college your intended major is housed in.

Does UPenn care about essays?

Yes, UPenn cares about essays – they are a key element of the school’s comprehensive review process . The UPenn supplemental essays are the best way for UPenn to get to know you better. The UPenn essay prompts are designed to help your readers understand your interest in UPenn as well as your academic goals. This is your chance to tell your story, so it’s important to spend adequate time and energy on each UPenn essay. Since all of the UPenn essays are required, it’s fair to say that your UPenn supplemental essays matter!

The UPenn supplemental essays are also a great chance to explain certain aspects of your application in greater detail. So, be sure to highlight what you find most compelling about your experiences within each UPenn supplemental essay.

The University of Pennsylvania essay is a crucial part of meeting the UPenn application requirements and crafting a strong application. So, be sure to take writing your essays seriously!

Five tips on how to write your UPenn Supplemental Essays

If you’re still feeling stuck starting or drafting your essays, don’t worry. Here are five tips to keep in mind while writing your UPenn supplemental essays: 

1. Be original

Your UPenn supplemental essays should reflect your academic goals and specific interest in UPenn. So, think carefully about what interests you about UPenn and make sure your why UPenn essay highlights this. The UPenn essay prompts aim to showcase your unique talents and experiences, so take advantage!

2. Read UPenn supplemental essay examples 

It can be hard to jump into writing your UPenn supplemental essays without knowing what a successful essay looks like. Before you get started, read our UPenn supplemental essay examples here . Even if the UPenn supplemental essay prompts differ, you can get inspiration from the writing style and content. 

3. Do your research

Your UPenn supplemental essays should also reflect the research you’ve done and communicate what about UPenn specially interests you. So, researching UPenn’s academics, student experience, and campus can help your UPenn supplemental essays highlight why you’re excited to attend UPenn. 

4. Edit thoroughly 

With such a selective admissions process, it’s important that your UPenn supplemental essays are polished. So, they must be free of grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, or any other distractions. It can also help to share each UPenn supplemental essay with a teacher or mentor to help in the editing process. Additionally, you’ll likely end up writing multiple drafts for each UPenn supplemental essay prompt – and that’s a good thing! Editing, revising, and trying new approaches can help you write your best University of Pennsylvania essay. 

5. Have fun! 

Overall, the UPenn supplemental essays are a great chance to be creative in the admissions process. Try to write a UPenn supplemental essay in a different writing style, or experiment with your topics. The UPenn supplemental essay prompts help the school gain insight into who you are, so take advantage of the opportunity! 

How to make your UPenn essays stand out

upenn supplemental essays

Your University of Pennsylvania essay is a crucial part of your overall application. The UPenn supplemental essays help admissions officers understand your goals and ambitions. The best UPenn supplemental essays work together to paint a holistic picture of an applicant. So, to help your UPenn supplemental essay stand out, take a step back and think about your larger narrative . 

Each UPenn supplemental essay should also reinforce central themes present in your application. If you hope to become a doctor, your UPenn supplemental essays should illustrate your path towards medicine. For example, your why UPenn essay might explain how UPenn’s pre-med program will help prepare you for medical school. Then, your school-specific essay might explain why you want to be a doctor.

Ask yourself, what different stories can you tell? Additionally, which stories fit better for different prompts? The most effective UPenn supplemental essay will help your reader view you as a complete individual. That means highlighting the values and passions of the person behind the grades and test scores .

More UPenn Resources from CollegeAdvisor and Beyond

CollegeAdvisor has a number of resources to help you through the entire college application process. You can read our guides on How to Get Into UPenn , and Ivy League Essay Examples . If you’re still feeling stuck on the University of Pennsylvania essay, try reading our essay guides. You’ll find more helpful tips regarding College Essay Topics and How to Write Better Essays . 

For more information on the University of Pennsylvania, be sure to check our Forbes and the College Board . We also recommend visiting UPenn’s website to find the most up-to-date details about the application process , and academic programs . You can also read the Daily Pennsylvanian , UPenn’s student newspaper, to get a better sense of student life.

UPenn Supplemental Essays – 5 Takeaways

upenn supplemental essays

Each UPenn supplemental essay is a major component to your overall application. Here are 5 takeaways on how to write each of your UPenn supplemental essays.

Start early 

The University of Pennsylvania essay can take many different drafts, edits, and attempts to complete. So, it’s crucial to start your UPenn supplemental essay early to give yourself enough time to write the best version possible. Essay prompts are typically released in late summer, so be sure to monitor UPenn’s website for any updates. 

Do your research 

The UPenn supplemental essay is meant to demonstrate your interest in attending UPenn vs other universities. You should be able to pinpoint why UPenn is the best fit for you as well as how UPenn will help you achieve your goals. Spend time researching academic programs, student activities, and special programs for your UPenn supplemental essay. 

Be specific 

Your University of Pennsylvania essay will be one of hundreds submitted for consideration. So, it’s important that your essay captures your specific and unique narrative. The more details you can include, the better. It’s important that your voice comes through – but it may take multiple drafts for this to happen!

Write multiple drafts

The first draft of your University of Pennsylvania essay should look very different from your final draft. The only way to ensure that you submit the best versions of your UPenn supplemental essays is to undergo multiple drafts and edits. Even if you don’t think you need to, take some time away from your drafts and read them with fresh eyes. Additionally, you might be surprised what new ideas come to mind or spelling mistakes you didn’t notice on a first read!

Consult with others 

Even if you write multiple drafts, it can be hard to imagine how your ideas land on an outside reader. So, try to get your University of Pennsylvania essay read by another person before submission. Reach out to your teachers, mentors, or family members to provide feedback on your essays. Then you can choose what feedback to incorporate into your final draft.

upenn supplemental essays

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How to Write the UPenn Supplemental Essays 2023–2024

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The University of Pennsylvania , located in Philadelphia, PA is an Ivy League university with notable alumni including Elon Musk, John Legend, and Noam Chomsky . Known as “Penn” or “UPenn,” this university also boasts an impressive faculty, from Jeb Bush to Adam Grant. It’s no surprise, then, that their admissions statistics are just as intimidating—only 4.1% of applicants were accepted into the Class of 2027. In this article, we’ll cover how to nail your UPenn supplemental essays.

University of Pennsylvania campus

Applications are evaluated holistically at the University of Pennsylvania, and students who can demonstrate intelligence, empathy, and personality in their supplemental essays will be most successful. Let’s dive right in.

University of Pennsylvania’s 2023-2024 Prompts

There are two kinds of essays you need to write for your UPenn application, for a total of three essays (unless you choose to apply to a specialized or dual degree program, or you are a transfer student, in which case you will have to write additional essays not addressed in this article). The first two essays are required for all first-year undergraduate applicants, while the third essay is specific to the school at UPenn to which you are applying.

Supplemental Short Answer Prompts

Write a short thank-you note to someone you have not yet thanked and would like to acknowledge. (we encourage you to share this note with that person, if possible, and reflect on the experience) (150-200 words), how will you explore community at penn consider how penn will help shape your perspective, and how your experiences and perspective will help shape penn. (150-200 words), undergraduate school academic short answer prompts, penn nursing intends to meet the health needs of society in a global and multicultural world by preparing its students to impact healthcare by advancing science and promoting equity. what do you think this means for the future of nursing, and how do you see yourself contributing to our mission of promoting equity in healthcare (150-200 words), the flexible structure of the college of arts and sciences’ curriculum is designed to inspire exploration, foster connections, and help you create a path of study through general education courses and a major. what are you curious about and how would you take advantage of opportunities in the arts and sciences (150-200 words), wharton prepares its students to make an impact by applying business methods and economic theory to real-world problems, including economic, political, and social issues.  please reflect on a current issue of importance to you and share how you hope a wharton education would help you to explore it.  (150-200 words), penn engineering prepares its students to become leaders in technology, by combining a strong foundation in the natural sciences and mathematics, exploration in the liberal arts, and depth of study in focused disciplinary majors. please share how you hope to explore your engineering interests at penn. (150-200 words).

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This prompt asks you to reflect on your relationships, and in particular, a relationship that has shaped you significantly and deserves acknowledgment. Admissions officers ask these kinds of questions in order to better understand your maturity level and ability to express authentic gratitude to those who have helped you in your life’s journey. 

It’s less important who you thank, and more important how you thank them. Use specific details and/or anecdotes in your letter, and make it clear that you didn’t take their contributions to your life for granted. Also, bear in mind that this kind of essay prompt often gives rise to clichéd responses. Review each phrase in your essay and consider whether it sounds like a cliché—have you read this phrase before in a book? Have you heard someone say this phrase before? If you want your essay to stand out, the language needs to stand out as well.

This essay question requires you to discuss your intended contributions to the community at UPenn in addition to your own past experiences in communities. You’ll also need to briefly discuss or imply through your discussions of past and future community interactions how your unique perspective influences your interactions within communities. That’s a lot to discuss in only 150-200 words: your past interactions with communities, your current perspective on community engagement, and your future intended exploration of the community at UPenn.

How can you fit so much information into one short essay? You can consider this essay to be akin to a “Why UPenn?” essay. You could talk about how your past experiences in communities make UPenn’s community a perfect fit for you, due to your unique perspective on the world.

Alternatively, you could focus on a particular past experience in a community and how you hope to recreate or improve upon this experience while at UPenn. Demonstrate your research into UPenn by naming specific programs or aspects of UPenn’s community which speak to you!

These prompts are specific to UPenn’s various schools: Penn Nursing , The College of Arts and Sciences , Wharton , and Penn Engineering . You don’t have to know your major going into a UPenn application, but you do need to know your school of choice. Moreover, each school has unique resources and opportunities which you should remark upon in your essay. 

Note that students in all schools can take courses in other schools but transferring between them is very challenging; therefore, be sure to apply to the school which is genuinely most appropriate to your interests. Don’t apply to one school hoping to switch to another!

This essay prompt not only expects the student to have looked into the opportunities at Penn Nursing, but also that the student has been thinking and processing their thoughts about the global future of nursing. In this essay, you should consider presenting 1-2 programs, courses, extracurriculars, or other opportunities at Penn Nursing which you would like to take advantage of as a student and express how these opportunities would prepare you to contribute to Penn Nursing’s mission of promoting equity in healthcare.

Alternatively, you could focus your essay on your intended future contributions to the field of healthcare with brief discussion of how Penn Nursing will help further your goals. You could also discuss your perspective on the future of healthcare, ideally through a global lens which addresses scientific advancements and the promotion of equity in a multicultural landscape. One of the challenges of this prompt is addressing all of the topics it mentions. In your response, do your best to hint at each one, whether directly or indirectly.

The challenge with applying to The College of Arts and Sciences at UPenn, versus one of the other schools, is that it has the least specific curriculum. Thus, your essay should point out 1-2 specific programs, courses, professors, or other opportunities which you have researched and have determined are most interesting to you. 

Even if you’re undecided about your major, you can still discuss subjects which have sparked your curiosity and enthusiasm in the past. You can talk about academic topics that you get lost in, projects which have wiled away many hours, and questions you hope to investigate while a student at UPenn. Then, your excitement for the future opportunities at UPenn which you hope to take advantage of will make sense in the narrative of your academic journey.

Highlight your curiosity in your response by “showing” and not “telling.” Many students fall into the trap of telling the reader that they are curious, but just saying you are passionate about biology or you love history is neither memorable to read nor particularly credible to the reader. Clarify your curiosity, excitement, or passion for learning through specific details and genuine enthusiasm. Write an essay that could be written by no one else—every sentence should be specific to you and your perspectives and experiences!

Many students apply to Wharton without a motivation beyond making money or attending a prestigious name-brand institution. Of course, these are legitimate motivations. But Wharton is more than a pre-professional program and UPenn is ultimately an academically focused institution seeking academically motivated students. 

Before writing this essay, consider researching economic, political, and/or social issues which are relevant today, and narrow down your research topics to those which are most interesting to you. Consider how one of these issues could serve as a useful and engaging long-term research project. Develop a question which is specific, timely, and—most importantly—fascinating to you. 

Then, you can compose an essay which revolves around this question and remarks upon how various opportunities at Wharton will help you develop a nuanced answer to this question. Mention by name a class you could take, a professor under whom you could conduct research, or another academic program which would help you become more informed on this issue. Be as specific as possible in your response, while also being sure to tie your curiosity about this question to the opportunities at Wharton which relate to this question. 

In this essay response, you should elucidate your engineering interests and how you intend to explore these interests at UPenn. That means naming specific programs, courses, professors, and other opportunities at Penn Engineering that excite you. In addition, mention opportunities across disciplines, as the admissions officers are seeking students who will engage in UPenn’s curricula with both depth and breadth: depth of study into specific topics of interest and breadth of topics across interests.

Ideally, your essay will address more than just academics, albeit briefly. The prompt mentions “leaders in technology”; if admissions officers are looking for students who will become leaders in technology, then describing how you seek to be a leader on campus or pursue innovation through extracurriculars will help round out your essay’s narrative.

If you need help polishing up your UPenn College supplemental essays, check out our College Essay Review service. You can receive detailed feedback from Ivy League consultants in as little as 24 hours.

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University of Pennsylvania | UPenn’s 2023-24 Essay Prompts

Gratitude short response.

Write a short thank-you note to someone you have not yet thanked and would like to acknowledge. (We encourage you to share this note with that person, if possible, and reflect on the experience!)

Diversity Short Response

How will you explore community at Penn? Consider how Penn will help shape your perspective, and how your experiences and perspective will help shape Penn.

College of Arts and Sciences Short Response

The flexible structure of The College of Arts and Sciences’ curriculum is designed to inspire exploration, foster connections, and help you create a path of study through general education courses and a major. What are you curious about and how would you take advantage of opportunities in the arts and sciences?

Penn Engineering Short Response

Penn Engineering prepares its students to become leaders in technology, by combining a strong foundation in the natural sciences and mathematics, exploration in the liberal arts, and depth of study in focused disciplinary majors. Please share how you hope to explore your engineering interests at Penn.

Penn Nursing Short Response

Penn Nursing intends to meet the health needs of society in a global and multicultural world by preparing its students to impact healthcare by advancing science and promoting equity. What do you think this means for the future of nursing, and how do you see yourself contributing to our mission of promoting equity in healthcare?

Wharton Short Response

Wharton prepares its students to make an impact by applying business methods and economic theory to real-world problems, including economic, political, and social issues. Please reflect on a current issue of importance to you and share how you hope a Wharton education would help you to explore it.

Huntsman Program Essay

The Huntsman Program supports the development of globally-minded scholars who become engaged citizens, creative innovators, and ethical leaders in the public, private, and non-profit sectors in the United States and internationally. What draws you to a dual-degree in business and international studies, and how would you use what you learn to make a contribution to a global issue where business and international affairs intersect?

Digital Media Design Program Essay

Why are you interested in the Digital Media Design (DMD) program at the University of Pennsylvania?

Life Sciences and Management Program Essay

The LSM program aims to provide students with a fundamental understanding of the life sciences and their management with an eye to identifying, advancing and implementing innovations. What issues would you want to address using the understanding gained from such a program? Note that this essay should be distinct from your single degree essay.

Jerome Fisher Management and Technology Program Essay 1

Explain how you will use the M&T program to explore your interest in business, engineering, and the intersection of the two.

Jerome Fisher Management and Technology Program Essay 2

Describe a problem that you solved that showed leadership and creativity.

NETS Engineering Program Essay

Describe your interests in modern networked information systems and technologies, such as the Internet, and their impact on society, whether in terms of economics, communication, or the creation of beneficial content for society. Feel free to draw on examples from your own experiences as a user, developer, or student of technology.

Nursing and Healthcare Management Program Essay

Discuss your interest in nursing and health care management. How might Penn’s coordinated dual-degree program in nursing and business help you meet your goals?

VIPER Program Essay

How do you envision your participation in the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER) furthering your interests in energy science and technology? Please include any past experiences (ex. academic, research, or extracurricular) that have led to your interest in the program. Additionally, please indicate why you are interested in pursuing dual degrees in science and engineering and which VIPER majors are most interesting to you at this time.

Bio-Dental Program Short Response 1

Please list pre-dental or pre-medical experience. This experience can include but is not limited to observation in a private practice, dental clinic, or hospital setting; dental assisting; dental laboratory work; dental or medical research, etc. Please include time allotted to each activity, dates of attendance, location, and description of your experience. If you do not have any pre-dental or pre-medical experience, please indicate what you have done or plan to do in order to explore dentistry as a career.

Bio-Dental Program Short Response 2

Do you have relatives who are dentists or are in dental school? If so, indicate the name of each relative, his/her relationship to you, the school attended, and the dates attended.

Bio-Dental Program Short Response 3

Describe any activities which demonstrate your ability to work with your hands.

Bio-Dental Program Short Response 4

What activities have you performed that demonstrate your ability to work cooperatively with people

Bio-Dental Program Short Response 5

Please explain your reasons for selecting a career in dentistry. Please include what interests you the most in dentistry as well as what interests you the least.

Common App Personal Essay

The essay demonstrates your ability to write clearly and concisely on a selected topic and helps you distinguish yourself in your own voice. What do you want the readers of your application to know about you apart from courses, grades, and test scores? Choose the option that best helps you answer that question and write an essay of no more than 650 words, using the prompt to inspire and structure your response. Remember: 650 words is your limit, not your goal. Use the full range if you need it, but don‘t feel obligated to do so.

Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?

Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you‘ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

What will first-time readers think of your college essay?

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How to Respond to the 2023-2024 UPenn Supplemental Essay Prompts

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Most students who apply to schools as prestigious as the University of Pennsylvania have impressive academic and extracurricular records. If you want your application to shine above the rest, the UPenn supplemental essays are your opportunity! 

UPenn has three required prompts. Each ask students to share how UPenn will fulfill their goals, in and out of the classroom. The challenge is crafting a sincere yet differentiated answer to these “Why UPenn” essays.  Let’s discuss how to ace each prompt. Our tips include questions that will help you draw upon the best examples from your own experiences.  

Also see: How to answer the Common App essay prompts

“Write a short thank-you note to someone you have not yet thanked and would like to acknowledge. (We encourage you to share this note with that person, if possible, and reflect on the experience!) (150-200 words)”

This prompt asks you something that many colleges do not– they want to know about your relationships. This is great because it shows the admissions committee a glimpse into what type of person you are, and what you care about. Gratitude tells a lot about a person, so whoever you decide to write to, make sure that it is sincere and truthful. 

This prompt is to be written with between 150 and 200 words. Depending on how you feel about writing, this can be seen as a whole lot of writing or not enough space to say how you really feel. Either way, if you just write from your heart with this prompt, you can always go back and edit it to get the word count correct. 

Questions to consider: 

  • Who has helped you the most in your life?
  • What are you grateful for?
  • Have you experienced something big that a family member or friend helped you through?
“How will you explore community at Penn? Consider how Penn will help shape your perspective and identity, and how your identity and perspective will help shape Penn. (150-200 words)”

This prompt acknowledges the social aspect of attending a college or university. One of the big things that many higher education institutions look for in a student is that they are more than just their academics. Penn is big on community, so this prompt is asking you how you will benefit from the community that the school offers, and also how the community will benefit from your involvement. 

For many students, the most difficult part about writing college supplemental essays is writing about themselves. For this prompt, UPenn wants to know about your positive attributes. It is okay to hype yourself up– actually, that is what they want to hear! So although it may seem awkward at first to talk about what you have to offer in their community, it is important that you start to get comfortable writing in that way about yourself. 

Here are some questions you could ask yourself: 

  • Are you a part of a community at home?
  • What are you looking for in a college when it comes to community?
  • What do you feel are the most important parts of your identity that you can see in the community around you?
“Considering the specific undergraduate school you have selected, describe how you intend to explore your academic and intellectual interests at the University of Pennsylvania. (150-200 words)”

For this prompt, you do not want to just repeat what is already on your transcript, resume, or application. This is a place that you can deep dive into the parts of your academics, where you may not have been able to elaborate in your application. It will be important to connect your previous academic experiences to what you want your future academics to look like at UPenn.

In addition to your previous academics, you will want to talk about your goals and aspirations academically and intellectually in college. This does not necessarily have to be specific to UPenn, but it can be. If you want to catch the reader’s attention, you can connect it to things that are specific to UPenn, such as specific professors you are looking forward to working with, research opportunities that UPenn offers that other schools don’t, or classes that you are excited about. 

  • What major are you interested in?
  • Do you plan to study abroad?
  • What topics are you interested in researching?
  • What excites you academically?

See Also:   How to write an essay about yourself

Transfer Essay

“Please explain your reasons for transferring from your current institution and what you hope to gain by transferring to another institution. (4150 characters) ”

Also see : How to transfer colleges

This prompt is specifically for students who are wanting to transfer to UPenn from another institution. Although 4150 characters may seem like a great deal of words, remember that this is your opportunity to share your story and tell the university about who you are as a student, as a person, as a community member, and as a friend. 

It is a great idea to lean in on the second half of this prompt. What do you hope to gain from transferring to another college? Usually, when a person transfers to another university, it is because they were not getting everything they wanted out of the college that they started at. One thing that you need to remember is that you do not want to speak badly about your previous institution– this can be a bad look, depending on who is reading the essay. Be sure that you are focusing on yourself, and try to remain positive.

  • If you had a bad experience at your previous institution, how can you turn that around to be positive?
  • What are you looking forward to academically with UPenn?
  • What are you looking forward to in the community with UPenn?

Specialized and dual degree program prompts

Upenn offers seven special (and particularly competitive) programs . They each require a separate essay, with a bit longer word limit of 400-650. If you are interested in one of these tracks, be sure to get very specific in your answers. Make a list of concrete examples for how your chosen program satisfies your academic and personal aspirations. Given that these are such unique paths, showcase what you have been exposed to that has led you to develop this niche interest. Outline exactly how you envision this program setting you up for professional success. This is not the time to downplay your enthusiasm for the subject matter and confidence that you are a great candidate! 

Also see:  How to write a 500 word essay

Final thoughts

After reading the above pointers, you should be ready to tackle the UPenn supplemental essays! Don’t shy away from injecting your personality into the prompts. Also know that you can never do too much research in finding examples to reference. Because these prompts are pretty open-ended, trimming your answers to 250 words is sometimes the trickiest part. Get all of your initial thoughts down, and then revise. You got this! 

Additional resources

As you complete the UPenn supplemental essays, you’ve probably got a lot on your plate. Luckily, we can help you navigate it. Check out our guides on when to apply to college , how many colleges to apply to , and how to plan a college tour . We can also provide you with vetted, custom-matched scholarship opportunities which automatically update every day – make sure to try out our scholarship search tool . Best of luck with your admissions process!

Other colleges to consider

  • Columbia University (New York, NY)
  • University of Chicago (Chicago, IL)
  • Duke University (Durham, NC)
  • Princeton University (Princeton, NJ)
  • Dartmouth College (Hanover, NH)

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August 22, 2023

2023-2024 University of Pennsylvania Essay Prompts

Students walk under the arch at the University of Pennsylvania.

The University of Pennsylvania has released its essay prompts for the 2023-2024 college admissions cycle. In all, just like last year, applicants to the UPenn Class of 2028 will be asked to answer three required supplemental essays — in addition to The Common Application Personal Statement. In addition, there are additional essay requirements for UPenn’s coordinated dual degree and specialized programs. So what are this year’s UPenn supplemental essays , and how should they be tackled?

2023-2024 UPenn Essay Topics & Questions

Essays for all applicants.

Applicants to UPenn have 150-200 words for each of the three required supplemental admissions essays.

The first two supplemental essay prompts are as follows:

1. Write a short thank-you note to someone you have not yet thanked and would like to acknowledge. (We encourage you to share this note with that person, if possible, and reflect on the experience!)

When responding to this essay prompt, it’s important to note that the letter shouldn’t only be sweet. Even though it’s addressed to someone an applicant would like to acknowledge, it still needs to showcase the student’s intellectual curiosity if they hope to stand out. The person need not be hugely influential in our world — in fact, we’d discourage as much since that would risk rendering an applicant less likable as it would appear they’re trying to impress. But the narrative presented to the person must showcase how a student thinks.

2. How will you explore community at Penn? Consider how Penn will help shape your perspective and identity, and how your identity and perspective will help shape Penn.

This prompt is a version of a Why College essay . As such, it needs to be filled with specific after specific of how an applicant hopes to contribute to UPenn’s culture — from activities to traditions — all through the prism of a student’s evolving and ideally always malleable perspective.

Unlike in past years, the third essay prompt depends on the school within UPenn to which a student is applying (the College of Arts and Sciences , The Wharton School , the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences , or the School of Nursing ).

School-Specific Essay for All Applicants

The third essay prompt is school-dependent. The school-specific prompts, which must also be answered in 150-200 words, are as follows:

College of Arts and Sciences

The flexible structure of The College of Arts and Sciences’ curriculum is designed to inspire exploration, foster connections, and help you create a path of study through general education courses and a major. What are you curious about and how would you take advantage of opportunities in the arts and sciences?

Many applicants will fall through the big trap door for this essay prompt by writing about the classes they hope to take in the College of Arts and Sciences. But classes change, and admissions officers know that students can cut and paste a course from one university and change the name for the next university.

Instead, in this essay, it would behoove applicants to capture the enduring specifics of the curriculum. What’s the school’s secret sauce for how UPenn teaches the major the applicant wishes to study? Is there a weird requirement for the major? Are students required to participate in scientific studies? Will students need to attend a weekly lecture series in a library over tea and crackers? It’s these kind of details that can make all the difference.

The Wharton School Essay Prompt

Wharton prepares its students to make an impact by applying business methods and economic theory to real-world problems, including economic, political, and social issues. Please reflect on a current issue of importance to you and share how you hope a Wharton education would help you to explore it.

This prompt is a hybrid: part select an issue that matters to an applicant and part showcase how that issue can be addressed within Wharton. So pick an interesting issue — and students should not pick a topic that everyone will agree with them on. Ethics in business? Who doesn’t believe people should be ethical in business? And when students address the Why Wharton component of the prompt, make sure it’s filled with genuine specifics about the school within the school. And, no, name-dropping professors who may or may not be there next year do not count nor does listing classes that one can cut and paste from one university’s course catalog to the next.

School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Essay Prompt

Penn Engineering prepares its students to become leaders in technology, by combining a strong foundation in the natural sciences and mathematics, exploration in the liberal arts, and depth of study in focused disciplinary majors. Please share how you hope to explore your engineering interests at Penn.

This is a straight up the middle Why Penn Engineering question . The answer should be filled with specifics on how a student hopes to leave a mark on the world — through the power of engineering — with the help of the school within a school. Name-dropping professors and classes do not count as genuine specifics and risk rendering an applicant unlikable. Instead, applicants would be wise to select enduring specifics about UPenn’s engineering school to wow UPenn’s admissions officers.

School of Nursing Essay Prompt

Penn Nursing intends to meet the health needs of society in a global and multicultural world by preparing its students to impact healthcare by advancing science and promoting equity. What do you think this means for the future of nursing, and how do you see yourself contributing to our mission of promoting equity in healthcare?

This prompt is the equivalent of a Why Major question: Why nursing? It’s a chance to share a unique narrative that inspires admissions officers to want to root for a student. As such, there are better ways to go than writing about how one wants to be a nurse to help people. Clichés have no place in college admissions essays. And while the prompt doesn’t ask applicants to include specifics on UPenn’s School or Nursing, peppering in a few unique aspects of the school within a school will only help an applicant stand out.

Coordinated Dual Degree and Specialized Programs Short Answer Prompts

UPenn’s coordinated dual degree and specialized programs require essays of varying word and character counts. The prompts for each of the programs, along with their corresponding word and character counts are below:

DMD: Digital Media Design Program

Why are you interested in the Digital Media Design (DMD) program at the University of Pennsylvania? (400-650 words / 3575 characters)

This prompt is a Why Program essay. As such, it should be filled with genuine specific after specific that only apply to the program. That means no class names and no professor names. Applicants should instead endeavor to capture the enduring specifics of the program.

Huntsman: The Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business

The Huntsman Program supports the development of globally minded scholars who become engaged citizens, creative innovators, and ethical leaders in the public, private, and non-profit sectors in the United States and internationally. What draws you to a dual-degree program in business and international studies, and how would you use what you learn to contribute to a global issue where business and international affairs intersect? (400-650 words)

Huntsman applicants should have an interest in  international  business. As such, students need to articulate — ideally through their experiences and activities — what’s at the core of their interest in global markets. Applicants should not be general but choose one specific area within international business and showcase how they hope to leave an imprint in this area during their lifetime.

LSM: The Roy and Diana Vagelos Program in Life Sciences and Management

The LSM program aims to provide students with a fundamental understanding of the life sciences and their management with an eye to identifying, advancing, and implementing innovations. What issues would you want to address using the understanding gained from such a program? Note that this essay should be distinct from your single degree essay. (400-650 words)

Applicants should pick a topic within the life sciences — ideally, an issue that isn’t addressed all too often — and then outline how they hope to make a difference in this area during their college years and in the years that follow. Dare to choose a topic that’s a little bit controversial — that’s ok! Writing only about safe topics is a surefire way to create a bland application, so applicants should ignore all advice that sets them down that path.

M&T: The Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology

Explain how you will use the M&T program to explore your interest in business, engineering, and the intersection of the two. (400-650 words)

This prompt is a straight-up-the-middle Why Program essay. It should be filled not only with an applicant’s origin story, as high schoolers, for their interest in the intersection of business and engineering, but peppered throughout should be enduring specifics that apply to the Jerome Fisher program and only to the Jerome Fisher program. That means students should not name-drop professor names and class names since professors leave and classes change (not to mention, name-dropping professors undercuts a student’s likability).

Describe a problem that you solved that showed leadership and creativity. (250 words)

An applicant’s choice of a problem they’ve solved need not be grand in scale though it  should  be interesting. It can be a simple problem. Students have set themselves up for success as long as the issue’s at the intersection of engineering and business (or potentially business in the future, which can be outlined in this essay). Ideally, through detailing the problem, admissions officers might even learn something — not only about the applicant but about the issue. Applicants should always aim to make admissions officers smarter for having read their essays!

NETS: The Rajendra and Neera Singh Program in Networked and Social Systems Engineering

Describe your interests in modern networked information systems and technologies, such as the internet, and their impact on society, whether in terms of economics, communication, or the creation of beneficial content for society. Feel free to draw on examples from your own experiences as a user, developer, or student of technology. (400-650 words / 3575 characters**)

Make sure to pick a topic everyone, even admissions officers who aren’t necessarily computer scientists, can understand. And don’t pick a topic that appears in the press just about every day. Yes, that means writing about big technology startups controlling too much private user data and not using it responsibly is out.

NHCM: Nursing and Healthcare Management

Discuss your interest in nursing and health care management. How might Penn’s coordinated dual-degree program in nursing and business help you meet your goals? (400-650 words)

This prompt is a hybrid: Why Nursing and Why NHCM. Students should articulate the origin of their interest in nursing (as high schoolers, not as children) and then pepper in many specifics about NHCM that are unique to NHCM. That means if one can cut and paste a line from this essay for another school or program, it should be deleted.

Seven-Year Bio-Dental Program

Please list any predental or premedical experience. This experience can include but is not limited to observation in a private practice, dental clinic, or hospital setting; dental assisting; dental laboratory work; dental or medical research; etc. Please include time allotted to each activity, dates of attendance, location, and a description of your experience. If you do not have any predental or premedical experience, please indicate what you have done or plan to do in order to explore dentistry as a career.

Do write a list. Don’t write an essay. It’s critical to follow the instructions!

Do you have relatives who are dentists or are in dental school? If so, indicate the name of each relative, his/her relationship to you, the school attended, and the dates attended.

This prompt is self-explanatory. No creativity is necessary!

Describe any activities which demonstrate your ability to work with your hands.

As long as this essay showcases intellectual curiosity, the answer can be silly, like playdough. But it  must  showcase intellectual curiosity!

What activities have you performed that demonstrate your ability to work effectively with people?

Tell a story here (or two stories!). The right kind of stories — rather than generic activities that showcase an applicant’s ability to work with others effectively — can inspire admissions officers to root for an applicant.

Please explain your reasons for selecting dentistry. Please include what interests you the most about dentistry as well as what interests you least.

This prompt is a straight-up-the-middle Why Dentistry essay. Applicants should make sure not to write about the origin of their interest in becoming a dentist as a child. It should be as a high schooler to showcase how the applicant thinks.

VIPER: The Roy and Diana Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research

How do you envision your participation in the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER) furthering your interests in energy science and technology? Please include any past experiences (ex. academic, research, or extracurricular) that have led to your interest in the program. Additionally, please indicate why you are interested in pursuing dual degrees in science and engineering and which VIPER majors are most interesting to you at this time. (400-650 words)

This prompt is a hybrid: it’s part Why Energy Science and Technology and part Why VIPER. The origin story for the interest in energy science and technology should stem from high school, and peppered throughout the essay should be specifics about VIPER that don’t apply to any other program at any other university.

Ivy Coach’s Assistance with University of Pennsylvania Essays

If you’re interested in presenting the most compelling storytelling possible in the UPenn supplemental essays, fill out Ivy Coach ‘s consultation form , and we’ll be in touch to outline our college counseling services that are directly with Ivy Coach’s Jayson Weingarten , a former University of Pennsylvania admissions officer.

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How to Write the University of Pennsylvania Supplemental Essays 2023-2024

September 13, 2023

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When you sit down to craft your University of Pennsylvania supplemental essays, consider how your passion for UPenn sets you apart. Perhaps you're captivated by the opportunity to integrate your chosen major with your volunteer work through Penn's exceptional community engagement programs. Or maybe it was the charm of Philadelphia's historic buildings and cobblestone streets that stole your heart during your campus visit. Regardless, if you truly believe that Penn could be your home for the next four years, now is the time to articulate your reasons and aspirations on paper. To assist you in tackling this year's essay questions, I have meticulously analyzed each prompt, provided various approaches to addressing them, and shared additional tips to ensure you can excel in your University of Pennsylvania supplemental essays for the 2023-2024 application cycle.

Penn-Specific Essays for All Applicants

Regardless of which school or dual-degree program within Penn you’re applying to, all students have to answer the two required questions. Considering that 93% of applicants got rejected this year, your goal in writing the University of Pennsylvania supplemental essays 2023-2024 should be to stand out in demonstrating an unprecedented commitment to the home of the Quakers. 

1. Write a short thank-you note to someone you have not yet thanked and would like to acknowledge. (We encourage you to share this note with that person, if possible, and reflect on the experience!) (150-200 words)  

To become a valuable community member of any college, developing strong relationships and getting along with your peers is essential. The University of Pennsylvania recognizes the importance of these qualities, which is why they have introduced the prompt asking applicants to write a thank-you note to someone they have not yet thanked. This prompt aims to assess how applicants value others' presence in their lives, how they express gratitude, and what they truly value.

When considering who to thank and for what, think beyond the obvious choices. While thanking a parent or guardian for their hard work and dedication in raising you is a valid option, you can also take an unexpected route. Consider thanking the person who supports your theater troupe, the staff member at your school who goes above and beyond their duties, or a friend who consistently gives you rides to and from activities. By choosing someone unexpected, you can showcase your ability to recognize and appreciate the individuals who have made a significant impact on your life.

Additionally, instead of just stating what you did or why you are thankful, take the opportunity to convey your emotions and the impact the person has had on you. Your tone should be directed towards the person you are thanking, rather than the admissions officer who will be reading your essay. 

Remember, the purpose of this essay is not just to showcase your writing skills, but also to provide insights into your character and values. Use this opportunity to highlight your ability to appreciate others, demonstrate empathy and kindness, and showcase the qualities that make you a valuable member of any community. By expressing your gratitude and acknowledging the impact others have had on your life, you will undoubtedly stand out in the University of Pennsylvania supplemental essays for the 2023-2024 application cycle.

2. How will you explore community at Penn? Consider how Penn will help shape your perspective, and how your experiences and perspective will help shape Penn. (150-200 words)

This prompt serves as an opportunity for the admissions officers to understand what makes you a unique person and which parts of campus you will contribute to the most. They want to see your passion and dedication to making a positive impact within the Penn community. Whether it is through student government, community service organizations, or cultural clubs, Penn is seeking individuals who will actively engage in and enhance the campus community.

While you can definitely mention which student organizations you hope to participate in at UPenn, focus on 1-2 of your most meaningful extracurricular experiences and highlight how your experiences can help shape Penn’s community. This is a chance for you to showcase your ability to connect your personal experiences to the larger Penn community. How will your unique perspective and background contribute to the diversity and inclusivity of the campus? How will your involvement in specific organizations or activities enrich your own growth and development? These are the types of questions you should consider when crafting your response.

Remember, Penn is looking for students who not only excel academically but also demonstrate a genuine commitment to being active and engaged members of the campus community. Use this prompt to showcase your leadership abilities, your passion for making a difference, and your desire to contribute to the vibrant and diverse community at Penn.

Dual-Degree Specific Questions

The school-specific prompt will now be unique to the school to which a student is applying. Considering the undergraduate school you have selected, please respond to your school-specific prompt below.For students applying to the coordinated dual-degree and specialized programs, please answer this question in regard to your single-degree school choice; your interest in the coordinated dual-degree or specialized program may be addressed through the program-specific essay.

If you’re applying to one of UPenn’s dual-degree programs, you’ll have to write additional essays. To answer the University of Pennsylvania supplemental essays 2023-2024 for each of these highly competitive programs, you have to convey how you’ve pursued the intersection of the respective fields, as well as why you’re choosing Penn’s very specific programs over schools that are already specialized. 

In your response, dive into details about discovering your love for your prospective field, whether it’s engineering, business, or biology. Was there one instance that catalyzed your passion and goals? How have you explored the subject of your interest since? How has your curiosity about the topic grown? The majority of your essay should be dedicated to tying your interest in what the specific Penn school has to offer. Admissions officers must have no doubt that you have done thorough research on both the college and what Penn looks for as a whole. 

For example, Penn Engineering values students who are able to apply their distinguished background in physics and math into innovation, design, and scientific discoveries. You can talk about some ways that you’re excited to elevate your passion for engineering and entrepreneurship through Penn’s Clarks Scholars Program for leadership in engineering. Or you might dedicate your essay to your plans to advocate for minority representation in engineering through the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Undergraduate Research Program .

An easy mistake to make in this essay would be to write about Penn in a broad and general sense when the prompt clearly asks you to write about the specific college you’re applying to. Think about that school, what makes it unique, and how it can help you reach your aspirations. If you could recycle this response for another school’s supplemental essays, it’s time to start a new draft.

Additional Tips for Writing the UPenn Supplemental Essays 2023-2024

Here are some final tips to get you on the right track for your University of Pennsylvania supplemental essays 2023-2024.

  • Don’t underestimate the power of your extracurriculars: Admissions officers want to know what makes you tick outside the classroom. Don’t just shrug off this essay and repeat information you’ve already included in your activities list. They want to know about your perspective and identity. Your activities could have shifted your views in a way that you might not have even realized before sitting down to write the essay. And you won’t be able to analyze their impact properly if you don’t look at them from a more nuanced angle.
  • If you’re pursuing a dual-degree, don’t write about it in the first two questions: Your response should only talk about the main school within Penn you’re applying to. For example, if you’re applying to the Life Sciences and Management program, which falls under both Wharton and the College of Arts and Science, you must pick either Wharton or the College of Arts and Sciences as your main school of choice. You’ll get a chance to elaborate on your interest in the specific program later.

The supplemental essays for the University of Pennsylvania are specifically designed to assess whether you would be a good fit for one of the colleges within UPenn. By thoroughly researching and understanding the distinct characteristics of each college, you can craft compelling responses that will persuade admissions officers that they are making the right decision, bringing you one step closer to becoming a proud Quaker. You've got this!

If you are looking for a college admissions counselor to help maximize your chances of getting into your dream school, we can help! InGenius Prep has helped more than 6,000 students around the world gain admission into the most competitive schools including Harvard, Yale, MIT, Johns Hopkins, Cornell, NYU, and more. Sign up for a free strategy call today and join the 6,000+ students we've helped get accepted into their dream schools. 

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How to write the upenn supplemental essays - examples & tips.

laptop with writing materials beside a latte

Reviewed by:

Rohan Jotwani

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 11/8/23

So, you’ve set your sights on attending the University of Pennsylvania. You’re confident in your GPA and SAT scores, but how should you write the UPenn supplemental essay? Read on to find out!

The University of Pennsylvania is one of the most selective schools in the United States. According to U.S. News, its acceptance rate is 7%. As such, it’s essential that applicants supply the admissions office with a detailed picture of not only who they are as a student but also as a person. 

Completing the UPenn supplemental essays is a necessary and crucial part of the application process. A well-written essay can give your application a massive boost, but a poorly-written one can affect your other materials significantly. 

In this guide, we’ll cover how to tackle the UPenn essays so that you can maximize your chance of acceptance!

UPenn Supplemental Essay Prompts 2023-2024

UPenn requires all applicants to complete three supplemental essays . Each required essay is short, with a maximum word count ranging from 200 to 250 words. 

If you're applying to a specialized program, you may have to complete additional essays. Take a look at our college guides for a step-by-step walkthrough of the UPenn application process. 

The following are the standard UPenn supplemental essay questions that all undergraduate applicants are required to complete. 

UPenn Required Essay Prompt #1

“Write a short thank-you note to someone you have not yet thanked and would like to acknowledge. (We encourage you to share this note with that person, if possible, and reflect on the experience!) (150-200 words)”

"Thank you"

UPenn Required Essay Prompt #2

“How will you explore community at Penn? Consider how Penn will help shape your perspective and identity, and how your identity and perspective will help shape Penn. (150-200 words)”  

UPenn Required Essay Prompt #3 - School of Nursing

“Penn Nursing intends to meet the health needs of society in a global and multicultural world by preparing its students to impact healthcare by advancing science and promoting equity. What do you think this means for the future of nursing, and how do you see yourself contributing to our mission of promoting equity in healthcare? (150-200 words)”

Nurse writing notes

UPenn Required Essay Prompt #4 - College of Arts and Sciences

“The flexible structure of The College of Arts and Sciences’ curriculum is designed to inspire exploration, foster connections, and help you create a path of study through general education courses and a major. What are you curious about and how would you take advantage of opportunities in the arts and sciences? (150-200 words)”

UPenn Required Essay Prompt #5 - The Wharton School 

“Wharton prepares its students to make an impact by applying business methods and economic theory to real-world problems, including economic, political, and social issues.  Please reflect on a current issue of importance to you and share how you hope a Wharton education would help you to explore it.  (150-200 words)”

UPenn Required Essay Prompt #6 - School of Engineering and Applied Science

“Penn Engineering prepares its students to become leaders in technology, by combining a strong foundation in the natural sciences and mathematics, exploration in the liberal arts, and depth of study in focused disciplinary majors. Please share how you hope to explore your engineering interests at Penn. (150-200 words)”

Female student in engineering lab

For the college-specific prompts (#3-6), you will only need to answer the prompt for the school you’re applying to. So, you’re only required to write three essays overall. 

UPenn Program-Specific Prompts

Depending on your desired program, you may also have to write essays tailored to your particular area of study. Many of the program-specific questions resemble the third supplemental essay question, asking the applicant to explain why they are interested in the specific academic path they are pursuing. 

Tap into your passion and use these questions to explore the practicalities of the path you’re on. Take a look at these program-specific essay prompts.

DMD: Digital Media Design Program

“Why are you interested in the Digital Media Design (DMD) program at the University of Pennsylvania? (400-650 words)”

Man writing on tablet

Huntsman : The Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business

“The Huntsman Program supports the development of globally-minded scholars who become engaged citizens, creative innovators, and ethical leaders in the public, private, and non-profit sectors in the United States and internationally. What draws you to a dual-degree program in business and international studies, and how would you use what you learn to make a contribution to a global issue where business and international affairs intersect? (400-650 words)”

LSM: The Roy and Diana Vagelos Program in Life Sciences and Management

“The LSM program aims to provide students with a fundamental understanding of the life sciences and their management with an eye to identifying, advancing and implementing innovations. What issues would you want to address using the understanding gained from such a program? Note that this essay should be distinct from your single degree essay. (400-650 words)”

M&T: The Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology

  • “Explain how you will use the M&T program to explore your interest in business, engineering, and the intersection of the two. (400-650 words)”
  • “Describe a problem that you solved that showed leadership and creativity. (250 words)”

upenn supplemental essays 23 24

NETS: The Rajendra and Neera Singh Program in Networked and Social Systems Engineering

“Describe your interests in modern networked information systems and technologies, such as the internet, and their impact on society, whether in terms of economics, communication, or the creation of beneficial content for society. Feel free to draw on examples from your own experiences as a user, developer, or student of technology. (400-650 words)”

NHCM: Nursing and Healthcare Management

“Discuss your interest in nursing and health care management. How might Penn's coordinated dual-degree program in nursing and business help you meet your goals? (400-650 words)”

Seven-Year Bio-Dental Program

Dentist attending to patient

This program has five prompts:

  • “Please list pre-dental or pre-medical experience. This experience can include but is not limited to observation in a private practice, dental clinic, or hospital setting; dental assisting; dental laboratory work; dental or medical research, etc. Please include time allotted to each activity, dates of attendance, location, and description of your experience. If you do not have any pre-dental or pre-medical experience, please indicate what you have done that led you to your decision to enter dentistry.
  • List any activities which demonstrate your ability to work with your hands.
  • What activities have you performed that demonstrate your ability to work cooperatively with people?
  • Please explain your reasons for selecting a career in dentistry. Please include what interests you the most in dentistry as well as what interests you the least.
  • Do you have relatives who are dentists or are in dental school? If so, indicate the name of each relative, his/her relationship to you, the school attended, and the dates attended.

*Please note that there is a 250 word limit for the Bio-Dental Program supplemental essays.”

VIPER: The Roy and Diana Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research

“How do you envision your participation in the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER) furthering your interests in energy science and technology? Please include any past experiences (ex. academic, research, or extracurricular) that have led to your interest in the program. Additionally, please indicate why you are interested in pursuing dual degrees in science and engineering and which VIPER majors are most interesting to you at this time. (400-650 words)”

How To Write Each Essay Prompt for UPenn

Male student writing in notebook

Let’s take some time to zero in on the three required essays that you’ll need to write for UPenn. Below, we’ll analyze what each prompt is asking of you and provide some tips to help you approach the essays well! 

How to Write the UPenn Supplemental Essay #1 + Analysis and Tips

UPenn prompt #1 : “Write a short thank-you note to someone you have not yet thanked and would like to acknowledge. (We encourage you to share this note with that person, if possible, and reflect on the experience!) (150-200 words)”

Analysis of prompt #1 : The school is seeking to figure out whether you have a sense of the importance of others in your life and if you realize the ways that they’ve helped you along the way. 

Though many high schoolers have learned the importance of individual hard work and discipline, studying at the university level often requires teamwork and collaboration. Schools like UPenn want to know that you’re prepared to participate and that you have a sense of community, which is further explored in the second essay. 

But to start, they want to get a sense of whether you know how others have made a difference in your life. This is your chance to show that to them. 

"Thank you"

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Tip #1: Choose Your Person Wisely : Take some time to consider the person you will choose for this prompt. Make sure to pick someone who has had a significant impact on your life and to whom you are genuinely thankful. Don’t just pick someone that you think will impress the admissions committee. 
  • Tip #2: Demonstrate Growth : Include reflections on how this person’s actions have changed you. Don’t be superficial ; dig deep into why you are thankful to this person and how you are still affected today. 
  • Tip #3: Be Vulnerable : This prompt asks you to write directly to the person you’re thanking, which encourages you to get personal. Don’t shy away from this! Vulnerability is a mark of humility. However, make sure not to include details that will make your reader uncomfortable. 

How to Write the UPenn Supplemental Essay #2 + Analysis and Tips

UPenn prompt #2 : “How will you explore community at Penn? Consider how Penn will help shape your perspective and identity, and how your identity and perspective will help shape Penn. (150-200 words)” 

Analysis of prompt #2 : Universities are communities. So, they are seeking students who have a sense of community and who want to be a part of one. 

In the first prompt, you are asked to demonstrate your appreciation for others who have shaped you in the past to who you are now. This second essay is an opportunity to show how you hope to contribute to the experience of those at UPenn and also how you hope to be transformed by your university experience.

Girls putting their hands together

  • Tip #1: Reflect on UPenn’s Culture : Take some time at the beginning of your essay to demonstrate your understanding of UPenn’s community values. This shows that you not only fit into the community but that you’ve put effort into researching UPenn’s mission and values.   
  • Tip #2: Show How You Fit : Now, talk about your own values and how they line up with UPenn’s. What draws you to UPenn outside of academics? How would you align with the school culture? 
  • Tip #3: The Details Matter : It can be helpful to get really specific and use small details to convey memorable and meaningful ideas. An article by UPenn tells students that “sometimes, the smallest, most tedious things are the places where… we can communicate the most about ourselves as people.”

How to Write the UPenn Supplemental Essay #3 + Analysis and Tips

Analysis of prompts #3-6 : The third UPenn required essay, although it varies from school to school, is essentially asking all students the same question: “Why us?” 

If you have a specific career path in mind, the school wants to know that you have an understanding of the knowledge you’ll need in order to get there. Not to mention if you will use the knowledge you obtain at their school to be a contributing member of society .

There is no ‘right’ answer when it comes to your reasoning for pursuing any course of learning. UPenn wants to see evidence that you want more from your education than just bringing home a huge paycheck or achieving an illustrious degree. UPenn is interested in what matters to you. 

"Why"

What do you know about the field of study you’re pursuing? Are your aspirations distinctive or a little hazy around the edges? How will you take advantage of the resources available to you? How will you contribute to the classroom environment? 

Seek to answer those questions when writing. Here are some more tips to help you tackle your third essay for UPenn: 

  • Tip #1: Know Your Program : UPenn advises applicants to be extremely specific about why they’re applying to their specified undergraduate school. The more you can get into those details in your supplemental essay, the better. You may want to end your essay talking about your future aspirations at UPenn and beyond!
  • Tip #2: Consider Your Personality : What are the specific factors that draw you to this field of study - class structure, learning opportunities, specific instructors? How will your personality and skill sets fuel your ability to thrive in the program of choice?
  • Tip #3: Answer the Prompt : It can be easy to get off-track when writing your essays, so be sure that you’re actually answering what’s being asked of you. UPenn has chosen specific prompts in order to learn certain things about you, so stay on topic to improve your chances of acceptance!

Examples of UPenn Supplemental Essays That Worked

Below, you’ll find some UPenn supplemental essays written by real applicants who were admitted to UPenn! Let’s look at each one and discuss what worked about it.

UPenn Supplemental Essay Example #1: The Thank-You Note

If you’re still unsure about how to approach this prompt, take a look at this example essay for some inspiration:

To my brother:
Every day when I come home from school, I am exhausted and kick off my shoes, thinking three steps ahead, about the homework I’ve got to do, or the friend who hasn’t called me in a while. Wrapped in a world of my own. 
And yet, every time I head out the door, I find the laces of my shoes have been neatly untied, loosened and ready for me to step into the shoe. Having not taken the simple step of untying them when I get home, I have not set myself up for a quick or efficient trip out the door.
You and I are so different. I live in a world of abstract ideas and mental exploration, you are grounded in practical matters and prefer not to stray from what is right in front of you. I’m not ‘cool’ and have struggled to make connections with other kids, you fit in so easily, without much effort. 
Although in the past I wished you would stick up for me more, I know how hard it can be to go against the grain. I know you’re looking out for me, in the way that you know how. You’re helping me find my own way by making the small inconveniences in my life disappear, so I can head out the door and face larger challenges. Although I’ve never witnessed you untying my laces, I know that it’s you. Nobody else is home, but your being there is enough. 
Thank you for showing me how to care for someone, and how to give support in a small but impactful way.

Shoes on ground

Why Essay #1 Worked

Each sentence offers a window into the identity of its writer. They reveal a person who is a bit of a dreamer, who loves to explore abstract ideas, and who sometimes has trouble fitting in. It also offers a window into the writer's thought process. 

Although they express their love of daydreaming, they are also detail-oriented, noticing small things like shoelaces that have been undone in their absence. The writer shows they're able to appreciate the personality differences between themselves and their brother. They have compassion for their brother despite their differences.

UPenn Supplemental Essay Example 2: How Will You Explore Community at UPenn?

Below is a sample essay responding to the community-focused UPenn essay prompt: 

As a kid, I was always encouraged to sit and listen to the adults around me, as they were having conversations with one another. Not to spy, or to get information I could use for my own advantage, but to observe people. My Dad told me you can tell a lot about a person based on what words they choose to say, and also how they say them.
Because I was a bit of a chatterbox as a kid, at times I thought he was giving me this advice, so I would be quiet and keep to myself a little more. But as I got older, I realized he was trying to help me build a skill; the skill of listening to others, before offering up a response.
Time went by, and I continued to be a chatty goofball. Though my stoic father had tried his best, I still much prefer telling jokes over sitting silently. Luckily, I was able to find the perfect outlet for both of my powers: improv club. I could act out as much as I wanted, but the most hilarious skits we came up with were the result of listening before responding to my teammates. 
As I’m hoping to pursue a degree in philosophy, I’m very excited to put these skills to practice in the classroom. I can’t wait to explore the dynamism that comes from discussing complex topics with my professors and other students. 

students raising hands in class

Why Essay #2 Worked

The writer sets the stage by explaining how they started to learn more about relating to others. They also showed how they came to learn to work with their nature - wanting to be more active and leading in a conversation while also working to ensure they are making space for others. 

The writer also seems to anticipate the classroom environment they will be in, knowing that University Philosophy classes often involve discourse on the theories students are exploring. The more you’ve armed yourself with an understanding of UPenn’s programs and classrooms, the easier it will be to write about how you will be an excellent addition to the school.

UPenn Supplemental Essay Example 3: Explaining Your Undergraduate School Choice

Here is a great example of an essay that explains the background and particular reasons behind a student’s specific undergraduate choices: 

“Some Pig.” The day I read these words was the day I became a vegetarian.
In around 192 pages, E.B. White changed my entire perspective. My parents suddenly had to grapple with the challenge of feeding a kid who would not eat meat. Luckily, they understood that this wasn't just a phase for me. I started to gain a curiosity about the inner lives of animals, leading me toward an interest in animal psychology.
How much do we really know about what animals are thinking or feeling? Will we ever live in a world where humans are able to communicate with animals? What kind of moral issues would we face should that possibility become a reality? These are questions I used to spend hours researching on the internet. 
One day, I stumbled upon a course on UPenn’s website: Animal Cognition and Ethics. I couldn’t believe it. A whole class dedicated to discussions of what I most wanted to know! This was the beginning of my goal of being admitted into UPenn’s Bachelor of Philosophy and Science program.
Knowing that Philosophy required an understanding of how to evaluate ideas and shape arguments for and against them, I joined my school’s debate team. I was able to gain a sense of how to consider a wide variety of opinions, and a respect for those with opposing opinions. 
This experience has prepared me to explore ideas with my fellow classmates at UPenn.

Man holding Boston Terrier

Why Essay #3 Worked

The writer begins by explaining the beginning of their passion for the topic they hope to study at Penn. They then get into the specific program they hope to be admitted to while mentioning a specific class offered at the school. 

In doing this, they are demonstrating not only that they have done some research into the school but that they are already capable of seeking out resources to take advantage of while studying there. 

UPenn is looking for students who are open to new experiences and are not necessarily satisfied with the status quo. In this essay example, the writer has sought to demonstrate their understanding of a college classroom dynamic by mentioning their experience with the debate team. In doing this, they’ve shown they can engage with ideas that are different from their own. 

Get More Sample Essays Here! 

Looking at examples of supplemental essays is a great way to find inspiration and discover strategies that work well. Use our extensive college essay database down below to find tons of other sample essays!

FAQs: UPenn Supplemental Essays

Looking for some fast answers? Here are our answers to a few common frequently asked questions about how to write the UPenn supplemental essays examples.

1. Does UPenn Require Supplemental Essays?

Yes. You must complete three supplemental essays, which are short in word count.

2. How Do I Write the UPenn Supplemental Essay?

Reflect about what makes you an ideal candidate, and seek to demonstrate how you think and how you will be a good student in your essays. Make sure you keep to the word count, and ensure your grammar and spelling are impeccable.

3. Is There a “Why UPenn” Essay?

Yes. The third and final supplemental essay prompts you to explain why you’ve chosen to apply to UPenn, although the specific prompt varies depending on the undergraduate college you’re applying to. 

Final Thoughts

Writing UPenn’s Supplemental essays is an exciting opportunity to give the school more information about the person you are behind your grades. The essays are concise and are therefore not highly daunting to complete. However, their short length requires applicants to be succinct. 

Taking time to reflect on the program you’ve chosen at UPenn, what the school’s identity is and how that fits into your self-concept will be advantageous for approaching each question and providing detailed examples.

Access 190+ sample college essays here

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October 19, 2023

Tips for Answering the University of Pennsylvania Supplemental Essay Prompts [2023 – 2024]

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The University of Pennsylvania, or Penn, was established in 1790 and is one of the oldest universities in America. This prestigious Ivy League school is known for its top-notch research as well as its undergraduate programs that focus on practical applications grounded in a strong liberal arts foundation. It accepts the Common Application or the Coalition Application and requires a Penn writing supplemental in addition to the general Common/Coalition Application essay. Your supplemental essay helps Penn gain a more holistic view of you as a potential student. The Penn website states, “Our ideal candidates are inspired to emulate our founder Benjamin Franklin by applying their knowledge in ‘service to society.’” Through your Common Application, the admissions committee is aware of your grades and test scores, and understands the level of rigor in your curriculum within the context of your high school environment. Use the supplemental essay to demonstrate how you are an ideal match for Penn and how Penn will help you to accomplish your life goals. Illustrate how you engage with and think about the world around you. Communicate your thoughts, values, and perspectives so the admissions committee can understand what is important to you!

Penn offers a binding early decision option with a November 1 deadline. Consider this option if Penn is your first choice, because the rate of admission is higher during the early decision round. In addition, if Penn is your top choice and you have any alumni ties, early decision might be the best approach. In the past, candidates with alumni affiliation received the most consideration during the early decision program. Keep in mind, applying to any school via binding early decision will limit when and how you can apply to other schools. You are allowed to apply early decision to Penn and early action to other nonbinding or nonrestrictive early action programs. Always check with the specific schools for guidelines. 

Before you sit down to begin writing your essays, do your research to learn as much as possible about Penn’s approach to education. Familiarize yourself with the unique character of the school, read through the website, get a sense of the campus and academic atmosphere, visit the campus (if possible), speak with students, and imagine yourself studying at Penn. In short, identify what makes the school a good fit for you. 

Penn is located in the city of Philadelphia and offers an exceptional education in a diverse urban setting on a primarily residential campus. Penn provides many opportunities for students to investigate various areas of interest. The availability of learning hubs is an example of how the school fosters the active and dynamic exploration of ideas. Think about how you might embrace this approach and the overall academic climate at Penn.  

It should come as no surprise that Penn is steeped in tradition. Although the curriculum at Penn is flexible, it has a high-quality liberal arts and science foundation. The four undergraduate schools (College of Arts and Science, Penn Engineering, School of Nursing, and The Wharton School) pride themselves on providing an integrated and functional education. The Penn site states that students “combine theoretical and practical thinking while developing the tools they need to innovate and lead in a world that demands an increasingly broad perspective.” Consider how these values will affect your experience at Penn. 

Write a short thank-you note to someone you have not yet thanked and would like to acknowledge. (We encourage you to share this note with that person, if possible, and reflect on the experience!) (150-200 words, only required for first year applicants)

First, consider your overall application to Penn, because you want to shed light on something you have not mentioned in any detail elsewhere. The person you write to should be someone who has had a positive impact on you – on your life, your way of thinking, your identity, your interests, or in any other significant way. This is a short note, so use concise language to explain what you are thanking them for, how what they did (intentionally or not) affected you, and why you are grateful.

How will you explore community at Penn? Consider how Penn will help shape your perspective, and how your experiences and perspective will help shape Penn. (150-200 words)

This prompt is meant to address the interplay of how you might add to and benefit from the extracurricular atmosphere at Penn. How will you participate in the Penn community and contribute to it in meaningful ways? You only have 200 words in which to express what excites you most about the Penn community, provide some insight into how you might engage with it, and reveal how you might both enhance and grow from it based on your individual identity and perspective. Among other things, this prompt provides an opportunity to express your cultural background and unique interests. Consider the diverse population of students and their experiences in light of your own identity and perspectives. 

Also consider the Penn community within the context of the city of Philadelphia. Remember that Penn’s founder, Ben Franklin, was focused on service to society, and that begins with the dynamic community around you and expands from there. Overlay your individual story with the community at Penn. This essay requires you to look at your identity and perspective and to consider the ways in which you mesh with the Penn community. How might it affect you, and likewise, what impact might you have on those around you? What do you bring with you based on your life experience? What might you gain though your potential interactions/opportunities/exchanges with others in the community at Penn?

The school-specific prompt will now be unique to the school to which a student is applying. Considering the undergraduate school you have selected, please respond to your school-specific prompt below. (For example, all applicants applying to the College of Arts and Sciences will respond to the prompt under the “College of Arts and Sciences” section).

For students applying to the coordinated dual-degree and specialized programs, please answer this question in regard to your single-degree school choice; your interest in the coordinated dual-degree or specialized program may be addressed through the program-specific essay.

For this response, you will address the school-specific prompt (School of Nursing, College of Arts and Science, The Wharton School, or School or Engineering and Applied Science) in 150-200 words.

Although each prompt is slightly different based on the school to which you are applying, the underlying question is the same: how does Penn support your intellectual and academic interests, and how do your goals align with the specific mission of the school? Do your research into your school of choice. How will it prepare you to achieve your goals? You must demonstrate an understanding of yourself by articulating your personal connection to the program’s mission. Consider why you are a good fit for the undergraduate school (College of Arts and Sciences, School of Nursing, The Wharton School, or Penn Engineering). What specific academic, service, and/or research opportunities might enhance your journey and help you accomplish your goals? Include examples of how your personal experiences make the program at Penn a good fit for you. How will the opportunities at Penn expand, nurture, and support your interests and aspirations? In closing, remember to address why you are driven to attend the program at Penn and how a Penn education will help you to effect change in the world.

Students applying to dual-degree and specialized programs should address the prompts above in terms of the single-degree school choice in your response. Your interest in the coordinated or specialized program can be addressed in your program-specific essay. 

Note that additional essays are required if you are applying to one of the Coordinated Dual Degree and Specialized Programs offered at Penn. These responses have limits that range from 400 to 650 words. Although these individual prompts are not addressed in detail here, keep in mind that each one asks you to share specific examples and experiences that demonstrate your potential for success, along with your enthusiasm for and attraction to the particular program. These programs are a significant commitment, so you need to convey your genuine dedication. The admissions committee uses your essays to determine whether you will be a good match for the particular dual degree or specialized program to which you seek admission. 

This is a competitive application process, and you are up against an increasingly competitive group of applicants. Although Penn withheld admission rates for the Class of 2027 in an effort to put the focus back on students rather than low admissions rates, it received 59,463 undergraduate applications, and only 2,420 enrolled in the first-year class. If we look back at previous years that had fewer total applicants and similar class sizes, the acceptance rate for the Class of 2027 is likely in the 4% to 6% range. 

Here are a few more numbers to consider. Over 90% of the students admitted were in the top 10% of their high school class, with an average SAT score of 1535 and an average ACT score of 34.5. Effectively communicating the intangibles through your essays is the best way to differentiate yourself among this prestigious crowd. Use your essay responses to discuss what is meaningful to you, project the value you could add to the campus community, and convey how Penn is the ideal place for you to achieve your dreams for the future.

Take a deep breath, and try not to be intimidated by this process. Start early to allow yourself enough time to thoroughly research, prepare, and complete all aspects of your application. All these components must come together in a compelling way to present you as a highly competitive applicant. Penn is interested in your personal stories, life experiences, hopes, and aspirations. It seeks to attract and foster great thinkers and future leaders who will play constructive roles in society. Take the appropriate time and invest the necessary energy to reveal your best self!

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Marie Todd has been involved in college admissions for more than 20 years. Marie has both counseled applicants to top colleges and evaluated more than 5,000 applications for the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts; College of Engineering; School of Kinesiology; School of Nursing; and Taubman College of Architecture. Want Marie to help you get accepted? Click here to get in touch .

Related Resources:

  • Five Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your College Application Essays
  • Four Ways to Show How You’ll Contribute in the Future
  • Three Tips for Parents of Applicants

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Penn Admissions adds school-specific essay prompts to application

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Penn has changed its supplemental essay prompts for the 2023-24 application cycle to now include school-specific questions.

The new prompt — which was added to the Penn Admissions website on July 31 — asks a question unique to the undergraduate school to which the student is applying, moving away from the single short-answer response previously used for all four schools. Penn Admissions has also added links to each prompt to provide applicants with more information on the College of Arts and Sciences, the Wharton School, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the School of Nursing. 

In a written statement to The Daily Pennsylvanian, Vice Provost and Dean of Admissions Whitney Soule wrote that Penn Admissions had moved away from its traditional single short-answer response because it did not consider the differences between each undergraduate school.

“[W]e found that having a ‘one size fits all’ approach to the academic short-answer response did not account for the unique curricular paths and opportunities that make each of the undergraduate schools unique,” Soule wrote. “In an effort to account for the curricular paths and opportunities within each undergraduate school, this year’s customized short-answer academic prompts invite students to connect in ways that better reflect the undergraduate school’s curricular attributes.”

New pre-orientation program Penn Global Mosaic to focus on global citizenship

Wharton youth program offers students insight into Penn’s history with slavery

The links in each prompt, which provide additional information on the schools’ mission and academic offerings, help students to inform their responses about their intended undergraduate school or dual-degree program, according to Soule.

Additionally, Penn Admissions has given applicants the opportunity to opt out of a conversation with an alumni volunteer. 

“While these conversations have always been optional for applicants, we wanted to make it explicit for applicants that the conversation is available but not required,” Soule wrote.

The new supplemental essay prompts are one of many changes that Penn's application has undergone during Soule’s tenure as dean of admissions. For the 2022-23 admissions cycle, a new prompt — intended to be a “feel-good exercise” — was added to encourage applicants to express feelings of gratitude.  

For the 2021-22 admissions cycle, Penn Admissions kept several policy changes that were originally made in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. These changes included making SAT and ACT scores optional — which began with the Class of 2025 and continued through the 2022-23 application cycle — and allowing applicants to submit a recommendation letter from someone other than a teacher.

“We hope these in-application enhancements provide all students with access to helpful information as they complete their applications and allow [them] to better understand how their interests will be supported and encouraged at Penn,” Soule wrote. 

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  • Supplementary Materials

Most students who are admitted to Penn do not submit supplemental materials. All of the information that we feel is crucial in making an admission decision is included within our required documents.

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  • Apply for Admission
  • International Applicants
  • Transfer Admission
  • Comprehensive Review
  • Extracurricular-Activities
  • High School Preparation
  • Alumni Conversations
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Incoming Class Profile

While there are rare instances where additional information may benefit an application, we recommend that you think very carefully before sending in supplementary material. In most cases, too many extra documents can take away from the strength of an application. In short, keep it simple!

Below are guidelines to follow when submitting anything that is outside of the required documents. We cannot guarantee that supplementary materials will be reviewed during the application process. Materials outside of those listed below will not be considered.

One Additional Letter of Recommendation

As a matter of equity, Penn allows for only one additional supplemental letter of recommendation beyond those required. We ask that you only submit an additional letter from someone who knows you personally and whose perspective would add information not captured elsewhere in your application. (Letters from family members and close family friends usually do not provide information that is helpful to the evaluation process.) If you choose to submit an optional additional letter of recommendation, please submit it directly through the Coalition or Common App.

Expanded Resume or Research Abstract

Students who have completed notable academic research should use the activities section or additional information sections of the application to convey these achievements. If however there is a brief abstract or explanation of your work that you could not include in other required parts of the application, you may submit that as a supplementary material through your Penn Applicant Portal which becomes available to you once you submit the Coalition or Common App and the Penn Supplement.

Art or Music Sample

Students with exceptional and recognized talents in visual arts, performing arts, or music, should use the activities section or additional information sections of the application to convey these achievements. If however there are samples of your work that you could not include in other required parts of the application, you may upload them to an external host (personal website, YouTube, SoundCloud, etc.) and then submit a document with any URLs/links as a supplementary material through your Penn Applicant Portal which becomes available to you once you submit the Coalition or Common App and the Penn Supplement.

Portfolios are not required and will only be reviewed in two instances:

Digital Media Design applicants are recommended to submit a portfolio that includes at least one drawing or painting as well as any other work that highlights your talent. All forms of media are welcomed. Submit pieces that highlight your sense of aesthetic taste and vision and your eye for composition. The Program encourages you to explore how the computer transforms your artwork and design ideas. Please limit your selection to 5-12 pieces, or a maximum of 5 minutes of video.

Transfer students applying to Architecture for sophomore standing are required to submit a portfolio. There is no specific number of submissions that must be included. Junior transfers are ineligible to apply to the Architecture major.

File Sizes and Types for Portfolios

We support media files as large as 5GB, but please be advised that larger files will take longer to upload from your internet connection and may stall if you are on a wireless connection or one that cannot sustain a connection for the necessary period of time. Uploaded documents may contain no more than 75 pages. We support the following file formats:

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College Essays

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The University of Pennsylvania requires all first year applicants to submit a personal essay as well as a Penn-specific essay. If you're hoping to be one of the 6% of students admitted to Penn every year, your UPenn essay is an important part of your application. You'll need to make sure your essays are strong to increase your chances of admission.

In this article, we'll go over the UPenn essay logistics—covering exactly what you need to write for each college you're applying to at UPenn. Then, we'll break down each prompt, offering suggestions for what to write about. Finally, we'll give tips on how to write an amazing UPenn essay that'll help you get into your dream school.

What Are the UPenn Essay Prompts?

If you're applying to UPenn, you must submit your application to one of UPenn's four undergraduate schools. Depending on which undergraduate program you're applying to, you'll need to answer UPenn's specific statements as well as an additional essay for that school.

There are three required short answer prompts for this year’s UPenn application. The first is:

Write a short thank-you note to someone you have not yet thanked and would like to acknowledge. (We encourage you to share this note with that person, if possible, and reflect on the experience!) (150-200 words)

UPenn's second essay prompt for all students is:

How will you explore community at Penn? Consider how Penn will help shape your perspective and identity, and how your identity and perspective will help shape Penn. (150-200 words)

And, finally, the third prompt:

Considering the specific undergraduate school you have selected, describe how you intend to explore your academic and intellectual interests at the University of Pennsylvania. (150-200 words)

Depending on the undergraduate program you're applying to, you may have to write an additional essay as part of your application. Here are those additional essay prompts and the program for which they apply:

  • Please list pre-dental or pre-medical experience. This experience can include but is not limited to observation in a private practice, dental clinic, or hospital setting; dental assisting; dental laboratory work; dental or medical research, etc. Please include time allotted to each activity, dates of attendance, location, and description of your experience. If you do not have any pre-dental or pre-medical experience, please indicate what you have done that led you to your decision to enter dentistry.
  • List any activities which demonstrate your ability to work with your hands.
  • What activities have you performed that demonstrate your ability to work cooperatively with people?
  • Please explain your reasons for selecting a career in dentistry. Please include what interests you the most in dentistry as well as what interests you the least.
  • Do you have relatives who are dentists or are in dental school? If so, indicate the name of each relative, his/her relationship to you, the school attended, and the dates attended.
  • Digital Media Design Program: Why are you interested in the Digital Media Design (DMD) program at the University of Pennsylvania? (400-650 words)
  • The Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business: The Huntsman Program supports the development of globally-minded scholars who become engaged citizens, creative innovators, and ethical leaders in the public, private, and non-profit sectors in the United States and internationally. What draws you to a dual-degree program in business and international studies, and how would you use what you learn to make a contribution to a global issue where business and international affairs intersect? (400-650 words)
  • The Roy and Diana Vagelos Program in Life Science and Management: The LSM program aims to provide students with a fundamental understanding of the life sciences and their management with an eye to identifying, advancing and implementing innovations. What issues would you want to address using the understanding gained from such a program? Note that this essay should be distinct from your single degree essay. (400-650 words)
  • The Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology: Please complete both prompts.
  • Explain how you will use the M&T program to explore your interest in business, engineering, and the intersection of the two. (400-650 words)
  • Describe a problem that you solved that showed leadership and creativity. (250 words maximum)
  • The Rejendra and Neera Singh Program in Networked and Social Systems Engineering: Describe your interests in modern networked information systems and technologies, such as the internet, and their impact on society, whether in terms of economics, communication, or the creation of beneficial content for society. Feel free to draw on examples from your own experiences as a user, developer, or student of technology. (400-650 words)
  • Nursing and Healthcare Management: Discuss your interest in nursing and health care management. How might Penn's coordinated dual-degree program in nursing and business help you meet your goals? (400-650 words)
  • The Roy and Diana Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research: How do you envision your participation in the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER) furthering your interests in energy science and technology? Please include any past experiences (ex. academic, research, or extracurricular) that have led to your interest in the program. Additionally, please indicate why you are interested in pursuing dual degrees in science and engineering and which VIPER majors are most interesting to you at this time. (400-650 words)

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UPenn Essay Prompts, Analyzed

In this section, we'll analyze each of the UPenn supplement essay prompts and offer suggestions for what you should talk about (and avoid) for each.

Penn-Specific Essays

Let's take a look at how to tackle the essays all students will have to answer.

This rather charming prompt is a great opportunity to show the UPenn admissions counselors what you value and what you’re grateful for .

Consider making a list of all the things people have done for you, and narrow it down to those that have made the biggest impact. Has a family member or your best friend has gone the extra mile for you, and you haven’t quite found a way to truly thank them? Maybe someone you’re not friends with stood up for you in an academic or social situation. Maybe your Model UN nemesis did you a solid. Is there something you may have taken for granted?

Once you’ve narrowed down your topic, remember to focus on the "so what" part of the answer. Why is it important to thank this person? What did they do, and how did it affect you? Why have you not yet been able to thank them (there are plenty of good reasons for this—don’t panic if you feel like you’ve been rude!).

Remember to be as specific and sincere as possible—you have 200 words, tops, to tell a genuine story that reveals part of your character.

How will you explore the community at Penn? Consider how this community will help shape your perspective and identity, and how your identity and perspective will help shape this community. (150-200 words)

The first prompt was largely focused on academic interests. The second is where you can think more about community.

Going to college isn't just about what you'll learn in class. It's also about forming life-long friendships and exploring different communities to find out who you are and what you like to do.

Of course, you can't predict exactly what your social life is going to look like before you even get accepted. You may end up in clubs you never expected, with friends you never anticipated. But that's okay—UPenn isn't asking you to lay out, step-by-step, how you'll participate in college communities. They just want to know that you're thinking about it!

To answer this question, consider looking into UPenn's many student-run clubs and activities and find some that match your interests. Think about how these clubs and activities will contribute to the vision you have of your future. What impact do you expect them to have on you?

But don't forget the second half of the question! UPenn also wants to know how you will shape the community, not just how it will shape you . What unique perspectives do you bring? What can you do that nobody else can?

This question is a pretty typical "why you?" essay prompt that's focused on community rather than academics. Think about how you fit into your social groups; what makes you unique? Are you the token caregiver friend? Or maybe you're always pursuing a new weird hobby, and your friends love hearing about what your new niche interest is. These are just two traits that you could use to explain what you'll bring to the UPenn community— get a little creative, think about how you participate in your friend groups, and plan how you're going to bring those thoughts into your new school!

Considering the specific undergraduate school you have selected, describe how you intend to explore your academic and intellectual interests at the University of Pennsylvania. (150-200 words) For students applying to the coordinated dual-degree and specialized programs, please answer this question in regard to your single-degree school choice; your interest in the coordinated dual-degree or specialized program may be addressed through the program-specific essay.

The third prompt is a traditional Why UPenn essay. It asks you to explain why you want to attend UPenn, and what you’ll do while you’re there.

While these types of prompts are common, the Why UPenn essay prompt focuses specifically on academics—it's not concerned with your interest in UPenn's extracurriculars or campus life. Your answer, then, needs to be specifically focused on your academic pursuits and how UPenn will help you achieve your goals.

You'll need to talk about how the undergraduate school you're applying to affects your academic interests, so do your research on the school. You don't want to talk about a class that you won't have access to because it's in another undergraduate school. All of your answers should be reflective of the courses you'll be able to take if admitted to the undergraduate school of your choice.

You should have a good sense of the classes offered by your program. It's a good idea to name specific classes or professors you'd like to study with. Similarly, if there are any specific opportunities available to students in your field, such as internships or study abroad programs, this essay is the place to talk about it.

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The next prompts are for specific programs at UPenn. Channel your inner snowflake and show how you're a unique, one-of-a-kind candidate! 

Bio-Dental Program

Please list pre-dental or pre-medical experience. This experience can include but is not limited to observation in a private practice, dental clinic, or hospital setting; dental assisting; dental laboratory work; dental or medical research, etc. Please include time allotted to each activity, dates of attendance, location, and description of your experience. If you do not have any pre-dental or pre-medical experience, please indicate what you have done that led you to your decision to enter dentistry. (250 words maximum)

List any activities which demonstrate your ability to work with your hands. (250 words maximum)

What activities have you performed that demonstrate your ability to work cooperatively with people? (250 words maximum)

Please explain your reasons for selecting a career in dentistry. Please include what interests you the most in dentistry as well as what interests you the least. (250 words maximum)

Do you have relatives who are dentists or are in dental school? If so, indicate the name of each relative, his/her relationship to you, the school attended, and the dates attended. (250 words maximum)

The prompt for the Bio-Dental program is extensive. Attack it in pieces, being as specific as possible when answering each question.

Don't feel that you need to make up any specific experience. If you haven't interned at a dentist's office, don't invent that experience. You should stick to reality. If you haven't observed at a dentist's office, you can set up a time to visit a local dentist so that you're writing about your real experience, not something you've invented.

When listing your activities, be sure to indicate how each is relevant to dental skill. Maybe you do a lot of needlepoint, which shows that you're able to carry out complex patterns. Again, you don't want to make anything up. Not only will your essay read as inauthentic, you won't have the experience you need to enter into the program.

Take your time and work through this prompt in pieces if you have to. Be thorough, honest, and accurate.

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Digital Media Design Program

Just like the Artificial Intelligence essay prompt, in this essay you'll want to explain exactly why the Digital Media Design program at UPenn appeals to you. There are a few important components to an answer for this prompt: specificity, personality, and genuine interest.

To tackle the first important feature, you'll want to do some research into the program you're applying to. Find the unique things about this program in comparison to others; that can mean the professors who teach in it, the classes that are offered, what former students are up to, or anything else that you can tie specifically to UPenn. The reason for this is that the college wants to know that you're not just applying there as a fallback choice. UPenn wants students who are driven and passionate about what college will help them achieve, and putting specifics into your essay is a great way to show that you care about attending.

Next, be sure that your essay has personality. You want your essay to read as if only you could have written it. Having specifics will help with that, but you should also make it a point to let your own unique voice and interests shine through. If Digital Media Design draws your interest because you've always been drawn to the unique storytelling potential of animation after growing up on Pixar films, that's worth mentioning! Remember, your college application is all about getting the college invested in you as a student; let your personality shine through.

And lastly, demonstrate genuine interest. UPenn is a great school, and you should use your essay to show that you're not just applying there because you needed to fill another slot on your college list. Express your passion for attending UPenn, and specifically the Digital Media Design program. What brought you here over every other school? Even if UPenn isn't your top choice, remember all the things that made you put the school on your college list in the first place, and keep them in mind as you write.

The Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business

The Huntsman Program supports the development of globally-minded scholars who become engaged citizens, creative innovators, and ethical leaders in the public, private, and non-profit sectors in the United States and internationally. What draws you to a dual-degree program in business and international studies, and how would you use what you learn to make a contribution to a global issue where business and international affairs intersect? (400-650 words)

For the Huntsman essay, you'll need to explain exactly what draws you to UPenn's International Studies and Business program. This is a dual-degree program, so you'll be studying at the intersection of these two fields. A working understanding of each will be important to writing this essay.

To start, make a short list of reasons why this degree appeals to you. What international issues interest you? Why take a business approach rather than a sociological or political one? You don't have to put the answers to these questions in your essay, but if you know the answers to them, you'll be better prepared to answer the prompt with confidence.

The question specifically asks for how you'll use what you learn in this program to make an impact on a global issue. That requires some familiarity with global issues; think about causes that matter to you and how you can use business to approach them. How will attending UPenn help you toward your career goals?

You can cite specific classes, instructors, or other features of UPenn to help make your point. Your essay should feature not just how you want to make an impact on the world, but also why you're seeking a dual degree, and specifically a dual degree from UPenn.

The Roy and Diana Vagelos Program in Life Science and Management

The LSM program aims to provide students with a fundamental understanding of the life sciences and their management with an eye to identifying, advancing and implementing innovations. What issues would you want to address using the understanding gained from such a program? Note that this essay should be distinct from your single degree essay. (400-650 words)

The LSM essay prompt has been recently updated. Instead of being a general "why this program" style prompt, this essay wants to dig deeper into why you're interested in Life Sciences and Management and understand more about whether your personality is a fit for the program.

This essay is all about the bigger picture. The LSM program is all about innovation, so this essay wants you to pick a big issue and explain how what you learn as an LSM student will help you solve it. The best way to answer this prompt is through a combination of research and specificity. First, research the LSM program. You definitely want to pick an issue that you'll actually learn about as a UPENN student. It's also a good idea to call out specific classes, professors, and research opportunities in your response! (Keep in mind that this program is a joint venture between the College of Arts and Sciences and the Wharton School of Business, so be sure to research both schools.)

Once you have all that information pulled together, you can get specific. Admissions counselors don't expect you to solve the world's biggest problems. But they do want to see that you're thinking critically about issues in your future field, and that you can break the problem down into pieces. For instance, instead of saying you want to solve climate change, narrow that topic down into something doable, like developing new plant-based plastics that can be used in the medical field.

The Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology

Please complete both prompts.

Question 1: Explain how you will use the M&T program to explore your interest in business, engineering, and the intersection of the two. (400-650 words)

Question 2: Describe a problem that you solved that showed leadership and creativity. (250 words maximum)

You'll need to complete two additional essays if you're applying to the Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology.

Like many UPenn programs, this school combines two different fields—management and technology . To answer this question effectively, you'll need to know exactly how the two can work together. Think about why you've chosen this particular program—what can you gain from it that you wouldn't from a program in either management or technology? How will a degree in this program help you reach your personal and career goals? This prompt asks for how you'll use it to explore your interests, so don't be afraid to get specific!

The second question is also concerned with your problem-solving ability. This classic prompt wants to know about a time when you faced adversity and either overcame it or learned from it. Don't be afraid to show yourself tackling a real challenge here—your ability to persevere is more important than showing that you never make mistakes.

The Rejendra and Neera Singh Program in Networked and Social Systems Engineering

Describe your interests in modern networked information systems and technologies, such as the internet, and their impact on society, whether in terms of economics, communication, or the creation of beneficial content for society. Feel free to draw on examples from your own experiences as a user, developer, or student of technology. (400-650 words)

The easiest way to answer this prompt is with a story. Tell the admissions committee how you became interested in this line of study.

You should be as specific as possible in your answer. After all, the prompt calls for examples from your own experience. You should be able to clearly articulate where your interest stemmed from. Don't feel like you have to talk about everything that interests you within this field—focusing on one or two clear examples that you have a lot of interest in will go further than trying to talk about everything related to networked information systems and technologies.

Nursing and Healthcare Management

Discuss your interest in nursing and health care management. How might Penn's coordinated dual-degree program in nursing and business help you meet your goals? (400-650 words)

You have plenty of space in this prompt (up to 650 words), so you should make sure to address both parts of the question—why you're interested in Penn's nursing and healthcare management program and how the program will help you achieve your future goals.

Key to answering the second part of the prompt is to have some future goals thought out—have a specific idea of what you want to do with your degree. Then, tie that back to things you can study at UPenn. It would be helpful for this prompt to familiarize yourself with aspects of UPenn's program—courses, professors, learning and employment opportunities. The more you can show why UPenn is the right school for you to achieve your goals, the better your essay will be.

The Roy and Diana Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research

How do you envision your participation in the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER) furthering your interests in energy science and technology? Please include any past experiences (ex. academic, research, or extracurricular) that have led to your interest in the program. Additionally, please indicate why you are interested in pursuing dual degrees in science and engineering and which VIPER majors are most interesting to you at this time. (400-650 words)

This prompt wants to know exactly how you think the VIPER program will help you reach your future goals. You also need to touch on why you want to get a dual-degree. You have plenty of space in this prompt, so make sure you answer each aspect thoroughly. Don't invent previous experience if you don't have it—be honest and authentic in your answer.

You should have a clear idea about which VIPER majors you're interested in. Be prepared to name specific UPenn majors and provide reasoning, in the form of classes you'd like to take or professors you'd like to study with.

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5 Tips for Acing the UPenn Supplement

Hoping to write amazing UPenn supplement essays? Follow these key tips to do so!

#1: Use Your Own Voice

The point of a college essay is for the admissions committee to have the chance to get to know you beyond what's featured in other parts of your application. Your admissions essays are your chance to become more than just a collection of statistics—to really come alive for your application readers.

Make sure that the person you're presenting in your college essays is yourself. Don't just write what you think the committee wants to hear or try to act like someone you're not—it will be really easy for the committee to tell you're lying.

If you lie or exaggerate, your essay will come across as insincere, which will at best diminish its effectiveness and at worst make the admissions committee think twice on accepting you. Stick to telling real stories about the person you really are, not who you think UPenn wants you to be.

#2: Be UPenn-Specific

All of your UPenn essays should be UPenn-specific. Don't be generic in your answers—the admissions committee should get the idea that you know about UPenn and that your answer is specific to that school, not about college in general.

Don't waste your time telling the admissions committee that UPenn has a world-class faculty—first of all, the admissions committee knows that and second, many universities do. Talk about why UPenn is the right school for you and be prepared to give real, concrete examples.

#3: Do Your Research

You can make your essay UPenn-specific by doing your research. Look into the course catalogue, visit your prospective major's website. Schedule a meeting with a professor or current student if you can. The more specific information you have, the better.

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#4: Avoid Clichés and Overused Phrases

When writing your UPenn essays, don't use clichés or overused quotes or phrases. The college admissions committee has probably seen numerous essays that state, "Be the change you want to see in the world." You can write something more original than that!

Each of the UPenn essays asks you something specific about your experience or background. Your essay should be 100% you —you don't want the admissions committee to think, "Anyone could have written this essay."

#5: Check Your Work

Your UPenn essays should be the strongest example of your work possible. Before you turn in your UPenn application, edit and proofread your essays.

Run your essays through a spelling and grammar check before you submit and ask someone else to read your essays. You can seek a second opinion on your work from a parent, teacher, or friend. Ask them whether your work represents you as a student and person. Have them check and make sure you haven't missed any small writing errors. Having a second opinion will help your work be the best it possibly can be.

#6: Have a Spike

What's a spike, you ask?

In short, a spike is something that makes you stand out. Something that no (or very few) other applicants have.

When you're applying to college, it's tempting to seem well-rounded and interested in all the things.

Don't do that.

Your application won't stand out if you're mediocre in band, on the track team, and on student council. It will stand out if you travel to Japan to perform with a world-class performance ensemble or qualify for the Olympic trials in shot put.

When your focus is on one thing, you'll be better at it than if you have to split your time and attention. It will also be more impressive on your resume.

Final Thoughts

Your UPenn essay is an important part of your application. Depending on the specific school you're applying to, you may have to write three or more essays.

No matter which school at UPenn you're applying to, keep in mind:

  • Be authentic.
  • Highlight your best qualities.
  • Use specific examples of UPenn courses and professors you want to study.
  • Be generic.
  • Make anything up about yourself.
  • Split your focus by talking about too many different ideas.

What's Next?

If you're applying to UPenn, you're likely applying to other colleges on the East Coast, too. Check out our expert guides to the Williams essay , the Tufts essays , and the Harvard essay .

Need help writing your Common App essay? Our tips will show you how to write a Common App essay guaranteed to make you stand out from other applicants!

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Hayley Milliman is a former teacher turned writer who blogs about education, history, and technology. When she was a teacher, Hayley's students regularly scored in the 99th percentile thanks to her passion for making topics digestible and accessible. In addition to her work for PrepScholar, Hayley is the author of Museum Hack's Guide to History's Fiercest Females.

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What is UPenn Looking for in the Supplemental Essays?

This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Aja Altenhof in a CollegeVine Livestream. You can watch the full Livestream for more info.

What’s Covered:

  • Are You a Good Fit for UPenn?
  • Major & Career Goals

In this post, we will discuss what the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) is looking for in your answers to its supplemental essay questions. It covers the importance of being authentic and tailoring your answers to show how you will be a good fit for their school. 

For more information on writing UPenn’s supplemental essays, check out our post on How to Write the UPenn Supplemental Essays .

Are You a Good Fit for UPenn? 

Contribution to upenn’s campus community .

So, what is UPenn looking for in these essays? One thing that they are extremely interested in is whether or not you are the right fit . Being a fit for an institution is about much more than academics. Schools are actually the most interested in how you plan on being a positive addition to their campus community through the unique perspective or identity that you will bring. This information is something that UPenn explicitly asks its applicants to cover in the second community prompt , which highlights the value they place in your “fit” with the campus. 

Attributes Similar to Ben Franklin

Benjamin Franklin, the founder of UPenn, possessed personal qualities such as determination and resilience. Ben Franklin then instilled those values into UPenn, which has shaped its culture and its overall institutional approach to success. 

Admissions at UPenn love seeing prospective students embodyFranklin’s, and the school’s, values in their essays. Not only does it show that you have done your research about the school, but it also emphasizes that your personal values align with UPenn’s.

However, try not to directly quote Ben Franklin in your essays. Do not run to your computer and look up Franklin’s most famous quotes, as that is not the best way to show your character and may remove authenticity from your answers. 

UPenn wants to see authentic reasons for wanting to enroll at their institution as opposed to any other elite private institution. Many schools offer interdisciplinary study and gorgeous old campuses, so you must emphasize what makes UPenn stand out to you. 

In order to leave a more lasting impact on the admissions committee, use your essays to articulate why you want to study at UPenn specifically and not any of the other schools especially if they have relatively similar course offerings. You must also be specific when doing so to make sure that you come off in a genuine light.

Major and Career Goals

Finally, you must provide authentic reasons for why you are planning to study your specific Major. Choosing a major can be difficult, however there are many people who are attempting admission to the same programs. Therefore, not having detailed responses as to what led you to choose your major and future career goals could cost you admission. 

Keep in mind, however, that it is fine if you are still undecided about your major when applying. Colleges know that students often change their minds throughout their academic careers. It is simply key that you are able to convey your academic and personal passions through your essays and reflect on how they may impact your future goals.

Are Your UPenn Essays Strong Enough?

At top schools like the University of Pennsylvania, your essays account for around 25% or more of your admissions decision. That’s more than grades and test scores and almost as much as extracurriculars. Your essays are your chance to stand out and humanize your application.

That’s why it’s vital that your essays are engaging and present you as someone who’d be a strong addition to the UPenn community .

After reading your essays over and over, it can be difficult to judge your writing objectively. Your friends, family, and teachers may also be biased. That’s why we created our Peer Essay Review tool , where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. Since they don’t know you personally, they can be a better judge of whether your personality shines through, and whether you’ve fully answered the prompt. 

You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays. We highly recommend giving this tool a try!

Related CollegeVine Blog Posts

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  1. How to Write the UPenn Supplemental Essays 2023-24

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  2. How to Respond to the 2023-2024 UPenn Supplemental Essay Prompts

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  3. How to Write the UPenn Supplemental Essays

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  4. Upenn 2023 Supplemental Essays

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  5. How to Get Into UPenn: Requirements + Strategies (2023)

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  6. Upenn 2023 Supplemental Essays

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  1. What did Upenn students write their Common App essays about?

  2. Courage?! Unlocking Stoic Quotes! #seneca #stoicism #ancientrome

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COMMENTS

  1. Essays

    2023-24 Short Answer & Essay Prompts Penn Supplemental Short Answer Prompts (Required) Write a short thank-you note to someone you have not yet thanked and would like to acknowledge. (We encourage you to share this note with that person, if possible, and reflect on the experience!) (150-200 words, only required for first year applicants)

  2. University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) 2023-24 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

    No Time To Lose! The University of Pennsylvania Deadline Countdown is on: Regular Decision Deadline: Jan 5 We can help you draft in time for submission! University of Pennsylvania 2023-24 Application Essay Question Explanations The Requirements: 3 essays of 150-200 words Supplemental Essay Type (s): Community, Why

  3. How to Write the UPenn Supplemental Essays 2023-2024

    All Applicants Prompt 1: Write a short thank-you note to someone you have not yet thanked and would like to acknowledge. (We encourage you to share this note with that person, if possible, and reflect on the experience!) (150-200 words) Prompt 2: How will you explore the community at Penn?

  4. How to Write the University of Pennsylvania Supplemental Essays

    UPenn's supplemental essays have for a long time primarily focused on some variation of "Why us?," offering you a chance to show the school who you are through linking your skills/qualities/values/interests to the awesome things UPenn offers. In other words, how do you and the school fit together?

  5. UPenn Supplemental Essays 2023-24

    August 11, 2023 Application Strategies College Essay The UPenn supplemental essays are an important part of the admissions process. We review 2023-24 UPenn requirements and offer tips.

  6. How To Ace UPenn's 2023/24 Supplemental Essay Prompts

    For the 2023/24 admissions cycle, UPenn has instituted several key changes to its supplemental essay questions: Introduction of School-Specific Prompts: Each undergraduate school within UPenn now presents a unique question, reflecting its educational ethos and mission.

  7. UPenn Supplemental Essays

    Regular Decision: January 5 th UPenn Supplemental Essay Requirements: UPenn requires three supplemental essays for every applicant. This also includes one school-specific essay that will depend on the program you are applying to.

  8. How to Write the UPenn Supplemental Essays 2023-2024

    How will you explore community at Penn? Consider how Penn will help shape your perspective, and how your experiences and perspective will help shape Penn. (150-200 words) This essay question requires you to discuss your intended contributions to the community at UPenn in addition to your own past experiences in communities.

  9. University of Pennsylvania

    Overview Cost & scholarships Majors Admission requirements Essay prompts Want to see your chances of admission at University of Pennsylvania | UPenn? We take every aspect of your personal profile into consideration when calculating your admissions chances. Calculate my chances University of Pennsylvania | UPenn's 2023-24 Essay Prompts

  10. How to Respond to the 2023-2024 UPenn Supplemental Essay Prompts

    Prompt #3. "Considering the specific undergraduate school you have selected, describe how you intend to explore your academic and intellectual interests at the University of Pennsylvania. (150-200 words)". For this prompt, you do not want to just repeat what is already on your transcript, resume, or application.

  11. UPenn Supplemental Essay Prompts

    The first two supplemental essay prompts are as follows: 1. Write a short thank-you note to someone you have not yet thanked and would like to acknowledge. (We encourage you to share this note with that person, if possible, and reflect on the experience!)

  12. How to Write the University of Pennsylvania Supplemental Essays 2023-2024

    share on When you sit down to craft your University of Pennsylvania supplemental essays, consider how your passion for UPenn sets you apart. Perhaps you're captivated by the opportunity to integrate your chosen major with your volunteer work through Penn's exceptional community engagement programs.

  13. How to Write the UPenn Supplemental Essays

    UPenn Supplemental Essay Prompts 2023-2024. UPenn requires all applicants to complete three supplemental essays. Each required essay is short, with a maximum word count ranging from 200 to 250 words. If you're applying to a specialized program, you may have to complete additional essays.

  14. UPenn Supplemental Essays 2023-2024

    UPenn's supplemental essays for 2023-2024 are a series of thoughtfully crafted prompts designed to unveil multi-faceted personalities. Also, they showcase the diverse backgrounds and unique ambitions of aspiring students. How Many Supplemental Essays Does UPenn Require?

  15. Answering the University of Pennsylvania Supplemental Essays

    It accepts the Common Application or the Coalition Application and requires a Penn writing supplemental in addition to the general Common/Coalition Application essay. Your supplemental essay helps Penn gain a more holistic view of you as a potential student. The Penn website states, "Our ideal candidates are inspired to emulate our founder ...

  16. Penn Admissions adds school-specific essay prompts to application

    UPenn Admissions has released new supplemental essay questions for the 2023-24 application. Credit: Mollie Benn ... included making SAT and ACT scores optional — which began with the Class of 2025 and continued through the 2022-23 application cycle — and allowing applicants to submit a recommendation letter from someone other than a teacher.

  17. 4 Tips for Writing the Supplemental Essays for UPenn

    The University of Pennsylvania's (UPenn) three supplemental short answer prompts are significantly important to their admissions decisions. Below are some tips that will help you make the most of your 200 word count per prompt. For more information on UPenn's supplemental prompts, essays, and writing dos and don'ts, check out our post on how to write UPenn's supplemental essays.

  18. Supplementary Materials

    As a matter of equity, Penn allows for only one additional supplemental letter of recommendation beyond those required. We ask that you only submit an additional letter from someone who knows you personally and whose perspective would add information not captured elsewhere in your application.

  19. Guide to UPenn Supplemental Essay

    November 15, 2020 By AdmissionSight The Ultimate Guide to Writing the UPenn Supplemental Essays The UPenn supplemental essays are an understandable cause of stress for many high school students who are eager to attend this esteemed university.

  20. 7 Strong UPenn Essay Examples

    Essay 1: Neuroscience Essay 2: Why UPenn Essay 3: Why Nursing Essay 4: Library Love Essay 5: Tug of War Essay 6: Internet Networks Essay 7: Thank You Where to Get Your UPenn Essays Edited The University of Pennsylvania is a highly-selective Ivy League school in the heart of Philadelphia.

  21. breaking down UPenn supplemental essays (+ advice from ...

    Going through the 3 supplemental essays for University of Pennsylvania this year (2022-23) and sharing some tips for essays in general! As a recent graduate,...

  22. 5 Tips for Writing a Great UPenn Essay

    The first is: Write a short thank-you note to someone you have not yet thanked and would like to acknowledge. (We encourage you to share this note with that person, if possible, and reflect on the experience!) (150-200 words) UPenn's second essay prompt for all students is:

  23. What is UPenn Looking for in the Supplemental Essays?

    Major & Career Goals. In this post, we will discuss what the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) is looking for in your answers to its supplemental essay questions. It covers the importance of being authentic and tailoring your answers to show how you will be a good fit for their school. For more information on writing UPenn's supplemental ...