Essay Guidelines and Different Prompts for First-Year PCs

• The general essay prompt for all first-year Program Community applicants is as follows:

Explain your interest and activities related to the program, the contributions you expect to make to the community, and the benefits you hope to derive from membership.

• Some PCs want you to cover different information in your essay.  Review below and visit the links for more information:

  • Fisher Hassenfeld/First Generation, First Steps: Instead of essay prompt, answer this question: How do you envision your participation in this program enhancing your first year experience at Penn?

  • Fisher Hassenfeld/Music and Social Change: No essay required; type "Music and Social Change" in the essay box. You will need to fill out this form and go through an interview process: Music and Social Change Information Gathering Form.

  • Fisher Hassenfeld/Scientific AdventuresInstead of essay prompt, describe your experience in science, your long-term plans, and your motivation for joining the program community.

  • Gregory/Film Culture: No essay required; type "Film Culture" in the essay box.

  • Gregory/Modern Languages Program: Submit the standard room preference form online at​, identifying MLP as one of your top choices. Submit an essay specifying which language house(s) you are interested in, and give us a short amount of information about your background, fluency level, and specific interests related to the program. Please write your essay in English.

  • Hill/Benjamin Franklin ScholarsNo essay required. Students apply to this program as part of their admission to Penn; if you are not admitted through that route you will not be housed in this Program Community. 

  • Kings Court English/Huntsman Program: No essay required. Students apply to this program as part of their admission to Penn; if you are not admitted through that route you will not be housed in this Program Community.

  • Lauder/First Year Innovation: Instead of answering the prompt, what does it mean to be part of a community? Describe the community you hope FYI becomes. Explain the role you will play in creating this community, and the role you expect others to play in this process.

  • Riepe/Creative Minds, Creative Souls: No essay required.  No essay required; type "Creative Minds" in the essay box. 

  • Ware/Women in Leadership: Write about a woman who inspires you personally and professionally; also, discuss what you think you will learn from living as a member of the Women in Leadership program floor.

  • Ware/Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship: Research is the cornerstone of innovation and entrepreneurship. Write about research you would conduct on an innovation that inspires you or an entrepreneurial venture that you hope to undertake.

  • Ware/Women in ScienceDescribe your role model and how their story has helped you develop as a woman in science.

  • Ware/Study of Infectious Diseases: Which advancement in the field of infectious diseases excites you the most and why? (This includes new ways of discovery/identification of a disease, technological tools, surveillance, transmission, pathogenesis, reemergence etc.)

  • Ware/Arts & Well BeingWhat, in your experience, is the work of arts in individual and community life for creating a sense of well-bring in the United States and/or elsewhere in the world?

If not listed, then there are no requirements other than the general essay prompt. For a complete list of available Program Communities, visit our list here.

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