University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) Transfer Acceptance Rate, GPA, and Requirements

The University of Pennsylvania is deeply committed to the academic and philosophical tradition of its famous founder, Benjamin Franklin. 

Innovation, academic discipline, and service were some of the central values Franklin was known for, and students who attend Penn will find that these are the heart of the school’s academic vision. 

Penn students become part of a long tradition of using education to promote civic engagement in the local and global community. 

Past projects that students have taken part in include improving access to healthcare, creating green spaces, and contributing to economic development. 

Locally, the university is closely connected to the community through the University City District

This collaborative environment between local businesses and the university allows residents and students alike to come together to appreciate good food, attend cultural museums and events, enjoy sustainable parks, and access one of the busiest Amtrak stations in the nation. 

Through Penn Global, students can participate in the university’s commitment to global investment by going on Study Abroad trips, learning from international faculty, becoming friends with students from around the world, and contributing research that is in partnership with and that impacts the global community. 

In other words, Penn is a university about cultivating civic leaders who care about what their education can do for society. 

Students looking to transfer to a university where education is integrated with values will find the University of Pennsylvania a top-of-the-list option. 

Admission to Penn is competitive for all students, but transfer students will find that they need to take extra care when considering their eligibility for attending Penn. 

Below is the basic information transfer students need to get started with the application process. To learn more, students should visit the Penn Admissions page.

University of Pennsylvania Transfer Acceptance Rate

University of Pennsylvania
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Penn’s transfer acceptance rate is 8%, which is not much different from the school’s 9% overall acceptance rate. 

Transfer students should visit the University of Pennsylvania’s Prepare for Transfer Admission information page to find out more about eligibility requirements, transfer credit, curricular requirements, and deadlines. 

Application Requirements & GPA for University of Pennsylvania Transfers

There isn’t an official GPA requirement for Penn, but eligibility will be determined based on how many college courses with grades of C or higher a student has already completed. 

The number of courses already completed is of particular importance when considering which of the four undergraduate schools to apply for at Penn. 

All prospective students are required to apply to one of the following schools as part of the application process: The College of Arts and Sciences, The School of Nursing, Penn Engineering, or the Wharton School. 

But before a transfer student chooses one of these, they need to make sure they are eligible for entering the school they are interested in attending. 

For example, students can have up to two years of courses completed and still be eligible for transfer into the School of Nursing and the College of Arts and Sciences. 

On the other hand, if a student has more than a year of courses completed, they will be ineligible for the Wharton School and the School of Engineering. 

The next step in the application process is gathering all the required documents and filling out either the Common Application or the Coalition Application. 

Documents that Penn requires include transcripts, a College Report, three letters of recommendation, essays, and a Mid-Term report. In addition, students will also need to pay or waive the $75 application fee.  

Like many universities during the pandemic, Penn has paused their SAT and ACT testing requirements until further notice. Students should check in with the admission office to determine if they will need to submit scores for the years they anticipate attending Penn.

University of Pennsylvania University Transfer Deadline

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Transfer undergraduate students are only eligible to enroll in the fall semester. That said, March 15th is the application date for all transfer students. 

For those who are submitting Fine Arts supplementary information like a portfolio of some kind, the deadline for these materials is March 20th

A note on supplementary information: All of the information that Penn needs to evaluate a student is found in the main requirements; supplemental materials are not guaranteed to strengthen an application. 

Transfer students who want to include more than the required application documents should seek advice from the admissions office.

Deciding Whether You Should Transfer to University of Pennsylvania 

As part of the transfer application process, students must include an essay on why they are choosing to transfer into Penn and how they will contribute to the university. 

An essay like this takes a lot of intentionality and consideration of a student’s education path thus far. In other words, transfer students who want to attend Penn can’t do it “just because”. 

Transfer students have a leg up on first-time students because no matter their academic journey, they have valuable experience first-years don’t have. 

Some transfers have made up for any academic issues they had in high school, others have discovered topics they want to understand more, and there are even the lucky bunch who have a vision for what they want to do when they graduate. 

On the downside, having to go through the higher education application process is intimidating the first time around, let alone a second time. 

When students consider the mental and emotional labor that goes into once again having to craft the perfect essay, collect important documents, ask for references, and wait for that email to come in and announce the fulfillment or crushing of a dream, they may feel overwhelmed. 

The best thing that any transfer student can do for themselves in determining if Penn or any university is right for them is to do an academic, moral, and emotional inventory. 

This should include where a student is logistically in their education, what has gone wrong in their education, what has gone right, and how what they have learned so far can help them succeed in the application process a second time around. 

Doing a free write or creating a list of the answers to these items can bring clarity and even develop material to add to a student’s application essay. 

The more certainty and self-awareness that the review board sees in transfer students’ applications, the higher likelihood an applicant will be in the running for admission. 

Many colleges offer free counseling services that aid students in working through big life decisions around work and education. 

If a student has been out of college for a while, they can reach out to Penn’s admissions office and ask to speak to one of their admissions officers. 

Students can establish a relationship at the school and get first-hand advice on what Penn is looking for in the application process. 

To learn more about how to determine if Penn is the right fit, students should visit the university’s visitors information page.

RECAP: How to Apply As a Transfer Student to University of Pennsylvania 

University of Pennsylvania
Rehua, Hamilton Walk at the Perelman School of Medicine, CC BY-SA 3.0

Determine Eligibility 

In review, the transfer application process must begin with a student figuring out how many courses they have already completed and what programs they are eligible for as a result. 

If a transfer student has only one year’s worth of courses, they can apply to all the undergraduate schools; if a transfer student has two years, they will only be able to apply to the School of Nursing and the College of Arts and Sciences.

More than two years completed automatically makes a student ineligible for transfer into Penn. 

Fall Semester Only

All transfer students must enter during the Fall semester. 

All application materials and financial aid need to be done by March 15th. Any Fine Arts Supplemental information should be submitted by March 20th

Application Materials 

Students need to pick either the Common Application or the Coalition Application to use to apply to Penn. 

In addition to the general application questions, students will need to submit the $75 application fee or waiver, college transcripts, a Penn essay and the transfer-specific essay, three letters of recommendation, a College Report, and a Mid-Term Report. 

Certain programs require students to include a supplemental essay specific to their degree. Students should visit the Penn Essays Admission information page to learn more about which programs require this.