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Cornell Acceptance Rates by SAT Scores

Longtime readers of the site know my old adage -- acceptance rates tell us nothing -- because they tell you nothing about the academic caliber of the institution, nor the quality of the students applying, being accepted, or enrolling.

That said, SAT-contingent acceptance rates can be very useful to students applying to a school because it may help provide guidance to their chances of being accepted. This is true even at a school like Cornell, which with many different undergraduate colleges and niche majors like architecture, viticulture, and hotel management, tends to be more focused on a qualitative assessment of the student's fit for a particular program that strict numbers like SAT scores or class rank.

Longtime readers of the site also know that I find a certain amount of pride in the fact that Cornell is more open about its admissions and enrollment data than any of its peers. Good luck getting a peer school like Penn or Duke or Northwestern to disclose admissions statistics by undergraduate college, but Cornell has nothing to hide.

That's why I'm particularly excited to note that the folks in Institutional and Research and Planning have significantly improved the amount of data they are now sharing on Cornell's admissions process. This year, they've upgraded their brief to include distributions of applicants, acceptances, and enrollments by SAT scores. That allows these types of statistics to be inferred:

The verdict: Study your verbal skills, kids, because Cornell accepts high SAT Critical Reading scores at a much higher rate than high SAT Math scores. But if you have less than a 650 SAT in both the Critical Reading or Math tests, there's not that much of a difference in acceptance rates among the same scores.

It's also fair to point out that even if you have SAT scores below 650 in either test, you still have a better chance of getting into Cornell than schools with sub-10 percent acceptance rates like Harvard and Yale.

Finally, for those of you with over a 750 Math score, don't be too cocky. You still have a 75 percent chance of being rejected. That's not all that much different than those with a 650 Math score who have an 85 percent chance of being rejected. Just more proof that Cornell doesn't place all that much emphasis on SAT scores -- unlike other colleges, Ezra's University is more about fit.

As for the 5 percent of students with below a 500 SAT Verbal that are being accepted, I sure hope your parents are quite wealthy. Or you have a strong slapshot.

More data below the jump.

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on August 18, 2010 (#)

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