At 5 p.m. today, Penn will accept 9.8 percent of regular decision applicants, the Office of Admissions announced Wednesday afternoon.
Penn’s overall acceptance rate of 12.3 percent for the Class of 2016 is the exact same as the initial acceptance rate last year. After accepting students off the waitlist throughout the summer, the Class of 2015’s final overall acceptance rate was 12.4 percent.
The University admitted a total of 3,846 students to the Class of 2016, including 97 out of the 886 students who were initially deferred in the early decision round.
This year’s target class size will be 2,420, Dean of Admissions Eric Furda said.
Furda said he was pleased with Penn’s numbers, especially given the return of early action programs at Harvard and Princeton universities, which may have contributed to the University’s 1.4-percent applicant pool drop. Penn received 31,216 applications overall this year.
Though Penn “lost about 800 applications” to Harvard and Princeton because of the schools’ early programs, he said the quality of the admitted class has not faltered. He pointed to the average SAT score of 2185 among this year’s class — a four-point increase from last year — as evidence of this.
“The quality is still there,” he said. “There’s always a difference between quality and quantity, and there’s a balance between the two.”
President of Hernandez College Consulting Michele Hernandez said the consistency of the numbers year to year is a “good sign of a well-formed admitted class.”
Though Penn has seen significant decreases in its acceptance rates over the past two years, this year’s trend should not be a cause for concern, she said.
“A couple of years ago, Penn’s overall admit rate was over 20 percent,” Hernandez said. “I think they’re where they want to be.”
Michael Goran, a 1976 College graduate and founder of IvySelect College Consulting, agreed.
“I don’t think the admit rate is bad news at all,” he said. “Penn still had over 31,000 applicants and the applicant pool is undoubtably just as strong. I don’t think the trend always has to be upward.”
Furda believes that this year’s pool of admitted students reflects the University’s revamped outreach efforts to new locations and demographics throughout the country.
About 14 percent of the admitted class came from southern states, a geographic region that the Office of Admissions has been targeting in its recruitment over the last four years.
“It’s where demographic growth is in the country and that’s a big factor for us,” Furda said.
This also marked the first year that the Office of Admissions used the Common Application to track first-generation college students, instead of having admissions officers manually count the number of these applicants.
This year, 14 percent of the admitted students are students whose parents have not attained college degrees.
Furda said this new utilization of the Common App will help the Office of Admissions assess the starting point from which it can continue to increase its outreach.
Though Furda was pleased with Penn’s numbers, news of Penn’s acceptance rate did little to help alleviate the anxiety that many regular decision applicants are feeling with less than 24 hours until they learn of their admissions decision.
Decisions will be available online to students at 5 p.m. today.
Isabella Gong — who applied regular decision from Freedom High School in Orlando, Fla. — said the fact that the acceptance rate remained steady was “slightly comforting but not a lot, because it’s still pretty low.”
Rocio Gonzalez — a regular decision applicant from Thomas Alva Edison High School in Puerto Rico — said she is still nervous despite the relatively stable numbers.
“It’s still really nerve-wracking because thousands of people applied, and sometimes I think it’s just luck,” she said. “I’m just crossing my fingers.”
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