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3,404 students were admitted to the Class of 2024, an 8.07% acceptance rate.

Credit: Melanie Hilman

Penn admitted 3,404 students to the Class of 2024 on Thursday. For the first time in five years, the acceptance rate increased, clocking in at 8.07%.

Fifteen percent of the admitted students identify as first-generation college students, and 20% qualify for a Federal Pell Grant, which provides need-based aid to low-income students. Admitted students hail from all 50 states, as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. International students make up 14% of the admitted class and represent 98 countries.

The Daily Pennsylvanian spoke with some of these admitted students of the Class of 2024, who range from students living in Puerto Rico and Indonesia to a world famous climate activist. 

Credit: Georgia Ray

Coronavirus spoiled Xiye Bastida's plans to open the decision with her friends in person, due to their social distancing efforts. Instead, she FaceTimed them while she learned of her acceptance, with her mom next to her.

Born in Mexico, Bastida now lives in New York City, where she organizes for Fridays for Future NYC. The group holds school strikes on Fridays outside City Hall to demand action on climate change. Bastida said she plans to study environmental studies with a concentration in environmental policy and application in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Bastida said although she visited Penn's campus three years ago, she was hoping to visit again if she was accepted. Since Penn shut down its campus earlier this month and canceled Quaker Days, she said she will watch virtual tours provided by the University webinars, and speak to current students to make her final decision. 

Bastida, who attracted over 11,000 followers on Twitter and 21,000 followers on Instagram for her work as a climate justice activist, said current students and other admitted students have already reached out to her about engaging in environmental and sustainability issues on campus.

“It's just awesome to see that there's such a big community, and we haven't even started yet,” Bastida said.

Credit: Georgia Ray

Gabriel Lopez Santiago said he was shocked when he opened his decision and found out he was accepted to the Roy and Diana Vagelos Program in Life Sciences and Management, a dual degree program between The Wharton School and the College.

“It just caught me off guard, and I almost started to cry,” Santiago said. “It was a moment to remember.”

Santiago hails from Caguas, Puerto Rico and said he also plans to use the campus virtual tour, as students are not allowed on campus. He added that he is almost certain he will attend Penn. 

“It’s really a dream come true for me, someone who goes to a private school in what is pretty much a rural place in Puerto Rico,” Santiago said. “The fact they looked into me and said ‘this is the type of student I want in the community’ is something I’m very delighted at.”

Credit: Georgia Ray

Joey Chan said she opened her decision while on a Discord call with her friends. Discord is a text, audio, and video communication platform designed for the video gaming community.

“My mom came out and was like ‘what’s with all the screaming?’ And then my friends told her, and she started screaming with me,” Chan said.

Chan said she plans to study neuroscience in the College and wants to join the Pan-Asian Dance Troupe because she enjoyed a similar one at her high school. 

Chan, who was born in South Philadelphia and now lives in Center City, said she does not anticipate the closure of Penn’s campus being an issue in making her decision. She said she has visited the campus many times in the past.

Credit: Georgia Ray

Jonathan Zhang said he opened his decision one hour after it was released at 7 p.m. Eastern time, because he was in a meeting for school on Zoom, a video conferencing platform, during that time. As soon as the meeting ended, he said he opened the decision with his sister. 

Zhang said although he opened four decisions that day, his acceptance to the Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology, a dual degree program between Wharton and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, was “the highlight of the day.”

Zhang lives in Memphis, Tennessee, and said he planned to visit campus if he was accepted, but will now instead talk to current students about their experiences. Zhang said he is almost certain he will attend Penn.

Jovita Tedja woke up to view her decision at 6 a.m. local time in Jakarta, Indonesia. Out of the multiple college decisions awaiting her at the time, Tedja said she opened Penn first because it was one of her "dream schools." She said she was surprised to see the confetti and streamers when she opened her decision, as she had not been interviewed by a representative from Penn and thought she would not be admitted.

If she attends Penn, Tedja said she plans to study mechanical engineering in the Engineering School. While she is still waiting to hear from a few schools, Tedja said Penn is currently at the top of her list. Tedja added that she looks forward to coming to Philadelphia, if she decides to go to Penn, after attending her current school in Jakarta for 14 years. 

Credit: Georgia Ray

“Even though it might seem pretty cliché, I'm really excited to go into a new community,” Tedja said. “Since I've been living in Jakarta my whole life, I’m really excited to see how Philadelphia is.”