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Claudia Cohen Hall, which houses the admissions center at Penn. Credit: Max Mester

Penn Admissions announced the extension of the current test-optional policy for first-year and transfer applicants through the 2023-24 admissions cycle. 

Penn Admissions’s statement, released today on its blog, represents a continuation of the policies first implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic during the 2020-21 admissions cycle. The announcement said that applicants will not be harmed by a failure to submit scores.

In a written statement to The Daily Pennsylvanian, Dean of Admissions Whitney Soule wrote that the extension was made due to the "continued effects of the pandemic" and to make sure that Penn Admissions can "responsibly review the role of the test-optional practice." 

“Students who are unable or choose not to submit test scores will not be at a disadvantage in the admissions process,” the online announcement said. “We will continue to evaluate all components of an individual’s application through our comprehensive review process.”

As with other recent admissions cycles, Penn Admissions will accept and review ACT and SAT scores submitted by applicants. These scores may be self-reported on students’ application to Penn, though official scores are required to be submitted following acceptance and enrollment.

Penn Admissions will continue to require testing to prove English-language proficiency for certain international students. 

The announcement comes after Penn’s release of its early decision admission results for the 2022-23 admissions cycle, where it welcomed the first members of the Class of 2027. Penn Admissions did not release its early decision acceptance rate, in a continuation of a policy that Dean of Admissions Whitney Soule implemented for regular decision results for the Class of 2026. 

In February 2021, Associate Director of Admissions Sara Cohen told The Daily Pennsylvanian that Penn’s test-optional policy may contribute to an increase in application totals.

Over 8,000 students applied through the Early Decision Program, an increase from the 2021-22 cycle’s total of 7,795 early decision applicants, which was the highest number in Penn history.

Soule assumed her current position in July 2021.

Penn has recently made several other changes to its admissions policies. A new supplemental essay introduced for the 2022-23 admissions cycle asked applicants to “Write a short thank-you note to someone you have not yet thanked and would like to acknowledge.” In tandem with December’s early decision announcement, Penn also removed its $400 enrollment deposit for admitted students, becoming the seventh Ivy League institution to do so.

In 2021, Penn altered its requirements to give applicants more flexibility when they choose from whom to receive recommendation letters. While the former requirement was two recommendation letters from teachers, the change allowed applicants to receive one recommendation letter from a teacher and one from somebody else.