Penn GPA, SAT Scores and ACT Scores

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Grove, Allen. "Penn GPA, SAT Scores and ACT Scores." ThoughtCo, Jan. 27, 2017, Grove, Allen. (2017, January 27). Penn GPA, SAT Scores and ACT Scores. Retrieved from Grove, Allen. "Penn GPA, SAT Scores and ACT Scores." ThoughtCo. (accessed September 23, 2017).
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Penn GPA, SAT and ACT Graph

University of Pennsylvania GPA, SAT and ACT Data for Admission
University of Pennsylvania GPA, SAT Scores and ACT Scores for Admission. Data courtesy of Cappex.

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​Discussion of Penn's Admissions Standards:

While the University of Pennsylvania is slightly less selective than Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, it is a member of the Ivy League and is one of the 20 most selective colleges in the country. In the scattergram above, the blue and green represent accepted students. You can see that the great majority of admitted students had a GPA of 3.7 or higher, a combined SAT score (RW+M new SAT; CR+M old SAT) of over 1200, and an ACT composite of 24 or higher. Hidden beneath the blue and green in the upper right corner of the graph is a lot of red, so keep in mind that even students who seem to be on target for admission get rejected from Penn. For any school with a single digit acceptance rate, I recommend that you consider the institution a reach school, even if your scores are on target for admission.

Penn's Holistic Admissions:

It's also important to keep in mind that Penn has holistic admissions, and the empirical GPA and test score data revealed in the graph above is just one piece of the admissions equation. To quote the Penn admissions website, "the Admissions Selection Committee reads and discusses all pieces of the application, quantitative and qualitative, descriptive or numeric, at once."

The university wants to enroll not just students who will excel in the classroom, but those who will make good campus leaders, roommates, and citizens. Penn wants to see students who have meaningful involvement in extracurricular activities that reflect their true passions and talents. The application essays are another important part of the admissions puzzle, both the standard Common Application essay and the Penn writing supplement. Make sure your supplemental essay is unique to Penn and not a generic essay that could be used for any school. The University of Pennsylvania also places value on letters of recommendation from your teachers, and your interview with an alumni volunteer. All of these qualitative measures help the admissions committee get to know you better.

Also realize that Penn invites applicants to submit supplementary materials such as an additional letter of recommendation, a sample or art work or music, or an activities resume to supplement the Common Application activities section.

Finally, keep in mind that your academic record is the most important part of your application, but Penn will be looking at much more than your GPA. A strong academic record. Penn will be looking for high grades in core academic areas, and success in AP, IB, Honors, and/or Dual Enrollment classes strengthen your application by demonstrating your college readiness.

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