UPenn Short Answer Questions

August 24, 2022
By AdmissionSight

UPenn Short Answer Questions

What Is the Primary Purpose of Short Answer Questions?

Students might be inquiring “What is the primary purpose of short answer questions?” The purpose of your UPenn additional essays is to provide the admissions committee with a better idea of how you would fit in academically and socially at UPenn. Simply expressed, the purpose of the UPenn essay prompts is to enable you to demonstrate to the admissions committee who you would be at UPenn.

The admissions team’s ultimate goal is to create a college class that is made up of fascinating people from a diversity of backgrounds. Your UPenn writings have succeeded if the reader can see how you might fit within this class.

How Many Supplementals Do You Need for UPenn?

In response to a frequently asked question: “How many supplementals do you need for UPenn?”, the essay questions for 2021–2022 consist of two UPenn short answer questions. They used to require a single, 650-word “Why us?” essay however, recently, they have asked for one 300–450 words long and another in 150–200 words. Additionally, there is a small change to the first prompt for the 2021–2022 admissions cycle, but the second prompt stays the same.

Female students using a laptop in a desk.

The Penn application procedure for admissions year 2022–2023 entails a personal essay in addition to additional Penn essay prompts. Be specific in your responses to the UPenn short answer questions when describing your reasons for applying to Penn and for selecting that particular undergraduate institution.

Penn Supplemental Essays for 2022-2023 (Required)

1) Write a short thank-you note to someone you have not yet thanked and would like to acknowledge. (We encourage you to share this note with that person, if possible, and reflect on the experience!) (150-200 words)

2) How will you explore community at Penn? Consider how Penn will help shape your perspective and identity, and how your identity and perspective will help shape Penn. (150-200 words)

3) Considering the specific undergraduate school you have selected, describe how you intend to explore your academic and intellectual interests at the University of Pennsylvania. (150-200 words)

Transfer Essay (required for all transfer applicants)

Please explain your reasons for transferring from your current institution and what you hope to gain by transferring to another institution. (4150 characters)

Prompts Unique to Each Program

Additional essays will be required for some of the specialized programs, but the Penn supplemental essays should discuss the single-degree or single-school option. Seven unique (and fiercely competitive) programs are available at UPenn.

They each call for a distinct essay, with a word count of 400–650. Please be extremely explicit in your responses if you are interested in one of these tracks. Make a list of specific instances where the curriculum you’ve chosen satisfies your academic and personal goals. The listings that follow are all for majors or dual-degree programs that are highly specialized.

1) Digital Media Design Program (DMD)

Why are you interested in the Digital Media Design (DMD) program at the University of Pennsylvania? (400-650 words / 3575 characters)

2) The Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business

The Huntsman Program supports the development of globally-minded scholars who become engaged citizens, creative innovators, and ethical leaders in the public, private, and non-profit sectors in the United States and internationally. What draws you to a dual-degree program in business and international studies, and how would you use what you learn to make a contribution to a global issue where business and international affairs intersect? (400-650 words)

3) The Roy and Diana Vagelos Program in Life Sciences and Management (LSM)

The LSM program aims to provide students with a fundamental understanding of the life sciences and their management with an eye to identifying, advancing and implementing innovations. What issues would you want to address using the understanding gained from such a program? Note that this essay should be distinct from your single-degree essay. (400-650 words)

4) The Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology (M&T)

Explain how you will use the M&T program to explore your interest in business, engineering, and the intersection of the two. (400-650 words)

Describe a problem that you solved that showed leadership and creativity. (250 words)

5) The Rajendra and Neera Singh Program in Networked and Social Systems Engineering (NETS)

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 / 3575 characters)

6) Nursing and Healthcare Management (NHCM)

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)

7) Seven-Year Bio-Dental Program

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 pre-dental or pre-medical experience, please indicate what you have done that led you to your decision to enter dentistry.

  • List any activities which demonstrate your ability to work with your hands.
  • What activities have you performed that demonstrate your ability to work cooperatively with people?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Please note that there is a 250-word limit for the Bio-Dental Program supplemental essays.

8) The Roy and Diana Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER)

How do you envision your participation in the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER) furthering your interests in energy science and technology? Please include any past experiences (ex. academic, research, or extracurricular) that have led to your interest in the program. Additionally, please indicate why you are interested in pursuing dual degrees in science and engineering and which VIPER majors are most interesting to you at this time. (400-650 words)

How To Answer UPenn Short Answer Questions?

Recent modifications to the UPenn supplemental essay component replaced the previous single lengthy (650 words) “Why us?” essay with two pieces that serve a similar purpose but are divided between academics and the UPenn community.

Male student typing in his laptop.

These questions provide you the ability to connect your abilities, traits, values, and interests to the amazing things that UPenn has to offer, giving the school a better idea of who you are. Let’s delve deeper into how to answer UPenn short answer questions for the academic year 2021-2022.

How to Respond to Question 1

Considering the specific undergraduate school you have selected, how will you explore your academic and intellectual interests at The University of Pennsylvania? (300-450 words)

Your mission statement for this essay is to communicate:

  • Your familiarity with Penn and its programs
  • You carefully considered why Penn is the ideal match for you and vice versa. (Avoid using a previously prepared essay as a template.)

Educate yourself about UPenn.

You must be very clear in your first sentences:

  • The institution to which you are applying
  • Your planned major
  • The minor or special program you want to pursue.

The admissions staff at Penn is sensible. They are aware that if you apply to Penn, you most likely will also apply to Harvard, Dartmouth, or possibly both. Make it quite evident that you gave Penn’s application special attention and consideration.

Avoid using terms like “concentration” which you plan to pursue (Harvard), or “residential colleges” which you’re excited to experience (Yale). Instead, speak in Penn-specific terms.

UPenn Supplemental Essay Prompt 1 Example Outline

Here is a sample essay outline to get you going:

Showcase your academic fit with these courses: Go to the department’s or school’s webpage for the area of study that interests you. What particular courses are you hoping to enroll in? If there are any that Penn alone provides, bonus points.

  • Nice example: A New York Times writer named Adam Grant instructs MGMT 238: Organizational Behavior. Other business schools do offer management degrees, but Penn is the only place where you may study under this renowned business theorist.
  • Poor illustration: Introduction to Microeconomics in ECON 1. This introductory course is offered by every economics department worldwide, so unless you can explain why Penn delivers it differently, don’t cite it as an example of how special Penn’s economics department is.

Professors: Visit the department’s webpage for the area of study you are interested in. Find a few professors that look interesting after reading their profiles. Do they lead any relevant research projects or teach any seminars that would be of interest to you? List them if applicable in your essay.

Display your campus life fitness.

How does your background fit into life at Penn? What are your interests? Make sure to connect your unique hobbies and interests to particular Penn organizations.

Male student holding her bag in front of the entrance of a building.

If, for instance, you were active in theater in high school, you could discuss your enthusiasm for TAC-e at Penn in your essay (the Theater Arts Council). Your Penn supplement will be compelling, relevant, and clear if you follow this method.

How to Respond to Question 2

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/1020 characters)

Young man typing an essay in his laptop.

You have greater creative freedom in Essay 2, but you must remain precise. Use this as a chance to connect your personal life to the academic and extracurricular options available to you at Penn. They must be aware that you have given this subject some thought and are preparing a sensible reply.

Find a community-focused group at UPenn that interests you and highlight how it is similar to previous volunteer work or community service you have done. Always be true and honest in all that you do. Admissions panels can tell when you’re making things up. Here, humility and imagination are crucial.

UPenn Supplemental Essay Prompt 2 Example Outline

1. Community Helper

Consider the following:

  • Do you provide free babysitting for your neighbors?
  • How well-behaved are your siblings?
  • How about the elderly in your family or neighborhood?
  • Do you work in a community with needs?

Have you ever worked as a camp counselor over the summer?

Tell a story about the time you taught a student to swim or the first time you led a group of inner-city children into the forest. Describe their expression of wonder and the sense of surprise they felt at that very time. You can explain how your desire to construct the subsequent generation of infrastructure that will quickly enable carbon-free public transportation is what motivates you to become an engineer and how you hope to bring discovery to more communities.

2. Volunteer at a School

  • Have you ever worked as a volunteer or frequently volunteered at a school or in a community project?
  • When and how have you been compelled to get involved in your community?

You might explain why you want to support an after-school program that matches volunteers with special needs individuals.

You may tell about the summer you spent working with pupils who had special needs and the motivation you experienced helping others whose needs were greater than your own. Talk about the accomplishments of the pupils and how far they have come.

You may describe your desire to carry on working with these communities through technology innovation catered to their educational requirements and interests.

3. Humanitarian Worker

  • Have you ever spent the summer in Lagos or Guatemala?
  • Have you done volunteer work abroad?

Describe an instance when you assisted in delivering supplies to a community in need, such as food, water, or immunizations. If you were a teacher, describe how your efforts helped students acquire a new language and how there is still much to be done in terms of linguistic engagement in the twenty-first century. Talk about how you aim to create the next generation of translation software for communities that are just starting to participate in the global marketplace, inspired by apps like Duo Lingo.

These inquiries and instances highlight the links you ought to draw between your volunteer work and society at large. In other words, explain why it takes a village to accomplish something, even if all you do is pick up your friend from school each day. Using examples that imaginatively describe potential future paths, demonstrate how your involvement in the community is essential to your academic objectives at Penn.

What Does UPenn Look for in Essays?

All students must answer the first two essays for the UPenn supplement. You must conduct research on the particular college and major, as well as the extracurricular activities offered on campus. Now to continue your preparation in writing UPenn short answer questions, let’s find out what does UPenn look for in essays.

You’ll discuss your reasons for being interested in this topic in the first essay, as well as how Penn can support your efforts to advance your studies in this area. For the second one, you must concentrate on the UPenn community and how it will influence both you and it.

Male student looking intently at his laptop.

You’re finished now if none of Penn’s specialty programs pique your interest. There is no need for you to apply to any specialist programs because doing so won’t affect your chances of getting into Penn. You must submit at least one extra essay outlining your interest in one of Penn’s specialty programs and why it might help you reach your objectives.

The fundamental components of each of these writings are investigation and specificity. Penn wants to discover why you are interested in the particular programs offered by UPenn and wants to see that you have a passion for the subject you choose to study.

Pick your words carefully because they’re also making sure you’re a wonderful fit for their extremely tough, selective programs. Always ask for comments and edit your essays until they are flawless.

You have the chance to demonstrate why you are the perfect fit for Penn and how Penn will aid you in achieving your academic objectives in the extra essay. Find ways to demonstrate how you interact with and consider the environment around you in the essay. Spend some time considering your values and opinions and how to most effectively communicate them to the admissions committee. They want to know what is important to you and why.

Try to understand as much as you can about Penn’s approach to education before you sit down to start writing your essay. You may learn more about the school’s unique characteristics and get a sense of the campus and the academic environment by exploring their website. Plan a campus visit, talk to current students, read student blogs, and imagine yourself as a Penn student if at all possible. Decide what aspects of the school best suit you, in other words.

If you would like to know more about writing UPenn short answer questions and some tips to get into UPenn, you can set up a free initial consultation with AdmissionSight. We have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process to get accepted to the top universities in the world. On average, 75% of AdmissionSight’s students are admitted to an Ivy League university, Stanford, MIT, UChicago, and Caltech, one of the highest track records in the industry.

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