An Essay Discussion
Dean Furda and the Penn Admissions staff offer inspiration, reassurance, and direction for students starting their college essays.
A Writer’s Block Could Be Your Building Block
A Penn student offers essay writing tips with this entry in our Penn Admissions Blog
As a part of the application process, applicants must complete a personal essay. Additionally, Penn applicants must complete the Penn-specific Essay.
We carefully read each essay you submit, as they can help us get to know you much better than your transcripts and test scores. While essays are a good indication of how well you write, they are also windows into how you think, what you value, and how you see the world. Your numbers tell us what kind of student you are. Your essays tell us what sort of person you are—and provide a glimpse into the intangibles you might bring to our community.
Be sure to answer the question or questions that are being asked of you. We understand that you may be writing essays for different schools and you may be looking to reuse material, but read through your essay to make sure your essay is relevant to the essay prompt. Essay topics are chosen because the Admissions Committee wants to know these specific things about you. If you do not address the question directly, the Admissions Committee is left with having to make decisions regarding your application with incomplete information.
Students applying to Penn must submit their application for admission to one of our four undergraduate schools. In the Penn-specific Essay, be sure to specifically address both why you are applying to Penn and why you are applying to that specific undergraduate school. Students who are applying to one of our coordinated dual-degree programs will have additional essays they need to complete, but the Penn essay should address the single-degree or single-school choice.
A Guide to the UPenn Supplement
UPenn is filled with driven, passionate, and entrepreneurial students. Therefore, I think the best way to communicate how you’d fit in at UPenn is to emphasize how a UPenn education could get you to your end goals. UPenn loves a practically oriented student, so be practical and clear about what UPenn will allow you to achieve.
The supplemental essay question for the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) is as follows:
“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)
Undergraduate School Choice:
UPenn has four undergraduate schools with additional specialized and cross-disciplinary programs. In order to demonstrate your interest in UPenn, make sure you’re applying for the right school for what you want to study.
- The College of Arts and Sciences
- The School of Engineering
- The School of Nursing
- The Wharton School
- AI | Computer and Cognitive Science, Artificial Intelligence (the College and Engineering)
- BIO-DENT | Seven year bio-dental program (the College and the School of Dental Medicine)
- DMD | Digital Media Design (Engineering)
- Huntsman | Huntsman program in international studies and business (Wharton and the College)
- LSM | Roy and Diana Vagelos Program in Life Sciences and Management (Wharton and the College)
- M & T | Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology (Engineering and Wharton)
- NETS | Networked and Social Systems Engineer (Engineering)
- NHCM | Nursing and Health Care Management (Wharton and Nursing)
- VIPER | Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (the College and Engineering)
If you want to study economics would you apply to the Wharton School of Business or to the College of Arts and Sciences? This depends entirely on whether you want a pre-professional approach (Wharton) to business and economics or want a more theoretical and academic approach (the College). Make sure you’re selecting the school that’s right for getting you to your end goal. If your dream is to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, an application to Wharton is much more in line with your goals , and that will shine through to the Admissions Committee.
How Can Penn Further My Goals?
A good supplement answer will clearly outline what your passions are and how Penn’s opportunities will help you achieve them.
1. Look through the majors and programs at UPenn.
The list of undergraduate programs at UPenn Majors and can be found here. Each major has its own site with information and a list of the classes it offers. Look through some of the classes in the majors that look interesting. Can you see yourself rushing to sign up? If so, these are classes you’ll want to reference in your essay.
2. Identify professors you’d like to work with.
After looking through the majors and classes you’ll likely see some opportunities that interest you. Google the names of the professors teaching the classes you find compelling and the heads of the programs or majors you like. Is the professor published in areas of your interest? Read his or her writing and tell the admissions committee what you think! The more academic familiarity and passion you can display in your essay the better. Looking through classes, programs, and professors will help you envision yourself at Penn and more clearly portray that vision to the Admissions Committee.
3. Identify research opportunities.
While finding a professor you’d like to work with and referencing he or she is a good way to showcase your interest, not all professors are willing to take on research assistants. In order to link students with research opportunities, UPenn created the The Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF). It is a great resource on campus that the school is really proud of. The Admissions Committee is sure to love it if you reference an opportunity that you find on CURF’s site. The site can be found here.
4. Identify UPenn alums you admire
If you know the type of career you’d be interested in having, look at some UPenn alums that are working in those fields. What did they do with their UPenn degrees and what opportunities were they able take advantage of while at UPenn? Wikipedia has a great list of UPenn alums organized by discipline you can find here.
5. What if I don’t have a specific passion?
UPenn is a great place to find yourself. If you are undecided about your future talk about some of the ways in which UPenn can help you foster your goals and learn about yourself. For example, the multidisciplinary requirements at UPenn ensure you’ll get a taste of a variety of academic fields. Take a look at the advice for Freshmen written by UPenn deans about how to find their academic niche. Also, do not forget about how important it is to give back! Information about opportunities for community involvement at Penn are here.
Why UPenn College Essay Example 2 – Penn Supplement
My mother gave up a long time ago on the row of bottles occupying a sacred place atop my dresser. “They’re not trash,” I explained, ad nauseum until the message got through. “They’re art.”
In the mouths of other teenagers, this would be a rather ingenious way to skirt carrying a week’s supply of used water bottles down to the recycling bin. But I have no false pretenses: to me, these bottles are art, and I am their curator. From the classic verdant green of the San Pellegrino bottle to the hip black and white photographs (taken by actual consumers) that adorn Jones sodas, I know and love them all. That said, my current favorite art piece is a bottle of Voss, an intimidatingly professional cylinder of artesian water resembling a hydraulic messengering system canister. Utilitarian art. I’ve always paid close attention to these objects, in the way a passionate fashion student might study up on Vogue and GQ. Not entirely coincidentally, I’m a fiend for such magazines too. Branding, which permeates the life of a teenager, is nowhere more obvious than within these volumes.
Having gone through the period where I merely glutted myself on ads, I’ve progressed to the level of critiquing them, judging my own reactions to their images and how they work to provoke certain feelings within me. My senior research project is a study on fonts (Serif versus Sans Serif typefaces and their effectiveness in evoking moods and communicating beyond text), applicable to the branding and slogans of ads. In addition to fonts, I have begun analyzing other qualities of ads, discerning the artistic choices that make a Chloe or a Marc Jacobs ad instantly recognizable (the former: romantic vibrancy; the latter: striking minimalism) and, more generally, what aesthetics mean to business.
Attending Camp Impact at LeBow College of Business expanded my understanding of marketing choices to include production, distribution, and pricing. By altering simple variables and numbers in the PharmaSim market simulation–adding more coupons, offering a wholesale discount–I saw how the net profits and stock prices were influenced by issues outside of aesthetic design. But instead of discovering that marketing was less aesthetic than I’d initially thought at Camp Impact, where my groupmates and I stayed up till 1am one night to collaborate on our presentation, I learned to love marketing more, for its other aspects: the teamwork it involved, the math in calculating proportions, the overlooked variables of pricing and distribution, the prospect of discovering new ways to find an audience for an overlooked product. While my interest in advertising and product packaging, the aesthetics of business, still stands, I know there is more for me to explore as a marketing major at Penn’s Wharton School of Business.
What I like about Penn is the practical, learn-by-doing approach promoted by founder Ben Franklin, having initially applied it in my self study of liquid containers and ads. I look forward to classes like MGMT100, which seem daunting at first — a team of 18 year olds organizing an entire community event sans adult directives?! — and what they will teach me about making executive decisions, delegating authority, and turning the abstract into the tangible. MGMT100 is just one class of many at Wharton that develops teamwork and leadership skills in knowledgeable students, skills necessary for future business leaders. Penn also offers me, through research opportunities like CURF and the Weiss Tech House, the chance to explore the full interdisciplinary implications of my interest in typefaces, Serif and Sans Serif, or the impact of ad design on buying decisions and branding. This environment at Penn, that emphasizes real world applications and interaction among peers, while promoting individual responsibility and initiative, fits my learning approach.
At Penn, I hope to explore beyond my initial aesthetic interest, beyond what marketing encompasses, to other realms of business and other areas of study. My family’s background from China has highlighted for me, fluent in Chinese, the increasing globalization in business, evident on Sino-TV and in stories of lead contamination in toys. The chance to study abroad places these tensions of globalization in a more tangible context. Learning alongside international business students, we can build our knowledge on top of each other, to create solutions for future arising problems. A Latin student for six years, I’ve also gained an interest in the languages of other nations, and at Penn, I can supplement my business education with the studies of these languages at the School of Arts and Sciences. In this way, I can further contribute to the diversity that Penn offers, in my ambitions to develop myself as a well-rounded, multilingual leader.
Marketing is a field that encompasses everything from economics and art to politics and psychology, and Penn, where a liberal arts education is juxtaposed with experience-based training in business, is the perfect place to study just how much of an impact a sleek container, a slight change in price, a different distribution channel can really make on the world economy. I have always been interested in aesthetics because of my desire to see beauty, whether in an attractive Polo ad that instantly connotes class, or on the novel labels on Jones Soda bottles that give the hipster consumer the illusion of participation, or simply in the combination of rigid and flexible lines in Helvetica font. At Wharton, I can nurture this interest in marketing and expand it to areas within and beyond business. Here, I can become part of a community that grows through teamwork. Here, I can become a business leader. And here, I can proudly display my amateur exhibition of fine water bottles, without worrying about their disposal.
Check out another example of how to answer Why Penn here.
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Why UPenn College Essay Example 1 – Penn Supplement
College essays are hard to write, especially when they’re for competitive Ivy League colleges like the University of Pennsylvania.
College essays are 100 times easier to write when you have examples of what is both good and bad.
By the end of this post, you’ll have a better understanding of how to approach the question, “Why Penn?” in your application. We’ll walk you through exactly what makes this admissions essay effective and what could have been better.
Let’s start with why this essay works.
Why this admissions essay works:
1. The student opens with a succinct and clear direction of where the essay is heading. He gets straight to the point and dives right into the meat of the essay.
2. The second paragraph demonstrates to an admissions counselor that this student has done his research on the school—in turn showing the counselor that this student is a serious applicant. Demonstrated interest is crucial in today’s competitive admissions scene to stand out from the rest of the pack.
3. The student breaks down his key message into three subsections: academics, extracurriculars, and student life. By doing so, the student stays true to the first paragraph in providing a clear direction throughout the entire essay.
3. Paragraphs 4-5 are particularly effective because they epitomize demonstrated interest; in this case the student draws on his own experiences visiting the school campus.
4. In paragraph 5, the student starts explaining to the admissions counselor how he can fit into the Penn community; as important as it is to convey to the counselor that you’ve done your research, arguably the most important part of “Why X?” supplements is helping the reader understand where you fit into the school community. The student answers this question by talking about his previous world experiences.
5. The student concludes with a short and sweet ending and draws on a cultural food item of Philadelphia, where Penn is located. What this essay demonstrates well is the fact that while introductions and conclusions are important, the main content of the essay is the most important component of all. Students often get bogged down trying to think of attention grabbers and clever ways to open and close their essays; as a result they end up not developing the meat of their essay well enough to demonstrate to the reader that they have done their research and can fit a specific niche within the school’s community.
How this Why Penn essay could have been better:
The student did a great job demonstrating to the reader that he had done his research; however, the essay itself could have been more creative in its approach. The introduction and conclusion are succinct and effective; however, a more unique introduction would have drawn the reader in faster. The student made up for this with the quality of the content of the essay.
Since first setting foot on campus two years ago, I have found that Penn has always stood out in my search for the perfect university. Every aspect, from the flexible academics to its urban environment, to the diversity of the student body seems to readily match the setting in which I hope to immerse myself over the next four years.
Academically, I hope to continue pursuing my interests in economics and business, international studies, and French. Unlike many other schools, Penn openly encourages such breadth of study, believing the skill sets developed through different subjects to be universally interdependent and pragmatic in the real world. Through Penn’s one-university system, I would work towards my B.S. in Economics through Wharton while simultaneously taking courses in international studies in the College, and even have the opportunity to hone my accent in France for a semester. In 2012, I would graduate from Penn knowing my education over the past four years helped build my foundation as a better critical thinker who can apply core business and teamwork skills in any field.
All the while, I would be actively building on my high school extracurricular experience at Penn. I plan to continue my studies in economics outside of the classroom through Penn’s Undergraduate Economics Society both to continue improving my leadership skills and to join the club’s campaign to stimulate interest in economics on campus, an objective of mine at my high school since my junior year. I would also like to take part in editing and writing in the club’s unique International Undergraduate Journal of Economics. To stay active, I hope to join the Men’s Club Tennis at Penn, and I look forward to building on my experience with elementary-age children through the West Philadelphia Tutoring Project.
But perhaps above all, it is the student community at Penn that has attracted me the most. My first time strolling down Locust Walk with my family seeing all the club representatives left and right trying to convince students to join their causes was just amazing. There was an air of perpetual excitement and community, a feeling that Penn’s student body is extremely tightly knit. In October, I was even lucky enough to shadow two Huntsman Program freshmen on my third visit to campus. Staying overnight with a student from Morocco concentrating in French, but who was studying Spanish, as well as a student from Oregon targeting German, I found that I felt very comfortable living and learning in the diverse environment at Penn.
Sitting in on several classes, I also discovered Wharton’s unique MGMT 100 course to be perhaps the ideal class to tie together my experience in teamwork, interest in community service, and enthusiasm to immerse myself in a real-world business environment. Armed with an open mind and experiences from my travels to a multitude of countries across Asia, North America, and Europe, as well as my volunteer work at events such as the International Children’s Festival and the East African Center’s Evening for Africa, I believe I will bring a very unique and worldly perspective to campus, an outlook I hope to share and broaden working with some of the brightest students from around the globe at Penn.
With so many new doors to open, I know a college experience at Penn will prove challenging, yet undoubtedly rewarding. I look forward to a fulfilling four years of hard work, fun, and cheese steaks.
How to Write the University of Pennsylvania Essays 2016-2017
Check out the UPenn Application Essays for 2017-2018
Located in the heart of Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania is known for offering its students an exemplary academic experience alongside a vibrant social atmosphere. Participation in on-campus organizations or student-run businesses is second nature to most students, and there is no shortage of activities in West Philly. Additionally, both Temple and Drexel University are situated almost on Penn’s doorstep, giving the area its “University City” moniker and rendering the local community a veritable hub for higher education.
As evidenced by their consistent rank among the top ten of schools nationwide, admissions at Penn is extremely selective — only 9.4% of applicants in the Class of 2020 were accepted. The middle 50 percent of admitted students had ACT scores of 32-35 and SAT Math and Reading scores of 710-800 and 690-80, respectively. Penn also recommends applicants submit two SAT Subject Test scores, and additional information regarding this policy can be found on their website.
A member of the Ivy League, Penn is home to 4 undergraduate schools: the Wharton School of Business, the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the School of Nursing. Each program has its own respective essays and is therefore looking for slightly different qualities (that will be discussed later) in each applicant. In addition, Penn offers several joint-major programs that require specialized essays.
The CollegeVine Essay Team has prepared a guide on how to write the UPenn essays for this application cycle. Read on!
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The Penn Writing Supplement Prompt
1) Penn Writing Supplement (for all applicants)
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. (400-650 words)
*For students applying to the coordinated dual-degree programs, please answer this question in regards to your single-degree school choice. Interest in coordinated dual-degree programs will be addressed through those program-specific essays.
This essay is essentially a “Why Penn?” essay — Penn is trying to gauge if you actually want to go to the school or if you are just throwing in an application. This question, however, is a bit more focused, as Penn asks you to frame your response around the specific school to which you are applying.
Your essay, therefore, will naturally lean towards speaking about academics. As such, you want to first explain what your specific academic interests are but, more importantly, how Penn will allow you to pursue them. Simply saying that you are interested in business because of its ability to galvanize economic growth and that you thus want to study at Wharton is not enough — you could study that same topic at any business school around the country. You need to incorporate why Wharton is the only business school for you.
For those of you that have dreamed about Penn your whole lives and have visited multiple times, this should be relatively straightforward. Hone in on one or two aspects of the school to which you are applying and emphasize how that matches your personality and interests. Perhaps during one campus visit you sat in an electrical engineering class with a quirky teacher whose lesson of the day was on applications of electrical engineering. Using the vehicle of the classroom is an effective (and interesting) way to convey your interest in how Penn might foster the “real-world applications” of what it teaches.
For those of you that have never visited Penn, this might seem a bit more difficult. A good way to still write an effective essay is to discuss a few core aspects of Penn (it’s okay if they are widely known) and explain how your personality fits into them.
For example, Penn prides itself on interdisciplinary education. Following the Wharton example above, you might choose to speak about how Wharton’s close intersection with the College of Arts and Sciences (and how Penn offers the ability to take classes between the two) will allow you to pursue, say psychology as well, adding a “human element” to your business education. This fundamentally distinguishes a Wharton business education from that of another school and can be seen as a compelling reason as to why you want to attend.
This is a relatively long essay, so after you have successfully answered the core academic component of this question (if you still have some space), you can allow your essay to flow into other aspects of the Penn life, making this a true “Why Penn?” essay (so long as you focus on intellectual topics). For example, concluding your essay with a paragraph that remarks a bit on what you expect to do outside your school can be an effective way to introduce yourself, not just as a participant in the classroom but an active member of the community.
You can be creative here; throwing in a small joke about the terrors of classwork associated with being an engineering major and how you plan to unwind by studying quantitative finance algorithms (provided you actually do) with the Penn ARC can be a lighthearted way of including yourself in the Penn community. Be careful not to go overboard here, however — this year’s prompt specifically references intellectual interests.
Huntsman Essay Prompt
Discuss a current international issue, which demonstrates how international affairs and business intersect and explain how the Huntsman curriculum might assist to resolve the issue. (500 words maximum)
Compared to last year’s question, this year’s seems less limited in scope, because you are now allowed to discuss any current international issue. In previous years, the wording of the question seemed to directly encourage you to write about an issue “in light of your personal interests in language, business, and international affairs,” implying that you needed some personal experience in that language or international affair.
Make no mistake, though, despite the ostensibly expansive nature of the prompt, the most competitive applicants to Huntsman will still elect to write about issues relevant to their own spheres of interest. Thus, you are best served picking an issue that has something to do with your intended specialization.
Huntsman is a program between the Wharton School and the College of Arts and Sciences that allows students to develop skills in a certain language while pursuing a business and international relations degree from both schools. The key aspect of Huntsman is that you choose a country/culture, and you heavily focus on it during your four years. Thus, this question is attempting to gauge your interests in business, international relations and the specific culture you would like to study all through the vehicle of a global issue. As you can see, this is a pretty hefty essay to cohesively address all of those aspects.
A really successful way to answer this, however, is to hone in on one cultural aspect of the country you want to study, and relate that aspect to some business/economic issue facing the rest of the world.
For example, you could have a deep interest in how Chinese business is conducted in the absence of hard promises and focus on its ability to address the communication/relationship problems of an increasingly globalized economy. The Huntsman program would allow you to further explore this Chinese cultural nuance and apply it to improve synergy between multinational giants.
The key to this question really is to indicate an understanding of a culture beyond what any random person would know. For example, the world knows that Germany is famous for its engineering abilities; the world, however, is not privy to the concept of the German “geist,” a philosophical concept explored in nineteenth-century literature that expresses the cultural German conservatism. Make sure that your answer definitely addresses all parts of this question, including the culture/language, your interests in business, and your interests in international affairs.
Vagelos Program in Life Sciences & Management Essay Prompt
LSM seeks students who are enthusiastic about combining science with management. What excites you about this combination? What advantages and opportunities does the combination provide, and what needs does it address? Be as specific and original as possible in addressing these questions. (400-650 words)
This question is similar to the Huntsman question, as it requires to you to synthesize your interests into a general “Why LSM?” answer. This program attempts to bridge the constant gap between scientific innovation and marketable solutions. An effective way to answer this is to point to a problem within a lab setting, and explain how management overhauls can address it.
For example, you could focus on the problem of managing the profitability of important drugs in low-margin markets. An example would a cure to dengue fever would be targeting extremely low-income individuals in developing natures. As such, research efforts are dampened by a perceived lack of profitability amid large R&D expenses. An LSM education could provide the insight into the management side of life sciences to effectively raise the margins of a new drug that would motivate investment and seed funding to ultimately bring about a cure for millions of individuals.
Be sure that whatever problem you choose illustrates your knowledge of the issues facing the medical field you want to pursue.
Jerome Fisher Management and Technology Essay Prompts
Explain how you will use this program to explore your interest in business, engineering, and the intersection of the two. It is helpful to identify potential engineering and business paths available at Penn. (400-650 words)
This essay is relatively straightforward. As opposed to the other Penn specialized programs that require you to analyze the field through some specific lens, this essay literally just inquires about your interest in the intersection of business and technology, which megatrend-wise is paramount to the modern economy.
A good strategy for this essay is focus; you don’t want to attempt to synthesize all of engineering with management in a general way. Instead, start with an area of engineering and highlight how progression in the management aspect of that field is important to solve some specific problem in the field.
For example, you could analyze specific environmental challenges with respect to offshore drilling and explain how revolutionizing the supply chain of the industry would lead to substantial increases in margins as well as improvements in environmental sustainability. The focus of the essay would be on how the Jerome Fisher’s intersection of business and technology would provide the necessary breadth to tackle such a challenge. Be sure to be specific here too; it can help to mention specific classes or other programs at Penn that would allow you to pursue this intersection of interests.
Please describe a time in which you displayed leadership. (250 words maximum)
This essay is also relatively straightforward. Because Jerome Fisher heavily emphasizes leadership abilities, it is attempting to gauge applicants’ experiences working with and leading others. It’s hard to really mess up this essay; you just need to provide an example of some leadership experience you have had. However, you want to be careful that the leadership you choose to highlight is legitimate leadership – and not solely from a resume perspective.
For example, there is a difference between leadership by position and leadership by action. Simply writing about how you were the President of FBLA and managed the club is not necessarily a display of leadership — in fact (as with almost all high school EC elections), you’re just showing that you won a popularity contest.
What’s more important to convey is what you did with that role. Focusing on how you used your authority as FBLA President to organize a business workshop for small businesses in your community and provide them with marketing/sales tips developed by your club members is a much more legitimate display of leadership, as you physically invested your power to bring about a positive change.
Keep in mind for this question that your display of leadership also does not need to be tied to a specific position. If you have relatively little leadership on your resume, you can definitely write about a time when you (as a regular club member) went beyond your regular role and took some initiative to help the club.
Perhaps during one Model United Nations meeting, the entire board failed to show up. Writing about how you were the one to step up and run the meeting anyway (without having a board position) can be an even more powerful display of de facto leadership.
NETS Essay Prompt
NETS – Networked and Social Systems Engineering
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)
This essay is relatively open-ended and attempts to assess your awareness of networked systems as they relate to society. You can attack this topic from multiple lenses. For example, you can take a business/entrepreneurship focus and speak to how networked systems provide exciting opportunities for various new ventures (think healthcare, for example).
Alternatively, you can write this essay from a political perspective, highlighting the implications of a digitally ubiquitous government.
Finally, you could use this essay to provide more of a social commentary of the larger role networked systems play in our lives — perhaps you hope to use the NETS education coupled with a Penn liberal arts education to explore and prescribe solutions to potential consequences of the sheer amount of time our generation spends plugged in.
When physically writing the essay, you definitely can be creative in terms of how you structure it. This topic heavily overlaps with social media, so employing an interesting technique (such as writing the essay as if through a Facebook chat) could be successful. Make sure, however, that you don’t distract from the core content of your essay with whatever vehicle you choose to employ.
Nursing and Health Care Management Essay Prompt
Nursing and Health Care Management
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)
You can frame the answer to this question much in the same way as the answer to the Vagelos prompt. A good way to frame this essay is to acknowledge a challenge facing healthcare that can be resolved though better facilitation through management. You may want to heavily emphasize the problems facing patient care and how better coordination within hospitals is an area in which you are really passionate.
Alternatively, you could focus on the cost-disease of healthcare and discuss how better management could help keep costs lower for patients. No matter what issue you choose to use as the catalyst to your interest in the program, make sure you really focus on how Penn’s program will allow you to explore that interest.
VIPER Program Essay Prompt
Describe your interests in energy science and technology and your previous experiences (academic, research, and extracurricular activities) that have helped you to appreciate the scientific or engineering challenges related to energy and sustainability. If you have previous experience with research, consider describing your research project at a level appropriate for an educated non-expert, outlining the goals, hypotheses, approach, results, and conclusions. Describe how your experiences have shaped your research and interests, and how the VIPER program will help you achieve your goals. (400-650 words)
If you have conducted research in some sort of energy-related field, you definitely want to use this essay to speak to that experience. Be sure to not solely list what you did, but rather explain the thought processes and obstacles you faced and how they (1) broadened your perspectives on the energy field and its intersections with other fields (environmentalism, government policy, etc.), and (2) challenged you intellectually and further solidified your interest in the field.
Trust Penn when they say to write this for a non-expert; you will not impress anyone with an illegible treatise on energy policy. Rather, you want to communicate effectively to an average reader your passion for what you did and the field itself, which ultimately prompted you to pursue the VIPER program.
If you have not conducted research in the past, this again becomes a very basic “Why VIPER?” question. It is crucial that you properly develop your interests in a believable manner.
You can tackle an energy policy issue that you are passionate about, prescribing an innovative solution developed through the foundation given by VIPER. You could also use an extended anecdote to track the development of your interest in the energy field. For example, perhaps your first car was a hybrid. Developing your interests in sustainable energy policy through the lens of that hybrid could be an effective way of communicating your interest in the field.
Bio Dental Essay Prompts
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 predental or premedical experience, please indicate what you have done that led you to your decision to enter dentistry. (250 words)
This question is relatively straightforward; you literally need to express your background in medicine. If you have a hefty amount of research or clinical experience under your belt, be sure to convey what you did as accurately as possible (Penn will have a hard time believing you dabbled in some heart surgery).
You also want to describe the experience of what you did and explain how it further fostered your interest in medicine. A good way to do this is through an anecdote. For example, perhaps continuously delivering medication to patients in the ER began to give you an acute awareness of problems facing patient care, motivating you to enter the field to truly improve the way that patients are cared for.
If you have absolutely no background in medicine or research, you should first question if you actually want to commit to a 7-year program in the first place (especially one as difficult to get into as Penn’s). If you are set on the decision, however, this essay is of crucial importance to legitimize your application amongst an applicant pool of relatively outstanding students with actual medicine backgrounds.
As the prompt suggests, focusing on why you ultimately are deciding to enter dentistry is a proper way to answer the question. You can also use an anecdote here; perhaps you have a relative that suffered from a health problem you are hoping to study in further detail in the program. That can serve as a powerful organizing tool to explaining your entry into medicine.
List any activities which demonstrate your ability to work with your hands. (250 words)
This essay is attempting to gauge your physical capabilities as a doctor. Talking about your experiences in Woodshop, Robotics, etc., can be a good way of demonstrating your ability to work with your hands. If you were relatively hands-off in high school with respect to your activities, pulling an example from outside of school can help you answer this essay. Perhaps you are the one in your family that eagerly assembles Ikea furniture, or are an avid fan of Legos.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to appear capable of brain surgery at this point in your life; you simply need to illustrate to Penn that you are comfortable connecting your brain and your digits.
What activities have you performed that demonstrate your ability to work cooperatively with people? (250 words)
This question is a lot more open-ended. You can speak about anything from a leadership position to a community service role to even your experiences at home with siblings. If you still feel the need to highlight your interest in medicine, you can try to answer this from a medical perspective. Perhaps you had a relatively hectic administrative position in a hospital ER — your ability to calmly and collectively perform tasks with others in this stressful environment can highlight your teamwork abilities as well as emphasize, once again, your passion for medicine.
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. (250 words)
This essay is more specific than a simple “Why Medicine?” essay. You need to explain why dentistry as a field appeals to you. You can focus on a modern problem in the field and explain how you hope to pursue it at Penn. Alternatively, you can have a more human answer and explain why patient care in the industry is important to you, and how you hope to take your education and make some impact in that area.
Be careful, however, that this essay does not too strongly overlap with your essay about pre-dental experience. If you had no experience to begin with, you likely wrote about how you developed an interest in the field. Make sure you don’t use the same topic for this essay.
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. (250 words)
This is also straightforward. If you have relatives, mention them. If you do not, don’t stress too much. You won’t be disqualified for a lack of legacy.
With these tips, you should be well on your way to writing the perfect UPenn Supplement. Best of luck from the CollegeVine team!
UPenn Admissions Essays
These college essays are from students who got accepted at University of Pennsylvania. Use them to get inspiration for your own essays and knock the socks off those admissions officers!
1. Penn Supplement
In grade 9, I started messing around with Google Sketchup. It began casually and soon blossomed into an obsession – I would refuse repeated calls for dinner, intent on figuring out the placement of a room or object. I remember trying to virtually remodel our apartment when my brother looked ov.
2. UPenn Supplement – Community
I see the beauty in our natural assembly of neurons, the splendor of circuits in digital chips, and of course the undying symphony of computer code running through a compiler. As a firm believer of the values of interdisciplinary education, I embrace Benjamin Franklin’s drive to create an intellectu.
3. UPenn Supplement – Business & Technology
2 months of coding and design. Endless all-nighters. Now, the time had come. The service was set to go live the following day. 1 day later: 6 countries. 1 week later: 14 countries. 3 months later: 78 countries.
My first attempt at creating an online service was the result of a desire to help those st.
4. UPenn Supplement – Autobiography (Robotics)
It moved timidly at first, its gears slowly churning as it felt the spark of life flow through its wires. Slowly, it turned, rotating on its treads, as it scanned the arena for any signs of movement. Its light sensors on the alert, it sensed that something was near. It nudged forward as it felt its .
5. Why Penn M&T?
I want to use technology to change the world through innovation. Through the Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology, I’ll pursue a Bachelor’s degree in both Computer Engineering and Economics. As a Bay Area native, it’s no surprise that I’ve grown up with an entre.
6. Personal Essay
Through our educational years, my fellow students and I were incessantly forced to read books on racism and inequality. The towers of books grudgingly read by the most dedicated students, but mostly left untouched by the general population, always stirred groans of, "Why should we even care, &q.
Essays That Worked
Read the top 6 college essays that worked at UPenn and more. Learn more.
University of Pennsylvania Facts
The University of Pennsylvania (commonly referred to as Penn or UPenn) is an American private research university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. It is one of the Ivy League universities and one of the nine original Colonial Colleges. Incorporated as The Trustees of the Univers.
- 10.4% acceptance rate
- 21,296 enrolled students
- $49,536 tuition & fees
- #9 in US News & World Report
Located in Philadelphia, PA
- 173,994 views
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Nelson Mandela
UPenn Acceptances: Why the “Why Us?” Essay Will Get You Into This Ivy League
Every high school student has to go through the tough process of filling out college applications. The dreaded exams, essays, and details required make the admissions process a grueling one. And there’s always one question that students find is the hardest: “Why us?” We asked some students from UPenn to tell us their best strategies to tackle that difficult question:
University of Pennsylvania campus
penn120: “Everyone applying to a liberal arts college is going to be thinking the same, relatively broad thing: I like the balance of courses and I don’t know what I want to do yet so I want to take a variety of classes. You have to make the essay school-specific. What can you say about the school (that isn’t cliche) that really applies to you? Think about why you are applying to the school in the first place, and brainstorm, choosing a few ideas that you can elaborate on in an essay. Your essay should not be about why the college is a “good school,” but why it would be a good fit for you, and moreover, why you would be a good fit for it. Say what you are going to bring to the community, whether it be through activities, study abroad programs, research, etc. Do your research on the school and point out specific programs that interest you.”
Mizo: “For many “Why” essays, I had a template that greatly simplified the college application process. Basically, the first two paragraphs of my essay discussed my passion and how I, in and out of school, took initiative to explore my passion. My last paragraph tied back to the college I was applying for, as I discussed what offerings the college had that would allow me to delve deeper into my passions—which classes I would take, which professors I would love to learn from, which clubs I would participate in, etc. This template allowed me to answer the question, demonstrate specific knowledge on the school, and show parts of myself I may not have had the opportunity to address in the rest of the application.”
whartonschool19: “Penn is a very diverse campus, both in regards to the student body and the offered academic programs. When writing about Penn, many prospective students tend to generalize what interests about them; they focus too much space on describing the city of Philadelphia, the actual location and setting of the campus, the types of students that attend the college, and how “the great academic standing of Penn will help me be successful in the future.” Try to avoid using these types of topics to discuss your interest. To successfully write the “Why Penn” essay, look your intended major and look back at your high school career to see what types of activities, classes, and extracurriculars you were involved. Try to see how these aspects highlight your interests and goals and look for specific programs and opportunities Penn offers that will help you further explore these these interests and help you develop them.”
PennBen: “Research your chosen school (SAS, SEAS, Wharton, or Nursing) or program in detail in order to gain a sense of the opportunities that the school/program offers. Show that you’re driven and organized by communicating your genuine passion and connecting it to your personal experience and well-thought-out future plans. “Genuine” is the key word in this instance, since most of the people reading your essay will have read hundreds if not thousands of other essays and will be extremely adept at sniffing out anything that doesn’t “sound right.” Penn students are generally ambitious and innovative, so it helps if your reasons for applying relate to your experiences or future plans.”
lilk16sen: “Unique research about a school, if you can mention something the school prides themselves on and feels it’s part of what separates themselves from other schools it will help you dramatically. It isn’t too hard to find as it is usually featured prominently on all websites and pamphlets the school will use.”
GoQuakers: “There are tons of clubs and organizations at UPenn that you can mention in your essay. I personally wrote about my interest in the Wharton Undergraduate Media and Entertainment Club and Wharton Women. I know that a fantastic campus organization to target if you’re a writer is the Kelly Writers House. You can also discuss the amazing faculty and diversity of the student body. Whatever the case, DON’T be general. Paint the admissions officers a picture of how you will fit in at UPenn.”
Applying to UPenn? See essays, scores, and advice from real students who were accepted. Our UPenn packages feature some of our favorite essays that got accepted to this iconic Ivy League school.