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2020-transfer-students-tso

This year's transfer student acceptance rate was 7.8%. (Photo from Transfer Student Organization)

Penn admitted 196 students out of 2,506 transfer applicants for the 2020-2021 academic year, yielding a transfer student acceptance rate of 7.8%.

This year’s transfer acceptance rate is almost two percentage points higher than last year's rate of 5.9%. 

2020 Transfer Student Admissions


Penn released transfer acceptance notifications on May 15 and students were required to accept their offers of admission by June 1. Out of the 196 students who were admitted, 132 will matriculate as Penn students in the fall, the Admissions Office wrote in a June 15 email to The Daily Pennsylvanian. 

Although the 2020 transfer acceptance rate marked an increase from last year's rate, it is similar to the average acceptance numbers of recent years. Penn accepted 7.6% of transfer applicants in 2018 and 8.1% in 2017. From 2013 to 2016, Penn's transfer acceptance rate hovered around 8-9%. 

While Penn admitted 22 fewer transfer students last year in comparison to this year's 196 students, the yield rates remain similar — 67.3% in 2020 and 66.7% in 2019. 

Comparing Transfer Student Acceptance Rates (2017-2020)


Transfer students had to submit their applications by March 15, when Penn and many other nationwide universities canceled in-person activities and asked students to leave campus. Due to the coronavirus, the University provided flexibility on the transfer application deadline and the submission of official materials, the Admissions Office wrote to the DP.

The Admissions Office co-sponsored a virtual open house with Penn’s Transfer Student Organization on May 18, which was attended by around 100 students. TSO hosted a more informal event the following week during which accepted students were able to ask Penn-specific questions.

Rising College junior Sonia Shah, who serves as TSO’s vice president of marketing, said the organization did the best they could to plan programming for incoming transfer students in the absence of Quaker Days and transfer-specific admissions events on campus which normally occur in the spring.

Accepted transfer students said the outreach from TSO eased their decision to matriculate to Penn this fall.

“Knowing that Penn has a pretty significant transfer class, tons of resources, and this organization of people really enthusiastic about helping you get integrated made me feel like my transition would be pretty seamless,” rising College sophomore Isabella Rocco and accepted Class of 2023 transfer student said.

Rocco, a transfer student from John's Hopkins University, said she wanted to come to Penn because of its interdisciplinary approach to learning. She added that her interests in studying political science do not align well with John's Hopkins' emphasis on hard sciences and health fields.

Rising College sophomore Sara Whitelaw, a transfer student from Villanova University, said she decided to transfer to Penn because of the diversity of the student body and its location in West Philadelphia.

Whitelaw added that although she has visited the area around Penn prior to receiving her admissions decision, she did not get to visit campus because University operations were shut down during the spring. Without a formal visit, Whitelaw said the virtual open house helped her decide to commit to Penn.

“Everybody has something that they’re passionate about, and something that makes them unique,” she said. “I love learning about that and it makes me really excited to meet all different kinds of people that are going to be on campus.”

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