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.
Are we planning to adjust the reply by date or deposit deadline from May 1?
At the moment, we do not plan to adjust the May 1 deadline to accept our offer of admission.
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.
Is it possible to cancel or withdraw my gap year request?
Students must withdraw any gap year requests by June 12th. We will review gap year withdrawal requests on a rolling basis. After June 12th, we may not be able to permit re-entry into the class. Instead, students would be expected to enroll in the Fall of 2021 with the Class of 2025. Gap year requests and gap year request withdrawals 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.
What happens if my gap year is granted but then my plans are cancelled due to COVID-19? Would I then have the opportunity to still enroll in the Fall of 2020?
We understand that a student’s gap year plans may change. If a student’s gap plan changes, we ask they let us know as soon as possible. We will review gap year withdrawal requests on a rolling basis. Gap year withdrawal requests must be submitted by June 12th. After June 12th, we may not be able to permit re-entry into the class; however, we would not compel a student to follow through on the original gap year plan as stated in the initial request. The student may spend their time in another way and enter with the Class of 2025. We only ask that the student use the time wisely and do not enroll at another institution in the meantime.
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.