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Eight Percent Increase in Applications in 2007

Last week, the Sun reported Cornell's application numbers for the entering Class of 2011. Early decision applications were up 6 percent to 3,017, slightly less than regular applications and the overall number of applications, which both rose 7.5 percent to 27,17 and 30,191, respectively.

What does this mean? If the University keeps its target of 3000 incoming freshman, and if last year's yield rate is any indication, the University could have an overall acceptance rate of 21 percent this year -- an all time low for the University and 3 percent lower than last year's rate.

However, I suspect that the University will end up over-enrolling students because they will set the expected yield rate conservatively low -- last year 47 percent of students who were accepted enrolled in the University, whereas the University was only planning on 43 percent. But I suppose it is, after all, better to over-enroll and have more tuition dollars than to under-enroll and lose funding for a couple of assistant professors.

Unfortunately, we're not provided with any interesting applications data on either transfers or the contract colleges. Applications for the contract colleges, you will recall, have been stagnant even as the number of applications the University has received has increased by almost 50 percent in the past couple of years.

Interestingly, the Sun concludes its article with the sentence:

"A change that has recently occurred in Cornell admissions was the switch from a Cornell-specific application to the Common Application with a two-page supplement beginning with applications for the Class of 2009; however, it is unclear if this change directly affected the number of applicants."

Really, what's unclear about it? Cornell follows its competitor's lead and makes it much easier to apply for undergraduate, resulting in a massive infusion of new applicants because all they had to do was check off another box instead of completing a completely different application. And coincidentally, some of those new applicants completely forget to apply for a certain college at Cornell in the process.

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on January 29, 2007 (#)

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