First-Year Applicants

Hooray, you're getting ready to apply to college! We're thrilled you're considering Penn. Here’s everything you need to know about our application requirements and deadlines. You've got this!

Application Requirements

Penn accepts applications from the Common App and Coalition Application. We have no preference for either format and treat both applications equally in our process. We encourage you to review the features of each application format and use the platform that suits you best. You should submit only one application per admissions cycle and not mix-and-match across platforms.

Penn is also a proud QuestBridge partner institution and participates in the National College Match program for high-achieving students with significant financial need. We will accept the QuestBridge Application from QuestBridge National College Match Finalists in lieu of the Common App or the Coalition Application.

We encourage you to learn more about QuestBridge and the National College Match program.

These applications will include prompts to share:

  • autobiographical information about you and your family
  • how you spend your time inside and outside of school
  • your accomplishments
  • your personal essay, which is sent to most schools

The application fee to apply to Penn is $75. If paying the application fee is a significant financial burden for you and your family, please request an application fee waiver through either your Common App or the Coalition Application in the “fee waiver” section. 

2023-24 Short Answer and Essay Prompts 

When answering these prompts, be precise when explaining both why you are applying to Penn and why you have chosen to apply to a specific undergraduate school. Some of our coordinated dual-degree or specialized programs will have additional essays to complete, but the Penn short answer prompts should address your single-degree school choice.  

Students will be asked to respond to the following three prompts in their application to Penn: 

  1. Write a short thank-you note to someone you have not yet thanked and would like to acknowledge. (We encourage you to share this note with that person, if possible, and reflect on the experience!) (150-200 words, not required for transfer applicants) 
  2. How will you explore community at Penn? Consider how Penn will help shape your perspective, and how your experiences and perspective will help shape Penn. (150-200 words) 
  3. The school-specific prompt is unique to the school to which you are applying. (For example, all applicants applying to the College of Arts and Sciences will respond to the prompt under the “College of Arts and Sciences” section). 

Learn more about preparing your essays and short answer prompt responses.  

Learn more about coordinated dual-degree and specialized program essay prompts.

You will need to request that an official transcript is sent by a school counselor or another school official for all high schools you have attended. 

Your counselor will also need to submit a School Report form (available on the Common App or Coalition Application website). You may need to invite your school counselor or another school official to complete these steps.  

Learn more about high school preparation.  

Your counselor or another school official will need to send a Counselor Recommendation on your behalf. You will also need to request recommendation letters from two other teachers OR one teacher and a non-academic supporter.  

Learn more about requesting letters of recommendation.

If you decide to apply through the Early Decision round, you and your counselor will be prompted to sign and submit an Early Decision Agreement form which confirms you will attend Penn if you are admitted. 

To apply for financial aid, you will need to submit a separate application for aid in addition to your application for admission. Here’s what you’ll need to submit: 

  1. FAFSA 
  2. CSS Profile 
  3. Penn Financial Aid Supplement (PFAS) 
  4. Federal Tax Returns 

Learn more about applying for financial aid.  

Penn will not require applicants to submit the SAT, ACT, or SAT Subject Tests for the 2024-25 application cycle. This applies to both first-year and transfer applicants. If you decide not to submit SAT, ACT, or SAT Subject Test scores, you will not be at a disadvantage in the admissions process. Students who are able to take the SAT, ACT, and/or SAT Subject Tests and wish to report them may continue with that plan.

Learn more about our testing policy and guidelines.

  • Early Decision: Last Test Dates Accepted—October 2024 (ACT) or November 2024 (SAT)
  • Regular Decision: Last Test Dates Accepted—December 2024 (ACT) or December 2024 (SAT)

Alumni conversations are offered virtually and based on availability. After you submit your application, keep an eye on your email for an invitation to interview with an alum. You are not required to have this conversation, but it can be a great opportunity to learn more about you, and for you to learn more about Penn! 

  • Early Decision: Mid-October–Early December 
  • Regular Decision: December–Early March 

Learn more about preparing for an alumni conversation.  

All of the information that we feel is crucial in making an admission decision is included within our required documents. While most students who apply to Penn do not submit supplemental materials, you may choose to share other materials if you feel there is information essential to your application which was not able to be captured within the required documents. 

Learn more about submitting supplementary materials. 

To be submitted after your application deadline:

Ask your school counselor or another school official to complete and submit your mid-year school report when your grades become available. Your mid-year report should include your grades for the end of your first semester of 12th grade. 

  • Early Decision: Required by February 15, 2024 (for deferred applicants only) 
  • Regular Decision: Must be submitted directly by your high school as soon as mid-year grades are available 

If you are accepted and decide to enroll at Penn, matriculating students must submit their final transcript for the end of their 12th grade semester in June. 

Verification Policy

All application materials, unless otherwise stated, must be official and sent directly to the University or the University’s designated application platform from an official source (e.g., high school), not through an agent or third-party vendor, with the following exceptions: submissions by government and partner organizations and/or submissions by non-profit, community-based organizations when schools are unable to provide this information on behalf of the student. 

Applicants are required to attest to the accuracy and authenticity of all information and documents submitted to the University of Pennsylvania. Failure to submit complete, accurate, and authentic application documents may result in denial or revocation of admission, cancellation of academic credit, suspension, expulsion, or eventual revocation of degree. Applicants and/or school officials may be required to assist Penn Admissions in the verification of application documents and statements. 

All applicants to the University of Pennsylvania must confirm on their application that they understand and agree to adhere to the above expectations. Questions about this policy can be directed to Penn Admissions at 


If sending supporting documents via email, they should be sent to

If sending supporting documents via mail, they should be sent to: 
3535 Market Street, Suite 850 
Philadelphia, PA 19104 

Application Timelines (Early vs. Regular)

If you’re confident Penn is the best fit for you, consider applying through Early Decision. Our Early Decision program is binding, meaning that if you are admitted, you are required to accept our offer of admission and enroll at Penn. If you are still unsure if Penn is the right choice for you, or if you want the ability to compare financial aid packages across all schools to which you are admitted, you should consider applying through the Regular Decision application program.

By mid-December, you will receive one of three possible outcomes from your Early Decision application: 

You are admitted into the University of Pennsylvania.  As part of our Early Decision program, you are committed to accepting our offer of admission. You must withdraw any active applications you have to other colleges/universities. The only instance in which you could request to be released from our Early Decision binding agreement is if your financial need can’t be met, which would be determined only after consulting with Penn’s Student Financial Services office.  

If you are admitted, we ask that you confirm your enrollment by January 5, 2024.  

You are deferred for consideration during Regular Decision. Your application will be considered among our Regular Decision candidates, and you will no longer be bound by the Early Decision binding agreement. You will receive final notification of our decision in late March/early April. Instructions on how to provide updates to your application will be found on your applicant portal. 

You are denied under the Early Decision program. Your application process for this cycle year is complete. If you are still interested in Penn, you are welcome to re-apply during the next application cycle. 

We will notify all Early Decision applicants of the exact time and date of our decision release at least one week ahead of time so that they can be aware of when to expect their admissions decision. 

We appreciate that attending Penn is a tradition for many families. The Admissions Office identifies legacy applicants based on the information provided in a student’s application and defines “legacy” as being either a child or grandchild of alumni. Legacies who apply to Penn—like all applicants—receive thorough consideration in the application process. 

Although applicants considering applying through Early Decision must submit their applications earlier (November 1st) than Regular Decision applicants (January 5th), the process of applying is no different.  

Please note that if you are accepted by another school under a binding Early Decision program, you must inform the Office of Admissions and withdraw your Regular Decision Penn application. 

By April you will receive one of three possible outcomes from your Regular Decision application: 

You are admitted into the University of Pennsylvania. You have been accepted and are now invited to join the incoming first-year class. You will have until the admitted student reply date to accept or decline our offer of admission. 

You are waitlisted. You have been placed on the waitlist and do not currently have a seat in the incoming class. If you choose to remain on the waitlist -- and if space allows -- you will be considered for admission later in the spring or summer. 

You are denied admission under the Regular Decision program. Your application process for this cycle year is complete. If you are still interested in Penn, you are welcome to re-apply during the next application cycle. 

Pre-College Credit

Please note: These policies remain under ongoing review by the faculty of the University and are subject to change. Current students should consult their home school offices for policies in effect at the time of their matriculation. 

COVID-19 Update: Penn will continue to grant credit and placement for these exams. We understand some scores will now be based on online tests, while other scores will be based on year-long academic coursework. Testing agencies are making prudent decisions to prevent large gatherings of people. We are in communication with testing agencies around the world and we support them in the decisions they feel they need to make. 

The University of Pennsylvania may award credit or advanced course standing to students who have taken Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or other internationally-recognized examinations. Scores warranting University credit may vary by department. 

If you are a matriculating student seeking credit for Advanced Placement (AP) exams, you must have official score reports sent directly to the Office of the University Registrar by the Educational Testing Service. See Advanced Placement chart below. 

If you are a matriculating student seeking credit for International Baccalaureate (IB) exams, you must have official score reports sent directly to the Office of Admissions by the International Baccalaureate Organization. See International Baccalaureate chart below. 

If you are a matriculating student seeking credit for A-Level exams, you must email your original A-Level certificates to the Office of Admissions (Attention: Eddrena Owens, in order to have your scores evaluated for credit. See GCE Advanced (A) Level Exam Policy chart below. 

Pre-College and Dual Enrollment Course Work 

Credit is not awarded for college-level coursework undertaken at other institutions while a student is enrolled in high school or in the summer after high school. Such coursework is considered a part of a student’s preparation for a Penn education. It is used in consultation with the student’s academic advisor to inform decisions about placement into appropriate courses at Penn. 

Students who enroll in regular undergraduate courses at Penn prior to their matriculation into an undergraduate degree program at the University, during the academic year or in the summer sessions, may elect to have that coursework merged with their undergraduate transcript, in which case it will count toward their undergraduate degree requirements, and the grades will be included in their grade point average.   

ExaminationScorePenn Credit Awarded
Art History5Waiver for ARTH 1010 or ARTH 1020, consult with undergraduate chair
Art (Studio)5No credit (possible exemptions for majors, portfolio considered)
Biology No credit
Chemistry♦5EAS 091 (1 c.u.), for Engineering students only
Chemistry♦ 5NURS 0061 (0.5 c.u.), for Nursing students only
Computer Science A5CIS 1100 (1 c.u.)
Computer Science Principals No credit
Economics - Micro5Economics 0100 waiver
Economics - Macro5Economics 0200 waiver
English - Language/Composition No credit
English - Literature/Composition No credit
Environmental Science No credit
European History No credit
French Language5French 1000 ( (fulfills language requirement)
French Language 4No credit (fulfills language requirement)
German Language5German 0400 (1 c.u.) (fulfills language requirement)
German Language 4No credit, (must pass the department exam to fulfill language requirement)
Government and Politics No credit
Human Geography No credit
Italian Language and Culture5ITAL 1000 (1 c.u.) (fulfills language requirement)
Italian Language and Culture 4No credit (fulfills language requirement)
Japanese5JPAN 0400 (1 c.u.) (fulfills language requirement)
Japanese 4No credit (must pass the departmental exam to fulfill language requirement)
Latin5Latin 0400 (1 c.u.) (fulfills language requirement)
Latin 4No credit (fulfills language requirement)
Latin - Literature5Latin 0400 (1 c.u.) (fulfills language requirement)
Latin - Literature 4No credit (fulfills language requirement)
Latin - Vergil5Latin 0400 (1 c.u.) (fulfills language requirement)
Latin - Vergil 4No credit (fulfills language requirement)
Mathematics AB No credit
Mathematics BC♦5Math 1400 (1 c.u.) (Students entering 2024 and earlier)
Math 1300 (1 c.u.) (Students entering 2025 onward)
Music Theory No credit
Physics 15Physics 0101 (1.5 c.u.)
Physics 25Physics 0102 (1.5 c.u.)
5Physics 0150 (1.5 c.u.)
(Electricity and Magnetism)
5Physics 0151 (1.5 c.u.)
Psychology5Psychology 0001 Waiver
Spanish Language5Spanish 1000 (1 c.u.) (fulfills language requirement)
Spanish Language 4No credit (fulfills language requirement)
Spanish Literature5Spanish 1200 (1 c.u.) (fulfills language requirement)
Spanish Literature 4No credit (fulfills language requirement)
Statistics5STAT 1010 waiver or STAT 1110 waiver
Statistics 5NURS 2300 (1 c.u.), for Nursing students only
United States History No credit
World History No credit
Higher Level ExaminationScorePenn Credit Awarded
Anthropology No credit
Biology No credit
Chemistry♦7, 6EAS 091 (1 c.u.), for Engineering students only
Economics7, 6Economics 0100 and 0200 Waiver
English A/B No credit
French A7, 6French 1212 (1 c.u.)
 5French 1000 (1 c.u.)
French B7, 6French 1000 (1 c.u.)
Geography No credit
German A7, 6German 2100 (1 c.u.) (fulfills language requirement)
 5German 0400 (1 c.u.) (fulfills language requirement)
German B7, 6German 0400 (1 c.u.) (fulfills language requirement)
History of the Americas No credit
History of Europe No credit
Latin7Latin 0400 (1 c.u.) (fulfills language requirement)
 6No credit (fulfills language requirement)
Mathematics♦ No credit
Music No credit
Philosophy7, 6Phil 1000 (1 c.u.)
Physics7, 6Phys 0150 (1.5 c.u.) and Physics 0102 (1.5 c.u.)
Psychology7, 6Waiver for Psychology 0001
Spanish A7, 6Spanish 1200 (1 c.u.) (fulfills language requirement)
 5Spanish 1000 (1 c.u.) (fulfills language requirement)
Spanish B7, 6Spanish 1000 (1 c.u.) (fulfills language requirement)
Theater Arts7, 6, 5Departmental review on case-by-case basis

♦ An internal departmental examination is also available for credit once enrolled at Penn.

ExaminationGrade of A* or A or BGrade of C
AccountingNo creditNo credit
BiologyNo creditNo credit
ChemistryA* or A = EAS 091 (1 c.u.), for Engineering students onlyNo credit
EconomicsA* or A = Waiver Econ 0100 & 0200
B = no waiver
No credit
EnglishNo creditNo credit
FrenchA* or A = Fren 1212 (1 c.u.) (fulfills language requirement)
A- = no credit (fulfills language requirement)
B = no credit
No credit
GreekA* or A = Greek 0400 (1 c.u.) (fulfills language requirement)
B = no credit (fulfills language requirement)
No credit
HistoryNo creditNo credit
LatinA* or A = Latin 0400 (1 c.u.) (fulfills language requirement)
B = no credit (fulfills language requirement)
No credit
Math w/Special paper w/merit
No creditNo credit
PhysicsA* or A = Physics 0150 (1.5 c.u.) and Physics 0151 (1.5 c.u.)
B = Physics 0101 (1.5 c.u.) and Physics 0102 (1.5 c.u.)
No credit
SpanishA* or A = Spanish 1200 ( (fulfills language requirement)
A- = no credit (fulfills language requirement)
B = no credit
No credit