UPenn interview questions are typically similar to many Ivy League interview questions and common college interview questions. Your interview at UPenn isn’t scored or used to evaluate whether you’ll be accepted to the school. Instead, it’s an opportunity for the school to learn more about you beyond your application, and most importantly, for you to learn more about UPenn and whether it’s the right fit for you. In this blog, we’ll look at some common UPenn interview questions with sample answers, as well as what to expect from your University of Pennsylvania interview experience.

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6 min read

UPenn Interview Questions: Example #1 and Sample Answer UPenn Interview Questions: Example #2 and Sample Answer UPenn Interview Questions: Example #3 and Sample Answer More UPenn Interview Questions UPenn Interviews: How Does It Work? Conclusion and FAQs

UPenn Interview Questions: Example #1 and Sample Answer

How do you spend your time when you're not in school?

How to answer this question:

To answer this question, don’t simply restate your common app activities section and extracurricular activities. Your interviewer won’t have seen your application materials, but this is essentially a conversation-starter and a chance for you to share some new information about yourself. Talk about some activities you didn’t include in your application, or interesting hobbies you enjoy that didn’t fit anywhere in your application. Are there any recreational activities you enjoy? Is there anything you enjoy doing just for the fun of it? You can also use your answer to this question to ask questions about what non-academic activities are available at UPenn you might be interested in.

Questions to ask your interviewer:

  • What are some of the best places to see in Philadelphia?
  • What is the student culture at Penn like?
  • Where can I find information about student clubs and off-campus/near-campus activities?

UPenn Interview Questions: Example #2 and Sample Answer

What classes, programs, and activities on Penn’s campus are exciting to you?

How to answer this question:

If you’ve done your research on UPenn, you will already have an answer to this question. If you’re not sure what activities and events are held on-campus at UPenn, this is your opportunity to share your interests and ask your interviewer about their experiences. Ask them what their favorite on-campus events were, their favorite classes or student programs. Or ask questions you have about specific programs and share a bit about why you’re intrigued by a certain course.

Questions to ask your interviewer:

  • What were your favorite on-campus activities at Penn?
  • Which class was your favorite?
  • Are there any student programs or clubs you highly recommend?

UPenn Interview Questions: Example #3 and Sample Answer

What draws you to the undergraduate school/program to which you’ve applied?

How to answer this question:

You may have already answered a variation of this question in your UPenn essays, but you can expand on your answer once again in your interview. UPenn interviews are meant to be conversational and informational, and this is your chance to get your questions answered, too. Chances are your alumni interviewer will be a graduate of the same program you are applying to (this depends on interviewer availability), so you can ask your interviewer questions about the curriculum, specific courses and student opportunities.

Questions to ask your interviewer:

  • What about [program] did you enjoy most?
  • Which courses were your favorite?
  • What career field did you enter after graduating? What do you like about it?

More UPenn Interview Questions

Here is a list of the type of questions you can expect to be asked during your UPenn interview. Most of the questions will focus on your background, interests and future goals. You are not expected to bring a portfolio, high school resume or a copy of your application materials.

UPenn interview questions are meant to guide your conversation and help your interviewer get to know more about you. You will not be asked about your application in detail. These questions are a guide for what to expect, but don’t feel the need to memorize answers ahead of time. Your answers to these questions should be conversational and genuine.

  • Can you tell me a little about yourself?
  • What’s important to you?
  • What are your current academic and/or extracurricular interests?
  • What led you to apply to Penn?
  • What plans do you have for your future?
  • How would your friends describe you?
  • What experiences have you had with people who are different from you?
  • What would you like the Admissions office to know about you that might not appear in your application?
  • What do you most like learning about?
  • How do you learn best?
  • What on-campus opportunities are you most excited about?
  • What is your favorite part of your school experience?
  • What topics or assignments have you found particularly intriguing?
  • Is there anything that you would change about your high school experience?
  • What's the biggest challenge you've overcome?
  • Why Penn? How did you first hear about Penn?
  • What on-campus opportunities are you most excited about?
  • What questions do you have?
  • What question(s) didn’t I ask that you’d like to answer?

UPenn interview questions extend to the questions you may want to ask your interviewer, too. UPenn interviews are conducted by alumni, which means you have an opportunity to hear what it’s like to attend UPenn from one of your peers. Take advantage of this opportunity to ask some questions about student life, courses, and opportunities should you be accepted.

Here’s a few examples of questions the school suggests you ask of your UPenn interviewer:

  1. Can you tell me about the most influential parts of your Penn experience?
  2. What is one of your favorite Penn traditions?
  3. In what ways are you still connected to campus and your Penn peers?
  4. What are the advantages of the Penn alumni network?

Check out our top college interview prep strategies!

UPenn Interview: How Does It Work?

Admissions interviews at UPenn typically look a bit different than traditional interviews and some usual college admissions interviews. Like most Ivy League schools, UPenn uses the interview as a way to get to know you better, and to provide an opportunity for you to ask questions about UPenn and the student experience. For this reason, interviews at UPenn are conducted with alumni of the school.

Right now, all interviews are UPenn are offered virtually, as video interviews. It’s also important to note that you won’t be able to request an interview yourself. Interview invitations are extended to as many applicants as possible, and UPenn has the highest interview rate of all the Ivy schools, at over 90%.

If you do receive an invitation to interview, it’s a good idea to accept it, even if your interview isn’t scored and doesn’t affect your application. If you are NOT offered an interview, don’t worry. This won’t count against your application or affect your chances of acceptance.

How do UPenn interviews work?

Your interviewer will be a volunteer alumnus, but they won’t have access to your application, so UPenn interview questions are essentially about having a conversation on a fresh slate. The interview will last around 20-45 minutes.

Your UPenn interviewer will make a summary on your interview to the admissions committee, but beyond this your interview will not affect your chances of admissions. It’s also customary to send a thank you note to your alumni interviewer after the interview.

When are UPenn interviews held?

UPenn typically conducts interviews between October and February during the admissions cycle. Early Decision applicants can expect to interview between mid-October and the end of November, while Regular Decision applicants may not interview until December-February.


UPenn interview questions aren’t all that different from a typical college interview, but the interview process at Ivy League schools like UPenn might seem a bit different. College interview prep is still a good idea, even though your interview isn’t scored as part of your application, as it can help you get comfortable with the interviewing process. Students can also find college interview prep help to coach them on professional interviewing skills and gaining some confidence, even if the UPenn interview is a casual, laidback experience.

Above all, remember to be yourself and come armed with plenty of questions to ask your interviewer!


1. What are some common UPenn interview questions?

Most UPenn interview questions are similar to those asked by other colleges. This means you can expect personal questions about your background, interests and hobbies, questions about why you want to attend UPenn and why you chose your major, as well as questions about what your future career goals are or how you will contribute to your college community.

2. What are UPenn interviews like?

Like many of the Ivy League schools, UPenn interviews are conducted by alumni who volunteer to give students some insight into what Penn experience is like and learn more about them. Interviews are more casual and conversational, and they do not count towards an applicant’s overall score when it comes to admission decisions.

3. How long will my UPenn interview be?

You can expect your interview to last between 20-45 minutes.

4. Does everyone get a UPenn interview?

While not everyone will be extended an invitation to interview due to the large number of applications UPenn receives, the school interviews over 90% of its applicants.

5. What happens if I don’t get invited to interview at UPenn?

If you’re not asked to interview at UPenn, don’t worry. This will not affect your chances of acceptance and the admissions committee will not penalize you for not getting an interview.

6. Is getting an interview at UPenn good?

Yes. While your interview is not an evaluation, it is an excellent opportunity for you to learn more about the school you hope to attend and ask questions of your interviewer.

7. What questions should I ask my interviewer?

Ask questions about the campus life, specific courses or school events you’re interested in, about your interviewer’s experience at UPenn. You can also ask about opportunities for students that are worthwhile, such as job placements or networking events.

8. When are interviews held at UPenn?

Interviews are typically held in October and November for Early Decision applicants. Regular Decision applicants are usually interviewed between December and February.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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