January 5, 2008

Cornell Early Admissions Numbers Released

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While the admissions office is still counting the applications for regular decision into the University, we’ve received the numbers for early decision. 3,110 students applied, an increase of 3 percent from last year’s 3,015 applicants, according to a report released by the undergraduate admissions office. This year, 1,139 applicants were offered admission, with an acceptance rate of 36.6 percent, down from 38.9 percent two years ago but the same rate as last year.

Update: We received updated numbers, which can be found in this new blog post.

A pdf of the one-page report from the admissions office is provided at the bottom of this page. We hope to have regular decision numbers within a few days. It’ll probably be no surprise at all to anyone that Cornell’s acceptance rate continues to drop; but is that a factor of Cornell’s increasing popularity, or just an indication that there are more people who want to get into college and everyone is feeling the crunch?

Interestingly, the report also noted that 53 percent of accepted students were male, while 47 percent were female. While the national trend has been leaning toward more women on college campuses—42 percent of students in the US are men according to one report in 2006 by the New York Times—Cornell’s ratio of men to women has held steadily equal for a significant number of years. The class of 2011 had 48 percent women and 52 percent men upon matriculation. So why the huge gap in admissions? The Sun reported that the 2006 issue of the report released by Cornell’s Institutional Research and Planning Division shows that the proportion of women enrolled in the College of Human Ecology is 75 percent, while female enrollment in the College of Engineering is 28 percent. Cornell’s excuse at the time seems to be that since we offer such a large variety of programs, it’s hard to say what kind of people we’ll attract. If we are consistently attracting and bringing in many more male students than female students, unlike the general trend in American higher education, does that not sound an alarm? Why would Cornell appeal at face value more easily to males than to females? Shouldn’t a wide variety of programs mean that the gender gap in subjects like engineering would be counterbalanced by female-friendly subjects?

Some of you may remember the controversy over the early application process, particularly when Harvard, and a number of other top-tier schools, announced they would be scrapping the early admissions system starting Fall 2007. Although the administration seriously considered it, Cornell benefits more from its Early Decision admissions program than Harvard. Our early admissions locks in some of the most qualified students, and has typically made up one-third of the entire class. It doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon, although it’ll take time to see any benefits the likes of Harvard, Princeton and UVa have garnered from dropping early admissions.

Update: I incorrectly identified that 38.9 percent was the early admissions acceptance rate for the class of 2011. In fact the rate was 36.6 percent for both the class of 2011 as well as the pending class of 2012. Correction appended.

Julie Geng is a Sun Senior Editor. She can be reached at julie.geng@cornellsun.com.

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