We want to get to know YOU: Essays on the application

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.

Happy writing!

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3 Responses to We want to get to know YOU: Essays on the application

  1. bqt5124 says:

    From a young age, I’ve always envisioned what “success” meant to me. From the American TV banned that I watched anyway, to the success story of my parents that I witnessed continuously unfolding, the stories of those who rose to fame and fortune were always at the front of my mind.
    My dream, now entwined with what I perceive as the American Dream, is to continue the success of my family from an educated American standpoint. Business, my academic passion, represents the endeavors of my family before me and the potential for me to succeed as well. In the world of business, anyone with brilliant ideas and incentive to succeed can become exactly who they want to be. I’ve chosen to further my education here because, like all greats, I must start small and pursue my dream by learning under experts capable of teaching me what it is I need to succeed.
    With the support I have from my family back home in China, my family here in America, and my friends all around the world, I know that all I need to do now is create an outlet for myself to achieve academically and pursue a career worthwhile. Having been surrounded with people who exemplify overachievement and surpassing even personal goals, I have been lucky enough to have been given several models of success from which I could choose the best for me.
    I know that with the opportunity of an American university’s education, I can truly be all that I would like to. Keeping in mind my passion from my earlier years, the ideas and wisdom I’ve gained from my years in America, and my vast network of role models, I hope to push forward and get on the track to a well-respected and lucrative career as an innovative businessperson that exceeds expectations for my generation

  2. Kim Emigh says:

    For the Penn State application, you only have to complete the activities and the personal statement. If you are applying to the Schreyer Honors College, then you can find this year’s essay questions here: https://www.shc.psu.edu/admissions/apply/firstyear.cfm

  3. Yoojieun says:

    So we are recommended to write one of those essays? Because i have not found and essay topocs from requirement though I have looked for really hard

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