Established in 1740 as one of America’s nine original Colonial Colleges, the University of Pennsylvania has an illustrious history as an elite, private, Ivy League, research-intensive institution. Well-known for being founded by Benjamin Franklin, UPenn is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU). Each year, the university enrolls more than 10,400 undergraduates and 11,000 post-graduates in its 12 academic schools. UPenn is located on a sprawling 992-acre urban campus along the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, the nation’s fifth most populous city. The University of Pennsylvania’s annual research budget is around $851 million. UPenn has lead several important innovations, including the rubella vaccine, cognitive therapy, and conjoint analysis.
The U.S. News has ranked UPenn as the 9th best national university, 11th top value school, and 8th best college for veterans in the United States for 2015. In fact, 24 of its academic programs land within their field’s top 20 nationwide. Forbes magazine has honored UPenn as the 11th best private college and 7th top research university with a financial grade of A+. Princeton Review consistently names the University of Pennsylvania to its list of “Dream Colleges.” Washington Monthly magazine distinguished UPenn as the 37th best master’s-level institution for civic engagement. On the global scale, UPenn was crowned the 17th best university worldwide by Times Higher Education.
University of Pennsylvania Accreditation Details
Recently reviewed in 2014, the University of Pennsylvania is formally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). This regional accreditation is recognized as valid through the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). More than 20 of UPenn’s academic departments have gone the extra step to receive professional accreditation. For example, nursing degrees are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME). Technical degrees meet the guidelines of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Business programs have approval from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International.
University of Pennsylvania Application Requirements
With an acceptance rate of only 10.4 percent, the University of Pennsylvania has one of America’s most selective admissions processes. Incoming freshmen must hold a diploma from a state-approved secondary school or academy. First-year students must have built a strong liberal arts foundation with four years of English, math, science, and social studies. Admitted students have an average high school GPA of 3.94. On average, freshmen at UPenn have scored at least 32 on the ACT or 2100 on the SAT, including writing. Keep in mind that the admissions committee uses a holistic approach, so extra-curricular activities are considered, as well.
Undergraduate transfers wishing to attend UPenn must have at least one full year of transferrable academic coursework (eight courses) from a regionally accredited college. At least 60 credits must be remaining for a bachelor’s degree. It’s preferred that transfer students hold a minimum cumulative college GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Graduate admissions requirements vary by program, but all require at least a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. Most will mandate a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.2 in the last 60 hours. All applicants must present satisfactory GRE scores reported through the institutional code 2926.
Before the annual January 1st deadline, interested students should submit the Common Application to the University of Pennsylvania with the following attachments:
• Official high school and/or college transcripts
• Two teacher evaluations
• School counselor recommendation
• UPenn Writing Supplement form
• Standardized testing score reports
• Current professional resume or CV
• Payment for the $75 application fee
Tuition and Financial Aid
Regardless of state residence, full-time UPenn undergraduate students will be charged $49,536 in tuition and fees each academic year. Residential students can expect to pay $9,060 for housing and $4,930 for dining annually. The University of Pennsylvania suggests that students budget $1,250 for textbooks and $2,024 for personal expenses each year. Total cost of attendance for undergraduates will be around $66,800. Full-time graduate students pay a flat-rate tuition of $42,016 each year with fees included. Part-time learners at UPenn will be billed $5,218 per graduate course.
Around 61 percent of new students at the University of Pennsylvania are awarded some form of financial assistance. All degree-seeking students are eligible to participate in the Penn Monthly Budget Plan. U.S. citizens can borrow money from the government through the Direct Loan, Perkins Loan, or Grad PLUS Loan. Private/alternative loans are also accepted. Certain students could qualify for the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), TEACH Grant, or Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. In-state residents could receive the PHEAA Grant, Chafee Education Grant, or Pennsylvania Summer State Grant. Federal Work-Study (FWS) and Penn Work-Study programs are available. Students can also use the Penn Grant, Mayor’s Scholarship, or University Named Scholarships.
Due to its prestige and wealth of resources, the University of Pennsylvania boasts a high freshmen retention rate of 98 percent. Although there are roughly 10,000 of both undergrad and graduate students, teaching assistants only teach five percent of classes. Despite its size, the student-faculty ratio remains an incredibly small 6:1. UPenn has more than 100 academic majors to choose from. Unique undergraduate degrees are available in Actuarial Mathematics, Architecture, Biophysics, Critical Writing, Jewish Studies, Linguistics, Romance Languages, and Urban Education. Undergraduate programs at UPenn are highly regarded for producing the nation’s most billionaires.
Noted by the Carnegie Foundation for “very high research activity,” UPenn offers unparalleled access to cutting-edge laboratories. Students can gain hands-on learning in 165 research institutes, including the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Nanotechnology Institute, and Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter. Around 52 percent of students live in college-owned housing. There’s a unique Penn Home Ownership Service (PHOS) program that offers living arrangements in the greater West Philadelphia neighborhood. Residents interested in volunteer work can find plentiful opportunities at the Civic House. Art lovers can enjoy performances at UPenn’s Platt Student Performing Arts House, too.
More than 2,000 students annually participate in study abroad programs to nearly 50 countries like Egypt, Portugal, Brazil, and Japan. Back at home, students can select from over 450 student-run organizations. Some new student clubs include the Statistics Society, Penn Cinema Initiative, and Penn Global Surgery Group. The Philomathean Society, founded in 1813, is one of America’s oldest collegiate literary societies, too. Athletes can compete for the Quakers in the NCAA Division I Ivy League Conference. Football, basketball, rugby, rowing, and cricket are popular sports teams with championship-winning legacies. The University of Pennsylvania has also won the Pacemaker Award for its “The Daily Pennsylvanian” newspaper.