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University ED Applications Up 5%, Acceptances Down 8%

In a surprising turn of events, the University accepted less early decision applicants this year as compared to last year, this despite a record number of applications and a more uncertain economic climate.

As the New York Times reports, last year the University admitted 1264 of 3405 applicants, which constituted a record number of students, filling over 40 percent of the entering freshman class for the first time in history.

This year, Cornell admitted 1167 of 3579 applicants. So applications were up 5 percent but total acceptances were down 8 percent. The percent of the entering class filled dropped to around 37 percent. The strict acceptance rate also decline from 36 to 32 percent.

Frankly, it's difficult to explain this. Given the current economic climate and the fact that both the target freshmen class size and ED applications increased, I would assume the University would at least want to accept as many students ED as it did last year. Especially given that ED students tend to require less financial aid and that the regular decision pool will probably be the most competitive ever, as some of Cornell's peer schools, like Dartmouth consider expanding their freshmen class size as well.

One possibility is that the quality of the ED applicant pool has diminished, meaning that Cornell need to rely more on regular decision applicants to maintain the academic caliber of the entering class. But more on that later.

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on December 28, 2009 (#)

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