Soon, nearly 3,100 freshmen will move into their dorms on North Campus. With thousands of boxes and suitcases probably left to unpack, freshmen will begin their orientation week, their official welcome to Cornell University. During this week, freshmen will likely take advantage of their newly-found (but short-lived) freedom from parental and academic obligations to introduce themselves to some of the individuals who make up the extraordinarily diverse Class of 2009.
As of early June, the undergraduate admissions office had 3,097 freshmen enrolled. Doris Davis, associate provost of admissions and enrollment, said their target enrollment number was 3,050.
“We will ‘melt’ some students over the summer, which is always the case,” Davis said, referring to, among other reasons, the students who choose to go to schools that had originally waitlisted them.
Over 30 percent of Cornell freshmen identify themselves as minorities, making this year’s class one of the most diverse in recent years. According to a report released this summer by the University’s undergraduate admissions office, 5.6 percent of enrolled freshmen identify themselves as African-American, 14.6 percent as Asian, 5.7 percent as Hispanic, 0.5 percent as Native American and 4 percent as multicultural. 6.1 percent are international students, hailing from 52 countries including Singapore, Thailand, Peru, Nigeria, Pakistan, Bahrain, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, China and Trinidad and Tobago. This number is a drop from last year’s figure of 12 percent, but is more in line with the Class of 2007 which had 6.5 percent consisting of international students. The Sun reported last semester that 7.9 percent of accepted applicants were international students.
Not surprisingly, fully one-third of students call New York State their home. Another third reside in the New England and mid-Atlantic regions while the remaining third are students from all over the United States.
As reported by The Sun last semester, Cornell received 24,444 applications this past year, marking a 17.4 percent increase in application volume. The increase was the second-highest among Ivy League schools.
Cornell’s admissions rate dropped from 28.7 percent last year to 26.1 percent, even though approximately 250 more students were accepted. Last year, Cornell accepted 6,130 applicants, resulting in a 50.46 percent yield rate. This year, Cornell’s enrollment yield rate dropped to 48.5 percent, although as of early June, a dozen more students than last year had promised to matriculate at the University.
“We adjust our admission rate every year depending on market conditions,” Davis said. “This year, [the market] is very competitive and yielding students is more difficult.”
The University’s yield rate remains one of the lowest of the Ivy League. While few schools have released official numbers, The Harvard Crimson reported that Harvard University expects a yield of 80 percent, while the Daily Pennsylvanian reported that University of Pennsylvania expects a yield of 61 percent. The Dartmouth reported that Dartmouth College had a 50.4 percent yield rate this year and The Daily Princetonian reported that Princeton University had a yield of 67.6 percent. Brown, Yale and Columbia did not release any information.
Cornell had not released enrollment statistics for specific colleges at the time of publication.