As the open date for our Fall 2014 application approaches (September 1!), many of our interested applicants are starting to think about preparing for the online application. One of the questions we get most often is “What are your essay questions?” Well, for the general Penn State application, there are no essay questions!
Before you breathe a sigh of relief though, we do provide you with three spaces in the application for you to tell us a bit more about yourself. Though these written components are not required, we highly recommend that you take the time to write a bit more about yourself because it adds a lot of value to your application and it can help us make an admissions decision – especially for the most competitive academic programs and colleges.
The three written areas are: Activities List, Personal Statement, and Educational Gap Statement. Below are the questions we use as prompts.
Activities List – Please use this space to discuss your activities (other than academic work) during the last several years (for example: school organizations, jobs, athletics, the arts, community service, religious groups, or other individual interests). We suggest a limit of 500 words or fewer.
Personal Statement – Please tell us something about yourself, your experiences, or activities that you believe would reflect positively on your ability to succeed at Penn State. This statement is your opportunity to tell us something about yourself that is not already reflected in your application or academic records. We suggest a limit of 500 words or fewer.
Educational Gap Statement – If applicable, please explain any time that has elapsed between high school graduation and college enrollment. Please provide a summary of why that gap occurred and whether you took courses at another institution during that time. (Note: this gap statement will only appear within the online application and is applicable if you have taken some time off after high school and before starting college).
If you’d like to get a head-start before the application opens on September 1, you can begin working on these written statements to support your application to Penn State. You can read more about each section of the application on the Applying on the Web Worksheet (PDF).
If you are planning to apply to the Schreyer Honors College, that separate application features various written components, including 3 essay questions. Although the application for Schreyer is not available until September 1 as well, you can access the essay questions now and begin planning your answers. Unlike Penn State’s general statements, these questions do not have a word count requirement.