Trying to get into any university requires you to put together the best application possible, and if you’re aspiring to enter into one of the eight Ivy League universities, you’ll be up against the tough competition. If you have your mindset on trying to join the University of Pennsylvania, with an admission rate ranging around 8%, you’ll need to submit at least two essays answering specific prompts depending on which undergraduate program you’re applying to. If you don’t want to leave anything up to chance, here we share some useful tips for writing a UPenn supplemental essay as part of your application process.

Do your Research on the Program

No matter which program you’re interested in applying to, you will need to write two short essays. The first will focus on your reasons behind your program’s choiceand why the university has the best potential to explore the subject further. The second essay requires you to focus on how you will fit in and contribute to Penn’s community. If your application doesn’t include any of the university’s specialized programs, you only need to submit these two essays. Otherwise, you will need to write an additional piece depending on which program you’re trying to enter, explaining why they interest you and how they can help you achieve your goals.

You will need to get acquainted with their prompts and research as much as possible if you want to write a successful essay. Learn about their specific courses, which professors are involved in the faculty, look into their volunteering programs, if they offer any, and be clear on how UPenn’s resources and people will help you achieve your goals in their unique way.

Show your Passion

There’s a reason behind your application to UPenn, and you should show that interest in your essays through different means. Look into what activities and student-run clubs are available on campus and explain which ones catch your attention while writing the second essay. However, you should also consider in your writing that the university is located in Philadelphia, which offers an invaluable rich cultural and social scenario. Going to college is about finding your identity and forming lifelong friendships, besides what you’ll be learning in class. To summarize, your UPenn essayshould represent your thoughts and expectations on the matter in a clear manner. Rather than laying out a clear plan as to how you will socialize and take advantage of their social activities, think about how their offer can contribute to building the future you envision for yourself.

Be Specific

No matter how many essays you need to add to your application, you’ll need to research every detail you add to your writing. Avoid sounding generic or using overused wordsbecause all your essays must look like they’re exclusively tailored for the University of Pennsylvania and nowhere else. Remember that every UPenn essay will ask you something specific about your background or experience, so you must rely on real anecdotes and try to research beforehand about the subject if you’ve been unable to have hands-on experience in the area.

You should also keep in mind that the two supplemental essays focus on different aspects of UPenn. The first essay only asks you to concentrate on the academic part of their institution, which you’ll need to answer specifically with your intellectual pursuits. You will need to focus on the university’s campus life and extracurricular activities in the second essay, so you must make sure that you don’t get confused and add wrong elements in either of your writing pieces. If you’re also applying to a specialized program, how you approach their prompt will wildly vary between subjects. However, focusing on your motivations and volunteering activities related to the area will help your essay stand out from the rest.

In these essays, you need to show why Penn’s specific programs are the perfect fit to achieve your goals and how you will contribute to their community. You want to write an essay that shows creativity, passion in your subject and gives a decent glimpse of your personality. While it may be true for some applicants that this university may not be one of their first options, you should always keep in mind what attracts you to UPenn aside from its prestige and being part of the Ivy League. Admission counselors need to see your voice beyond the data and numbers in order to have a better chance at getting admitted, so make sure to polish and proofread your essays several times until they’re flawless and straightforward.


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