In line with trends over the past few years, Penn’s waitlist size for the Class of 2015 has continued to shrink.
This year, Penn placed 2,400 students on the waitlist, Dean of Admissions Eric Furda said. This marks a decrease from about 3,000 waitlist spots last year and more than 3,500 two years ago.
The University’s waitlist volume this year is similar to the total number of regular decision acceptances, which was 2,685. Penn admitted a total of 3,880 of 31,659 students to the Class of 2015 — a record-low acceptance rate of 12.3 percent.
Furda said last year’s waitlist total “definitely seemed to grab the attention of the public” because it was one of the highest reported numbers in the Ivy League.
This year, the Admissions Office “was looking to manage that number down in a way that was responsible for Penn,” he said. “At the end of the day, what matters most is whether we’re able to deliver the class we need.”
Though he cannot provide exact numbers until May 1 — the date when students must notify Penn whether or not they plan to attend — Furda said he expects around 60 percent of those placed on the waitlist to accept their spot.
If initial yield rates are near what he is anticipating, he said that around 55 students could be taken off the waitlist by July — a similar number to last year.
Using the waitlist “can allow us to shape the class nicely,” Furda added. “It can help provide a cushion if certain numbers aren’t where we predicted them to be.”
Compared to peer schools that have released waitlist totals for the Class of 2015, Penn’s overall volume still remains in the upper ranks.
Throughout the Ivy League, Cornell University is the only school so far that has reported a higher waitlist number than Penn. Compared to last year’s total of 2,563, Cornell offered 2,988 applicants a spot on the waitlist this year.
Princeton and Yale universities, as well as Dartmouth College, have reported waitlist totals of 1,248, 996 and 1,984, respectively.
For the Class of 2015, “there’s going to be a lot of overlap among students accepted to top schools,” Michele Hernandez, president of Hernandez College Consulting, said.
“You want a fair amount of wiggle room so you can hand pick a class from across a diverse spectrum,” she added. “Yield rates are getting harder and harder to predict, and you want your school to have options.”
Furda agreed, adding that the students in Penn’s recently admitted classes have had more overlap with schools like Princeton and Harvard University — a trend that may be contributing to the University’s steady matriculation rate of 63 percent over the past three years.
Students who were placed on the waitlist for the Class of 2015 offered mixed reactions to the news.
“It’s definitely an honor to even find myself among those who still have a chance to get in,” said Sirus Jesudasen, a senior at Seven Lakes High School in Katy, Texas. Jesudasen, who has already accepted his spot on the waitlist, compared his chances of getting taken off to “picking a winning lottery ticket.”
However, Maggie Axelrod — a senior at Absegami High School in Galloway, N.J. — said learning of her waitlist status at Penn has all but sealed the deal for her to attend Georgetown University in the fall.
Though remaining on the waitlist can sometimes mean two more months without knowing a final decision, College freshman Whitney Mash — who was accepted off the waitlist near the end of June 2010 — said students should go through with it if Penn is truly their top choice.
“You definitely get a bit frustrated just sitting around, but I wouldn’t change what I did,” she said. “Good things can come to those who wait.”
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