Penn Early Decision Policy Change

Penn Early Decision, UPenn Early Decision, Early Decision at the University of Pennsylvania

There was a change to the language of the Early Decision commitment at the University of Pennsylvania this year.

Update: The University of Pennsylvania has reversed course on the change they were making to their Early Decision policy for this year’s applicants, likely bowing to pressure from high school counselors. As reported in a piece on Penn’s Early Decision policy by Julia Bell for “The Daily Pennsylvanian,” “Just weeks after Penn restricted its Early Decision policy, the University released a statement undoing the change and reverting the Early Decision Program back to the original procedure. The change, which was enacted over the summer, restricted students from applying Early Action to private schools while simultaneously applying Early Decision to Penn. However, a statement released online on Sept. 16 returned the Early Decision policy to its previous status. Now, students can simultaneously apply to Penn and private schools with Early Action or schools with rolling admission. Attending Penn is obligatory if the student is accepted.”

Hat tip to one of our readers for alerting us to this policy change.

Originally Published: We write about highly selective college admissions every day of the week on the pages of our college admissions blog but every now and then we realize we forgot to write about a certain topic. While we were aware that the University of Pennsylvania changed the language of its Early Decision policy for this admissions cycle, we never offered our opinions about the policy change. What were we thinking? Sincerest apologies to our avid readers. We’ll make it up to you, we will.

Students who commit to a school’s binding Early Decision policy should want to go to that school above all others. So we absolutely empathize with the University of Pennsylvania’s decision to make the language of this binding commitment even more restrictive.

For those unfamiliar with the Penn Early Decision policy change that took effect for this year’s applicants, the Class of 2021, the school chose to restrict the Early Decision policy further by allowing students applying Early Decision to only apply to public universities Early Action. As articulated in an article on the Penn Early Decision policy change in “The Daily Pennsylvanian” by Julia Bell, “Previously, students who applied Early Decision to Penn could apply Early Action to private schools that did not have Restrictive Early Action policies. Now, they cannot apply Early Action to any private schools, regardless of whether their policies are restrictive.”

The change in language, orchestrated by the always candid and outspoken Dean of Admissions Eric Furda, was made because Furda and his staff wanted only students ready to make that binding commitment to the university to apply ED. Each year, there are always students who try to back out of their Early Decision commitment (yikes is right!) and who wants that? Nobody. At Ivy Coach, we want to work with students who love us. And the University of Pennsylvania is no different. They want students who love them too. It’s rather simple if you think about it. So when a private college counselor in the piece says, “This new policy is disappointing and it’s going to hurt kids,” she couldn’t be more wrong. How is this going to ‘hurt kids’? To hold them to the binding commitments that they make? To honor their promises? Seems like an important life skill to us…

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