The University of Pennsylvania, founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1740, is located on a 299-acre urban campus in Philadelphia, PA. There are 4,722 total faculty members in addition to 10,183 undergraduate students and 10,890 full-time graduate students. Of these students, 4,859 are international. Penn is ranked #6 of National Universities, according to U.S. News and World Report, and is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States. Penn is well known for its athletic teams in addition to its academic opportunities. The Quakers have varsity teams in 33 sports and are a member of the NCAA Division I Ivy League conference.
Within the larger university, students at Penn select one of four colleges for undergraduate study. There are also twelve graduate programs and schools on campus, including the Perelman School of Medicine, the first medical school in North America.
The College of Arts and Sciences or “The College” offers a liberal arts curriculum and a wide range of majors across the natural sciences, social sciences, and the arts and humanities. This is the largest of the undergraduate schools, enrolling 6,000 of the University’s c. 10,000 undergraduates.
There are c. 2000 undergraduate students enrolled in the school of Engineering and Applied Science. Undergraduates can pursue majors in either Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSE) or Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) programs. The faculty-to-student ratio provides many opportunities for undergraduate research with Penn faculty in laboratories during the academic year and in the summer.
There are approximately 600 undergraduate students enrolled in the School of Nursing—the top nursing school in the world. This traditional four-year BSN program for graduating high school seniors offers clinical experience at nearby hospitals and the chance to participate in faculty-driven research. Students may also enroll in combined programs that integrate a nursing education with a strong liberal arts curriculum.
Nearly 2,000 students are enrolled at the Wharton School. All Wharton students graduate with the same degree: a bachelor of science in economics. However, during their course of study, students choose focused concentrations (such as accounting, business analytics, finance, or marketing, among many others). The Wharton degree, unlike a BA in economics, places an emphasis on how to apply business methods and economic theory to real-world problems.
Penn’s undergraduate students pursue more than 90 majors across these four schools. They also engage in interdisciplinary programs, forge new paths in research, and participate in international study programs offered in more than 50 countries.
Applying to the University of Pennsylvania
Penn accepts either the Common Application or the Coalition Application. They are also a QuestBridge partner institution for high-achieving students with significant financial need. Applicants may choose to apply through the binding Early Decision option (Nov. 1) or Regular Decision (January 5). For those who apply ED, decisions are made in mid-December. Regular Decision applicants hear back by April 1.
In addition to the materials submitted online via the Common App or Coalition App, applicants must submit their official high school transcript, standardized test scores, school report, counselor recommendation, two teacher evaluations, a mid-year report and a final report (for matriculating students).
Interviews are offered based on availability. Although typically, more than 90% of applicants are offered an interview with an alumni volunteer, this depends entirely on availability and not on a candidate’s strength. For Early Decision applicants, these interviews take place from mid-October through early December. For Regular Decision applicants, they take place from December through early March.
Students are also asked to submit a mandatory writing supplement. This year, there are two mandatory essays:
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 classrooms, 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)
“My love of history began in a swimming pool parking lot when I bought a book on U.S. presidents from a guy selling stacks of paperbacks from the trunk of his car.”
“Before I even saw her, my adrenaline levels spiked. I had spent plenty of time with girls my age, but never with a woman quite as old and mature as her. My heart raced and beads of sweat formed on my brow as I searched for her. And then, suddenly, there she was: short, delicate—and almost 3,000 years old.”
“Silvia, a Grameen America loan recipient and Bronx resident, described the paint crumbling off the walls and the occasional rodent scuttling across her not-so-beautiful beauty salon; she also described the rewarding week of work she and her co-workers put in to fix “Silvia’s Salon” after receiving $1,500 from Grameen.” (Student admitted to Wharton)
“According to economics, an object becomes more valuable as it becomes scarcer. Having been born with cerebral palsy, I was the only disabled girl in my school—why wasn’t I valuable too?” (Student admitted to Wharton)
UPenn Admissions Wrap Up
Class of 2025 (ED) This year, Penn accepted 15 percent of its 7,962 ED applicants to the Class of 2025, a noteworthy drop from last year’s 19.7 percent acceptance rate in the binding early decision round. Due to changing admissions policies during the pandemic, especially the shift to make the ACT and SAT optional, there was a 23 percent increase in applicants since last year. Additionally, 50 percent of accepted students from the United States identify as students of color—a reflection of the university’s commitment to racial diversity on campus.
Class of 2024 Of the 42,205 students who applied to Penn’s Class of 2024 in the early and regular rounds, 3,404 were admitted, leading to an overall acceptance rate of 8.07 percent. Out of this total number of students admitted to the Class of 2024, 1,269 students were admitted through the early decision round. The admission rate for the ED round was 19.67 percent out of 6,453 applicants.
Class of 2023 In 2018, out of the 44,960 students who applied to Penn’s Class of 2023 in the early and regular rounds, 3,345 were admitted, leading to an overall acceptance rate of 7.44 percent. The previous year’s overall acceptance rate was 8.39 percent when Penn admitted a total of 3,731 students from 44,482 applications. Out of the total 3,345 admitted to the Class of 2023, 1,279 students were admitted through the early decision round. The admission rate for the ED round was 17.99 percent out of 7,110 applicants. In the Class of 2023, 51 percent of admitted U.S. students self-identify as students of color, with 53 percent the year prior. 15 percent of students in the incoming class, around 500 individuals, identify as first-generation.
Top Tier Admissions Can Help You Get Into UPenn:
“I am excited to inform you that I will be attending Northeastern University this fall! I am hoping that they fully reopen the campus as they plan to. Until then, I’m greatly anticipating being a Husky. I could not have done it with you and your team. Thank you very much for helping me with my application. I greatly appreciate it.”–C.K., Application Boot Camp student, Northeastern
"Thank you so much for all your time and work with N over these last few months. N found his experience at Boot Camp to be incredibly helpful and he very much enjoyed meeting you and working with all the Top Tier counselors as well as the other students. The process was educational for N in so many ways- thank you, thank you, thank you!" –M.T., Application Boot Camp parent
"I want to thank you, again, for a fantastic Top Tier Boot Camp experience. As a second time Top Tier family, we drank your Kool Aid fully and completely, and it paid off! You know your stuff; you manage to thread the needle with a mix of tough love and compassion (for both the students and their parents - no small feat) and you run a super-efficient 4-day program." –R.R., Application Boot Camp parent
"I got my acceptance letter over the weekend from Middlebury!! I’m officially a Panther!!! 🙂 Thank you for all of your help; I could not have made it through 1st quarter without ABC!!!" -S.F., Application Boot Camp student
"Dear Michele, I just wanted to let you know that I just got accepted into Dartmouth for ED! I’m overjoyed and incredibly excited to continue my academic journey in New Hampshire. Thank you so much! You were always there to answer so many of my questions and were incredibly supportive of me; I couldn’t have done it without you and the Top Tier team!" –B.S., Application Boot Camp student
"Thank you so much!! He couldn’t have done it without your amazing team!" –H.O., Application Boot Camp parent
"We just got the news! Northwestern Class of 2024! She’s over the moon. This would not have happened without the advice and guidance along the way from all of the folks at Top Tier Admissions! From the advice on how to structure her supplemental info, including how to position her interests and activities relative to her major, the advice to take a college course this summer, and the amazing work that was done during Boot Camp, Top Tier is the absolute best and I know we have you to thank for her acceptance!!! Happy Holidays and thank you from the bottom of my heart!" –P.S., Application Boot Camp parent
"Michele and team - Just wanted to pass along the great news that J got admitted today to Pitzer, her first choice ED school. Thanks for all the amazing support you've provided H and J over the past few years. They both learned a lot from the process and, of course, benefited greatly. We now get to celebrate the holidays with a sigh of relief!" –V.J., Application Boot Camp parent
"J is so thrilled about attending Middlebury College next fall (and we are thrilled for her) and we appreciate all your assistance. It was so exciting for her to get the official acceptance last week. She loved her time at ABC and still keeps in touch with the group of friends she made. Boot Camp was tough, but she thoroughly loved it. She’s a grinder so the intensity and complete immersion didn’t bother her at all. She loved working with all of you and cherishes having another little group of friends that she bonded with in Boston. Don’t fire your caterer - she’s a big fan of the food at Boot Camp." –W.R., Application Boot Camp parent
"B, you helped me with my application during Boot Camp this past summer and I wanted to let you know that I committed to UPenn last night! Thank you so much for helping to transform my supplements into something readable. Boot Camp DEFINITELY helped me get in and made the process a lot less stressful. Thank you so much for all of your help!" –B.A., Application Boot Camp student
"We wanted to thank you for your guidance, counsel and support through T’s application process. Your advice has been instrumental to his success and, more importantly, you gave him the confidence boost he needed to apply early at Princeton. We will continue to recommend Top Tier services to our friends and will always be grateful for what you did. We hope we can stay in touch and wish you a wonderful holiday season." –K.L.T., Application Boot Camp parent
"We are excited to report that B was accepted ED to Duke University and has committed to attend next fall. We’ll forward a picture once our first Duke swag order arrives. Duke was her clear first choice and we are all very happy! We are also very pleased with the assistance we received from all of you at Top Tier and are confident that the guidance we received over the last seventeen months helped B wind up with this great outcome. So, thank you!" –E.R., Application Boot Camp parent
"I am ecstatic to report that I got into my ED school: University of Chicago! Thank you so much for all your help and willingness to work through draft after draft until I got it right." –W.D., Application Boot Camp student
"I am happy to report that we found out this evening that L has been accepted to Boston College! We are SO excited! And for your records, he was also accepted at Villanova and invited to the honors program. Thank you all so much for your help and support! We would have been lost without you!" –M.J., Application Boot Camp student
"I wanted to extend my personal thanks for all your help with my son's application process and essays. Your Bootcamp proved to be well worth the investment and per your advice I stayed away from the temptation of even reading my son's essays until he was accepted. The bottom line is that he was accepted into his top choice of UChicago and in his acceptance letter his essay was specifically mentioned. Furthermore, this was a reach school for him which made the acceptance even more sweet. Your methods and advice were instrumental in his success and I cannot thank you enough for making my son's aspirations real!!" –L.T., Application Boot Camp parent
"I'm not sure if my daughter told you yet, but she was accepted ED to Dartmouth in December. So, two for two with the W sisters-- thanks Top Tier Admissions!" –G.W., Application Boot Camp parent x2
"I wanted to let you know that I got into my first choice, Boston College, early decision. I'm so excited. Thank you all so much for everything, I'm so grateful!" –L.K., Application Boot Camp student
"Thank you to Mimi who wrote my personalized report back in junior year, to the entire team, and definitely to E! My quick acceptance into Cornell owes much to your insights and guidance. Although I have been accepted to Cornell, the process with Top Tier has made me want to stay competitive in college — whether for internships, or for graduate schools later in life. I thank you for that!" –P.O., Application Boot Camp student
"WE MADE IT!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH! I COULDN'T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT YOU!" –L.J., Application Boot Camp student
“Once again, I am so impressed with your program. I am amazed at the sheer amount B. accomplished in four days! Equally as important, she feels really great about her essays. She loved working with each of you as well as A. (a great pairing for her!). I know how hard each of you worked this week; I hope you get to enjoy some well-deserved R&R!” –N.G., Application Boot Camp parent
"G is excited to go to her first choice, the University of Miami! She continues to say that Application Boot Camp was the best investment we ever made for her education." –R.J., Application Boot Camp parent
"I liked the process of having multiple people read my essays before finalizing a draft. This made me confident that my essays were clear and concise while also captivating to a diverse audience. Everyone was also patient and encouraging. Boot Camp took away so much stress coming into Senior Fall, allowing me to focus on my academics and earning my highest term average ever." –S.A., Application Boot Camp student
"I know first hand how you run your business. Off the charts ethical! We look forward to continuing our relationship with Top Tier's Application Boot Camp."
"Thank you so much for your help and guidance. I wouldn't have been able to do it without you and the Top Tier Admissions Team! I'm still in between UPenn and Georgetown, but I will make sure to visit both." –S.I., Application Boot Camp student
"Clearly, Application Bootcamp and Top Tier took a lot of anxiety out of the whole situation. Our children know a number of kids who did not get into their top choice ED school, only to be devastated and stressed as they are without a plan for ED II and regular decision and have not worked on a range of essays for other schools. So while F & J’s EA-only strategy is not for everyone but made sense for them since they did not have a clear lead school when they were applying, being prepared made all the difference. The help Bootcamp provided in honing their voice and words into essays that reflect their intent was fantastic. In the end, it is all about having choices they are happy with, and I am happy to say they both have those now!" –F.A., parent of Application Boot Camp students
"E., I just wanted to let you know that I got into Barnard Early Decision! Thank you for everything you have done!!! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate everything you did for me! Thank You!!" - H.L., Personal Boot Camp student
Barnard, Class of 2023
"I wanted to say thank you again for all your help! I got into UPenn, Cornell, Barnard, Wellesley, Wesleyan, Tufts, University of Michigan, and Wake Forest, and am waiting to hear from Georgetown; I think I'm leaning towards UPenn. Thank you so much for all your guidance; I don't think I could have done it without your help!" --I.R., Application Boot Camp student
"We are thrilled! Duke is absolutely fantastic and is the exact right fit for K. Application Boot Camp definitely helped her get into Duke during their most selective year in history, a year in which they turned away well over 2,000 Valedictorians. Thank you!" -Y.R., parent of ABC student accepted to 9 top-tier colleges
"Boot Camp was the most incredible experience. It made me push myself into thinking about my future and prepared me to send in all my applications. I am so thankful that I got the help I needed at Boot Camp because it made my application process effortless once I had completed my essays. I think that the colleges were able to clearly see my goals and ambitions through the writing of my essays. I believe this helped me have a very successful application process." –P.K., Application Boot Camp student