Classiest class yet

More students than ever before applied here this year; and, more students than ever before were turned away by Admissions this year.

Out of the 16,651 students who applied, Admissions offered only 4,837 (29 percent) the chance to be part of the Class of 2002, according to Admissions Dean Lee Stetson, who said the record-breaking numbers are exciting but challenging, in that those accepted will have many options.

Average SAT scores went up 18 points, from 1,383 last year to 1,401 this year. And, the average student accepted is in the top 2 percent of his or her graduating class, compared to the top 3 percent last year.

Admissions received more applications than ever at a time when applications at most other Ivy League schools declined or remained steady (Columbia and Penn increased dramatically, and Brown saw a moderate rise in applications, Stetson said).

To make Penn the students' top choice, Admissions is "rolling out the red carpet" during Penn Previews to accepted students, who received glossy new welcoming packages with their acceptance letters that detail a range of activities at Penn.

"So, it will be offering more than just a group tour," said Stetson, adding that Penn representatives will also be traveling nationally to entice students unable to make it here for a visit.

Originally published on April 16, 1998