Cornell experienced a whopping 17.4-percent increase in application volume this year, according to a report released by the University’s undergraduate admissions office this week. This figure makes Cornell’s rise in applications the second-highest among all Ivy League schools, immediately behind Princeton University’s 20.6-percent jump in applications, but ahead of the third-highest jump by Harvard University, which experienced a 15-percent increase as reported by the Harvard Crimson.
Applications for the Cornell University Class of 2009 totaled 24,444 with 2,572 received for early decision alone. The admissions office attributes the dramatic increase in applications partially to a more successful marketing campaign to prospective students.
“We had a complete redesign of the admissions viewbook, the main undergraduate admissions brochure,” said Doris Davis, associate provost for admissions and enrollment. “It was great improvement from prior years. We enhanced our communication to prospective students.”
Davis also believed the jump in applications was in part due to the fact that Cornell allowed applicants to use the common application for the first time this year.
“[The common application] makes the process a lot simpler. There are five Ivy League schools now part of common application. Cornell and Princeton joined this year, and it is no coincidence that Cornell and Princeton have highest application increases among the Ivies,” she said.
Garrett Adler, a high school senior from New York City, was accepted into the College of Arts and Sciences using the common application.
“I … remember liking what I saw [in the brochure]. … [It] does look really good,” Adler said. “I was probably most excited, in addition to the brochure, by the course offerings when I glanced through the enormous course bulletin.”
In addition to a vastly larger pool of candidates, Cornell’s admit rate dropped from 28.7 percent to 26.1 percent, accepting a total of 6,384 students. The University accepted approximately 250 more students than it did last year.
In response, Davis said, “We adjust our admission rate every year depending on market conditions. We have to consider market conditions, and this year it is very competitive and yielding students is more difficult.”
Peter S. Cohl ’05, chair of the image committee of the Student Assembly, found this increase in the number of accepted students fascinating.
“Because Cornell’s increase in applications is so much stronger than our cohort schools, it’s possible that the interest in Cornell could result in a higher-than-expected yield for the University,” Cohl said. “Perhaps next year we might want to consider admitting fewer students to increase our selectivity even further. This would likely result in a further improvement in our national rankings.”
Last year, Cornell admitted 6,130 applicants, with 50.46 percent of admitted students accepting a spot at the University.
During the regular decision process, Cornell admitted 5,312 students at a rate of 24.3 percent. Cornell accepted 1,072 students during the early decision process, which is 50 fewer students than last year, reducing the admit rate from 44.1 percent last year to 41.7 percent.
“We had an exceptional applicant pool,” said Simeon Moss, director of press relations. “We’re pleased with the class we have right now.”
According to the admissions report released by the University, 7.9 percent of all those admitted were international students. 11 percent of admitted students were indicated to be legacy students.
The report indicated that 42.1 percent of admits identified themselves as Caucasian, 17.5 percent as Asian American, 6.3 percent as African American, 6.7 percent as Hispanic, 0.5 percent as Native American, and 0.05 percent as Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. 21.9 percent of admits did not indicate their ethnicity while the rest indicated multicultural backgrounds.
“We feel continued improvements in Cornell’s marketing efforts including a redesigned undergraduate admissions website, higher profile due to hopefully improved rankings and a consistently improving attitude among students will help to increase applications next year,” Cohl said on behalf of the image committee.
Yale University experienced a 1.2 percent decrease in applications, while both Brown and Dartmouth experienced a 10 percent increase in applications. Columbia University’s applications increased 5 percent while the University of Pennsylvania had 3 percent more applications.
The University did not release the admissions statistics breakdown by college or the overall range of SAT scores by accepted students.