Penn released its regular decision admissions results for the Class of 2026 on March 31, but declined, for the first time in recent years, to release the percentage of students accepted.
Around 55,000 students applied to Penn this year through both the Early and Regular Decision programs, and approximately 2,400 students are expected to make up the incoming first-year class. Penn accepted 15.63% of applicants in the early decision round this year.
The Daily Pennsylvanian spoke with five students who were admitted through Regular Decision about their academic goals and interests, motivations for applying to Penn, and more.
Incoming College first year Julia Gauffreau — who is from Media, Pa. — is majoring in biophysics through the Roy & Diana Vagelos Scholars Program in Molecular Life Sciences and plans to minor in Hispanic studies.
Once on campus, Gauffreau said she hopes to get involved with Penn's many cultural centers, including the Pan-Asian American Community House, Penn Women's Center, and LGBT Center, as well as the performing arts scene.
Gauffreau said she was sure Penn would be a perfect place for her to conduct scientific research while exploring her interests in other fields. She added that she is interested in social justice issues, which she plans to study at Penn.
She was eating dinner after touring a different college, she said, when she learned of her Penn acceptance. At 7 p.m. sharp, in the middle of eating wings, she said that she opened the decision — and screamed out of happiness when she saw her acceptance.
Gauffreau, who shared that she was originally deferred from the early decision round, said she felt like she had been “waiting for what seemed like eternity for this moment.”
Incoming Engineering first year Khush Gupta is from Frisco, Texas, and plans to major in computer science.
Gupta said he participated in Penn’s Management & Technology Summer Institute, a program for rising high school seniors, last year — which taught him more about Penn Engineering and the culture of the school.
Penn’s focus on research was a major reason that Gupta decided to apply. He said it was important to him to have the opportunity to conduct research and shared that he was interested in taking advantage of the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships.
Alongside research, Gupta is also interested in data science and social and public policy and, as such, is interested in exploring the Warren Center for Network and Data Sciences. Gupta said that he is excited to meet new people and explore a new environment at Penn.
“I’m used to a certain culture and a certain set of people, so I’m excited to just meet new people,” he said.
Incoming College first year Nunaa Tsikata, who is from Columbus, Ohio, said she plans to major in psychology and wants to enroll in a Wharton dual-degree program.
Tsikata said that Penn’s urban location in West Philadelphia is ideal to study and work in. As an aspiring lawyer who is passionate about community outreach, she said that she “want[s] to go into law to work on the school-to-prison pipeline.”
“It was like a whirlwind of emotions,” Tsikata said of her acceptance. She said that it was a “surreal feeling” she experienced when she got accepted.
Tsikata said she is interested in the work of Coren Apicella, a professor of Psychology at Penn, and that she hopes to apply her knowledge of psychology to her interest in law.
She added that she plans to join Penn Students for Students, a club in which Penn students tutor or mentor court-ordered youth in Philadelphia, and expressed interest in Penn’s Black Pre-Law Association.
“I’m going to try to do as much as possible,” Tsikata said.
Incoming Engineering first year Anirudh Bharadwaj, who is from San Jose, Calif., applied as a materials science major but said he is also interested in computer science and bioengineering.
“The thing that attracted me to Penn was the One University policy,” Bharadwaj said. “Penn was somewhere where I could really have the opportunity to not only be part of a world-class engineering program, but also had this sort of focus on the arts.”
The One University policy, which was put into effect in 1973 by former Penn President Martin Meyerson, allows undergraduate students to access and take courses in any of the four undergraduate schools at Penn.
Bharadwaj said he wants to get involved with PennApps, a club that hosted the nation's first hackathon. He added that he wants to join the Penn Journal of Philosophy, Politics & Economics due to an interest in exploring the philosophical and ethical background of many issues in the STEM world.
“I don’t think my initial reaction was really happiness,” Bharadwaj said of his acceptance. He said that it had been a stressful week and that it felt like he was “limp[ing] to the finish line.” He added, however, that happiness set in around 30 minutes after he opened the letter.
Incoming College first year Mohamad Mansour is an international student from Beirut who plans to major in neuroscience on a pre-med focused path at Penn.
Mansour said that his interest in neuroscience began in his sophomore year of high school, but that his high school’s curriculum didn’t allow him to learn as much as he wanted. He decided to watch YouTube videos and documentaries about the topic to learn more.
At Penn, Mansour wants to join the Penn Muslim Students Association and the Penn Arab Student Society. He said he also hopes to learn more about some neuroscience and pre-med clubs when he comes to campus.
Mansour said that he is very excited to explore Philadelphia’s restaurants.
“I heard that there’s a really good food scene, so I want to go to all of these amazing restaurants,” he said.
Mansour emphasized Penn’s financial aid as a major reason he chose to apply, saying that he “wanted to go to a place that had an amazing financial aid program for international students.” He added that Penn’s research and community further compelled him to apply.
“Upon doing more research, I learned about the amazing collaborative community at Penn, about the endless research opportunities available," he said.