curf - Center for Undergraduate Research & Fellowships



Further Information

Faculty Information Sheet for recommendation of applicants to the Benjamin Franklin Scholars Program

Thank you for agreeing to recommend an applicant for admission to the Benjamin Franklin Scholars Program. We have asked applicants to request recommendations from faculty who are able to assess their academic performance and with whom they have completed at least one course.

What is the Benjamin Franklin Scholars Program?

The BFS Program provides undergraduates with special access to the academic resources of the University. The principal advantage is direct admission to Benjamin Franklin Seminars. In addition, students receive special academic advising through the BFS office and are encouraged to pursue research projects (as early as freshman year, if possible) to help them decide on a major, explore an interest outside of their major, or investigate graduate faculties.

Who are the Benjamin Franklin Scholars?

Each year approximately 100 incoming freshmen are designated BFS. They are selected on purely academic criteria. Students not selected at entrance may apply after one semester at Penn and no later than the end of the sophomore year. Applicants are strongly encouraged to enroll in a BFS course or participate in a seminar course prior to application. Benjamin Franklin Scholars are expected to take challenging courses (including at least one BFS course per year and at least four all together), maintain superior averages (i.e., graduate cum laude with a 3.4 GPA) and to behave in a mature, collegial manner.

What are we looking for in BFS applicants?

We are looking for students who are intellectually creative and actively seeking challenges beyond the regular curriculum. We expect admitted students to participate fully in the program, i.e., we do not encourage students who merely wish to add one more honor to their resume, or who see the BFS designation as recognition for past honors. This also implies that we are looking for students for whom taking challenging seminars in fields outside their major or concentration of interest would be an exciting challenge rather than a burdensome requirement!

With these considerations in mind, we would like to know about the student from you, especially regarding the applicant’s intellectual ability, creativity, motivation and potential. Please prepare your letter of recommendation in .pdf or .doc format, saved as “STUDENT’S LAST NAME/FIRST NAME“—example: John Smith would be “SMITHJOHN” or Molly Park would be “PARKMOLLY”). Then go to the Faculty Recommendation Form to submit it. If you are having difficulty with this form, please email .

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