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Matawan Regional High School '98

Aberdeen, N.J.

Penn's admissions selectivity reached an all-time high this year, as only 4,280 of 18,815 applicants received letters welcoming them to the Class of 2004.

The 22 percent admission rate this year continues the University's decade-long decline, down from 26.6 percent last year and 47 percent in 1991. And, for the first time ever, the percentage of regular-decision applicants admitted to Penn dropped into the teens, falling to 19 percent.

As of the middle of May, 2,365 admitted students had chosen to enroll for the fall semester, a yield rate of 55 percent.

The number of students choosing to matriculate falls close to the University's target class size of 2,350 students, according to Admissions Dean Lee Stetson.

"We admitted fewer [this year] to keep the class size under control," Stetson said.

Last year's yield rate of 53.7 percent was higher than expected, resulting in a larger-than-usual freshman class and an on-campus housing crunch.

"It's encouraging that the yield did stay at the level it did, given the selectivity of the class and competition from [peer institutions]," Stetson added. "We held our own."

The record-low acceptance rate this year followed a record-high number of applicants. The total applicant pool was 6.6 percent larger than last year's group.

About 42 percent of the Class of 2004 will be composed of students who got in through the early decision process.

In addition to the overall decline in the rate of admission, three of the four undergraduate schools saw decreased admission rates.

The College of Arts and Sciences accepted 2,796 of 11,986 applicants, a rate of 23 percent, down from 27.4 percent last year.

The School of Engineering and Applied Science accepted 853 of 3,325 applicants, or 26 percent, down from 32.9 percent last year.

The Wharton School accepted 521 of 3,278 applicants, a rate of 16 percent, a decrease of 1 percent from last year.

The Nursing School, however, saw an increase in the percentage of students it chose to accept. Penn's smallest undergraduate school accepted 51 percent of its applicants, up from 43.4 percent last year.

The Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business -- which offers a dual degree in the College and Wharton -- accepted 72 of its 641 applicants. The Management and Technology Program -- a Wharton and Engineering School joint program -- accepted 87 of its 829 applicants.

And 12 students were accepted to the Healthcare Management Program, a joint effort of the Wharton and Nursing schools.

Admission offers were made to 2,175 women, or 50.8 percent of the accepted students.

And 447 international students were offered admission. They comprise 10.4 percent of the admitted group and represent six continents and 79 countries.

Additionally, minority students -- including African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans and Native Americans -- made up 41 percent of the accepted group. But this number falls to only 17 percent when Asian Americans are excluded.

This year's group of admitted students boasted an average SAT score of 1412 --ÿup from 1407 last year -- and the average student ranked in the top 2 percent of his or her graduating class.

According to Stetson, 757 of the accepted students were valedictorians or salutatorians, while 663 valedictorians and salutatorians were denied admission.

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