How to Write the Penn State Supplemental Essays

How to Write the Penn State Supplemental Essays

Founded in 1855, Penn State University has gained popularity as one of the most prestigious public research institutions. Its acceptance rate is 57.6 %. The students accepted usually score high at GPA and SAT. It is a well-developed institution that promises a bright future to the alumni. Among the famous graduates of the establishment are Elon Musk and Donald Trump. 

To get into Penn, a student needs to collect a set of documents and write a Penn state application essay. The type of essay depends on the field of study students opt for. 

Optional “Please tell us something about yourself, your experiences, or activities that you believe would reflect positively on your ability to succeed at Penn State. This is your opportunity to tell us something about yourself that is not already reflected in your application or academic records. (500 words)” 

The first step to success is reading the instruction right. If you look at this one, the requirement is not to repeat yourself. It means that you need to know your application by heart. Know every detail you wrote down to avoid repetition. 

The next step is to write about the strong traits of your personality. Compile a list of achievements and identify what strong features in your personality helped you succeed. Penn admission committee is trying to identify how compatible you are with the community. One idea might not be enough here, however, ten will be too much. So, know the balance.

For BS-MBA Program Applicants Only

Penn State supplemental essay objective is to identify your academic goals and ambitions. If a student does not provide any significant ambition or objective the application loses a lot of points. So, think carefully about the way you deliver the ideas in your essay. Aim to dwell on the essay question given and avoid irrelevant information. 

Essay Question 1 “Why do you want to attend Penn State? (150 words)” 

Before you scribble down the first reason which is “Penn is my favorite educational establishment”, mind that it is one of the widespread and basic answers. If you want to become one of the 57 % of the accepted candidates, your answer should be more than that. 

What to do if the ideas do not come to your mind? Try studying the website of the school. Learn about the activities of the department you wish to enter. Get in contact with the alumni on the forums and blogs. Last but not least, read the publications of the most successful essays that got students the place in Penn, and other universities. 

Essay Question 2  “Select the scientific discipline above that is MOST interesting to you. Why do you want to devote 4 years of college studying it? (200 words)” 

It is a question that dares you to predict whether you are ready for four years of studying the same subject. It checks your readiness to devote your time and effort to one thing. If you do not see yourself studying something for as little as four years then the admission office will question your compatibility with the university.

Essay Question 3 “Inclusiveness and Diversity: In an increasingly global community, students must gain cultural competency. In what way have you demonstrated a commitment to this mission? (200 words)” 

It is a Penn variation of diversity essay. It aims at finding your vision of the global community. Depending on the opinions you express the person doing the essay review will get the clue on how well you fit into the multicultural environment. 

For this section, all your intercultural communication experience matters. If you have been traveling, participating in international projects, or assisted the students from cultural exchange programs, write it down in this section. Express your observations on how perceptive your community was to other people, culture, and whether you ever experienced a language problem. The knowledge of other languages will be a bonus as well. 

Essay Question 4 “Goals: Discuss your career aspirations. How would the Science BS/MBA program help you reach those goals? (200 words)

This essay question presupposes that you already have career aspirations. It is time to create an outline of your future career and support it with the arguments. Show the admission officers that Penn University is an inevitable part of your plan to achieve career success.

Essay Question 5 “Leadership: Please discuss your leadership and collaboration skills. Give recent examples of how they have been demonstrated. (200 words)” 

You do not need to be a leader of a political party or student government to have leadership experience. If you were a soccer team captain, team leader of a school project, it is already a solid example. The main thing is to show that you draw personal conclusions from any experience you have whether positive or negative.

Essay Question 6  “Resiliency: Transitioning to college can be a challenge. Discuss the adjustments you believe you will need to make to be successful as you transition from high school to a college environment. (200 words)” 

Face the challenges and write down your plan of going through the transition period. It is a big life-change to move from a school environment where you are mostly taken care of to a university campus where you have to be in charge. Be realistic and admit that the change is challenging but you have a plan.

Process of Writing the Essay

Step One: Define success at Penn State

The prompt asks about your ability to “succeed at Penn State.” This is tricky, because every applicant will have different goals for college. So, start by defining what success at Penn State means to you.

What are your goals for Penn State? What do you want to learn and achieve while you’re there?

You may want to include:

  • Academic goals
  • Experiences that will prepare you for your career goals (like research, internships, volunteer experiences, or relevant student groups)
  • Personal goals – do you want to pursue an interest or value that is important to you?

As you come up with your definition for success at Penn State, explore the PSU website. Try to identify specific examples of opportunities that will allow you to pursue your goals.

  • Let’s look at an example student’s brainstorming list:
  • My definition of success at Penn State:
  • Double major in Linguistics and Psychology
  • Explore interest in a career as a speech-language pathologist
  • Research at the Center for Language Science
  • Internship at the Child Study Center in the Department of Psychology

Step Two: Identify experiences

Once you’ve defined success at PSU, it’s time to identify an experience that has prepared you to succeed.

Try to think of experiences where you overcame similar challenges to the ones you’ll face as you pursue your goals at PSU. How will your goals challenge you?

  • Let’s revisit the example student. Pursuing a double major will be academically challenging.
  • Here’s the past experience she chose to write about:
  • When I struggled in my Calculus class, I asked for help from my teacher and started a study group with my classmates. This taught me to be resilient in the face of academic challenges.

Once you’ve picked an experience to write about, you can start to add more details about how it has prepared you to succeed at Penn!

Final Tips

Acing your admissions is a step into adult life. It is also an initial stage of your academic career. 

No wonder you might get worried and stressed. To smooth the anxiety, turn to admission writers for assistance.