Excitement for the Class of 2018 remains strong yet we are constantly thinking ahead.
High school juniors, parents, and counselors: I am excited to provide an update on the Penn Writing Supplement on the Common Application for the 2014-2015 admissions cycle—we will be keeping our essay question consistent with last year:
Penn Writing Supplement on the Common Application for entry Fall 2015: “The Admissions Committee would like to learn why you are a good fit for your undergraduate school choice (College of Arts and Sciences, School of Nursing, The Wharton School of Business, or Penn Engineering). Please tell us about specific academic, service, and/or research opportunities at the University of Pennsylvania that resonate with your background, interests, and goals. 400-650 words”
This question builds on the academic narratives that unfold in the information-rich Common Application and allows us to understand the essence of each applicant’s Penn fit. With this question, we are enlisting applicants’ help in envisioning their academic journey through a specific undergraduate school and their possible paths forward. This essay will always drive conversation in the committee room.
I. To answer the question. Our prompt asks about your fit with one of Penn’s four undergraduate schools. Think about the University, and the many opportunities here (majors, classes, research, work with professors, academic advising, engagement in the community), primarily through this lens.
II. Penn values interdisciplinary learning. Feel free to discuss how our “One University” concept might build on your academic path through the College, Nursing, Engineering or Wharton.
III. If you are applying to a Coordinated Dual-Degree, Accelerated, or Specialized program, make sure to articulate your fit with your single-degree choice in this essay; your application will be reviewed for both programs.
IV. To make connections. We are not looking for a list. Engage with the opportunities you are drawn to — make connections to your current work and activities, explain how your ideas will be supported at Penn, be thoughtful and passionate, and tell us why.
V. If you are undecided about your major, be passionately undecided. It’s fine not to know; however, think about possible options.
During travel this spring, at junior night panels, college fairs, and school visits, students often asked how they might differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive applicant pool. A comprehensive, detailed, and inspired Penn essay can demonstrate a unique voice and fit. Don’t forget that this essay can also be a space to take academic risks. We encourage students to explore the range of majors, concentrations, and programs available, even those that may not be part of current high school curriculums.
As the school year comes to its end, our office hopes this announcement will allow you to think ahead in the college process. Continue to check Page 217 for tips and insight into the application process.