The Ivy Coach Daily

April 6, 2022

University of Pennsylvania Class of 2026 Admissions Statistics

Applications were down at UPenn this year (photo credit: Bryan Y.W. Shin).

The University of Pennsylvania received nearly 55,000 applications to its Class of 2026. But before we discuss UPenn’s incoming class, let’s first zero in on how the university presented this information in a press release — because it’s quite telling and it proves a point we’ve long been making on the pages of Ivy Coach’s college admissions blog. As E. Whitney Soule, UPenn’s new Vice Provost and Dean of Admissions, wrote in a press release for Penn Today entitled “Regular Decision admissions to the Class of 2026,” “There were nearly 55,000 applicants this year—almost 15,000 more than applied just two years ago for the Class of 2024—and students were admitted through Questbridge Match, Early Decision, and Regular Decision rounds.”

So what do we find interesting? Well, the university received “nearly 55,000” applications this year. Last year, based on our comprehensive records, the school received 56,333 applications. But instead of saying that UPenn, like Dartmouth, received fewer applications to its Class of 2026, Dean Soule compared the tally to the Class of 2024 to show an upward trajectory (42,205 students applied two years ago). So as schools like Princeton, Stanford, and Cornell choose not to release admissions data at the conclusion of admissions cycles, claiming that by not releasing the data they’re making the process less stressful for future applicants, look no further than this UPenn press release to know that they’re all full of malarkey, to quote a phrase of President Biden’s, who has long enjoyed an association with UPenn. The fact is, if UPenn truly didn’t want to make the admissions process less stressful for all, Dean Soule would have compared this year’s application tally to last year’s record tally.

Yet Dean Soule is new in her role and, as our readers know well, a successful tenure at UPenn will only be marked by increased applications. So Dean Soule, quite transparently, tried to distract us by waving her hands around the admissions data for the Class of 2024 in the hope we wouldn’t think to look at last year’s figures. No such luck. And, frankly, Dean Soule, your predecessor, Eric Furda, one of the nation’s more candid deans of admission, would have been more straightforward. We suspect he would have said it was the second strongest year in admissions in the history of the University of Pennsylvania. And it was. So just tell it like it is going forward, Dean Soule. You had nothing to be ashamed about!

In any case, we do appreciate that Dean Soule shared some anecdotes about the admitted students to UPenn’s Class of 2026. Rather than merely report dry statistics as so many universities do, Dean Soule took a page from Johns Hopkins’ admissions office and shared snapshots of the kind of students UPenn seeks on its Philadelphia campus. As she eloquently writes, “Nearly one-third of the admitted students engaged in academic research during their time in high school, many earning national and international accolades for research that is already pushing the boundaries of academic discovery…Further, one of the central tenets of a Penn education is translating knowledge into social-minded action.”

She continues, “Over 80% of the admitted students are living out this tradition by engaging in community service activities that have already made a significant impact locally, nationally, and globally…We saw an uptick in interests in sustainability and environmental studies among applicants this year, who channeled their passion into tangible action. We read about students who organized efforts to adopt more sustainable practices and policies, both at a local and national level…Finally, almost 40% of students worked during their time in high school, earning money to support themselves and their families.”

Congratulations to all of Ivy Coach’s students who earned admission to the University of Pennsylvania’s Class of 2026! We’re so proud of you. Go Quakers!

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