Just weeks after Penn restricted its Early Decision policy, the University released a statement undoing the change and reverting the Early Decision Program back to the original procedure.
The change, which was enacted over the summer, restricted students from applying Early Action to private schools while simultaneously applying Early Decision to Penn. However, a statement released online on Sept. 16 returned the Early Decision policy to its previous status.
Now, students can simultaneously apply to Penn and private schools with Early Action or schools with rolling admission. Attending Penn is obligatory if the student is accepted.
The statement verified that the University would once again allow unrestricted Early Decision after “conversations with counselors, community-based organizations, and other educators.”
The stricter policy change that was enacted over the summer was prompted by an increase of students reneging on the binding Early Decision agreement with Penn and attending other universities. After the new program was announced, Furda said, the policy was plagued by questions of fairness from critics.
Laurie Kopp Weingarten, director of admissions counseling at One-Stop College Counseling, applauded Penn’s decision to undo the restrictive policy, which she said was unenforceable and placed undue burdens on students who were not accepted Early Decision to Penn.
“The truth is that the majority of students, over 75 percent of them, are going to be deferred or rejected in the early round,” Weingarten said. “If they can potentially lessen their disappointment by having Early Action schools accept them in December or January, it’s going to alleviate so much of the stress.”
Urging from counselors like Weingarten prompted Dean of Admissions Eric Furda and the admissions staff at Penn to reconsider the change.
“I think what was a pleasant surprise for a lot of counselors is that the Penn admissions office listened,” said Furda. “We heard them and we responded with time left until the Early Decision and Early Action deadlines.”
Prospective students applying to Penn this year will apply under the same guidelines as the proceeding classes.
“I still do think that our reasoning was correct, but you need to listen to people too,” Furda said of the disregarded policy change. “You shouldn’t be afraid to be open-minded.”
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