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University Admits Record Number of ED Students

The Daily Sun has demonstrated that it's still on the beat even though classes are no longer in session by releasing a nice article on the latest round of early decision applications to Cornell. ED applications were up ten percent year over year, and while the acceptance rate stayed steady, the absolute number of students admitted into the Class of 2013 increased in tandem.

Preliminary figures show an increase in the number of applicants and a steady percentage of acceptances. Although many expected the economic crisis to make high school students less eager to apply early decision, which comes along with a binding matriculation agreement, Cornell reported a 10-percent increase in the number of applications, from 3,094 to 3,405.

And interestingly, the University outright denied more early decision applicants this year.

While the increase in applications may have come as a surprise, it did not affect the University’s distribution of decisions, the number of applicants offered admission barely fell from last year’s 37 percent to 36.68 percent. While acceptances remained steady, there was a definite increase in rejections instead of deferrals. The percentage of applicants denied rose from 34.84 to 40.23 while the percentage of applicants deferred declined from 25.89 to 21.53.

The real news, however, is that the University has already filled 1,249 spots in the Class of 2013, an all-time high on both an absolute and percentage basis.

Readers will no doubt recall that the University has historically taken less students ED than some of its peer schools like Columbia or Penn, which fill upwards of 45 percent of their entering class with ED admits. And of course, it has long been argued that early decision programs advantage the well-off over less affluent college applicants.

So that's why it is interesting that the University has filled over 40 percent of its class ED for the first time. And I can think of two main reasons: First, there were simply too many good applicants to pass up. (And even so, a whole bunch of very qualified applicants were still deferred or rejected.) Secondly, utilizing ED to a greater extent may help the University better manage enrollments and financial aid programs during the coming economic hardship. I'm not saying that Cornell is no longer committed to being need blind, it just knows that all things equal, ED students will likely need less aid.

This also means that Cornell will have to accept less students RD this year, most likely bringing its overall acceptance rate below 20 percent for the first time ever. But as we know, acceptance rates tell you nothing.

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on December 19, 2008 (#)

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