College Intel

University of Pennsylvania Admissions

Students walk under an arch at the University of Pennsylvania.

In July of 1778, what is now known as the University of Pennsylvania was known as something a bit different: the capital of the United States. This stint as the nation’s political center during the Revolutionary War is just one of the many episodes in Penn’s storied history. It is not only one of America’s first colleges, but also the first university offering both undergraduate and graduate education (a status gained with the founding of the first medical school in the country in 1765). Penn’s alumni include billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, famed suffragette Alice Paul, recording artist John Legend, and former President Donald Trump. Faculty at Penn have included civil rights icon W. E. B. Du Bois, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer George Crumb, and President Joe Biden.

While the precise founding date of the university remains contentious, most agree that by 1749, Benjamin Franklin had established the nascent Academy and College of Philadelphia, which would go on to be known as the University of Pennsylvania. His vision for American higher education placed a strong emphasis on professional and vocational schooling, and this legacy has lived on with the university’s twelve graduate and professional schools, all of which are nationally ranked. The Wharton School of Business (est. 1881), the Graduate School of Education (est. 1915), and the School of Nursing (est. 1935) are each considered the best in the country in their respective disciplines. 

Unlike many of its Ivy League counterparts, Penn offers undergraduate pre-professional degrees; students enroll in four schools: The College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS), the School of Nursing (the only undergraduate nursing degree in the Ivy League), and the Wharton School. Penn students benefit from a “One University” policy that allows all 10,000 undergrads and 14,000 postgrads to cross-register for classes in any school or program.

In addition, Penn offers seven specialized dual-degree and interdisciplinary programs: The Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology (M & T)  (a B.S. in Economics from The Wharton School and either a BSE in Engineering or a BAS in Engineering from Penn Engineering), the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business (a B.A. in International Studies from the School of Arts and Sciences and a B.S. in Economics from The Wharton School), Nursing and Health Care Management (a B.S. from Penn Nursing Science and a B.S. in Economics from The Wharton School), the Roy and Diana Vagelos Program in Life Sciences and Management (LSM) (a B.S. in Economics from The Wharton School and a B.A. from the College of Arts & Sciences in a life science discipline), the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER) (a bachelor’s degree from the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Science), the Computer and Cognitive Science Program (B.A. from the College of Arts and Sciences and either a BSE in Engineering or a BAS in Engineering from Penn Engineering), and the Accelerated 7 year Bio-Dental Program (a bachelor’s degree plus a dental degree from Penn Dental Medicine).

Student life on campus accounts for some of the liveliest in the Ivy League with a multitude of performing arts, comedy, Greek, affinity, and academic organizations. The Philomathean Society (founded in 1813), a collegiate literary society, is the oldest student group on campus, and one of the oldest literary societies in the country. Organizations such as the Glee Club, Penn Band, and the Mask and Wig Club are also some of the oldest and most renowned undergraduate organizations in the country. Penn is known for the strength of its LGBTQ+ community and history of queer activism. Additionally, athletics have a strong presence on campus with many teams taking home Ivy League championships, and in the case of the men’s and women’s fencing teams, national championships.

Today, the University of Pennsylvania is regarded as one of the best universities in the world, educating civically-minded world leaders on a West Philadelphia campus known for its physical beauty, public art installations, and proximity to many historical neighborhoods in the greater city area. Penn received about $1.6 billion in research funding in 2021, the highest in the Ivy League. Those with entrepreneurial, cultural, and scientific ambitions turn to Penn to be on the cutting edge of many fields. 

While it has historically been one of the less competitive Ivies when it comes to admissions, Penn has followed a recent trend of increasingly competitive cycles that demand more and more from applicants. For the Class of 2027, Penn received a record 59,465 applications, but only admitted 3,474, for an acceptance rate of 5.84%, the lowest in the school’s history. According to their admissions office, Penn looks for candidates who “emulate our founder Benjamin Franklin by applying their knowledge in ’service to society’ to our community, the city of Philadelphia, and the wider world.” Demonstrating this level of civic commitment on the application is no small feat, so Ivy Coach is happy to help you with this process!

University of Pennsylvania Admissions Statistics

University of Pennsylvania Overall Accept. Rate Regular Decision Accept. Rate Regular Decision Apps Accepted Regular Decision Apps Received Early Decision / Action Accept. Rate Percent of Class Filled by Early Apps Early Decision / Action Apps Received Early Decision / Action Apps Accepted Expected Number of Students to Enroll Total Apps Received Total Apps Accepted
2027 NYP NYP NYP NYP NYP NYP NYP NYP 2,400 59,463 NYP
2026 NYP NYP NYP 46,791 15.63% 50.4% 7,795 1,218 2,417 54,586 NYP
2025 5.7% 4.2% 2,008 48,371 14.9% 49.8% 7,962 1,194 2,400 56,333 3,202
2024 8.1% 6.0% 2,135 35,752 19.7% 52.9% 6,453 1,269 2,400 42,205 3,404
2023 7.4% 5.5% 2,066 37,850 18.0% 53.0% 7,110 1,279 2,413 44,960 3,345
2022 8.4% 6.5% 2,419 37,408 18.5% 53.7% 7,074 1,312 2,445 44,482 3,731
2021 9.2% 6.8% 2,345 34,266 22.0% 55.4% 6,147 1,354 2,445 40,413 3,699
2020 9.4% 7.0% 2,329 33,156 23.2% 54.6% 5,762 1,335 2,445 38,918 3,661
2019 9.9% 7.5% 2,381 31,778 23.9% 54.4% 5,489 1,316 2,420 37,267 3,697
2018 9.9% 7.3% 2,252 30,719 25.2% 53.7% 5,149 1,299 2,420 35,868 3,551
2017 12.1% 9.8% 2,589 26,468 24.9% 49.4% 4,812 1,196 2,420 31,280 3,785
2016 12.3% 10.1% 2,698 26,690 25.4% 47.4% 4,526 1,148 2,420 31,216 3,846
2015 12.3% 9.9% 2,685 27,102 26.2% 49.4% 4,557 1,195 2,420 31,659 3,880
2014 14.2% 11.4% 2,630 23,096 31.2% 50% 3,842 1,200 2,400 26,938 3,830
2013 17.1% 14.4% 2,770 19,273 31.5% 48.2% 3,666 1,156 2,400 22,939 3,926
2012 16.4% 13.8% 2,622 18,993 29.2% 47.8% 3,929 1,147 2,400 22,922 3,769
2011 15.9% 13.1% 2,450 18,633 29% 48.3% 4,001 1,160 2,400 22,634 3,610
2010 17.7% 15% 2,442 16,331 28.4% 49.2% 4,148 1,180 2,400 20,479 3,622
2009 20.9% 17.9% 2,743 15,329 34.2% 48.3% 3,420 1,169 2,420 18,749 3,912
2008 21% 18.3% 2,726 14,891 33.1% 45% 3,387 1,120 2,490 18,278 3,846
2007 20.5% 17.2% 2,736 15,945 38.9% 47% 2,882 1,122 2,385 18,827 3,858

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