The Ivy Coach Daily

October 24, 2017

Early Decision Applicants to University of Pennsylvania

UPenn ED Advantage, University of Pennsylvania Early Decision, Early Decision at Penn
There is a major advantage in applying to a school like UPenn in the ED round (photo credit: Bryan Y.W. Shin).

Early Decision applicants to University of Pennsylvania are at quite an advantage over their peers who choose to apply to Ben Franklin’s school in the Regular Decision round. To shine a lantern on this advantage, for the Class of 2021, UPenn’s Regular Decision acceptance rate was 6.8%. Its Early Decision acceptance rate for this same class stood at 22.0%. For the Class of 2020, 7.0% of applicants were admitted in the Regular Decision round, while 23.1% of Early Decision applicants earned admission. For the Class of 2019, these same figures stood at 7.5% and 23.9%, respectively. We think that you get the idea but just in case, do check out the statistics we’ve compiled over the years on the University of Pennsylvania’s admissions statistics.

Applying Early Decision Advantages Applicants at All Schools

But don’t think that the University of Pennsylvania is so different than other highly selective universities with Early Decision policies in place. At all of these institutions, there is a stark statistical advantage in applying Early. As we tell our students each and every year, to not apply Early — and to not apply Early to a reach but not an impossible reach school — is to waste the most valuable card an applicant has in his or her back pocket. Highly selective colleges love it when you commit to them. They love it when you tell them that you will go to their institution over any other institution. And that’s what an applicant is telling that institution when he or she applies through a binding Early Decision policy.

Criticism of Early Decision Policies

That’s not to say there aren’t critics of Early Decision. Some suggest that Early Decision favors the wealthy, the legacies, the athletic recruits. Now do athletic recruits tend to get in during the Early Decision round at a school like UPenn? You bet. Same with legacies and development cases (the children of donors). But let’s bust this myth. As Spencer Swanson writes in a piece in “The Daily Pennsylvanian” in which a group of students debate the University of Pennsylvania’s Early Decision policy, “As Penn Director of Admissions Eric Furda points out, nearly 10 percent of ED admitted students are ’the first in their family to attend college’ and 44 percent self-identify as minorities.”

So many folks argue that it isn’t easier to get in during the Early decision round if you’re not a recruited athlete, a legacy, or a development case. If that were true, if Early Decision truly favored the wealthy, then when oh when are students who are low-income, underrepresented minorities applying to the school? If the argument is that they’re applying in the Regular Decision round, then if one were not an underrepresented minority, a legacy, a development case, or a recruited athlete, then wouldn’t the Regular Decision round be just as hard since you’d be up against even more first-generation college students and more African American, Latino, and Native American students, among others?

Their argument, of course, is nonsensical. If a school is your first choice, apply there Early. At the end of the day, the statistics tell the true story — it’s easier to get into a school like the University of Pennsylvania if you apply Early Decision as compared to Regular Decision. And if you’d like Ivy Coach’s help, even in these final days before the Early Decision deadline, do let us know by filling out our free consult form. Many mistakes that can significantly hurt the cases for admission of Early Decision applicants to University of Pennsylvania can still be corrected even at this late hour.

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