For the first time in three years, the number of early decision applications to Penn has increased.

The Admissions Office received 3,842 applications — more than a 6-percent increase compared to last year’s pool, according to Admissions Dean Eric Furda.

“Penn receives more early decision applications than any school in the country,” Furda said.

Furda added that this year’s number of applications will also grow slightly in the next two weeks, as students who were not accepted through QuestBridge — a specialized admissions process that links low-income students with top colleges and full scholarships — are moved into the early decision pool.

Last year, Penn received 3,610 early decision applications — nearly an 8-percent drop from the previous year.

This year’s jump in applications is the first time since 2005 that Penn saw an increase in the number of early decision applicants. That year, the Admissions Office received 4,148 applications.

Higher test scores among the early applicants also signal a higher quality in this year’s overall applicant pool, Furda said.

Geographically, the applications show an increase in “international diversity” and more applicants from Massachusetts and Florida.

Furda attributed the rise in early application to three factors: earlier outreach to prospective applicants, the 9-percent increase in campus visits since April and a special mailing to high school seniors.

Electronic and print materials now reach high school students as early as their sophomore year.

The pamphlet sent to high-school seniors invites them to “Make us your Ivy” and apply early. It promotes the new Admissions’ web site yourivy.org, which features videos of Furda and students speaking candidly about admissions and Penn.

Dartmouth College also reported a 3-percent increase in early decision applicants. Yale University’s early action program — which, unlike early decision, is non-binding — reported a 5-percent drop.

Data was not available for Columbia, Cornell and Brown, the other Ivy League schools with early admissions programs.

Early applicants to Penn will be notified of their admissions decisions in mid-December.

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