Our admissions process has always relied on what we call “whole person review:” the practice of considering each student’s individual context and environment as we learn through their applications about their lived experiences, their achievements, and the academic and personal contributions they have made in their respective communities. This philosophy will continue in the age of COVID-19.
We are committed to continuing to work with all of our applicants and their counselors to understand the ways in which their lives have had to shift in light of COVID-19, and to support students in their efforts to represent those shifts in their Penn applications.
Please see below for answers to some of our frequently asked questions.
How will we review remote education? What does that mean for admitted students?
Schools and districts are making the best decisions they can at this moment in the interest of their students' health and educational experience. We respect and support the decisions schools are making and recognize these decisions are outside of the students' control. We stand by our admissions decisions and our offer of admission. We expect students to make the most of the educational opportunities available to them regardless of whether that takes place in person or virtually.
We expect that you will complete your senior curriculum as presented in your application for admission, although we recognize that some courses may shift in format given the school closures and online work necessitated by COVID-19. Your school will need to submit your Final Transcript and should elaborate on any course adaptations required by mandatory COVID-19 accommodations at that time.
Do we support secondary schools switching to pass/fail grading options at this time?
Schools and districts are making the best decisions they can at this moment in the interest of their students' health and educational experience. We respect and support the decisions schools are making, and recognize these decisions are outside of the students' control. We expect students to make the most of the educational opportunities available to them.
How will we interpret attendance or grade drops for admitted students?
We recognize this is a challenging time, and we urge students to practice self-care. If these or other circumstances have an impact on performance or attendance, then we urge students to be proactive in providing an explanation. We will evaluate the final reports for all enrolling students and follow up should we have any questions.
Have we updated our policies around granting credit for end of year exams (AP, A-Level, IB, etc.)?
Penn will continue to grant credit and placement for these exams. Credit policies can be found here. We understand some scores will now be based on online tests, while other scores will be based on year-long academic coursework. Testing agencies are making prudent decisions to prevent large gatherings of people. We are in communication with testing agencies around the world and we support them in the decisions they feel they need to make.
What is the deadline for submitting a gap year request?
Gap year requests must be submitted by June 5th. Students may submit these requests through their Penn Applicant Portal.
How are gap year requests reviewed?
Gap year requests are evaluated, case-by-case, on a rolling basis. Gap year requests submitted well before the June 5th deadline are more likely to be approved than requests submitted closer to the deadline.
How much detail regarding my gap year plans should be included in the request form?
We want to know how you plan to spend your time. We expect you to use your time productively. Keep in mind that you cannot enroll at another educational institution while on your gap year.
I am currently on a gap year. Can I request a second gap year?
Yes, students may request a second gap year through their admitted student portal. These requests are evaluated, case-by-case, on a rolling basis.
Given the current circumstance, may I take a “gap semester,” and start Penn in the spring semester?
No. Students approved for a gap year are scheduled to enroll in the Fall of 2021 with the Class of 2025.
During the gap year, am I permitted to take classes elsewhere?
You may enroll in academic course work for enrichment purposes; however, these credits will not transfer to Penn.
If I take a gap year, what do I need to do to confirm my spot for Fall 2021?
Students on a gap year will be contacted in February 2021 to confirm their intention to enroll in Fall 2021. Once enrollment is confirmed, students will be able to fill out financial aid forms and obtain visa applications (if needed). Students entering in Fall 2021 will be able to apply for room and board in April 2021.
How is Penn financially supporting families who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19?
Penn continues to be committed to meeting 100% of a family’s demonstrated financial need with grant-based financial aid. That means grants and work-study funding that you do not have to pay back. Penn will build a financial aid package that takes into account the latest financial information you provide about your family, including any negative impact you have experienced as a result of COVID-19.
How do I share financial information with Penn that was not part of my initial financial aid application?
If your financial situation has changed since you submitted your financial aid application, it is important that you contact Student Financial Services as soon as possible and provide any updated information and documentation. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org and submit updated documents via the Document Submission Portal, if advised. Please note: International students must apply for financial aid along with their admissions application in order to be eligible for funding.
What happens if my family’s financial situation changes after I am admitted and receive a financial aid decision?
If you are admitted to Penn and receive a financial aid package that does not accurately reflect your latest financial information, please contact Student Financial Services at email@example.com to let us know how your situation has changed. A financial aid counselor may advise you to complete a Request for Reevaluation so SFS can reevaluate your financial need based on the new information. Please note: International students must apply for financial aid along with their admissions application in order to be eligible for funding.