November 15, 2001

Numbers Rising in Early Decision Tally

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Although the University has not yet received all this year’s early decision applications, admissions officials said that the preliminary number of applications already represents an increase over last year.

As of Monday, the admissions office had received 2,435 applications for early decision acceptance, according to Doris Davis, associate provost for admissions and enrollment.

“These numbers will, in all likelihood, increase since I know that we will receive more applications over the next few days,” Davis said. “In fact, it is highly likely that we still haven’t received the E.D. applications that students dropped in the mail on the postmark deadline.”

Davis also said that, given the Sept. 11 tragedies and the recent mail crisis, University officials have decided to be flexible with the early decision application deadline, which was originally scheduled for Nov. 10.

The number of applications received so far this year already represents an increase over last year, when Cornell received 2,425 early decision applications, which was a seven percent increase over the prior year’s 2,264 applications.

Historically, Cornell has accepted one-third of the incoming freshman class from early decision applicants.

“Although we do not set specific enrollment goals with regard to E.D., we like to admit about a third of the freshman class through our E.D. process. While some colleges will come in slightly above or below that goal, the University numbers have generally been about a third,” Davis said.

Cornell also differentiates itself from other Ivy League universities by accepting a relatively low percentage of the incoming freshman class from the early application pool. For example, two years ago, Harvard University accepted 60 percent of their freshman class from early decision.

Davis predicted that Cornell will continue to accept a smaller percentage of the freshman class from the early application pool compared to other Ivy

League universities, even though the admissions office does not have early decision statistics from the other schools yet.

“Given the tremendous diversity of our students– academically, geographically and racially– this makes good sense for Cornell. For a host of reasons, many excellent/qualified students simply do not apply early decision and we want to make sure that we have room for those students when we enter the regular decision process,” Davis said.

According to Davis, the number of students the University can accept each year has decreased due to the North Campus Residential Initiative.

“The construction of the North Campus Residential community has led to a reduction in the number of students who are admitted as freshmen. Because we want to house all first-year students on north campus, we have to be very disciplined about the admissions process so that we do not over-enroll,” she said.

Davis also said that, although she does think that the Sept. 11 tragedy will influence students’ application decisions, it is impossible to know just how the terrorist attacks have affected applications to Cornell.

“Some individuals have speculated that because of the Sept. 11 tragedies, students will want to stay closer to home,” she said.

The University will decide the future of the thousands of early decision applicants by mid-December.

Archived article by Stephanie Hankin