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Application Overview

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:

Regular Admission Deadlines

Term of Entry Deadline
Spring 2022 November 1, 2021
Summer 2022 April 1, 2022
Fall 2022 July 1, 2022

Priority Admission Deadlines

Term of Entry Priority Deadline
Spring 2022 October 1, 2021
Fall 2022 March 1, 2022

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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 listed above.

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 Penn's Student Registration and Financial Aid website.

Application materials checklist

Since all required supporting documents are submitted through the online application system, hardcopy material other than official transcripts or letters of recommendation will not be accepted.* Please urge your recommenders to submit their letters through the online system. Please note that all application materials become the property of the University of Pennsylvania and will not be returned. Remember to retain a personal copy of your application.

*Unsolicited material will not be used for review.

Applications must contain all of the following in order to be considered complete:

  • Completed online application
  • Current résumé
  • Nonrefundable application fee
  • 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.)

  • Describe your educational history and background, making sure to address whether your records and transcripts accurately reflect your academic ability.
  • 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 non-academic 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 (preferred) or by mail. For online recommendations, please follow the instructions in the Recommendations section of the online application.

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.

A strong command of the English language is necessary for successful study at Penn. Applicants whose native language is not English must submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores to demonstrate English proficiency. Please note that the TOEFL is rarely waived; therefore, we encourage applicants to take the test to avoid delays in completing the application. 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. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is also accepted and the minimum score for consideration is a 7. You may upload a copy of your IELTS test to the standardized test score section of the application.

Flexibility for international applicants: We recognize that there may be limited testing opportunities for the GRE, GMAT, IELTS, and TOEFL exams in your home country and some applicants will not be able to report scores by the application deadline. If this pertains to you, we encourage you to complete the application to the best of your ability and to include a supplemental statement that explains your circumstances. Your information will be provided to the appropriate admissions committee and your admissions decision will be based on the materials available at the time of review. Please note, the College of Liberal and Professional Studies is accepting at-home GRE and TOEFL test scores and the IELTS Indicator exam scores through the 2021-2022 admissions year. Please visit the specific standardized testing websites for exam options in your home country.

Upon review of an applicant's file, the Admissions Committee reserves the right to request TOEFL scores.

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