I'm applying RD for Penn Engineering, and have a word limit of 650 to work with.
I'm most unsure about the last two paragraphs, though I don't know exactly where to begin with editing. Any feedback is wholly appreciated!
Prompt: The Admissions Committee would like to learn why you are a good fit for your undergraduate school choice (College of Arts and Sciences, School of Nursing, The Wharton School, or Penn Engineering). Please tell us about specific academic, service, and/or research opportunities at the University of Pennsylvania that resonate with your background, interests, and goals. (400-650 words)
Penn as an institution is fueled by an unparalleled dedication to social responsibility. As a firm believer that pragmatism, service and application must accompany an education, Penn's connections to the Philadelphia and worldwide community naturally attract me. With countless Penn-based service initiatives, such as CommuniTech's commitment to green computing and Penn's Engineers without Borders chapter's (PennEWB) work to expand global technological accessibility, I am awed by the variety and volume of citizenship in the Penn student body. Inspired by the enthusiasm that fuels these programs, I will likely find myself using my background in science and computer studies to volunteer, helping young students to access the bountiful resources of technology and programming. Barring that, I will search unceasingly to extend classroom material and practical scientific applications to humanity's benefit in any form possible. There is, quite simply, no other school like Penn Engineering that inspires such a high level of service in its students.
The highly inter-disciplinary nature of a Penn Engineering is astounding. The freedom of students to take courses in all of Penn's 12 schools is something that I plan to take full advantage of, forging an education of practical science with a very strong connection to the arts and sciences. Such are the components of a truly useful education, for I hold that only breadth in one's undergraduate experience can truly prepare a student for the future challenges in science and engineering that must be resolved.
The breadth of Penn's education is evident in its student-run activities, particularly in the Penn model congress program. As a delegate in the 2013 conference in the Commerce, Science and Transportation committee, I debated policy dealing with research and technological endeavors before two chairs, one a mechanical engineering student, the other a bioengineering student. The energy with which they conducted the committee sessions was unparalleled, and encouraged me to combine my passions of science and politics to fuel discussion over the most pressing issues of energy, space and sustainability with a cooperative spirit. My fellow delegates during that time had passed a plethora of resolutions expand thorium-based power, reduce space waste, and promote new developments in scientific education. The heavy involvement of Penn Engineering students in Model Congress truly astonished me as the perfect exhibit of how Penn bridges the gaps between the applied sciences and politics, bringing together multiple areas of study to inspire cooperative and meaningful action. I savored the dynamic experience of model congress in my short half-week stay at the Inn at Penn, and I believe that I can both contribute and thrive in the spirit of interdisciplinary fervor which permeates campus.
Cooperation and breadth at Penn are similarly evident in the bounty of exciting research projects and opportunities at Penn Engineering. I am particularly intrigued by the Penn Center for Energy Innovation, or "Pennergy", for its mission of expanding the use of sustainable and renewable energy. Its research in the application of solar energy is nothing short of groundbreaking, and captivates me, enticing me to partake in the active research environment that Penn so proudly provides. The bonds that I may ultimately develop with fellow students and faculty through discovery in research are sure to be lasting.
Apart from the sciences, however, I am certain to fully explore life at Penn as a passionate learner. Over eight years of violin study and performance will compel me to join the ranks of Penn's symphony orchestra, and a natural appreciation of politics will inevitably draw me to Penn Model Congress as a committee chair. No matter where I find myself among the student body at Penn Engineering, I am confident that I will add to the vibrant environment that the university fosters.
Hi Dave! Unfortunately, I got waitlisted by Penn on Friday. In the email, they wrote: "You are welcome to submit additional materials, such as an updated resume, an additional two page essay on a topic of your choice, or one additional letter of recommendation."
I've heard that Penn is very into their yield protection, and thus values a good Why Penn essay on their application, which I wrote. I'm not a YP applicant (LSAT just below median, gpa above the 75th) so I'd like to make my desire to go to Penn very apparent in this additional information I send them. Based on your experience, is this two page essay they recommend a standard LOCI or is it just another opportunity for me to reaffirm why I want to attend Penn Law? There was no mention of a formal LOCI anywhere else on the email.
Thank you so much!
Thanks for the question! It's not a standard LOCI because a LOCI wouldn't be two-pages in length, and so they want more than a "I'm still interested" essay. They want something that adds to their assessment of you as a candidate (this is further underscored by the option of adding a new LOR or updated resume). So, writing a Why Penn? essay for them at this point is a good choice, and of course that statement automatically serves the same purpose as a LOCI and lets them know of your interest. Also, if they are truly your #1 choice, say so clearly (I'd even go so far as to say you will attend if admitted).
Please let me know if that helps. Thanks!
That was really helpful - thank you so much for the quick reply!
I was considering sending a LOCI in the form of an email, and including in the letter that I have also attached a two page essay reaffirming my commitment to Penn Law. Does this sound like a good idea to you? And when do you recommend that I send it? (the seat deposit deadline is May 1st)
Thanks so much again!
I don't know that it is necessary since the essay itself serves as notice of intent, especially if you plainly state in there that Penn is your first choice. Both documents (email and essay) would go into the same folder, so generally speaking you wouldn't need a separate email unless it added some new point. So, assuming you attached the essay to the email, I'd keep the email short and sweet, and state your interest in a single sentence (along the lines of "thanks you for your recent letter etc etc...I'm writing to reaffirm my strong interest in Penn, and in support of that is my essay etc etc...").
The longer you wait to send it, the less firm your interest appears, so I'd send that as soon as the essay is perfect.
Thank you so much Dave, I really appreciate it!