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The Sun Can't Do Math Needs Better Reporting

So the Daily Sun is reporting that Cornell's acceptance rate for the class of 2012 was 20.4%, but something seems off with their math.

On Monday, the official mailing date for the Ivy League, the undergraduate admissions selection process for Cornellís Class of 2012 was finished.

Cornell received 33,011 applications for freshman admission, an all-time high. This number represents a 9-percent increase over last yearís class, and a 17-percent increase over the past two years. Overall, there was a 20.4 percent admit rate for both Early Decision and Regular Decision applicants combined, a decrease from last yearís 20.5 percent rate.

In addition, 3,432 students were offered a place on the waitlist, an increase from last yearís 3,223 waitlisted students. There were also 19,305 students who were denied admission, up from 18,419 students last year.

Of 33,011 applicants, if 19,305 students were denied admission and 3,432 were waitlisted, that means that 10,274 were accepted.

But 20.4 percent of 33,011 is 6,734.

Something is wrong here.

What may be happening is that the difference between 10,274 and 6,734 -- 3,540 or the number of students neither rejected, accepted, or waitlisted -- represents the number that never indicated which college at Cornell that they were applying to. But that number seems a bit high to us, as in recent years around 1,000 students failed to indicate a college.

So let's assume that the 20.4 percent number is right. Back in January, MetaEzra forecasted an acceptance rate of 19.3 percent. Then it seems like Cornell is anticipating a lower regular decision yield than we expected. Last year, Cornell had a yield of 37 percent, and we anticipated a yield of 36 percent this year. But it seems that Cornell has admitted enough students this year to fill the class with a 33 percent yield.

Presumably this is due to the fact that some schools have started foregoing early admission as well as concerns that the University will not be able to offer competitive financial aid packages.

The other thing to consider is how the adoption of the primary/secondary application system will affect the results. It's possible that a fair number of students were rejected from their primary college (e.g. Arts) but accepted by their secondary college (e.g. Human Ecology?), but the Human Ecology admissions committee is expecting a low yield on these applicants. So naturally the overall expected yield on regular decision students would decrease.

All of this is getting complicated, so we'll just have to wait until the University officially releases their numbers.

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on April 03, 2008 (#)

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