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An aerial view of the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, with Fisher Library (left), College Hall (center), and Irvine Auditorium (right) visible in the foreground and Franklin Field in the background. Credit: Abhiram Juvvadi

Penn announced early decision admissions for the Class of 2028, admitting around half of the University's first new class of students since the Supreme Court’s overturn of affirmative action.

Over 8,500 students applied to Penn through the Early Decision program this year, according to the University’s announcement — an increase over last year’s total of over 8,000 applicants. The results were announced on Dec. 14 at 7 p.m.

Penn did not immediately disclose the acceptance rate for applicants through the Early Decision program, continuing its decision to not publicly announce its acceptance rate during the regular decisions admissions cycle for the Class of 2026.

The announcement of results for the Class of 2028 comes amid an unprecedented semester for the University. In the past week alone, both Penn's president and Board of Trustees chair have resigned and been replaced by leaders currently serving in an interim capacity, and many students have expressed concerns about antisemitism and Islamophobia on campus throughout the fall semester.

"Representing the first half of the Class of 2028, these future Quakers admitted through Early Decision will join us from 68 countries, 41 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and right here from our home of Philadelphia," Vice Provost and Dean of Admissions Whitney Soule wrote in the announcement.

At a Board of Trustees meeting earlier this year, Soule reported that Penn received 59,465 applications to the Class of 2027 — a new record — and had an acceptance rate of 5.8%. 3,474 students were offered admission, representing 48 states and 97 countries. Soule stated that first generation college students make up 19% of the admitted class, while 14% are legacy students.

This year has also been one with many changes to Penn's admissions policies.

Ahead of last year’s release of early decisions, Penn Admissions announced the removal of the $400 enrollment deposit — which typically signifies an “intent to enroll” at the University — for the Class of 2027 and future accepted classes. The new policy remains in place for this admissions cycle.

In June, the Supreme Court overturned affirmative action in college admissions in a 6-3 decision. At the time, The Daily Pennsylvanian spoke with Penn community members about the decision’s implications, with many echoing criticism of the decision and concern for the future.

Following the decision, former Penn President Liz Magill and Provost John L. Jackson Jr. released a statement suggesting that Penn’s commitment to diversity would remain unchanged.

“We will seek ways to admit individual students who will contribute to the kind of exceptional community that is essential to Penn’s educational mission,” Magill and Jackson wrote at the time.

Soule also released a blog post about the decision.

"We will need to review and revise our practices to ensure that we are fully compliant with the law. What will not change is our commitment to creating a diverse community as central to the educational experience at Penn," she wrote.

Penn made several changes to its application for the 2023-24 admissions cycle. An essay prompt unique to each undergraduate school was added to the application on July 31, a transition from the previous single short answer used for all four schools.

Additionally, alumni interviews became alumni ‘conversations,’  which are not required but “strongly encouraged,” Laurie Kopp Weingarten, the president and chief educational consultant at One-Stop College Counseling, told the DP. 

The application also removed a question about applicants’ intended area of study while adding one about campus group involvement.

ACT and SAT test score submissions remain optional for applicants, a change that was made for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.