The Ivy Coach Daily

September 23, 2021

UPenn Changes Recommendation Requirement

The University of Pennsylvania will no longer require two letters of recommendation from teachers.

The University of Pennsylvania has changed up its recommendation requirement. Previously, students were required to submit three letters of recommendation: from the school counselor as well as from two teachers. Going forward, students hoping to earn admission to UPenn will still have to submit three letters of recommendation. But instead of requiring a letter from the school counselor and two teachers, students can also submit a letter from an outside recommender in lieu of the second teacher recommendation. If, however, applicants still wish to submit a school counselor letter in addition to two teacher letters, they sure can. So why did UPenn make this change? Well, it likely traces to the Covid-19 pandemic. Since students weren’t in classrooms for much of this past year, UPenn’s admissions committee — which is now under new leadership — thought it might make it easier for students to receive a letter of recommendation from someone outside of the (virtual) classroom setting.

As UPenn’s new Dean of Admissions Whitney Soule writes about the change to the recommendation requirement, “If you are wondering whether there is a strategic way to use this third recommendation, there is! A good strategy is to ask yourself if the recommenders you are choosing are likely to offer insights and examples about qualities you like in yourself. For some of you, there might be two teachers who have knowledgeable relationships with you and could offer us a good array of information, so you might choose to use another teacher as your third recommender. For some of you, the combination of a teacher and someone who is not a teacher is the best way to round out the information, so you might go for a choosing someone who has not taught you in an academic setting as your third recommender. Both are good strategies…For the individual student reading about this change, I want to be clear that the choice of who to select as recommenders remains entirely your own. If you are reading this as an adult who is supporting or advising a student in the college process, please encourage your student to think broadly about the trusted adults in their lives who could write with insight and examples.”

Have a question about UPenn’s newly revised letter of recommendation requirement? Let us know your question by posting it below. We look forward to hearing from you!

You are permitted to use (including the content of the Blog) for your personal, non-commercial use only. You must not copy, download, print, or otherwise distribute the content on our site without the prior written consent of Ivy Coach, Inc.


If you’re interested in Ivy Coach’s college counseling,
fill out our complimentary consultation form and we’ll be in touch.

Get Started