Penn LPS COVID-19 Update
LPS staff are not onsite, but we are still available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. by phone and online in case you need support: (215) 898-7326 or lps@sas.upenn.edu. Visit coronavirus.upenn.edu, the University's dedicated coronavirus COVID-19 web page, for the latest updates. Penn LPS is ensuring that all students have access to the support they need. Visit our Current LPS Students page for more details.
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Admissions and Application Overview

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 lps@sas.upenn.edu (attention: Mary Bustamante) 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.

COVID-19 and admissions reviews 

Recognizing the challenges of teaching, learning, and assessing academic performance during the global COVID-19 pandemic, Penn’s admissions committees for graduate and professional programs will take the significant disruptions of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 into account when reviewing students’ transcripts and other admissions materials as part of their regular practice of performing individualized, holistic reviews of each applicant. In particular, as we review applications now and in the future, we will respect decisions regarding the adoption of Pass/Fail and other grading options during the period of COVID-19 disruptions. An applicant will not be adversely affected in the admissions process if their academic institution implemented a mandatory pass/fail (or similar) system for the term or if the applicant chose to participate in an optional pass/fail (or similar) system for the term. Penn’s longstanding commitment remains to admit graduate and professional student cohorts composed of outstanding individuals who demonstrate the resilience and aptitude to succeed in their academic pursuits.

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
Spring 2021 December 1, 2020
Summer 2021 - Session I May 1, 2021
Summer 2021 - Session II  June 1, 2021
Fall 2021 August 1, 2021

Start your application now

You may experience delays in the processing and review of your application due to the COVID-19 virus. We will work with any applicant who is missing documents due to testing delays and closings. Our team may be reached Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Please contact us if you have questions at (215) 746-6905 or lps-admissions@sas.upenn.edu.

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 who it is of interest to you.

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