The University of Pennsylvania is a private Ivy League research university located in the city of Philadelphia. It was founded in 1740 by Benjamin Franklin, one of the United States’ founding fathers, who was eager to create a school to educate future generations.
Franklin advocated a concept of higher education that focused not merely on the education of the clergy, but on teaching knowledge of arts and humanities, as well as the practical skills needed to make a living and to do public good. His maxim of “well done is better than well said” lives on today through its commitment to inclusive policies and innovation.
As of fall 2017, there were 21,599 students studying at Penn, split equally between undergraduate and graduate students. Penn has a strong focus on interdisciplinary learning and research, offering double degree programs, unique majors and academic flexibility. This means competition to study at Penn is fierce, particularly at undergraduate level. The admission rate for the class of 2021 was 9.3 percent, of which 46 percent were either black, Hispanic Asian, or Native American. Unusually for an Ivy League school, women comprise over half (54 percent) of all students enrolled.
Penn’s core campus covers more than 279 acres in a contiguous area of West Philadelphia’s University City. All of Penn’s schools and most of its research institutes are located on this campus, with the surrounding neighborhood including restaurants and pubs, a large supermarket and cinema.
Student life at Penn serves up opportunities to discover new interests and passions galore, through a wide diversity of social, political, religious, and cultural activities. There are cultural centers and one-of-a-kind museums on campus that allow the arts to play a leading role in student life such as the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, the Arthur Ross Gallery, and Institute of Contemporary Art, which are all major cultural destinations and easy for Penn students to access.
The university also takes sports and recreation very seriously, with students taking part in ice hockey, athletics and joining a variety of competitive, instructional and recreational sports clubs.
With its arts and sciences programs ranking in the top 10 nationally, and the employment prospects for its students among the brightest (Penn boasts one of the highest numbers of graduates who go on to become Fortune 500 CEOs), there is little doubt that the University of Pennsylvania deserves its Ivy League status and reputation.