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Penn's early decision acceptance rate decreased by 1 percent from last year to match the school's lowest-ever admissions rate of 28 percent.

Of the 3,912 high-school seniors who applied to Penn early decision last fall, 1,147 were accepted in December.

Those students will compose about 48 percent of the Class of 2012. The 28-percent acceptance rate matches the low set by the class of 2010.

Interim Dean of Admissions Eric Kaplan characterized this incoming class as "more diverse than last year's class at this point."

The percentage of international students increased from last year's record of 9.5 percent to a new high of 10.2 percent.

Of the international students, the greatest percentage hail from Canada, India, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Panama, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

Though the number of U.S. minority students admitted remained about the same, the percentage of admitted students who are underrepresented ethnicities increased slightly - a result of a smaller acceptance pool.

Penn admitted 72 black students, 235 Asian American students, 77 Latino students and six Native American students.

Geographically, 43 states are currently represented by the Class of 2012, down a hair from last year's 47 states.

Test scores increased slightly overall. On the SAT, Critical Reading scores dropped one point to 696, Math scores stayed even at 722 and Writing scores improved seven points to 712.

In general, "everything's sort of trending upwards just a small measure," Kaplan said.

Kaplan said students also exhibited diversity in their academic interests.

"We find that many of the students represent or have interests in a number of different areas. . One of the reasons they are eager to choose Penn is because it gives them an opportunity to explore other areas," he said, citing Penn's myriad specialized academic programs.

Recently admitted Zack Bell, a senior at Amity Regional Senior High School in Connecticut, agreed.

"I applied for the new major, Modern Middle East Studies, and I'm becoming increasingly interested in that," he said, adding that Penn's "limitless resources" to explore academically contributed to his decision.

Beyond the academics, however, "[at Penn] I could experience everything that college has to offer," he said.

Bari Norman, director of the admissions-counseling service Expert Admissions, agreed Penn's ability to provide a "quintessential college experience" factors into many students' decisions.

"Students like Penn because they know it's a place that attracts really smart kids" and it has a "reputation for a well-balanced social life," she said.

Bell and Kaplan both said Penn's metropolitan location but traditional campus and its school spirit were big draws for applicants.

"I knew that . I would be extremely happy to be there," Bell said. "I couldn't figure out why I wouldn't apply early."

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