Early Decision and Regular Decision
Applying to any institution through an early program can be a big decision to make. We hope that as you go through your college search process, you are actively considering the schools that will be the best fit for you. If after much consideration—given extensive research, conversations, and perhaps even campus visits—you feel that Penn is your top choice, then we encourage you to apply to Penn through our Early Decision program.
Early Decision Plan
Penn’s Early Decision program is binding, meaning that if you are admitted, you are obligated to accept our offer of admission. As you weigh your options as to apply to Penn through Early Decision or Regular Decision, there are a few important policies and exceptions to consider.
- You cannot simultaneously apply to Penn under our Early Decision program and another college/university under their early notification program, including Early Decision, Restrictive Early Action (also known as Single-Choice Early Action), or Early Action. There are limited exceptions:
- You may apply to any public college/university that offers non-binding admissions.
- You may apply to any foreign college/university.
- You may apply to any college/university with non-binding early deadlines for scholarships.
- Penn’s Early Decision program supersedes any other early notifications. If you are admitted to Penn, then you are expected to enroll.
- An applicant’s affiliation with Penn, either by being children or grandchildren of alumni, is given the most consideration through Early Decision.
Although applicants considering applying through Early Decision must submit their applications earlier (November 1st) than Regular Decision applicants (January 5th), the process of applying is no different. Please refer to our Checklists & Deadlines page for more information.
By mid-December, you will receive one of three possible outcomes from your Early Decision application:
- You are admitted into the University of Pennsylvania. As part of our Early Decision program, you are committed to accepting our offer of admission. You must withdraw any active applications you have to other colleges/universities. The only instance in which a student can request to be released from our Early Decision binding contract is if the applicant’s financial need cannot be met, which would be determined only after consulting with Penn’s Student Financial Services.
- You are deferred for consideration during Regular Decision. Your application will be considered among our Regular Decision candidates. You will receive final notification of our decision in late March/early April. Instructions on how to provide updates to your application will be found on your applicant portal. Please note that for students who applied to one of Penn’s coordinated dual-degree programs would be deferred from all programs.
- You are denied under the Early Decision program. You cannot re-apply to Penn until the next academic cycle. We will not give your application consideration during Regular Decision.
Regular Decision Plan
If any Regular Decision applicant to the University of Pennsylvania is accepted by another school under a College Board-approved, binding Early Decision plan, the applicant must inform the Office of Admissions and withdraw his or her Penn application.