Penn State attracts strong cohort for summer/fall of 2013

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Despite experiencing an expected decline in overall undergraduate applications, Penn State’s incoming baccalaureate cohort for summer and fall of 2013 will be as academically robust as in years past, and the number of paid acceptances University-wide is 4 percent higher than it was at this time last year.

As of May 1 (the annual deadline for accepting admissions offers for the University Park campus), Penn State received 71,410 undergraduate applications, compared to 77,596 last year, a change of 8 percent. This decline reflects an anticipated trend in Pennsylvania demographics among college-bound high school students, a total that peaked during the last decade and is expected to decline through most of the next 10 years.

However, despite this shift, the high quality of applicants remains consistent with previous years, as evidenced by applicants’ SAT score distribution and high school cumulative grade-point averages.  In order to ensure a consistent quality for the entering class, Penn State made proportionately fewer offers of admission from the applicant pool; even so, baccalaureate paid acceptances are up University-wide by 667 students, or about 4 percent, compared to last year.

“These numbers continue to reflect Penn State’s strength in attracting the best students from Pennsylvania and around the world,” said Rob Pangborn, interim executive vice president and provost. “The success in attracting a strong entering cohort this year reflects the special efforts in recruiting, including an increase in institutional scholarship support directed at first-year students and a robust marketing and media campaign in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh regions.”

Other initiatives have included receptions for all applicants who have received offers; open-house events and campus visits hosted by all Commonwealth Campuses; visits by current students to their former high schools during spring break; and programs for high school guidance counselors, among others.

"Collectively, these efforts have led to a significant increase in the yield rate on the offers of admission made to qualified students," Pangborn said.

At University Park, paid acceptances are up by 523 to 8,930, a 6 percent increase over last year, representing a 5 percentage point increase in yield. This includes a record number of students who have elected to start this summer, just more than 2,000, due in part to the growth and success of Penn State’s optional Learning Edge Academic Program (LEAP) for incoming first-year students at University Park.

Although Penn State’s 19 Commonwealth Campuses have experienced similar declines in applications and offers made, the yield rate at the campuses is also up by 5 percentage points from last year. Total paid acceptances for the campuses are 7,498, up by 144 or 2 percent compared to last year, and this number will grow as the University continues to accept applications and make offers to the campuses throughout the summer, according to Pangborn.

University-wide, out-of-state paid acceptances are down about 8 percent compared to last year, while Pennsylvania acceptances are up about 6 percent. International paid acceptances are up by 16 percent and comprise about 9 percent of the total paid acceptances.

Last Updated May 07, 2013