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Penn received 31,127 overall applications to the Class of 2016 — a 1.7-percent drop from last year’s total, Dean of Admissions Eric Furda announced on Tuesday.

Last year, the University received 31,663 applications, which marked an all-time high.

The slight drop for the Class of 2016 was likely due to the reinstatement of early action programs at peer institutions like Harvard and Princeton universities this admissions cycle, Furda told Bloomberg News on Tuesday.

Steven Goodman — a Top Colleges educational consultant and 1989 Graduate School of Education graduate — said Penn’s decline was “within the range of what [he’d] expect.”

“You can’t keep climbing up the application mountain forever,” he said. “You have to climb down at some point, and you have to take a rest.”

He added that this year’s drop represented a “very small change” overall, attributing it to “regular fluctuations” in applications that occur from year to year.

“If there had been a drop of 10 or 20 percent, it’d be cause for concern,” he said. “I think, though, that this year’s numbers demonstrate the quality of the message Penn is getting out to its applicants.”

Penn President Amy Gutmann said in an interview last week that the University was expecting its applicant pool to decrease more than it did, given the return of early action at Harvard and Princeton.

“The quality is very, very high,” she said. “That’s terrific and definitely a testament to what our admissions office has been doing.”

While other Ivy League institutions have not yet released application totals for the Class of 2016, a few peer schools have announced their numbers.

Duke and Stanford universities received 31,565 and 36,744 applications, respectively — both record-high totals for the schools.

To date, Northwestern University has received about 31,500 applications, according to an article in The Daily Northwestern.

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