Preparing Your Application

Each year, the University of Pennsylvania Admissions Selection Committee seeks to build a class of 2,400 scholars, scientists, artists, athletes, innovators, and entrepreneurs. Our students refuse to be defined by just one thing. We want our campus to reflect the diversity of the world around us, so we aim to enroll students who come from all corners of the world with a wide range of backgrounds and unique perspectives. 

We look for students who aspire to develop and refine their talents and abilities within Penn’s liberal arts-based, practical, and interdisciplinary learning environment. When our Admissions Selection Committee reads applications (and yes, we do read all of them), we look for students who are inspired to emulate our founder Benjamin Franklin by being in “service to society”—to our community, the city of Philadelphia, and the wider world. 

Review our Incoming Class Profile to learn more about the amazing members of our most recently admitted class.  

Our Comprehensive Review Process

To best understand your alignment with Penn’s mission, academic programs, and educational experience, we approach your application with great care. We practice a comprehensive whole-person review, meaning there is no one part of the application we favor, and we consider the entirety of your context and the story you share with us when we review your application. 

We understand that you are more than the individual parts of the parts of your application and hope to learn more about what you care about, your academic interests, your resilience, and your story. 

When we review your application, we’re asking the following questions to better understand who you are:  

  • What are you interested in? 
  • Where have you focused your energy in your classes? 
  • How have you made a meaningful impact through your activities and commitments? 
  • How do you spend your time outside of school? 
  • Are you part of communities that bring you joy or sustain you? 
  • What experiences have challenged you? 
  • What are you like as a student? How do you interact with your peers? 
  • What do you hope to achieve at Penn? 
  • What kind of impact will you have on our campus? 

Our goal is to identify students who we believe are ready for the academic challenges Penn has to offer. Our admissions committee meets in teams to discuss all parts of your application so we can look beyond the words on the page to discover the intangible qualities that make you authentically you.  

“What you seem to be, be really.”
- Benjamin Franklin

For more information, Penn offers workshops throughout the admissions cycle that can help you better prepare for the application.