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Accepted students at Quaker Days in 2016. Credit: Julio Sosa

Penn broke another record this year with its lowest-ever overall acceptance rate of 8.39 percent. 

This year’s admitted students hail from all 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam, with Pennsylvania, New York, California, New Jersey, Florida, and Texas having the most representation. 

There was a 6 percent increase in the number of admitted international students, who are from 104 different countries. Additionally, one in every seven admitted students to the Class of 2022 is the first in their families to attend college. 

The Daily Pennsylvanian spoke to some of the newest Quakers who just received news last week.

Jordan Seungjin Choi

It was Korea’s National Independence Day when Jordan Seungjin Choi heard back from Penn the second time. A resident of Seoul, South Korea, Choi received the first round of news from Penn a few months earlier, when he learned he was deferred. Now, the email carried good news, as Admissions Dean Eric Furda wrote in the email that his admittance was “likely," assuring him of his admission pending his current academic performance. 

“I disturbed my family’s peaceful morning that day with a big shout, feeling relieved of all the stress and anxiety that had been with me throughout high school and especially through the application process,” Choi said. “On March 28, my admission became official.”

As Penn was his dream school since ninth grade, Choi is certain that he will be attending Penn’s School of Nursing next fall. He said he is most excited to pursue a pre-med track in a place that turns “ideas and theories into realities and practicalities.” 

He also praised Penn students’ seeming drive to pursue extracurricular activities outside of the classroom.

“On top of academic excellence, Penn students focus on self-development, teamwork, and life outside of classrooms and labs,” Choi said. “The school’s community aptly represents well-roundness and is full of leaders of today’s and tomorrow’s world. It would be anyone’s dream to attend school with such students.”

Aneela Kanhai

Aneela Kanhai had to read her acceptance letter a few times before she could make sure she wasn’t dreaming, or waitlisted, the New Jersey resident said. 

“I was extremely elated. I was completely stunned, especially knowing Penn, and knowing what it means for me and what it could mean for my family,” Kanhai said. 

A prospective International Relations major, Kanhai did a lot of research on Penn’s study abroad programs and even looked into some courses she could see herself taking in the fall. 

“Being someone who likes learning about the intersection of different areas of interest — in politics, human rights, history, and culture — I liked the fact that Penn’s classes weren’t just in one area but were seeking to combine a lot of different areas and subjects. That was something that really attracted me,” Kanhai said. 

Specifically, Kanhai is interested in Penn’s Center for Advanced Studies in India as well as The Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy. 

“I looked into that and looked into a lot of general programs that Penn had for study abroad and just the general opportunities to get funded for travel and doing work also attracted me,” Kanhai said. 

One of Kanhai’s favorite parts of Penn were the students and their general curiosity and their willingness to be active in the surrounding Philadelphia community. 

“They were generally interested in being exposed to new questions and new ideas, and I think more importantly new stories,” she said. “I know that they're doing a lot of work in the Philadelphia area, and they’re integrated into doing community service, and the students are passionate about it. I think personally I wanted to do something with my education where I’m not just impacting me or my family but generally the people around me and I guess the larger world.” 

Emma Villamater

Deferred in the early decision round, Emma Villamater said she was anxious to open the email on March 28 in fear of another rejection or a waitlist. Penn had remained Villamater’s top choice throughout the entire college application process, and she did not want to face the possibility of not getting in. 

Despite the nervousness, Villamater said that the deferral made opening the acceptance letter all the more exciting. 

“I have worked so hard throughout high school to get to this point, and the feelings of surprise and elation that I had, along with the smile on my face, when I opened my portal and viewed my acceptance letter made all of my hard work worth it.”

Because of her cousins who had attended the University before her, Villamater, who hails from Baltimore, said Penn had been on her radar since sixth grade. Since then, along with several visits to campus, Villamater said she developed a “deep appreciation for the fierce academic rigor as well the abundance of opportunities offered at Penn.”

She reaffirmed her love for Penn when she attended Penn’s Leadership in the Business World Program last summer. 

“After four weeks of engaging classes in Huntsman Hall with a diverse group of students, I knew I wanted to study at Wharton,” Villamater said. 

Toba Olokungbemi

When Toba Olokungbemi first opened his acceptance letter, he said he started 'milly rocking' to the Hurrah song. 

“I was so excited,” he said. 

Although he said he isn’t absolutely certain that he will be attending Penn in the fall, Olokungbemi said that Penn remains high on his list of choices and that it is “pretty likely” that he will end up here. If so, he will be a student at the School of Engineering and Applied Science, majoring in electrical engineering. 

“I like Penn’s entrepreneurial spirit as well as their interdisciplinary focus,” he said. “I want to do engineering but I also want to explore other disciplines.”

Olokungbemi added that Philadelphia is a “fun city” with many opportunities nearby. 

“I am most excited about meeting new people, participating in different activities/clubs, and pretty much everything Penn has to offer,” he said. 

Nadine Wain

Born in Lahore, Pakistan, but having grown up in Dubai, Nadine Wain was in disbelief when she first opened the acceptance email. 

“I had missed the ‘congratulations’ video by scrolling down too fast and was trying to quickly read the letter,” Wain said. “It took me a few minutes before I could register the words in front of me and my body went completely numb. I was so overwhelmed with excitement that I couldn’t even scream.”

Wain said that Penn is definitely one of her top choices, especially since her sister — a junior at Penn — is its biggest advocate. She was initially attracted to Penn after her first visit to campus in 2015. 

“I loved the vibe of the student body and the campus,” Wain said. “Finding out about the curriculum options and the variety of student organizations furthered its appeal and Philadelphia anyways is such a lovely city with so much to offer.”

A Pakistani native, Wain said she is most excited to meet individuals from unique backgrounds and stories. Additionally, she looks forward to not only learning more about subjects she is already familiar with, but also exploring completely new fields. 

“And of course, being able to try all the great restaurants around Philly!” she added.