Supplementary Materials

Most students who are admitted to Penn do not submit supplemental materials. All of the information that we feel is crucial in making an admissions decision is contained within our required documents. There are some students for whom some additional information can be beneficial, but we recommend that you think very carefully before sending in supplementary material. If information is already included somewhere in your application, that information does not need to be submitted again in supplemental form. In many cases, too many extra documents can take away from the strengths of an application.

Below are the kinds of supplementary materials we may consider, along with guidelines for who should be submitting them and how they should be submitted. We cannot guarantee that non-required documents will be reviewed during the application process. Supplementary materials outside of those listed below will not be considered.

Additional Letter of Recommendation

Penn requires two (2) letters of recommendation from academic teachers, which allows the Office of Admissions to understand a student's presence and impact in the classroom and school community. If an applicant would like to submit another letter of recommendation beyond this requirement, we strongly recommend that it is not from another academic teacher. Examples of an appropriate recommender include an athletic coach, an internship or research supervisor, a boss at a part-time job, or a local clergy member. These additional recommendations are only helpful if the recommender knows the student personally and can write specifically about him or her. Letters from family members or close family friends traditionally do not provide information that is helpful to the evaluation process. Please have this optional additional letter of recommendation (no more than one) submitted through the Coalition or Common Application.

Art or Music Sample

Students with exceptional and recognized talents in visual arts or music can submit samples of work for consideration in the admissions process to be reviewed by departmental faculty.  Students do not need to plan on majoring in musical or fine arts disciplines in order to submit a portfolio.  However, students who are planning on majoring in Music, Fine Arts, or Digital Media Design are encouraged to submit portfolios as part of the application process.  Students applying as sophomore transfers into the Architecture major are required to submit a portfolio (junior transfers are ineligible to apply to the architecture major).  We will not review any other portfolio content aside from portfolios containing visual art, digital media, music, or architecture. Portfolios must be submitted through a student’s Penn Applicant Portal, which is accessible within 48 hours after a student submits the application. 

Deadlines for portfolio submissions are 10 days after the application deadlines. Portfolios can be submitted through the Penn Applicant Portal.

Portfolio Guidelines

Architecture: Required only for transfer students applying for sophomore standing.  There is no specific number of submissions that need to be included.

Digital Media Design Program: Portfolios should include at least one drawing or painting as well as any other work that highlights your talent.  All forms of media are welcomed.  Submit pieces that highlight your sense of aesthetic taste and vision and an eye for composition.  Exploring what the computer will allow you to do is encouraged.  Please limit your selection to 5-12 pieces, or a maximum of 5 minutes worth of video.

Fine Arts: Portfolios should include a minimum of 10 different works.  Uploading an artist’s statement of approximately 300 words is strongly encouraged.

Music: There is no specific number of submissions that need to be included.  However, if you are submitting an original score, please upload the sheet music.

File Sizes and Types

Although we technically support media files as large as 2 GB, please be advised that larger files will take longer to upload from your Internet connection and may stall if you are on a wireless connection or one that cannot sustain a connection for the necessary period of time. Uploaded documents may contain no more than 75 pages. We support the following file formats:

  • Video: .avi, .flv, .m1v, .m2v, .m4v, .mkv, .mov, .mpeg, .mpg, .mp4, .wmv
  • Audio: .aac, .aif, .aiff, .iff, .fla, .m4a, .mpa, .mp3, .ra, .wav, .wma
  • Slide: .bmp, .gif, .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .tif, .tiff
  • Document: .doc, .docx, .odg, .odp, .odt, .pdf, .ppt, .pptx, .rtf, .wpd

Expanded Resume or Research Abstract

Students are required to fill out the Activities section of the application.  If an activity needs to be explained in greater detail, then applicants using the Common Application may upload an expanded explanation or resume to the Penn Writing Supplement. Students using the Coalition Application may upload an expanded explanation or resume to the Uploads section.

  • Please note that an expanded resume is not a substitute for the Activities section of the application.

Students engaged in academic research may submit a brief abstract in lieu of a resume.