Class of 2016 more than half minorities among domestic students
Furda cites changes in outreach and demographic of applicant pool
April 24, 2012, 8:33 pm · Updated April 25, 2012, 2:13 am·
For only the second time in Penn’s history, the majority of domestic students admitted to Penn’s Class of 2016 are minorities.
Among U.S. citizens and permanent residents in the admitted class, 51 percent of students identified themselves as minorities, defined by the Office of Admissions as Asian, black, Latino and American Indian.
Last year, the Class of 2015 set a new threshold as 52 percent of its domestic students were self-identified minorities.
Dean of Admissions Eric Furda said the growth of minorities in its admitted class is both intentional and natural.
“It’s a combination of both our outreach and a reflection of the changing demographics of our applicant pool,” he said. “Our recruitment is in areas where there are more students who identify as minorities, and that again is a reflection of the changing demographics.”
He said last year, Penn passed a “psychological line” of the 50-percent mark, which makes the number “worthy of conversation.”
Michael Goran, a 1976 College graduate and founder of IvySelect College Consulting, said part of Penn’s appeal to minority students may lie in its recent push to raise awareness of its no-loan, full-need financial aid policy.
“Part of that may be reflective of doing more outreach in the sense of making students aware of the financial aid that’s available and the fact that indeed you can avoid debt,” he said. “This can make the difference in the end.”
Incoming students were pleased to hear about the diversity of their class.
Vincent Mak — who was admitted early decision from Lindbergh Senior High School in Renton, Wash. — said the diversity of Penn’s student body was one of the factors that attracted him to the campus.
“I think diversity is always good on a college campus and I think Penn has a lot of that,” he said. “One of the biggest things was that I wanted to be exposed to a student body that would have viewpoints different from my own so I would grow as a student.”
Hemal Shah, who was admitted from Morris Hills High School in Rockaway, N.J., thinks the increased diversity will benefit the campus next year.
“In the end, it helps individuals get an understanding of different cultures and it’s good that they have a diverse campus for that,” he said.
Martha Ofuani, who was admitted regular decision from Middletown High School in Middletown, Del., said Penn’s diversity encouraged her to consider the school in the first place.
“[The diversity] was one of the main things I really liked about Penn … I feel comfortable being around a variety of people and not just one group,” she said. “When people see how many minority students there are now, it might encourage other minority students,” she continued.
Furda said he expects the trend to continue as Penn increases its recruitment in these communities and as the demographics of the nation and the applicant pool continue to shift.
“These [numbers] are reflective of what our nation looks like,” he said.