Successful University of Pennsylvania Essays

These are successful college essays of students that were accepted to University of Pennsylvania. Use them to see what it takes to get into UPenn and get inspiration for your own Common App essay, supplements, and short answers. These successful UPenn essays include Common App essays, UPenn supplements, and program specific supplements such as Wharton essays.
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UPenn Supplemental Essay

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…...

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University of Pennsylvania Essay Prompts

University of Pennsylvania requires the Common Application, with its 250-650 word essay requirement, as well as their own short essay questions, included below.

UPenn Supplement Essay Prompts

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. (300-450 words)

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. (150-200 words)

For students applying to the coordinated dual-degree and specialized programs, please answer these questions in regard to your single-degree school choice; your interest in the coordinated dual-degree or specialized program may be addressed through the program-specific essay.

UPenn requires program-specific supplemental essays for many of their programs. You can find the most up-to-date prompts for each program you are applying to on UPenn’s website.

Common Application Essay Prompts

The Common App Essay for 2020-2021 is limited to 250-650 word responses. You must choose one prompt for your essay.

  1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, please share your story.
  2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
  3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
  4. Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma — anything of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
  5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
  6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
  7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.