University of Pennsylvania Admissions: Everything You Want to and Need to Know

Overview of the University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania is an Ivy League research institution with an acceptance rate of 8%. The institution has a large selection of undergraduate and graduate degree programs for students to select from. A robust student/faculty ratio backs students, and professors take a personalized approach to the teaching and learning process. Outside of the classroom, students will find plenty of opportunities to engage with the campus community via the university’s many clubs and organizations.  For its strengths in the liberal arts and sciences, Penn was awarded a chapter of ​Phi Beta Kappa. Its strength in research has earned it membership in the Association of American Universities.


  • Total Enrollment: 22,376 (10,183 undergraduates)
  • Gender Breakdown: 46 percent male/54 percent female
  • 89 percent full-time

Cost of Attendance Information

  • Tuition and Fees: $57,770
  • Books: $1,358
  • Room and Board: $16,190
  • Other Expenses: $1,946
  • Total Cost: $77,264

Financial Aid Information

  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Aid: 58 percent
  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Types of Aid
    • Grants: 47 percent
    • Loans: 13 percent
  • Average Amount of Aid
    • Grants: $40,420
    • Loans: $7,212

Academic Programs Offered

  • Most Popular Majors: Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services; Social Sciences; Biological and Biomedical Sciences; Engineering; and Health Professions and Related Programs

Retention and Graduation

  • First-Year Student Retention (full-time students): 98 percent
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate: 85 percent
  • 6-Year Graduation Rate: 95 percent

NCAA Athletic Programs

  • Men’s Sports: Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Fencing, Football, Golf, Lacrosse, Soccer, Swimming and Diving, Tennis, Track and Field, Wrestling
  • Women’s Sports: Basketball, Cross Country, Fencing, Field Hockey, Golf, Gymnastics, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Swimming and Diving, Tennis, Track and Field, Volleyball

Overview of University of Pennsylvania Admissions

The University of Pennsylvania, which ranks among the 20 most selective institutions, has a highly competitive admissions pool with a low acceptance rate and high mean SAT/ACT scores. Students whose SAT/ACT scores and GPA are within the institution’s requirements have a good chance of being admitted. Applicants must complete an online application and send test scores from either the SAT or ACT and high school transcripts. Glowing recommendation letters can bolster your application, along with being involved with student organizations and attempting a challenging course load. Interested students should check out the university’s website, which has helpful tips and contact information for the admissions offices.

Admissions Data                        

Throughout the 2018-19 admissions phase, the University of Pennsylvania had an acceptance rate of 8%. For every 100 students who submitted applications, 8 students gained admission, making Penn’s admissions procedure highly competitive.

SAT Requirements and Scores

Throughout the 2018-19 admissions phase, 54% of students provided SAT scores. This admissions data reveals that most of Penn’s students fall within the top 7% nationally on the SAT. 50% of admitted students scored between 690 and 760 on the evidence-based reading and writing part, while 25% scored under 690 and 25% scored over 760. 50% of students scored between 730 and 790 on the math part, while 25% scored under 730, and 25% scored over 790. Applicants with a cumulative SAT score of 1550 or higher will have a competitive advantage at Penn.

ACT Requirements and Scores

Throughout the 2018-19 admissions phase, 46% of students provided ACT scores. This admissions data reveals that most of the University of Pennsylvania’s students fall within the top 2% nationally on the ACT. The mean 50% of admitted students to Penn received a cumulative ACT score between 32 and 35, while 25% scored over 35, and 25% scored under 32.


In 2019, the University of Pennsylvania’s incoming freshman class had a mean high school GPA of 3.9. Successful applicants to Penn have A and B grades primarily.

Safety Net Schools: Easy to Gain Admission

If past admission data predicts that you would be a competitive candidate for the University of Pennsylvania, then it should be easy for you to gain admissions to the schools below. If the University of Pennsylvania is currently out of your reach, then you are sure to be a competitive candidate for the schools below.

Boston College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University of California, Santa Barbara

Same Tier: Just As Hard to Gain Admission

If you’re a competitive candidate for the University of Pennsylvania, you should have an equal chance of gaining admissions at these schools.

Princeton University, Dartmouth College, Brown University, New York University, University of Michigan, Emory University, Boston University

Reach Institutions: Gaining Admissions Will be More of a Challenge

These schools are more challenging to gain admission into than the University of Pennsylvania. If you improve your GPA and SAT/ACT scores, then you’ll be a competitive candidate for these schools.

Yale University, Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia University

Applying to the University of Pennsylvania

Application Deadline: January 5

Undergraduate Admissions Website:

Undergraduate Application Link(s):

Graduate Admissions Website:      

Graduate Application Link(s):

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