Penn State Application Numbers Up Amid Pandemic

Over the past year, the coronavirus pandemic has altered nearly every aspect of our lives, and college admissions are no different. Despite a lot of colleges reporting a decrease in applications, Penn State’s pool is only growing.

According to the university, Penn State as a whole has seen an increase of applications in the current cycle by 8% compared to last year by January 19. University Park has an even higher rate of applicants — an 11% increase from 2019-20.

Why are more high school seniors interested in Dear Old State than usual? According to researchers, adaptations made to the application process due to the coronavirus is actually to thank for this phenomenon.

Of this year’s prospective incoming freshmen, 58% chose not to submit their test scores, a first for Penn State amid the pandemic. According to the Washington Post, the allure of keeping the test score out of the application is the main reason so many high school seniors are willing to apply to “tougher” schools.

The same has happened with other elite universities, most notably in the Ivy League and UCLA. After suspending ACT and SAT requirements, Harvard received a record-high 57,000 applicants and delayed its admissions deadline by a week.

Unfortunately for the rest of the nation, it is a case of the rich getting richer. College Board announced that Common App submissions were down 2% this year across the United States.

The increase in Penn State applications may continue for the near future after the university announced it would continue its test score suspension through 2023.

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About the Author

Otis Lyons

Otis is a sophomore majoring in print journalism and is one of Onward State's associate editors. He lives just north of San Francisco, and is a diehard San Jose Earthquakes fan. Feel free to send over your soccer hot takes to his twitter @otisnlyons1 and instagram @otislyons

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