University of Pennsylvania announced today that its supplemental essay question in search of a 650-word response by applicants is no more. Students applying during the 2019-2020 admissions cycle for Fall 2020 admission will be asked two new questions instead:
- 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)
Students are still able to write up to a grand total of 650 words in their responses to these questions; yet, with the changes, applicants will now have the challenge and opportunity to deliver two distinct messages in response to two distinct essay prompts.
Also announced today is a new policy that would have kept both U.S. President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka Trump (who both transferred to Penn’s Wharton School of Business as juniors) from ever attending or graduating from Wharton.
“From cycle year 2019-2020 forward, Wharton and Engineering will no longer accept external junior transfers. The College and Nursing will continue to accept junior transfers…We have made this change in consultation with our academic partners across campus. The curricular pre-requisites for transferring into Wharton or Engineering as a junior are both specific and extensive. As we reviewed Wharton and Engineering transfer applicants, we consistently saw that most applicants were unable to take the coursework necessary for a seamless transition into these schools. We hope this change will help applicants focus on the schools and programs that best align with their interests and preparation, and that allow them to successfully transition to our campus.” wrote Eric Furda, who currently holds the title of Dean of Admissions at Penn.
Ironically, earlier this month this site pondered how Ivanka Trump got into Penn back in 2002 and whether or not she would get in again today. It’s clearly a sore point with the powers that be at Penn these days that the current president of the U.S. and one of his top assistants both graduated from Penn. Whether or not this Penn admissions policy change has anything to do with the university’s current “resistance” to the leader of the free world is purely a matter of speculation.
Additional interesting tidbits shared by Furda this summer include:
-Penn will allow applicants to self-report test scores – as long as they are not athletes or international students. This means that certain students will simply be trusted to honestly report their highest scores on their applications and only send in official corroboration of their scores if they ultimately get into and deposit at Penn later in the admissions cycle.
– Penn is passive-agressively encouraging its IB applicants to take Math Analysis HL instead of other new math offerings rolled out recently by the IBDP.
– Penn will offer both regional and virtual information sessions during the year ahead and all of these will be listed here.