Essay Scoop: How to Answer University of Pennsylvania Essays

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Founded by Benjamin Franklin, the University ofPennsylvania boasts the first medical school, first business school and the first student union in North America.  With a long history of excellence, Penn is a highly selective college and admitted only nine percent of the graduating class of 2020.

Penn carefully reviews its essay question component of the the application, looking for how well you write as well as how you think, what you value, and how you see the world. Below are some tips and traps to responding to the question.


How will you explore your intellectual and academic interests at the University of Pennsylvania? Please answer this question given the specific undergraduate school to which you are applying. (400-650 words) *For students applying to the coordinated dual-degree programs, please answer this question in regards to your single-degree school choice. Interest in coordinated dual-degree programs will be addressed through those program-specific essays.

Upenn understand that you’ll likely change your course of study at some point so they concern themselves with your personal motivation as well as your vision for the opportunities to be available upon admission. Start by providing the reader context in a reflective manner that loosely traces the way in which you came to certain conclusions. For example, you might be particularly interested in psychology. A string of important questions to answer is: What do you like to learn about people? What examples back this up? What professors, research labs, research programs classes, clubs, or other resources will aid your study and what specific skills/lessons will they provide you? Be prepared to spend a couple paragraphs explaining the backstory while you utilize the rest to elaborate on specific resources.

Questions? Let us know!