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Admissions and Eligibility

Eligibility for the Young Scholars Program

For the fall and spring terms, the Young Scholars Program is open to local high school students who are current juniors and seniors. For the summer term, students must have completed 10th or 11th grade before the program starts. The Young Scholars Program is not designed for students who have already graduated high school, nor for those admitted to Penn through the Early Decision option.

Our average applicant has:

  • Scores in the 85th percentile or greater in all sections of their standardized tests (SAT, PSAT, ACT). (Students who have not taken any standardized tests may submit an additional letter of recommendation.)
  • Writing that shows both technical skill and intellectual depth
  • Strong recommendations
  • A variety of extracurricular interests 
  • Nonrefundable application fee: Any applicant to the Young Scholars Program who is currently enrolled at a Philadelphia Public or Charter school is eligible for an application fee waiver. Please email (attention: Maura Tucker) to request a fee waiver code, which must be used on the payment screen before submitting the application. Please include in your email a copy of your high school transcript so we may verify your eligibility for the waiver.

Enrollment in the Young Scholars Program is limited. Some courses may have educational prerequisites or require placement testing.

Admission to the Young Scholars Program does not constitute admission to a full-time program at the University of Pennsylvania.

How to apply

Applications may only be submitted through our online application system.

All applicants must submit the following:

  • Completed online application
  • Copy of PSAT, SAT or ACT score report, uploaded through the online application system
  • Unofficial transcripts from each secondary school attended, uploaded through the online application system
  • Application essays, listed below
  • Two letters of recommendation

Application deadlines

Admission Cycle Deadline
Summer 2018Session I: May 1, 2018
Session II: June 1, 2018
Fall 2018August 15, 2018
Spring 2019December 1, 2018

Start your application now

The Young Scholars Program is selective. Applicants are responsible for ensuring that all application materials arrive by the deadline. Applications are not considered until all materials have been received.

Application essays

On the application, you’ll be asked to respond to the following questions. Number your essays clearly and upload responses together in one document using the upload button on the online application. Responses should not exceed two (2) pages in length for all the questions combined.

  1. Describe your recent educational history (past three to four years) and background, making sure to address whether your transcripts accurately reflect your academic ability. Feel free to describe any nonacademic or extracurricular experiences that you feel strengthen your application, such as: volunteer work, employment, sports teams, high school clubs and/or travel.
  2. Briefly describe your academic and personal goals and explain how these will be furthered by study in the Young Scholars Program at Penn. Feel free to discuss a specific academic topic you enjoy studying and explain why it is of interest to you.

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