Admission to Penn may have just gotten more equitable.
On Tuesday, Dean of Admissions Eric Furda announced that the Regular Decision class of 2020 has been selected entirely by lottery.
“We had no disqualifying factors; no GPA or SAT minimum, no nothing,” he said. “We assigned each application a number, and then had a computer algorithm pick the Regular Decision class of 2020 completely randomly.”
Experts in higher education agree that this is the only fail-safe way to completely eliminate bias in college admissions.
“The biggest predictor of your SAT score is how much money your parents make,” Graduate School of Education professor Eleanor Kitterman said. “You’re also only going to have extra curricular activities if your family has enough money so that you don’t need to have an after-school job. It’s scary that these are the things we take into account when accepting students.”
With Penn adopting randomized admissions, this will be a fear no longer. And there are other benefits as well. Furda said the change should help high school students’ mental health in the short-run, and the state of mental health at Penn in the future.
A recorded practice-run of the 2020 acceptance process // Andrew Fischer | Director of Online Gifs
“You look at the research and you can see that high school students are already stressed coming in,” he said. “Randomized admissions take that stress away. Students are free to enjoy high school instead of taking sixteen SAT prep classes, continuing with extra curriculars they aren’t passionate about and breaking themselves mentally to get an A.”
He went on to add that lower-stress students coming in to Penn will mean lower stress throughout their college experience.
“Striving for perfection isn’t healthy. We’re teaching high school students that by randomizing admissions. Hopefully this means that they will truly focus on being happier and healthier, and doing what they’re passionate about. That will echo through their time at Penn if they do get selected,” said Furda.
Though the benefits seem numerous, not all students are happy about the change. Wharton senior Adam Richenbacher said he feels the new policy undermines the work students like him put in during their high school years.
“Are you kidding me?” he asked when he heard. “You’re telling me I studied for Quiz Bowl for four years basically for nothing?”
Other students take an even darker view that Penn will cease to be the “premier institution” it is known to be.
“Half the time people already don’t know us from Penn State,” College junior Sarah Soloman said. “Now we basically will be Penn State.”
Experts think the admissions policy might not change the student body as much as some students might believe.
“Hypothetically, students who apply to Penn, even if it’s random, will eventually have to commit to going to Penn,” Carl Grossman, college counselor at Ivy College Coach, said. “Basically, you’re still only going to have people applying who actually think they could survive at an Ivy League school. Will more people overestimate their abilities, or think they did, and drop out once they get here? Possibly. But probably not as many as critics think.”
The students who have been randomly selected to receive admission to Penn’s Regular Decision class of 2020 will be notified on Thursday March 31 at 5:00 p.m.
Editor’s Note: This article is part of The Daily Pennsylvanian’s annual joke issue. Read more about the history of joke issue here.
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