December 3, 2004

Early Acceptances Out Soon

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As mid-December approaches, well over 2,000 high school seniors are anxiously waiting for an invitation to join the Cornell Class of 2009.

Those early-decision applicants who are accepted will comprise about a third of next year’s freshman class.

According to Doris Davis, associate provost of admissions, this year’s applicant pool closely resembles last year’s. The admissions office received 2,569 applications for early decision, 11 more than last year. The number of applications per college is comparable to last year’s distribution, and the percentage of self-identified underrepresented minority applicants hovers around last year’s figure of 7.7 percent.

Early-decision candidates are not allowed to apply early to any other college or university. Furthermore, if they receive early acceptance, they must cancel all outgoing applications to other institutions. In other words, acceptance under the early decision program is binding. For many high school seniors, receiving an early acceptance calms their college-related anxieties. However, the early decision route is also appealing because it actually enhances a student’s chances of getting in to Cornell. Last year, 44 percent of early-decision applicants were granted admission, comprising 36 percent of this year’s freshman class.

According to the Cornell admissions office, enthusiasm for Cornell is “considered a plus, [so] early-decision applicants stand a better chance of gaining admission.”

In addition, Cornell admissions officers feel that the early decision option creates a self-selecting process, allowing bright students who are familiar with and enthusiastic about Cornell to distinguish themselves in the general application pool.

“We find that students who choose to apply to Cornell early decision have done a lot of research about the college process, and that they are making well-informed decisions about applying for admission to Cornell,” Davis said.

Dartmouth, Columbia, Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania offer identical early decision programs. Harvard offers the early action option, which allows their applicants to apply early to other schools and does not require students to attend Harvard if accepted. Yale implemented a hybrid of the two plans last year with its early action single choice option. EASC allows students to apply early to Yale, and it doesn’t bind them to attend if they are accepted. However, students applying early to Yale are not allowed to apply early to any other institution.

According to Davis, the admissions office is satisfied with the early decision policy and has made no attempts to modify the early application process.

Once Cornell’s early decisions are finalized, applicants will be notified by mail, but they will also be able to access their acceptance status electronically.

Archived article by Ellen Miller
Sun Senior Writer