Click on the chart to see how the schools compare with one another.
Early Decision, Early Action, and Rolling Admissions
Penn and Lehigh University both have binding Early Decision programs. This means that if you are accepted to one of these schools, you are required to withdraw your applications at any other schools. If a school with Early Decision is your #1 choice, you should apply Early Decision. Generally the admit rate is higher during Early Decision.
Lehigh University also has an Early Decision II (ED II) option, which has a later deadline. This gives you a chance to apply Early Decision to one school, for example Penn, and if you get deferred or rejected there, you can apply ED II to another school (i.e. Lehigh). Keep in mind that ED II is also binding.
Early Action (EA) is another option when applying to schools like Temple and Drexel. Essentially, you apply early and you receive an admission decision early. However, with EA, there is no commitment. It is beneficial to apply to one of your top schools under Early Action, because it shows them your genuine interest. You should consider if your application is at its strongest when you apply. If you’re waiting to take the SAT or ACT again or to pull up your grades, you may want to wait to apply during Regular Decision, because if you are denied admissions during EA, this decision is final. You cannot reapply during Regular Decision.
Some schools don’t have a specific deadline for admissions, but admit students based on rolling admissions. However, the sooner you apply, the better, because the school will stop admitting students once the class fills up. Temple University is an example of a school that uses Rolling Admissions. They said, “Students who apply during Rolling Admissions can expect to receive a decision from us 4 to 6 weeks after their application is "complete" in our system.” Their hard deadline for Rolling Admissions is February 1st.
From our research, University of Pennsylvania, Lehigh University, and Drexel University do not have a rolling admissions policy.
View the chart for specific deadlines for each school.
All four universities do some form of superscoring for either the SAT, ACT, or both. The term “superscore” is a practice by which some universities take the highest scores from individual sections across test dates and combine them. In general, the policy is that schools will not superscore the Old SAT with the New SAT. The two versions of the SAT have different point scales, and although there is a conversion tool on the College Board’s website, it is not as simple as comparing apples to apples.
To give yourself the best opportunity for admission, list all of your SAT and/or ACT test results on the Common Application. This gives the admissions officers the opportunity to consider your best scores across both versions of the SAT and all ACT tests you’ve taken. Generally, admissions officers want to find a way to admit strong students into their schools.
Of the four schools, Temple is the only one that does not require SAT or ACT scores. They have the “Temple Option” in which undergraduate candidates can apply without submitting standardized test scores. Instead, the applicant submits self-reflexive short answers to open-ended questions. We called the admissions office to find out more about the Temple Option. The admissions counselor said that students choosing to submit these essay questions rather than standardized test scores are not weighted any higher than the SAT or ACT. It is just another avenue for “talented students whose potential for academic success is not accurately captured by standardized test scores.” You can find out more by visiting the Temple University website or calling their admissions office.
SAT Subject Tests
Of the schools we are highlighting this month (U of Penn, Lehigh Univ, Temple, and Drexel), none require the SAT Subject Tests. However, Penn and Lehigh University have specific recommendations for them. Every year the requirements and recommendations of the SAT Subject Tests change, so it is in the student’s best interest to contact the admissions department at the time they are ready to apply.
We researched each school and learned that Temple University and Drexel University do not require or have specific recommendations for any SAT Subject Tests.
University of Pennsylvania recommends that applicants take two SAT Subject Tests, but does not require any. In fact, their admissions department states, “Applicants who do not take SAT Subject Tests will not be at a disadvantage in the admissions process.”
However, depending on your intended major, you may want to strongly consider those recommended SAT Subject Tests. From Penn’s website, “While we have no preference for the SAT vs. the ACT, the SAT Subject Tests can provide insight into specific areas of study for students. For example, the physics subject test can be useful to understand an engineering applicant’s fluency with the subject. Therefore, we’ve started recommending them for students regardless of whether they submit SAT or ACT tests.”
Lehigh University recommends that students who plan to study a foreign language take the SAT Subject Test or Advanced Placement Test for the language they intend to study. Also, students interested in advanced placement and/or receiving college credit in Chemistry, English, or a Foreign Language should take the appropriate SAT Subject Test.
Be sure to read our August newsletter, where we’ll explain more about SAT Subject Tests and feature four additional schools.