Selecting the Class

Posted on by Dean Furda

Today, I’m sharing my Huffington Post article on selecting the class of 2019. Initially written for Penn Admissions staff, this message is important for our regular decision applicants and their families as well as prospective students—

We are heading into an intense and rewarding few weeks selecting the class of 2019. The thoughtfulness of our applicant pool together with our expanding recruitment outreach has given us a great opportunity to build on the admitted Early Decision, Questbridge, and Likely cohorts. Our recruitment process is meaningful because it allows us to admit the broadest representation of intellectual and life experiences into this class.

In this, and every application cycle, we strive to raise the bar on excellence and inclusion. Although the selection rate will be low, in the single digits, we honor and value each and every individual story. We carefully review the context of an applicant’s experience; their excellence of thought; their potential impact on the Penn community; their understanding (and ours) of their Penn fit; their achievement and promise. The committee review process allows my colleagues and me to deeply understand the voices we are bringing together.

As Penn becomes increasingly selective, I am also mindful of the waitlist. The waitlist is essential to the class. It is a means for our office to acknowledge the competitiveness of the pool while communicating the strengths of individual applicants’ files. A waitlist decision should be taken seriously but realistically given the limited space in the class.

Now is the time to make very important and difficult selection choices. As we head into the most intense and important part of our office’s work, we acknowledge the partners in this process–teachers, counselors, alumni interviewers, Penn faculty, undergraduate school and program partners. We work as a team to care for the many responsibilities of this office. There is something very special about Penn Admissions as a team and I am confident that we will create something very, very special for the class of 2019.


*PAGE 217
refers to the always legendary and occasionally dreaded essay which was once a mainstay of the University of Pennsylvania application. The question read as follows: “You have just finished your three hundred page autobiography. Please submit page 217.”

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