University of Pennsylvania has record low early admission acceptance rate to the Class of 2022

Bonnie K. Goodman
4 min readDec 14, 2017


By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

The University of Pennsylvania received a record number of application to the Class of 2022 leading to their lowest early decision acceptance rate in history. Source: Wikipedia Commons

Mid-December is early admission decision time and almost every other day anxious high school seniors await an email from the school of their dreams that will determine their future. On Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, at 7 p.m. Ivy League school the University of Pennsylvania sent out 1,312 early decision offers of admission for the Class of 2022. This year Penn received a record number of applications, 7,074 students applied, and 15 percent more to the early decision program for the Class of 2021. As result, the college has its record lowest early admission rate in history at just 18.5 percent down from last year’s 23.2 percent.

The acceptance rate for the Class of 2022 is the lowest in the school’s history, still, the university did not actually admit that much fewer students than last year. Penn admitted 1,312 students this year and last year they accepted 1,354 students. UPenn admits over half of the freshmen class through their early decision program. As the student paper, the Daily Pennsylvanian noted: “Last year approximately 55 percent of the total 2,445 spots available were filled by Early Decision applicants.”

Last year, Penn hailed their Class of 2021 acceptance rate as the lowest in history, accepting 3,699 students from 40,413 applicants for “a record-low 9.15 percent acceptance rate.” In December 2016, Penn sent notifications to 1,364 students that they were accepted as part of the early decision program with a nearly 24 percent acceptance rate. The university targeted goal of 2,445 students enrolling in the fall.

The sheer increase in the number of applications received is the only reason for Penn’s significantly smaller acceptance rate. More high school seniors are applying for early admission programs giving schools more quality applicants to choose from for their incoming class. This year Penn saw an increase of 9.5 percent from last year in the number of early decision applications they received, that number is 38 percent more from when the Class of 2018 applied in 2013. For the Class of 2021, Penn received what was then a record 6,147 applications.

Penn released, however, very little demographic data about the early decision Class of 2022. This year’s class comes 54 countries and 45 states and Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, while last year, they came from 44 countries and 46 states. Additionally, despite only 16 percent of their applications coming from legacies, “the children or grandchildren of Penn alumni,” the school admitted a whopping 25 percent to their early decision program. Meanwhile, only “11 percent of student accepted are first-generation college students,” the same as last year. This year’s Penn applicants included as the Daily Pennsylvanian pointed out, “47 percent are women, 11 percent are first-generation college students, 40 percent self-identify as students of color, 16.5 percent were educated outside of the United States, and 16 percent are legacies.”

Dean of Admissions Eric Furda released an email statement commenting on the early decision Class of 2022. Furda noted, “It does not appear that travel bans and immigration legislation has impacted Penn’s applicant pool.” Furda believes the new SAT positively affected the students applying to the school. The Dean of Admissions said, “With changes to format and scoring instituted by The College Board in 2016, most students received higher scores on the rSAT than what they would have received in the older SAT format. The rSAT represents a significant change within the larger college application landscape that may have impacted college search, choice, and application behavior on the part of individual students.”

Early decision is binding, meaning a student who applies and then is accepted is required to attend the university or college, while early action is non-binding, a student can be accepted and then decide against going to that particular school and can turn down their admission offer. Applying for early admission is not without its risks either, some schools have policies where if a student is rejected in the early admission cycle, cannot reapply for regular admission, however, some universities who do not accept students that applied for early admission, automatically consider them for regular admission.

Despite having the lowest acceptance rate in their school’s history, so far, Penn has the highest acceptance rate among the Ivy League schools that released their data. On Tuesday, Dec. 12, Harvard University admitted just 964 students out of 6,630 applicants, an admission rate of just 14.5 percent to their early admissions program. Harvard is the most selective Ivy League college. Earlier on Wednesday, Princeton University sent out early action admission offers to 799 lucky school seniors to the Class of 2022, out of a record 5,402 applications. Princeton’s acceptance rate was a record low with only 14.7 percent of student accepted.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.



Bonnie K. Goodman

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University) is a Professional Librarian (CBPQ) & historian. Former editor @ History News Network & reporter @