Through these letters, we can better appreciate the kind of student you have been in the classroom, which helps us understand the kind of a student you may be at Penn. Letters also give us a story behind the grade, providing us with information about work ethic, class participation, collaboration, and interactions with classmates.
Penn requires two teacher recommendations, ideally instructors from your junior or senior year in major academic subjects. We take teacher observations seriously, and pay close attention to what your teachers say about you. So, choose people who know you well and can speak from first-hand experience about your work and potential.
When you’re considering who to ask for a letter of recommendation, remember:
- It can be helpful to obtain a recommendation from a teacher in your area of academic interest.
- You don’t need to get one letter from a science/math teacher and one from a humanities teacher, although you are welcome to do that. We don’t recommend that you submit letters from instructors of the same subject. A letter from a math teacher and one from a science teacher, for example, is acceptable. Likewise, a letter from a history teacher and one from an English teacher. Letters from two different math teachers, however, is not recommended.
- The best letters come from the teachers who know you well, not necessarily the ones who gave you the best grade.
- Be sure to ask for recommendations well in advance of the deadline, to allow your teachers time to reflect on their experiences with you in the classroom.
- Providing your teachers with a resume, a list of the projects and assignments you did while in their class, or a favorite topic that was discussed in class, can help them remember all of your great work.
- Penn does allow for one supplemental recommendation. Please see the Supplementary Materials section for more information.
Transfer Applicants: Recommendations should come from your college professors.