The early decision applicant pool for the Class of 2021 was the biggest in Cornell's history.

Data Courtesy of Cornell University

The early decision applicant pool for the Class of 2021 was the biggest in Cornell's history.

December 13, 2016

Cornell Sees 10 Percent Boom in Early Decision Applications

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A record number of 5,384 students applied early decision for admission to Cornell’s Class of 2021, representing a 10.3 percent increase from last year, according to Jason Locke, associate vice provost for enrollment.

This year’s numbers broke the record, set last year by the early decision Class of 2020. Locke noted that this growing number of applicants represents the continuation of a general trend — Cornell’s early decision pool has increased by 78 percent within the past decade.

“With a smart, focused recruitment strategy in place, we have been experiencing a general upward trend in applications for many years,” he said.

Columbia University, Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania, among others, also saw their biggest influx of early applicants yet.

Of these applicants to Cornell, 25.6 percent were admitted — a smaller fraction than last year, when the University accepted 27.4 percent of applicants, and 2015, when it took 26.1 percent.

In addition to growing larger, the early decision pool has also become more diverse throughout the years, according to Locke.

“The University experienced increases in early decision applications across all racial and ethnic groups and across almost every region of the United States,” he said.

Locke said 50.1 percent of admits were women and 14.4 percent were international students. In addition, 35 percent of students admitted were students of color — a group that includes African American, Asian American, Native American, Latinx and multicultural students.

Legacy students make up 23.3 percent of early admits and athletes make up 13.4 percent, he added.

Locke also pointed out that this year’s applicants were the first to submit the new SAT, which was revised in 2014 and was first administered this spring.

Forty-four percent of applicants submitted the new exam, while 35 percent submitted the old and 53 percent chose to take the ACT, Locke said, adding that many students choose to submit more than one test.

The University plans to notify its regular decision applicants — who have just under a month to complete their applications — on March 30, according to Locke.