In total, there were 38,792 applicants to the Class of 2020, from both the early and regular decision rounds. The number of applications Penn received has increased 4 percent from last year and 22.5 percent from five years ago.
“I want to reiterate that applications do not increase every year,” Dean of Admissions Eric Furda said in an email, calling this year’s increase “impressive.”
For the second year in a row, the deadline for the Penn regular decision application was Jan. 5, four days later than the traditional Jan. 1 deadline. Previously, the deadline had only been extended in the case of extenuating circumstances, such as Common Application glitches in 2014, and Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
Meanwhile, this year’s deadline was not extended, but set as Jan. 5 from the beginning of the application process.
“Last year I was going to make our deadline for regular decision on January 5 so it would no longer be on a holiday when the University was closed,” Furda said. “We made the deadline last year and stayed with that deadline.”
Other colleges have also started setting later deadlines for their applications — including Duke University, which was Jan. 3 this year, and Johns Hopkins, which was Jan. 4.
Brian Taylor, director of the private college counseling practice Ivy Coach, attributed the later deadline to an increasingly common strategy among colleges to increase the number of applicants to the school.
“Penn is not the only school to do this. It’s been a trend for the last three years. It started with Hurricane Sandy, but now schools just do it with no excuses and are doing it just to secure more applicants,” Taylor said.
Taylor does not believe that the later deadline changes the way most students apply to schools like Penn and attracts only procrastinators.
Anirudh Prabu, a regular decision applicant to the Class of 2020, thought that the Jan. 5 deadline was helpful as it allowed him to apply to all of the schools with Jan. 1 deadlines first, and then gave him more time to work on the Penn essay. Eric Teichner, another regular decision applicant to the Class of 2020, did not feel as if the deadline changed his application process to Penn.
“I started my application pretty early, so I had it in pretty early as well. I did submit on the 5th but it didn’t really affect how I was planning my application,” Teichner said.
Results for regular decision applicants will be released by April 1 this year.