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 prospective or 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. The fact that the educational setting is remote will not have any bearing on their application review or outcome. We urge students and counselors to be proactive in informing us of any course adaptations as well as adjustments to extracurricular activities required by mandatory COVID-19 accommodations or any other circumstances that have an impact on performance or attendance.
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 prospective or 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 school administrators should elaborate on any course adaptations required by mandatory COVID-19 accommodations at that time. We will follow up should we have any questions.
How will you respond if end of year exams (AP, A-Level, IB, etc.) are cancelled or postponed?
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. We will review final results if and when they are made available. We will evaluate the final reports for all enrolling students, whether or not end of year exams are available, and we will follow up should we have any questions.
Are you 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. We are willing to work with students on a case-by-case basis should they have extenuating circumstances that would require an extension.
Have we made any changes to our standardized testing policies?
We routinely review the role of standardized testing in our admissions process. Testing agencies including the College Board and the ACT have cancelled multiple test dates in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. We believe these are responsible decisions, and we recognize the impact fewer test dates will have on students’ plans. For the 2020-21 admissions cycle, SAT Subject Tests will be optional (i.e., neither required nor recommended) for applicants. We will continue to require students submit SAT or ACT scores. Please find more details on our testing policy, including self-reporting options, on our admissions website.