The Class of 2021's final year at Penn was marked by pandemic-induced modifications to academics and campus life, featuring online classes, COVID-19 testing, and a largely shuttered campus.
In the Class of 2021's sophomore year, Penn students turned out in droves for the 2018 midterm elections and the University became embroiled in an admissions scandal that took the nation by storm in spring 2019.
Penn released decisions for regular decision applicants on Tuesday, offering admission to 3,202 students and recording its lowest ever acceptance rate of 5.68%.
This year marked Penn's largest application pool in history, with 56,333 — a 34% increase from last year. Penn offered admission to 3,202 of these applicants
Penn received a record increase in international applicants for the Class of 2025, even as international student enrollment in the United States saw a drastic decrease this year amid the pandemic.
The University announced Whitney Soule, the current dean of admissions and financial aid at Bowdoin College, as its next vice provost and dean of admissions.
The large applicant pool, likely influenced by test-optional policies enacted in the wake of COVID-19, is set to result in Penn's lowest-ever acceptance rate, according to Penn Admissions.
The pandemic has driven an increased number of medical school applications this year, with many prospective students inspired by firsthand experiences with COVID-19 and frontline workers' heroism.
The Daily Pennsylvanian spoke with five students who were admitted early decision to the Class of 2025 after navigating an unprecedented year for college application processes. Here are their stories.
The early decision acceptance rate for the Class of 2025 marks a 4.7 percentage point decrease from last year. This year, 7,962 students applied through the University's early decision program, a 23% increase from last year's 6,453 applicants.
While most colleges assure students that they will not be at a disadvantage if they do not submit test scores, some college counseling specialists question the assertion.
The admissions office decided back in March that their fall programming – like tours and information sessions, as well as traveling to speak at high schools – would be virtual, five months before the University went fully online.
Dean of Admissions Eric Furda said he does not expect the gap year increase to have a “significant impact on the selectivity or opportunity” during the upcoming admission cycle.
Students, including Kite and Key Society president and Rising Engineering senior Sofia Gonzalez, said they were shocked and saddened by Furda's decision to leave the University after leading the Admissions Office for 12 years.
After leading Penn's Admissions Office since 2008, Furda will join the college counseling team at William Penn Charter School.
Penn admitted 196 students out of 2,506 transfer applicants for the 2020-2021 academic year.
Although students will be able to submit standardized test scores, those who do not submit will not be at a disadvantage.
Brian Taylor, managing director of New York City-based college admissions consulting firm Ivy Coach, believes the decision will influence other universities, and said it is likely that highly selective universities, such as Ivy League institutions, will be test-optional in the future.
College Board and ACT testing agencies canceled and postponed multiple test dates in response to the pandemic, prompting many universities to change standardized test requirements for future applicants.
Each tour is capped at 50 students, and led by two Kite and Key tour guides and up to four admissions officers to ensure all questions asked through the Zoom platform’s chat feature are answered.