Hand painting on an art board
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 contained within our required documents. 

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

Below are the kinds of supplementary materials we may consider, along with guidelines for who should submit them and how they should be submitted. We can’t guarantee that non-required documents will be reviewed during the application process. Supplementary materials outside of those listed below won’t be considered.

Additional Letter of Recommendation

Penn requires two letters of recommendation from academic teachers, which allows the Admissions Committee to understand a student's presence and impact in the classroom and school community. If you would like to submit another letter of recommendation beyond this requirement, we strongly recommend that it is not from another academic teacher. Examples of an appropriate recommender include an athletic coach, internship or research supervisor, boss at a part-time job, or local clergy member. These additional recommendations are only helpful if the recommender knows you personally and can write specifically about you. Letters from family members or close family friends traditionally do not provide information that’s helpful to the evaluation process. Please have this optional additional letter of recommendation (no more than one) submitted through the Coalition or Common Application.

Art or Music Sample

If you have exceptional and recognized talents in visual arts or music, you may submit samples of work for review by department faculty. You don’t need to major in music or fine arts disciplines to submit a portfolio. However, if you plan to major in Music, Fine Arts, or Digital Media Design, you are encouraged to submit portfolios as part of the application process. Students applying as sophomore transfers into the Architecture major are required to submit a portfolio. We won’t review any other portfolio content aside from portfolios containing visual art, digital media, music, or architecture.

Deadlines for portfolio submissions are 10 days after the application deadlines. Portfolios must be submitted through your Penn Applicant Portal, which is accessible within 48 hours after you submit your application.

Portfolio Guidelines

Architecture: Required only for transfer students applying for sophomore standing. There is no specific number of submissions that must be included. Junior transfers are ineligible to apply to the Architecture major.

Digital Media Design Program: Portfolios should include 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.

Fine Arts: Portfolios should include a minimum of 10 different works. An artist’s statement (approximately 300 words) is strongly encouraged.

Music: There isn’t a specific number of submissions that need to be included. However, if you are submitting an original score, please upload the sheet music.

File Sizes and Types

Although we technically support media files as large as 2 GB, please be advised that larger files will take longer to upload from your Internet connection and may stall if you are on a wireless network 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:

  • Video: .avi, .flv, .m1v, .m2v, .m4v, .mkv, .mov, .mpeg, .mpg, .mp4, .wmv
  • Audio: .aac, .aif, .aiff, .iff, .fla, .m4a, .mpa, .mp3, .ra, .wav, .wma
  • Slide: .bmp, .gif, .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .tif, .tiff
  • Document: .doc, .docx, .odg, .odp, .odt, .pdf, .ppt, .pptx, .rtf, .wpd

Expanded Resume or Research Abstract

You are required to complete the activities section of the application. If an activity needs to be explained in greater detail, you may include an expanded explanation or resume.

  • Please note that an expanded resume is not a substitute for filling out the activities section of the application.

Students engaged in academic research may submit a brief abstract in lieu of a resume.