Penn accepted a record-low 15% of early decision applicants to the Class of 2025, a significant decrease from last year's 19.7%.
This year, 7,962 students applied through the University's early decision program, a 23% increase from last year's 6,453 applicants. Penn offered admission to 1,194 students, which will comprise about half of the Class of 2025.
Penn released its early admissions decisions on Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. EST.
Last year was the first time in nearly a decade Penn's ED acceptance rate rose from the year prior — the University admitted 19.7% of applicants to the Class of 2024, an uptick from the then record-low 18% of applicants admitted to the Class of 2023.
Penn Admissions made a number of notable reforms to the application process in light of the COVID-19 pandemic — including making SAT and ACT scores optional and offering campus tours on virtual platforms.
About 38% of total early decision applicants chose not to include standardized testing as part of their application, Vice Dean and Director of Admissions John McLaughlin told The Daily Pennsylvanian. Of those admitted, 24% did not include test scores.
He added that the increase in applicants may in part be attributed to this year's test-optional policy.
"I do think that test optional is a factor in terms of what we were overseeing, in terms of that increase," McLaughlin said. "We were really encouraged that we were able to respond in a meaningful way to students, regardless of whether or not testing was part of their file."
McLaughlin will serve as the Interim Dean of Admissions starting in January, taking over for current Dean of Admissions Eric Furda, who is slated to depart his position on Dec. 31.
Penn's acceptance rate by class year
The admitted students hail from 43 states as well as Washington, D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rico, with the highest number of students coming from Pennsylvania, New York, and California. Thirteen percent of the accepted ED students are international, hailing from 56 countries, an increase from last year’s 50 countries.
Of those who are United States citizens or permanent residents, 50% identify as students of color, down from 52% last year. Fifty four percent of admitted students identify as female. Twelve percent of admitted students are first-generation college students, a slight increase from last year’s 10%. Twenty two percent of this year's admitted students have a parent or grandparent who attended Penn. Last year, 24% of admitted students were legacy applicants.
This is the last early decision application cycle led by Furda, who is slated to end his 12-year tenure as Penn's Dean of Admissions in December. Students were saddened by the announcement of his departure, calling him a "legend on campus."
"Penn Admissions is much larger than me. I'm really proud that it is in such strong shape," Furda said. "I expect that there would be a steady hand with John in the helm as Interim Dean."