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Penn Page 217 Essay Typer

Congratulations on the successful completion of another school year. After working so hard, you deserve a restful summer break! We know you are balancing multiple priorities during this time—spending time with friends and family, cultivating your hobbies, working, and preparing for the college application process.

The summer is a great time to begin drafts of your college essays and I’m excited to share the 2017-2018 Penn-specific essay prompt. This question may look familiar to some; we are using the same prompt as last year.


2017–2018 Penn Essay Question:

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).

The essay should be between 400-650 words.

Students applying to Digital Media Design and Computer and Cognitive Science should address both the specialized program and single-degree choice in their response. For students applying to the other coordinated dual-degree and specialized programs, please answer this question in regards to your single-degree school choice; Your interest in the coordinated dual-degree or specialized program may be addressed through the program-specific essays.


Asking a variation of “Why Penn” allows applicants to impart critical information to the admissions committee on their fit with the University. Before beginning this essay, I encourage you to work on the Page 217 framework of 5 I’s and 4 C’s. The 5 I’s form a deep self-assessment and the 4 C’s focus on your priorities for your college list. The Penn specific essay prompt builds on this reflective work. We are asking you to connect your ideas, intellect, and interests to Penn’s academic ecosystem. Keep the following in mind:

Carefully read the question.

We are asking you to explore your academic interests and potential intellectual path at the University of Pennsylvania. We expect that you will discuss the undergraduate school to which you are applying, potential majors or minors, classes of interest, lab opportunities, professors of note, among other academic resources.

Be specific.

This essay should be specific to Penn. You made a thoughtful decision to apply to Penn so tell us what excites you about the opportunities on campus. Share your research and thought process. Remember that our website, blogs, Youtube channel, and local information sessions are great sources of information for those near and far.

Make connections.

This piece should read as an essay and not a list. Balance your understanding of the academic offerings at Penn with information about your interests and ideas. Help the admissions committee get to know your mind. What triggers your curiosity? How do you explore your passions in your school and community? What do you want to do in the future and how will Penn get you there?

See possibilities.

There are 90 majors at Penn – a full range of possibilities. Opportunities at Penn are more expansive than those in many high school settings. You should feel comfortable writing about majors, classes, and research opportunities that pique your curiosity even if you do not have formal experience within these academic areas. Tell us why these disciplines stand out and how they inform your future goals.

If you opt to apply to Penn as an undecided major, you are in good company. A substantial portion of our applicants apply as undecided. Discuss the potential majors, minors, or class choices that interest you. Be aware that we do ask you to apply to a specific undergraduate school at Penn: the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Nursing, the Wharton School of Business, or the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. In your application, you will need to decide which undergraduate school is the best fit for your potential academic path.

If you apply to a dual degree program, there will be an additional essay to demonstrate your fit for that specific program. In the Penn-specific essay prompt be sure to speak to your single degree choice.

Share your passion.

The admissions committee enjoys the excitement you convey in your essays. Your feelings for Penn, and all that you can do at Penn, come alive in this piece. This is the space to share your enthusiasm for and your fit with our community. Like you, we are certainly enthusiastic about the Penn experience.

Most importantly, enjoy the summer. Remember to have fun while you explore your college possibilities. Reach out to us if you have any questions. I, alongside my colleagues, look forward to reading your work.

The essay question in the Penn Writing Supplement on the Common Application will change for the upcoming admissions cycle. Applicants to the University will be asked to complete one question and, as before, bring thought, creativity, and specificity to their answer. There are a myriad of reasons to come to Penn and we are asking students to hone in on those that are most personally meaningful.


Penn Supplement Essay Prompt, 2013-2014: “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, 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

Be mindful of content already conveyed to the Admissions Committee in your application and the opportunity this question offers you to articulate specifically “Why Penn?”  For example, imagine standing at the nexus of Locust Walk and College Green and looking at the path ahead. What are the opportunities you would like to explore in this space? What do you hope to learn about and create in your undergraduate school of choice? Strive to make this piece both uniquely you and uniquely Penn.

And while this text is not binding (you are encouraged to explore, expand, and change in college), it can serve as a blueprint for the mark you make on campus. As inspiration, consider Jake Cohen C’13 who pledged to start a bagpipe band in his freshman application. Jake created Penn Pipes in his senior year and now student pipers can be found at events across campus. The Admissions Office, including Jake’s Regional Director Jordan Pascucci, is proud.

Several months ago, Patrick Bredehoft provided tips on the school-specific supplement essay. Review this piece to jumpstart your writing process. Patrick, a former English teacher and Penn Admissions Regional Director, reminds students to “be an authentic narrator” and to “give yourself time.” Additionally, find tips for the required essays for Penn’s interdisciplinary programs, the Rajendra and Neera Singh Program in Networked & Social Systems Engineering (NETS), the Huntsman Program in International Studies & Business, the Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology (M&T), the Nursing and Health Care Management Coordinated Dual-Degree program (NHCM), the Roy and Diana Vagelos Program in Life Sciences & Management (LSM), and the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER), on Page 217.

Ask questions, draft, and discuss.  Our office wishes you the best of luck.

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