ED RD students sitting on college green in the fall

Early Decision and Regular Decision

As you research universities, think about the bigger picture and the environment you want to be in after high school and beyond. If you feel that Penn is the best fit, we encourage you to apply through our Early Decision program.

Early Decision 

Penn’s Early Decision program is binding, meaning that if you are admitted, you are obligated to accept our offer of admission.

By mid-December, you will receive one of three possible outcomes from your Early Decision application:

  1. 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 you could request to be released from our Early Decision binding agreement is if your financial need can’t be met, which would be determined only after consulting with Penn’s Student Financial Services office. 
  2. You are deferred for consideration during Regular Decision. Your application will be considered among our Regular Decision candidates and you will no longer be bound by the Early Decision binding agreement. 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.
  3. You are denied under the Early Decision program. You can’t re-apply to Penn until the next academic cycle. We won’t give your application consideration during Regular Decision.

We appreciate that attending Penn is a tradition for many families, so an applicant’s affiliation with Penn, either by being a child or grandchild 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.

Regular Decision 

If you’re a Regular Decision applicant to the University of Pennsylvania and are accepted by another school under a binding Early Decision program, you must inform the Office of Admissions and withdraw your Penn application.