Books on a shelf of the Van Pelt Library
Essays

The Penn application process includes a personal essay as well as a Penn-specific essay. We read your words carefully, as they are yet another window into how you think, what you value, and how you see the world. Through your writing, we get a glimpse of what you might bring to our community, such as your voice and creativity.

Before you begin your essay:

  • Review the question thoroughly. Be sure you’re answering the question or questions being asked. Essay topics are chosen because the Admissions Committee wants to know specific things about you. If you don’t address the question directly, we are left to make decisions regarding your application with incomplete information.
  • Consider your response carefully. We understand that you may be writing essays for different schools and you may want to reuse material, but read through your essay to make sure the content is relevant to the essay prompt.
  • Double check your writing. Give yourself time to revisit your response. Do not rush your writing process; create space in your schedule to revise your work. Ultimately, it is up to you to polish your essay before you submit.

When you apply to Penn, you must submit your application for admission to one of our four undergraduate schools. In the Penn-specific essay, be precise when explaining both why you are applying to Penn and why you have chosen to apply to that specific undergraduate school. Some of our specialized programs will have additional essays to complete, but the Penn essay should address the single-degree or single-school choice.

2019-2020 Essays 

How did you discover your intellectual and academic interests, and how will you explore them at the University of Pennsylvania? Please respond considering the specific undergraduate school you have selected. (300-450 words)

At Penn, learning and growth happen outside of the classroom, 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.

Why are you interested in the Computer & Cognitive Science: Artificial Intelligence program at the University of Pennsylvania? (400-650 words)

Computer and Cognitive Science: Artificial Intelligence

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

DMD: Digital Media Design Program

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 seeks students who are enthusiastic about combining science with management. What excites you about this combination? What advantages and opportunities does the combination provide, and what issues could it address? Be as specific and original as possible in addressing these questions. It is important that you share your thoughts written in your own words because that is what we are interested in reading. (400-650 words)

  • 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)

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)

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)

  • 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.

Describe your interests in energy science and technology drawing on your previous academic, research, and extracurricular experiences that allow you to appreciate the scientific or engineering challenges related to energy and sustainability. If you have previous experience with research, describe your research project (outlining the goals, hypotheses, approach, results, and conclusions). Describe how your experiences have shaped your research and interests, and identify how the VIPER program will help you achieve your goals. Also, please indicate which VIPER majors in both science and engineering are most interesting to you at this time. (400-650 words)