Bachelor of Fine Arts application deadlines
You may apply to begin Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) studies during the fall, spring or summer terms. Your application portfolio, including all transcripts, must be received by the following deadlines:
- Fall admission: July 15
- Spring admission: November 15
- Summer admission: April 15
Bachelor of Fine Arts priority application
The Priority Deadlines were created as a benefit to you, because we understand how important it is to have all of the information available when you make a final enrollment decision. New student processes cannot begin until admitted students officially accept their offers for admission. In other words, the earlier you submit your application, the earlier you can learn about the financial aid package you will be granted and ultimately, the earlier you can get settled as a student at the University of Pennsylvania. For all these reasons, we strongly encourage you to finalize and submit your materials by the priority deadlines below.
When we receive your completed Bachelor of Fine Arts application portfolio (see the full Application Materials Checklist below) by the priority deadline, your application receives priority attention, and the Admissions Committee will notify you of their decision within two weeks or less.
If you are accepted into the Bachelor of Fine Arts and declare your intent to enroll, and if you submit your completed financial aid application portfolio by the financial aid priority deadline, you are guaranteed a decision regarding your financial aid package before you begin classes. Financial aid instructions, checklists and all necessary forms can be found here.
Fall semester Priority Deadlines
- Priority BFA application: March 15
- Priority financial aid: April 15
- Financial aid decision: Mid June
Spring semester Priority Deadlines
- Priority BFA application: October 15
- Priority financial aid: November 1
- Financial aid decision: Early December
Application materials checklist
Applications must be submitted through our online application system and must contain all of the following in order to be considered complete:
- Completed online application
- Current résumé
- Nonrefundable application fee (Make checks payable to the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania or pay by credit card through the online application.)
- Application essays, listed below
- Unofficial transcripts from each post-secondary school attended uploaded through the online application system
- Standardized test scores, if applicable (details below)
- An approval form and a transcript from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (or letter of acceptance from PAFA for individuals who have not yet completed their first year of classes)
- Letters of recommendation, if applicable (details below)
The following circumstances require that you submit additional material:
- If you completed less than two years of liberal arts work at the college level (approximately 16 courses in literature, philosophy, history, sociology, science, mathematics, etc.), you must submit an official high school transcript.
- If you left high school without graduating, and you have completed less than two years of liberal arts work at the college level, you must submit an official score report from the test of General Educational Development (GED).
Bachelor of Fine Arts application essays
Your application will include essays addressing the following topics. The essays are reviewed as a reflection of your writing ability, and should be well thought out and polished. Responses should not exceed four pages in length for all the questions combined. (Please compile your responses into a single document, but keep them as separate essays.)
- Have you ever been placed on probation, dismissed or suspended from any college or university for reasons pertaining to academic integrity? If this does not apply, please write N/A in your response. If yes, please include any facts that you believe bear on the significance of this circumstance.
- Explain fully if you have ever withdrawn, taken a leave of absence or been academically dismissed by any school, college or university.
- Describe your educational history and background, making sure to address whether your records and transcripts accurately reflect your academic ability. Explain fully if you have ever withdrawn, taken a leave of absence or been dismissed by any school, college or university.
- Write a brief essay describing your academic and personal goals and explain how these will be furthered by study at Penn in general and at LPS in particular. Feel free to discuss a specific academic topic you have enjoyed studying and explain why it is of interest to you.
- Describe any nonacademic experiences that you feel strengthen your application such as employment, travel, community affairs, volunteer work, publications, etc.
Letters of recommendation
Letters of recommendation are not required for the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program. However, you may submit up to three letters of recommendation to support your application. These should be from individuals with whom you have had a close professional or academic association and who know of your desire to enroll in the BFA at the University of Pennsylvania. Recommendations may be submitted online or by mail. For online recommendations, please follow the instructions in the Recommendations section of the online application. For paper recommendations, please download a copy of the recommendation form (PDF) and supply a copy to each recommender.
Standardized test scores
Standardized test scores are not required for admission to the Bachelor of Fine Arts program. However, you may choose to submit standardized test scores, such as the SAT, in support of your application. Request that your scores be forwarded to the Bachelor of Fine Arts office at the College of Liberal and Professional Studies, using ETS institutional code 2986.
International applicants whose first language is not English must also submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores to demonstrate English proficiency. If the medium of instruction for your undergraduate degree was English, you may request to waive the TOEFL requirement by sending an email to email@example.com. The minimum TOEFL scores required for admissions consideration are: 100 (iBT), 250 (CBT) or 600 (PBT). The TOEFL must be sent from ETS using the institutional code 2986. To locate a testing site near you or schedule an exam, visit the TOEFL website.
Upon review of an applicant's file, the Admissions Committee reserves the right to request TOEFL scores.