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How to Write the University of Pennsylvania Supplemental Essays

Considering the specific undergraduate school you have selected, how will you explore your academic and intellectual interests at The University of Pennsylvania? (300-450 words*)

For students applying to the coordinated dual-degree and specialized programs, please answer these questions 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.*

First of all, be as specific as possible. UPenn is home to four undergraduate schools: The College of Arts and Sciences, The School of Penn Engineering and Applied Science, The School of Nursing, and The Wharton School. In helping the committee to gauge whether you’d be a good academic fit for one of the schools, demonstrate your honed passions and interests in a particular subject area. Show the goals you’ve set for yourself as well as the concrete steps you’ve taken to pursue those goals. Then think about what you wish to gain from the Penn education (a specific skill perhaps?) to strengthen your academic passion.

Secondly, do your research! Penn is renowned for its long history in multidisciplinary teaching and the forward-looking visions of Benjamin Franklin: are there any principles that particularly resonate with you? Look into the unique programs, classes, faculty members, and academic opportunities offered at UPenn, especially in regards to your undergraduate school. Don’t stop at throwing in a few program names, but take a deeper dive and thoroughly consider how you will be able to contribute to the academic environment and utilize the resources effectively.

At Penn, learning and growth happen outside of the classrooms, too. 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)*

For students applying to the coordinated dual-degree and specialized programs, please answer these questions 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.*

This is an opportunity to exhibit other dimensions of who you are as a person outside of the academic realm. Penn is interested in hearing about the communities you have been involved in and your role in those groups to see what only you can bring to campus. How will your initiative and leadership translate to direct involvement in Penn’s community? If you are accepted, what are some organizations and communities you can see yourself contributing to? What kind of relationships do you want to build? Make sure to explore different aspects of student life, community organizations, and campus support services. A great starting point is to check out stories of student journeys at Penn’s website, where students share their individual experiences as a student and a community member.