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Credit: Andrew Fischer

Penn welcomed 1,312 new students to the Class of 2022 on Dec. 13. It was the most competitive year yet, with Penn’s early decision admission rate falling to a historic low of 18.5 percent. 

While Penn wasn’t the only Ivy League university that became more competitive this year, — Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, Brown, and Cornell also reported declines in admissions rates from last year — Penn experienced the largest relative decline in percentage of students accepted. Penn’s admission rate was 3.5 percent down from last year's 22 percent ED rate – while Dartmouth followed close behind with a 2.9 percent drop. 

At 14.5 percent, Harvard reported the lowest admissions rate within the Ivy League. However, this rate was the same as the year prior.

Columbia University is the only Ivy League institution that has yet to publicly release admissions data.

Of those admitted to Penn’s class of 2022, 11 percent will be the first in their families to attend college. Among Ivy League schools, Princeton reported the highest amount of admitted first-generation students at 14 percent. 

Earlier this year, a New York Times study found that 72 percent of students admitted to Princeton come from families that fall under the top 20 percent of median family income — the highest within the Ivy League. In contrast, 2.2 percent of students come from families that fall in the bottom 20 percent, placing it 7th in the Ivy League. 

Over forty percent of accepted students from Penn have self-identified as people of color. This number was higher at Harvard, where early admits who self-identify as people of color accounted for 49.7 percent of the incoming early class. 

At Harvard, the number of Asian American early admits grew the most out of all demographics — 2.5 percent up from last year’s 21.7 percent to 24.2 percent this year. This growth comes amid allegations from the Department of Justice and other private organizations that Harvard has been discriminating against Asian Americans in its undergraduate admissions process. 

Legacy students were disproportionately represented in the pool of students admitted. While they made up only 16 percent of the 7,074 applications received in November, legacy students constituted 25 percent of Penn’s early admit pool. Across the four Ivy League institutions that reported the figure (Princeton, Dartmouth, Cornell, and Penn), Penn has the highest percentage of accepted students who are legacies. 

At Penn, legacy applicants are defined as those whose parents or grandparents graduated from any affiliated school or graduate program. At most other universities, the definition is less broad – legacy applicants are students whose parents attended the university’s undergraduate program. 

While some higher education experts believe that Penn’s high admission of legacy students is unfair and potentially motivated by donations, others argue that legacy status does not actually grant a significant advantage to applicants.