UPenn Admissions Essays

Penn Supplement


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.

In grade 9, I started messing around with Google Sketchup. It began casually and soon blossomed into an obsession – I would refuse repeated calls for dinner, intent on figuring out the placement of a room or object. I remember trying to virtually remodel our apartment when my brother looked over my shoulder and remarked, “It looks like a really large, really complicated toilet.”


Far from deterring me, however, the comment actually pushed me further in my pursuit.

There wasn’t a tougher, longer, more fulfilling summer than the one I spent working at Studio Cria Pvt. Ltd. It didn’t matter that I was the only one who hadn’t studied architecture, it didn’t matter that I didn’t know a single person in such a prestigious firm. It didn’t even matter that my designs weren’t always incorporated into the floor plans. I was working on something I loved so much. Coffee runs? Sure, if it meant I could analyze the client’s plans with the other architects. Copy girl? Definitely, as long as I could draw up my own plans too.

The Chief Architect was astonished when I presented her with five different floor plans for a client who had come in two days earlier. I hadn’t had the time to work on them in the office, so I’d gone home, sat up until one o’clock trying to finish the work. This wasn’t expected of me – I was just an intern. So why was I throwing myself into this with so much enthusiasm? My interest thrilled her, and although those plans weren’t incorporated into the official ones, others eventually were. I still beam with pride when I walk past the private residence (currently under construction) based partly on my designs. It’s an indescribable feeling to know that a solid, tangible proof of my passion exists.

The environment is something I’m very passionate about – so much so that in high school, my friends and I pioneered an initiative to keep the city’s streets clean. Called “My School Road”, we got students of different schools to clean the streets surrounding their school (within a 1km radius) twice a week. We started it off ourselves – 6 am on Wednesdays and Saturdays saw twenty adolescents diligently sweeping the street and collecting non-biodegradable trash separately for recycling. The effort went on to gain significant media coverage within a month or two; encouraging more schools to participate in the campaign. So when the time came to choose where I would study, I knew without doubt that my institute would have to encourage sustainable development just as enthusiastically – and the TC Chan Center is proof enough that I will cherish my time at Penn.

The TC Chan Center for Building Simulation and Energy Studies effectively combines my two greatest interests– environment conservation and architecture. At Penn, I’m confident that my attempt to create a more sustainable living environment for the future will be wholeheartedly supported by the university. Despite trying, I’m lost for words to describe the profound happiness I gain from architectural design. I’d hate to lose this joy during my studies, which is another reason why Penn is perfectly suited for me. Its enticingly rigorous program will see me produce some of my best work while ensuring that my passion for the field continues to grow boundlessly.

To me, architecture is more than a profession – it’s a way of life where everything is creative and anything is inspiration. It’s my two cents towards a world where buildings represent positive change, where ‘eco-friendly’ is no longer a necessary prefix to the word ‘design’, where things of beauty truly remain joys forever.

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How to cite this essay (MLA)

Smith, Alice. "Penn Supplement" StudyNotes.org. Study Notes, LLC., 22 Jun. 2014. Web. 16 Apr. 2024. <https://www.apstudynotes.org/upenn/penn-supplement/>.