Prior to the 2019-2020 admissions cycle, the University of Pennsylvania asked applicants to complete only one supplemental essay prompt in 400-650 words: “How will you explore your intellectual and academic interests at the University of Pennsylvania? Please answer this question given the specific undergraduate school to which you are applying (College of Arts and Sciences, School of Nursing, The Wharton School, or Penn Engineering).” And before that, a mainstay of the University of Pennsylvania application for nearly 20 years was the prompt that read, “You have just finished your three hundred page autobiography. Please submit page 217.” It’s the reason why outgoing UPenn Dean of Admissions Eric Furda’s blog is called P.217. So now that you know all this history related to UPenn’s application, what are the essay prompts for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle, you ask?
2020-2021 UPenn Supplemental Essay Prompts
The prompts for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle at UPenn will remain the same as last year’s prompts. There are two prompts. In the first essay, UPenn applicants are asked, “How did you discover your intellectual and academic interests, and how will you explore them at the University of Pennsylvania? Please respond considering the specific undergraduate school you have selected.” Applicants must respond in 300-450 words. In the second essay, applicants are asked, “At Penn, learning and growth happen outside of the classroom, too. How will you explore the community at Penn? Consider how this community will help shape your perspective and identity, and how your identity and perspective will help shape this community.” Applicants must respond in 150-200 words.
2020-2021 UPenn Dual Degree Program Essay Prompts
Additionally, if students are applying to one of UPenn’s dual-degree programs, there are additional essay prompts as outlined below.
For the Digital Media Design Program, applicants are asked, “Why are you interested in the Digital Media Design (DMD) program at the University of Pennsylvania? 400-650 words.”
For The Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business, applicants are asked, “The Huntsman Program supports the development of globally-minded scholars who become engaged citizens, creative innovators, and ethical leaders in the public, private, and non-profit sectors in the United States and internationally. What draws you to a dual-degree program in business and international studies, and how would you use what you learn to make a contribution to a global issue where business and international affairs intersect? 400-650 words.”
For The Roy and Diana Vagelos Program in Life Sciences and Management (LSM), applicants are asked two essay prompts: (1) The LSM program aims to provide students with a fundamental understanding of the life sciences and their management with an eye to identifying, advancing and implementing innovations. What issues would you want to address using the understanding gained from such a program? Note that this essay should be distinct from your single degree essay. (400-650 words) and (2) “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts” (attributed to Winston Churchill). Tell us about the failure from which you’ve learned the most. (200-250 words).
For the Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology (M&T), applicants are asked two essay prompts: (1) Explain how you will use the M&T program to explore your interest in business, engineering, and the intersection of the two. (400-650 words) and (2) Describe a problem that you solved that showed leadership and creativity. (250 words).
For The Rajendra and Neera Singh Program in Networked and Social Systems Engineering (NETS), applicants are asked, “Describe your interests in modern networked information systems and technologies, such as the internet, and their impact on society, whether in terms of economics, communication, or the creation of beneficial content for society. Feel free to draw on examples from your own experiences as a user, developer, or student of technology. (400-650 words).”
For the Nursing and Healthcare Management Program (NHCM), applicants are asked, “Discuss your interest in nursing and health care management. How might Penn’s coordinated dual-degree program in nursing and business help you meet your goals? (400-650 words).”
For the Seven Year Biodental Program, applicants are asked a series of questions: (1) “Please list pre-dental or pre-medical experience. This experience can include but is not limited to observation in a private practice, dental clinic, or hospital setting; dental assisting; dental laboratory work; dental or medical research, etc. Please include time allotted to each activity, dates of attendance, location, and description of your experience. If you do not have any pre-dental or pre-medical experience, please indicate what you have done that led you to your decision to enter dentistry; (2) List any activities which demonstrate your ability to work with your hands; (3) What activities have you performed that demonstrate your ability to work cooperatively with people?; (4) Please explain your reasons for selecting a career in dentistry. Please include what interests you the most in dentistry as well as what interests you the least; and (5) Do you have relatives who are dentists or are in dental school? If so, indicate the name of each relative, his/her relationship to you, the school attended, and the dates attended.”
For The Roy and Diana Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER), applicants are asked, “Describe your interests in energy science and technology drawing on your previous academic, research, and extracurricular experiences that allow you to appreciate the scientific or engineering challenges related to energy and sustainability. If you have previous experience with research, describe your research project (outlining the goals, hypotheses, approach, results, and conclusions). Describe how your experiences have shaped your research and interests, and identify how the VIPER program will help you achieve your goals. Also, please indicate which VIPER majors in both science and engineering are most interesting to you at this time. (400-650 words).”
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