Julia Nagel/Sun Assistant Photography Editor

Limited numbers of in-person campus tours have resumed for prospective students to explore Cornell.

November 11, 2021

Prospective Cornellians Reflect on Early Decision Application Cycle

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Cornell’s admissions office has kicked off a new cycle, with the early decision deadline having passed on Nov. 1. As the admission selection committees have started reviewing applications for fall 2022 and spring transfers for January 2022, this cycle is not considering standardized tests like the ACT and SAT. 

The University suspended its standardized testing requirement last year as a result of the pandemic, and has continued this extension to include the high school graduating classes of 2022, 2023 and 2024. 

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Architecture, Art and Planning and the SC Johnson College of Business do not consider test scores when reviewing applications. The College of Arts and Sciences, College of Engineering, College of Human Ecology and the School of Industrial and Labor Relations will consider ACT or SAT scores if students choose to submit them. 

“Our admission committees will be reviewing applications much the same as we did last year,” said Shawn Felton, the executive director of undergraduate admissions, “knowing that the myriad impacts of the pandemic, still ongoing, will continue to have direct and indirect impacts on many of our applicants this year.” 

The pandemic suspended standardized testing requirements in part due to ongoing COVID-19 risks in test centers. However, the Cornell Admissions website adds that “the university is entering a two-year period of deliberate experimental review in order to guide admission testing policy requirements beyond these two years.” 

The University no longer releases admission acceptance rates during the active admission cycle and will instead delay the release of this information until after the admissions year has ended. 

The early decision acceptance rate was 23.8 percent for the Class of 2024 with a total of 6,615 applicants. There is no current data on the number of applications received this year. 

The waived testing requirements has eased the process for many applicants who experienced delayed or canceled standardized testing. Olivia Mirabito applied early decision to the School of Hotel Administration for this application cycle. As a result of the pandemic, the three SAT tests that she was scheduled to take were canceled. 

“I am thankful that Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration decided to remain test-blind for an additional year, given my experience with trying to take the SAT three times to no avail,” Mirabito wrote in an email to The Sun. 

While the pandemic made standardized testing impossible for many, an increasing number of students were unable to tour college campuses, further complicating the application process. In-person tours resumed this fall on Oct. 15 — just over two weeks before the early decision deadline.  

Clara Mollerus, a high school senior who applied early decision to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences with an intended major in animal science, was able to visit the Ithaca campus without an official tour this fall. Despite buildings being closed to visitors, she said it was a successful visit.

“[I] was able to experience student life, which I had not yet been able to do during my summer visits. I was able to connect with friends from Cornell Summer College online classes, as well as meet with faculty that I have met through summer classes and programs,” she said. 

Helen Sidon, who applied early decision to the hotel school, described a more remote experience. 

“The virtual tour was a good opportunity to see campus and hear a couple different perspectives from students, which helped me to better understand the environment at Cornell,” Sidon said.