It appears that high school seniors enamored with Penn have not been phased by this year's national controversy over early decision programs.
Penn has received 3,401 early applications since the Nov. 1 postmark deadline, and a few more are still trickling in. That is an increase of 12 percent over last year's 3,036.
Admissions Dean Lee Stetson said he is not surprised by the increase. He attributed the rise primarily to Penn's cooperation with Harvard, Duke and Georgetown universities. Since 1994, representatives from the four schools have traveled together nationally and internationally to give presentations to prospective students.
Stetson said that he also sees the publicity surrounding early decision in recent years as a factor contributing to the increase in applicants. Last week, both Stanford and Yale universities announced that they will switch to a non-binding early action program next fall, in line with Harvard's current policy.
Early decision programs have come under fire recently for rushing the college selection process and putting students from low-income families at a disadvantage.
Stetson expects to admit 45 to 48 percent of the class of 2007 from the pool of early applicants. Penn has received 2,136 applications to the College, an increase of over 15 percent from last year's 1,853.
There were 431 applications to the Engineering School, up almost 26 percent from last year, and 57 people applied to the Nursing School, up 42 percent.
The Wharton School, however, has received only 750 early applications, a decrease of 6 percent from last year's 800.
"I think the economy has something to do with that," Stetson said.
As for Penn's recent rise to No. 4 in the U.S. News and World Report rankings, Stetson said he believes that it keeps Penn's name in front of the public eye, but that it is not the reason for the large increase in early applications.
Across the board, 17 states -- including New York, California, Maryland, Arizona, Minnesota and Ohio -- have hit new record numbers of early applications. So far though, no one has applied from Wyoming, Nevada or Mississippi.
There has also been a slight decrease in legacy applications this year, down by 8 to 453.
The number of black students applying early increased to 129, up 65 percent from 78 last year. A Journal of Blacks in Higher Education study last month ranked Penn seventh in the Ivy League in black enrollment.
Stetson attributed this increase, as well as the general increase in minority applications -- up to 1,274 this year from 1,049 last year -- to moving this year's multicultural day for prospective students to an earlier date in the fall.
"Having the multicultural day in September instead of October has been helpful," Stetson said. "It let students of color plan ahead to apply early."
More international students have applied early this year as well. While a few more applications are expected to arrive over the course of the week, the number now stands at 363, up almost 13 percent from 322 last year.
Like Penn, Princeton University has also seen a rise in early applications. So far, Princeton has received 2,350 early applications, up from 2,121 last year, according to Princeton Admissions Dean Fred Hargadon.
Currently, 18 Penn admissions officers are reading applications, a process that needs to be complete by Thanksgiving break, as committee deliberations are set to begin Dec. 2.
Decisions will be posted online by 3 p.m. on Dec. 12. Pin numbers, which will allow early applicants to access their acceptance, deferral or rejection notification instantaneously via the Internet, are currently in the mail. If students opt not to check online, they can wait to receive Penn's decision via the regular mail. These are scheduled to be sent on Dec. 13.
Once those decisions are out, however, the Penn Admissions Office's work really begins. Stetson is expecting nearly 16,000 regular decision applications this year.Comments powered by Disqus
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