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Princeton Review's 2023 College Hopes & Worries Survey found that Penn ranked No. 7 on high school applicants' “dream” college list.

Credit: Abhiram Juvvadi

Penn was ranked No. 7 on Princeton Review's “dream” college list by high school applicants ahead of regular decision results, which will be released on March 30. 

The survey was part of Princeton Review's 2023 College Hopes & Worries Survey, which asked 12,225 college applicants and parents of applicants to list their "dream" schools as well as their admission concerns and hopes. 

Out of the top ten universities named by applicants as their "dream" schools, Penn ranked higher than five other Ivy League institutions. Columbia University was ranked No. 8, while Yale University, Brown University, Cornell University, and Dartmouth College were not included on the list.  

Massachusetts Institute of Technology was voted as the No. 1 “dream” college in the nation by 8,802 college applicants, while parents ranked Princeton University as their top choice. 

Stanford University and Harvard University followed MIT in students’ list of dream schools. Parents did not rank Penn in their top ten "dream" colleges list. 

As part of the report, the Princeton Review found affordability was the primary concern for both students and parents, with 82% of them deeming affordability as “very” necessary.

In recent years, attending college has become more expensive; Penn has increased its tuition by 4% this academic year alone. However, for the 2023-2024 academic year, Penn will also raise the financial aid income limit to $75,000 from the previous year’s $65,000.

Not only are colleges becoming more expensive, but they are also becoming more selective. According to the Princeton Review report, compared to the 2019-2020 academic year, the college application rate skyrocketed by 30%. Out of the eight Ivy League Universities that released their acceptance rate for the class of 2026, all reported record-breaking low acceptance rates. 

“Never cross an expensive school off your lift of consideration based on the sticker price alone," Robert Franek, the editor-in-chief of the Princeton Review, said to CNBC. “Many of those schools are giving out substantial scholarships — this is free money."