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Dean of Admissions Eric Furda said the University of Pennsylvania's Early Decision applicant pool expanded geographically and socioeconomically. 

Penn admitted 22 percent of its early decision applicants to the Class of 2021 this year, slightly lower than last year’s rate of 23.2 percent.

For the first time in Penn’s history, half of students admitted to the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences through the Early Decision program were female, according to a press release from the Office of Admissions.

The number of applications was also record-breaking. A total of 6,147 applications were submitted to Penn in the Early Decision round, more than Penn has ever received. Of that number, 1,354 were accepted.

The number of early decision applications increased by 7 percent from last year, and has grown by 28 percent in the last four years since the Class of 2017 applied.

“The continued growth in Penn’s Early Decision applicant pool is a reflection of a greater breadth of interest in Penn,” Dean of Admissions Eric Furda said in a statement.

So far, Penn’s incoming class includes students from 46 states and 44 foreign countries. Penn also partnered with over 40 community-based organizations that represent underserved students, like the national nonprofit program QuestBridge and Philadelphia’s Steppingstone Scholars program.

Penn typically admits around half of its total class in the Early Decision round. Last year, 55 percent of the total 2,445 spots available were filled by Early Decision applicants.

Applicants who have been waiting for almost six weeks since the Nov. 1 application deadline to hear their decision finally have an answer.

“I was extremely nervous the entire day and was only able to sleep about two hours the night before because I couldn’t stop thinking about the decision,” said Natasha Dalmia, a Chapel Hill, North Carolina native who was accepted to Penn on Friday. “I left school slightly early so I didn’t have to find out in the middle of class and the hour before decisions came out was definitely the longest hour of my life. I knew I had a good shot at getting in, but was definitely thinking it could go either way.”

Dalmia will join 1,353 other students who make up the Class of 2021 so far.

Theodore Yuan, who will participate in Navy ROTC at Penn, said he was originally discouraged when he heard about the record-breaking number of applicants.

“I know there are so many qualified candidates for admissions, and I am so thankful that I made the cut,” said Yuan. “My sister is also a student at Penn, so I’m looking forward to spending the next few years with her along with meeting new people.”

David Mei, who lives close to Philadelphia, said that he was looking forward to getting to know his new school, but he had prepared for every outcome prior to the announcement.

“My mom convinced me that getting in didn’t matter because she said that a college too close to home could interfere with my personal growth,” said Mei. “By the time I sat behind the computer on decision day, I was at peace with whatever Penn decided to do.”

Juliette Pozzuoli, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was recruited to Penn as a diver, but officially received her acceptance on Friday.

“It wasn’t really much of a surprise since I had received a likely letter in October,” said Pozzuoli. “That being said, I’m still extremely excited to be part of such an amazing community.”