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Early decision applications rose 14 percent this year, giving the University the second highest total ever. Admissions Dean Willis Stetson said yesterday early decision applications increased to 1401 from 1229, making this year's yield second only to 1988. Stetson added that although applications had to be postmarked by last Friday, the University may receive up to 25 more in the days to come. The number of minority applicants also increased. The number of black students applying early decision rose 9.5 percent to 42, and 266 Asian students applied, a 15.4 percent increase. Christoph Guttentag, director of planning for the Admissions Office, credited the rise to a wider awareness of the University's academic reputation and quality of student life. He said both publicity efforts by the University and word of mouth from current students helped spread this information. Guttentag added that although the University faces many difficulties, including crime, students who visit the campus are strongly attracted to it. According to Stetson, this year's applicant pool matched last year in quality indicators like class rank and standardized test scores. Stetson also said the number of applications from the northeast increased, especially from the mid-Atlantic states of Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. These states traditionally account for 40 percent of the University's population. Increases in early applications do not necessarily mean that overall applications will also rise. In the past, the correlation between regular and early applications has been weak. But Guttentag said he was pleased with the jump in applications. "I think it's a nice reflection on the institution," he said. "It makes me feel good that people are that enthusiastic about Penn. It makes me feel good personally, and it makes me feel good professionally." The increase in minority applications may be due to turnover in the position of director of minority recruitment. Clarence Grant, who replaced Pippa Porter Rex earlier this year, may have brought a fresh perspective to the job, according to Guttentag. Early decision applicants will be evaluated by mid-December. The University regularly accepts 30 to 40 percent of early applicants, rejects 10 to 20 percent, and defers 50 percent to be re-evaluated with the regular applicant pool in March. Students who are accepted early decision are obligated to enroll at the University.

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