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The University of Pennsylvania promotes collaboration and integration across its schools, fostering interdisciplinary learning and research opportunities that few institutions can match. This approach allows students to explore multiple fields and tackle complex global challenges through programs like the Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) initiative, which brings together eminent scholars from diverse disciplines. Moreover, Penn's commitment to civic engagement and social impact is deeply ingrained in its educational philosophy, exemplified by the Netter Center for Community Partnerships and the numerous service-learning initiatives. These unique aspects make Penn a good choice for students seeking a transformative and multifaceted educational experience.


The University of Pennsylvania supplemental essays provide applicants with an opportunity to showcase their unique qualities, aspirations, and fit with the university. The prompts aim to gauge applicants' genuine interest in engaging with Penn's community, their ability to reflect on meaningful experiences, and their alignment with the university's values and offerings. Overall, the supplemental essays encourage applicants to demonstrate their passion, personal growth, and potential contributions to the diverse and intellectually stimulating environment at Penn.



How to Write the University of Pennsylvania Supplemental Essay 1


PROMPT: 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!) (Between 150 and 200 words.)


When approaching this essay, it’s essential to choose a person who has had a significant impact on your life, someone who deserves recognition for their contributions, whether it be a mentor, a family member, a teacher, or someone in your community. As you begin the essay, create a warm and sincere tone and address the person directly, expressing genuine appreciation for their presence in your life. Using their name and incorporating a heartfelt greeting would help establish a personal connection from the outset. In order to more effectively convey your gratitude, provide specific examples of how this person's influence has shaped your personal or academic growth. Sharing anecdotes and experiences that highlight their guidance, support, or mentorship allows you to paint a vivid picture of the impact they have had on your journey. By focusing on concrete instances and lessons learned, you can showcase the depth and authenticity of your appreciation. It’s also important to reflect on the lessons and values you’ve gained from this person's influence. By articulating the ways in which their guidance has shaped your perspective, character, and goals, you can demonstrate the lasting impact of their involvement in your life. You can also emphasize how their support has empowered you to overcome challenges and achieve personal milestones. By sharing specific instances where their encouragement and belief in you have propelled you forward, you can showcase the transformative effect they have had on your academic and personal journey. Concluding the essay on a forward-looking note would add to its effectiveness. Express how their influence will continue to shape your future endeavors, highlighting the ways in which you plan to apply the lessons learned from them in your academic pursuits and beyond. By demonstrating a clear vision of how their impact extends into your future goals, you can show the lasting significance of their presence in your life. Throughout the essay, it’s important to maintain sincerity, authenticity, and a genuine tone to ensure that your appreciation is conveyed in a personal and heartfelt manner.



How to Write the University of Pennsylvania Supplemental Essay 2


PROMPT: How will you explore community at Penn? Consider how Penn will help shape your perspective and identity, and how your identity and perspective will help shape Penn. (Between 150 and 200 words.)


For this essay, make sure to showcase your genuine interest in engaging with and contributing to Penn’s vibrant community. Start with self-reflection by considering your own experiences, values, and interests that have shaped your perspective and identity thus far, and how they will influence your approach to building and participating in a community at Penn. Next, research Penn's unique community by exploring its core values, programs, organizations, and initiatives, and learn about the opportunities available for students to engage on campus, such as cultural, academic, service-oriented, or interest-based groups. Then, incorporate personal anecdotes that highlight your previous involvement in community-building activities or experiences where your perspective and identity have played a significant role. When articulating how you envision exploring community at Penn, be specific regarding the communities or organizations you are drawn to and why they align with your values, interests, or goals. Discuss how you plan to contribute to these communities and benefit from the experiences they offer. For example, consider how your unique perspective and background can contribute to the interdisciplinary nature of the Penn community, bridging different fields of study or bringing fresh perspectives to academic discussions. Connect your interests and experiences to Penn's resources, programs, and initiatives that support community-building and student engagement, mentioning specific programs like mentoring opportunities, community service initiatives, research opportunities, or internships that align with your interests. Explain how utilizing these resources can help you shape your perspective and identity at Penn. Conclude your essay by discussing how your active participation in Penn's community will not only benefit your personal growth but also contribute to the betterment of the university through, for example, fostering inclusivity, diversity, and meaningful interactions. Remember to strike a balance between highlighting your individuality and demonstrating a genuine interest in engaging with others.



How to Write the University of Pennsylvania Supplemental Essay 3


PROMPT: Considering the specific undergraduate school you have selected, how will you explore your intellectual and academic interests at the University of Pennsylvania? (Between 150 and 200 words.)


Begin by thoroughly researching the specific undergraduate school at Penn that you are applying to. Familiarize yourself with its vision, unique programs, faculty expertise, research opportunities, and any distinguishing features that align with your academic interests. Next, clearly articulate your interests and explain how they align with the offerings of your chosen undergraduate school, identifying specific courses, majors, minors, research opportunities, or academic resources that directly relate to your interests. Make sure to demonstrate that you have a solid understanding of the school's curriculum and how it can facilitate your academic growth. At this point, you can share your academic goals and aspirations, and how Penn will contribute to your intellectual development and enable you to pursue your academic passions. In your writing, convey your enthusiasm and excitement for engaging in intellectual pursuits at Penn. Share any relevant experiences, projects, or activities you have undertaken that demonstrate your commitment to learning and exploring your academic interests, and highlight any academic achievements, research experiences, or notable coursework that showcase your dedication to your chosen field of study. Next, discuss how you plan to actively engage through opportunities such as joining clubs, participating in academic organizations, attending lectures, or collaborating with fellow students and faculty members. This will demonstrate how you will contribute to the academic discourse and collaborative learning environment at Penn. Show that you have done your research by identifying specific professors, research centers, or academic resources, and discuss how you intend to engage with these resources to further explore your intellectual interests, conduct research, or seek mentorship from faculty members. Given how Penn values interdisciplinary education and encourages students to explore connections across various fields of study, consider reflecting on how your academic interests transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries and discuss how your chosen undergraduate school's interdisciplinary approach will enable you to pursue your intellectual curiosity and make unique connections. Conclude your essay by summarizing how the school provides the ideal platform for you to explore and develop your interests, reinforcing the alignment between your academic passions, the resources offered by the school, and your aspirations for growth and impact within your chosen field. Remember to be specific, passionate, and well-informed in your response, and showcase your eagerness to engage in rigorous academic exploration and contribute to Penn’s vibrant intellectual community.

what's next?

Would you like one-on-one expert assistance with crafting amazing supplemental essays that help you stand out from the crowd and get you admitted? Whether you need help brainstorming ideas, structuring your essays, or refining your writing, we're here to provide personalized guidance every step of the way.


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