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Penn Admissions Blog

Penn Extends Test-Optional Policy – What Does This Mean for You?
Dean Whitney Soule | February 2, 2022

If you’ve read my other blog posts, you know that I’m deeply committed to processes that help applicants introduce themselves in ways that emphasize their own academic preparation and display their individual aspirations, talents, and personalities. 

We also know that the pandemic has had a prolonged and destructive impact on so many areas of students’ lives, including academic experiences and access to testing. 

With all of this in mind, Penn is extending its undergraduate test-optional admissions policy through the 2022-2023 application year, for first-year and transfer students planning to enter Penn in fall 2023. 

You might be wondering what, exactly, does that mean for you? Is there a strategy to decide whether to take a test or to submit the results if you did complete a test?  

What. Should. You. Do???? 

For real, you should do what feels right to you. That may sound vague, but it’s not. You know yourself. You know your strengths. What feels right to you is actually very, very specific – to YOU.  

Our admissions team has the responsibility to assess academic preparedness and alignment with Penn academic programs based upon the materials we require.  So, if you submit an application with all of the required materials, our team is good to go. If, by choice or circumstance, you don’t take a test, that’s OK.   If you take a test and you feel good about the result, then you can include it and we’ll review that, too. Or, if you take a test and you’re not happy with the result – for how it represents YOU – then you can withhold it, and that's just fine with us.   

If you want to know more about how our review process works, and where test-optional fits in, you can go here. 

So, for students, we hope this announcement gives you some clarity about what you can expect in our application requirements for next year. In the meantime, keep focusing on doing the things you enjoy and that hold meaning for you. We’ll look forward to reading all about it if your application process leads you to Penn. 

About the author
Dean Whitney Soule

I’ve worked in college admissions for over 30 years, and I focus on building bridges between what ‘has been’ and what ‘can be’ so that the whole process can become less complicated yet still effective for students to find their way into college.  I especially love meeting new students when they arrive each year because it’s so fun to match them to the stories and information that we know from their applications!

I love coffee, running, snacking all day, and laughing.  I also adore dogs.  I spend a lot of time with my nutty English Bulldog, Stella, and I can be very easily distracted by silly dog memes. My favorite location on Penn's campus is the entire stretch of Locust Walk, and I love authentic Philly cheesesteaks. You can reach me at

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