House Life

House Life

Application Tips and Essay Prompts

Tips from the House Directors:

  1. Read carefully as deadlines count. Follow all important timeline information as instructed by the individual programs and Residential Services.
  2. Meet Criteria. Pick a program where you meet the stated criteria for the program. For example, if you need a background in music and you are a novice, then you don't meet the criteria for that particular program. 
  3. Plan with Roommates. Make sure all of your roommates apply for the same program. Remember, you get a first and second choice. All roommates need to match up.
  4. Be authentic. Be honest and pick a program that interests you. Don't apply if you're only interested in a room type or House.
  5. Showcase interest with your essay. Focus on the program of choice in your essay, what you would bring to the program, and do not make it about the House. For example, Arts House in Harnwell is different than The Rodin Arts Collective (TRAC).

Speaking of the Application Essay:

Some of the programs require an essay. Some have additional requirements. Incoming first-year students should review the first-year menu below; upperclass students returning to campus should review the upperclass menu below.

Note: Academic programs like BFS, M&T, and Huntsman do not complete a PC essay as those students are selected by academic programs.

• The general essay prompt for all first-year Program Community applicants is as follows.  Please try to keep your essay to a 1000 word/10,000 character maximum:

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 myhomeatpenn.upenn.edu​, 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.

  • 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.

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.

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

Please address the following questions (maximum is 1000 words/10,000 characters):

  1. Why are you interested in joining this Program Community?
  2. What would your involvement bring to this program’s overall experience?
  3. How have you participated in your current House community?
  4. If you have a specific bedroom, roommate pairing, or neighbor preferences, please list them.

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

  • Harrison/Front Row Theatre and the Arts: Students are asked to write a brief essay explaining their participation to date in the activities of the Front Row Theater company, or other theater groups on campus. First preference will be given to students who have participated specifically with Front Row Theater or art initiatives undertaken within Harrison College House (Harrison Art-Ins, Harrison Saturday Night Events, Cinema 180, or PCI).
     
  • Kings Court English/KCECH Upperclass Programs: Address the essay prompt and also cover what role you would take as an upperclass leader in a First-Year College House?
     

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.