The time to start is now.

University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) 2023-24 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

University of Pennsylvania 2023-24 Application Essay Question Explanations 

The Requirements: 3 essays of 150-200 words

Supplemental Essay Type(s): Community, Why

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)

Gratitude is quickly becoming a practice we are encouraged to connect to and reflect on regularly, hence the popularity of gratitude journals and exercises. (Brainstorming method alert!) It’s not a surprise, therefore, that the admissions department at UPenn wants to learn about what you value and how you express gratitude. Think about times when you have felt acknowledged, heard, and seen; moments when you have felt that swelling in your chest, as your heart grows three sizes. Who would you like to thank and why? What impact did they have on your life? How did their actions affect the way you think or approach new ventures? Remember that this essay or “note” needs to reveal information about how you process, appreciate, and/or draw inspiration from the action of others. Ultimately, admissions wants to know more about how you relate to others in the world and how you repurpose good intentions. Bonus points if you share your “thank you” note with the associated party after hitting submit!

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

Admissions wants to know how you will participate in the Penn campus community, so start by thinking about what you’d like to do when you’re not cramming for exams or soaking up your professors’ sage wisdom (a little website research could come in handy here). If that hypothetical exercise is not producing quality ideas, think about the here and now. Where can you be found when your homework is done? How do you spend your weekends? Think of an activity or topic that gets you interacting and connecting with other like-minded peers. Once you have something in mind, explore Penn’s website to see if they have a similar group or community that you’d like to join. Admissions wants to know what your area of influence will look like at UPenn: an on-campus job, a unique hobby, or maybe an organization to which you contribute innovative ideas and exquisite cake decorating skills (bake sale, anyone?). Finally, remember to address how UPenn will shape your perspective and vice versa. Will the Black Wharton Undergraduate Association help you to explore your entrepreneurial interests? Will your plethora of non-profit internship and volunteering experiences make you a fantastic addition to and a natural leader in the Social Impact Consulting Group? Whatever you write about, make sure your response to this prompt shows that you have put some serious thought into what your life will look like at UPenn.

If Applying to Wharton:

Wharton prepares its students to make an impact by applying business methods and economic theory to real-world problems, including economic, political, and social issues. Please reflect on a current issue of importance to you and share how you hope a Wharton education would help you to explore it. (150-200 words)  

To help inform your response, applicants are encouraged to learn more about the foundations of a Wharton education here. This information will help you better understand what you could learn by studying at Wharton and what you could do afterward.* 

If Applying to Arts and Sciences:

The flexible structure of The College of Arts and Sciences’ curriculum is designed to inspire exploration, foster connections, and help you create a path of study through general education courses and a major. What are you curious about and how would you take advantage of opportunities in the arts and sciences? (150-200 words) 

To help inform your response, applicants are encouraged to learn more about academic offerings within the College of Arts and Sciences at This information will help you develop a stronger understanding of how the study of the liberal arts aligns with your own goals and aspirations.*

If Applying to Engineering: 

Penn Engineering prepares its students to become leaders in technology, by combining a strong foundation in the natural sciences and mathematics, exploration in the liberal arts, and depth of study in focused disciplinary majors. Please share how you hope to explore your engineering interests at Penn. (150-200 words) 

To help inform your response, applicants are encouraged to learn more about Penn Engineering and its mission to prepare students for global leadership in technology here. This information will help you develop a stronger understanding of academic pathways within Penn Engineering and how they align with your goals and interests.*

If Applying to Nursing:

Penn Nursing intends to meet the health needs of society in a global and multicultural world by preparing its students to impact healthcare by advancing science and promoting equity. What do you think this means for the future of nursing, and how do you see yourself contributing to our mission of promoting equity in healthcare? (150-200 words)   

To help inform your response, applicants are encouraged to learn more about Penn Nursing’s mission and how we promote equity in healthcare here.  This information will help you develop a stronger understanding of our values and how they align with your own goals and aspirations. *

With each of these prompts, admissions is hoping to gain insight into your goals and ambitions. Whether you’re hoping to combat societal issues through business, explore your curiosity through The College of Arts and Sciences’ curriculum, become a leader in tech, or promote equity in healthcare, your response should reveal new information about your passions, motivations, and vision for the future. Since you only have 150-200 words to work with here, you won’t be able to walk admissions through your journey to the college of your choice, but you can offer insight into the kind of work you’d like to do and the impact you’d like to have post-graduation. Just keep in mind that the best responses will cite specific resources at Penn in order to show that it is Penn, specifically, that will be instrumental to your future success.

Want more where this came from?
Ivy Divider

We have school-specific prompt guides for almost 100 schools.

Ivy Divider

Contact us for information on rates and more!

School Stats:

State: Pennsylvania
Acceptance Rate: 8%
Undergrad Population: 9,760
Tuition: $60,920
Ivy League: Yes
Supplemental Essay Prompt Guides:
Share this page:

Want free stuff?

CEA LogoContact us for
rates and more!