March 16, 2004

Applications for College of Arts and Sciences Jump

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Although they are not yet finished with selecting the class of 2008, members of the admissions office in the College of Arts and Sciences already know their incoming freshmen will be an exceptionally qualified group of students. According to Stephen Friedfeld, an assistant dean in the arts college, regular decision applications increased by nearly eight percent this year, the equivalent of 700 files. This is a substantially higher number than that seen across the University, where there was an overall application increase of two percent, or 200 students.

According to the Undergraduate Admissions Office, there were 8,769 applicants seeking admission to the College of Arts and Sciences for fall 2003. With this year’s eight percent increase, there are nearly 9,500 high school seniors looking to enter the arts college’s class of 2008.

Friedfeld, as well as Doris Davis, associate provost for admissions and enrollment and Peter S. Cohl ’05, chair of the Cornell Image Committee, all noted that more aggressive recruiting explains the dramatic increase in numbers from last year.

Citing “directed and targeted mailings” and “more efficient travel,” Friedfeld said that admissions officers worked this year “to let [prospective students] know that we’re interested.” By sending follow-up literature to high-school seniors, even if they did not respond to first-round brochures, admissions officers created “a better strategy for reaching out to top students,” Friedfeld said.

This “strategic initiative,” which began in summer 2003, Davis said, was directed toward students who lived “in our primary recruitment areas.” In addition to general material about Cornell, high school seniors received both “Voices from the Quad,” a brochure specifically about the arts college, and information about Cornell Commitment programs.

“We believe that the mailings were an effective way to provide important information to students who may not have been able to visit the campus,” Davis said.

The initiative was a collaboration between the UAO and the admissions office for the College of Arts and Sciences.

Cohl, who worked closely with members of the admissions offices throughout the University to improve recruitment strategies, explained that the University now “has regional coordinators on the West Coast and in down-state New York.” This new program, he said, will allow the University “to reach directly into two of its larger markets” while sticking to what Friedfeld called “cost-efficient travel plans.”

Because the 2008 class size will not expand to accommodate this peaked interest in Arts and Sciences, the college’s acceptance rate will drop dramatically this spring.

“Given the increase in applications