August 27, 2002

Applications to Cornell Drop; Freshman Class More Diverse

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Strolling through campus parking lots any given day, a visitor to campus will spot license plates from New York, nearby New Jersey and far-off Florida. Cornellians hail from every nook and cranny of the United States and the world, and the Class of 2006 is no exception.


According to Doris Davis, associate provost for admissions and enrollment, the new class of Cornellians represents nearly every state.

“We continue to enroll large numbers of students from New York, California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Florida, Illinois [and] Texas,” Davis said via email.

“Also, about eight percent of the enrolling class is made up of international students,” she added.

The Class of 2006 represents students from a number of racial backgrounds as well.

“About 30 percent of the enrolling class are students who have identified themselves as African-American, Hispanic, Native American or Asian-American,” Davis stated.

In May, the Cornell News Service reported that minorities made up 33.4 percent of the students admitted to the Class of 2006, up from 30 percent last year.

The portion of students admitted from New York state dropped a few percentage points, while a greater portion of New Englanders, Far Westerners and students from the Mid-Atlantic were admitted this year.


The admissions office received 32 fewer applications than last year. Out of the 21,486 students who applied to the Big Red last fall, 6,013 were offered a spot in the Class of 2006, or just under 28 percent. Cornell also admitted about 100 students from the wait list this year, out 2,500 who were wait listed, Davis said.

After the admissions officers invite students into the Cornell family, staff members wait for reply cards to see who chooses to enroll.

“We are seeking to enroll 3,000 students in the Class of 2006,” Davis said. In the past two years, the yield rate has been about 51 percent.

A third of the new class decided in December they would come to Cornell.

“About 33 percent of the members of the Class of 2006 are students who were admitted through our early decision program,” Davis said.

Davis said that admissions officers were flexible with the early decision deadline because of the Sept. 11 tragedy and subsequent mail scare. The number of early decision applications was up 7 percent from the previous year.

Davis said in an November interview with The Sun that she believed Sept. 11 would have an effect on student’s application decisions, but it would be impossible to measure the results.

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

Historically, Cornell has accepted one-third of the incoming freshman class from early decision applicants, in contrast to other Ivy League institutions , such as Harvard, which admits up to 60 percent of its applicants through the early decision route.

Additionally, three out of the seven undergraduate colleges –Arts and Sciences, Agriculture and Life Sciences and Human Ecology allow freshmen to start their Cornell careers in January, Davis said. As part of this system, 100 first-year students will join the class as “J-frosh” in January.

This was the first year that the University used electronic notification to let students in the Western United States, Asia, Europe and South America know of the University’s decision. Electronic notification will be expanded to all applicants next year.

“Less than two hours after sending the e-mail notification, we were hearing back from students who were delighted to have been admitted to Cornell,” Davis said in an April interview with The Sun.

Archived article by Heather Schroeder