The University of Pennsylvania is an Ivy League institution that provides an exceptional education for computer scientists and engineers in their ever evolving field. While the concept was founded in 1740, the cost to build the school proved to be too great for the available resources, and the project was put on hold for the next nine years. In 1749, inventor and forward-thinker Benjamin Franklin organized 24 trustees to form an organization of higher education based on his essay, Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth which evolved into the University of Pennsylvania. Franklin served as President until 1755 and continued on as a trustee until his death in 1790. Franklin’s words, “well-done is better than well-said” lives today through the initiatives and innovations found throughout the campus and in its education.

University of Pennsylvania Accreditation Details

The University of Pennsylvania is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The Bachelor of Science in Engineering in Computer Science is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET. ABET is a non-profit, non-governmental organization recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). It accredits programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology.

University of Pennsylvania Application Requirements

Each year the University of Pennsylvania Admissions Selection Committee reviews applications to admit 2,445 students to its programs. The committee takes the following nine areas into account:

● Holistic Review – The committee reads and discusses all pieces of your application, quantitative and qualitative, descriptive or numeric, and takes all components into consideration. This is important to consider when filling out your application. Ensure that you leave no accomplishment, goal, or interest out.

● High School Preparation – The committee takes into consideration the classes available, the grading scale, and extracurricular activities available to you in high school. When applying to the Penn School of Engineering (Penn), the committee looks for strong math skills, particularly in calculus, an ability to design, the ability to apply and innovate scientific discoveries, as well as expressed reasons for choosing an engineering education.

● Testing – The committee requires the results of the ACT test (excluding the writing portion), the old or new SAT, or the TOEFL (for international students). The official scores from the ACT and SAT tests must be sent directly to the University of Pennsylvania from ACT or the College Board. The TOEFL scores must be sent from the testing agency. Math Level 2 and a science subject test (preferably Physics for Engineering Applicants) are not required, but recommended for those students applying for the Penn School of Engineering.

● Extracurricular Activities – The committee does not look for any specific activity to be included on your application; they are more interested in your individual interests. Be sure to include all activities you have participated in whether they are affiliated with school, church, family, or have no affiliation. Include leadership responsibilities where applicable and details of your responsibilities and roles. The more information you provide the better the committee understands your abilities as a whole.

● Teacher Evaluations – Penn requires two teacher recommendations. These preferably come from your Junior or Senior year teachers that taught you math, science, social science, english, or foreign language. This gives the committee a better understanding of your work ethic and traits that are not evident through testing scores. It is best to get two letters from two different academic subjects. Penn allows for one additional supplemental recommendation.

● Essays – You must complete a personal essay as well as the Penn Writing Supplement. The personal essay gives the committee insight into why you are interested in a computer science degree as well as how well you write, how you see the world, and what you value. Be sure to read the essay question carefully and answer it accurately. The Penn Writing Supplement provides the committee with how you intend to utilize the opportunities offered to you at the Penn School of Engineering.

● Interviews – Application interviews are held between you and an alumni volunteer. It is a casual conversation, so treat it as such. 90 percent of the applicants are offered an interview, but if you are not chosen, this is noted by the committee and does not affect your application negatively. If you are chosen you are strongly encouraged to make time for this interview. This is an opportunity to share more about who you are and why you would make a great addition to Penn’s alumni.

● Supplementary Materials – There is no need for supplementary materials. All of the information the committee needs to make a well-informed decision is provided throughout the application process. While discouraged, the committee does accept an additional letter of recommendation (preferably from someone other than a high school teacher) or, if exceptionally gifted, samples of creative work in visual arts or music even if this is not a focus of your major.

Tuition and Financial Aid

The cost of attending the University of Pennsylvania varies depending on your living arrangements. The approximate cost for attending while living on/off campus is $69,340 per year. This includes an allowance for housing, dining, books, and personal expenses. Students living with family can expect their tuition rate to be approximately $57,250 per year. This includes an allowance for dining, books, and personal expenses. The allowances vary depending upon your needs.

All Penn financial aid is need based. The University takes extensive measures allowing everyone the opportunity to attend regardless of financial situations. Its financial aid packages include grants and work-study jobs.

The University of Pennsylvania As an Investment Into Your Future

The Bachelor in Computer Science degree offered at Penn School of Engineering boasts a high percentage of seniors who receive job offers well before graduation. The program prepares students to be leaders in computer science and to demonstrate exceptional communication skills with an appreciation for non-technical applications. In your role as student you learn to use practical applications to make decisions based on a global perspective that allows you to be mindful of how these decisions impact your society. When deciding which University to attend, keep these words from founder Ben Franklin in mind, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” The University of Pennsylvania is a smart investment into your future.

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