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Class of 2015 Acceptance Rate Stable

Cornell applicants received their decisions yesterday, and the Daily Sun has reported that the acceptance rate for the Class of 2015 has dropped, but with a move from 18.4 percent to 18 percent, it's really just a question of rounding.

In absolute numbers, the total number of acceptances to the University declined by 119, from 6,673 last year to 6,534 this year, while the total number of applicants barely increased from 33,338 to 36,392. Most of the decline in acceptances can be explained by the fact that the university accepted roughly 50 more students early decision, which means they don't have to accept roughly twice that number in the regular decision round due to a much lower expected yield.

The rough rule of thumb is that for every 50 additional students Cornell accepts early decision, it can reject an additional 140 student regular decision. That means that if Cornell had accepted an additional 150 students early decision, it would have had a 17 percent acceptance rate. Or if Cornell was like Penn and accepted half of its freshmen class using early decision, its acceptance rate would be below 16 percent.

Based on an expected entering class size of 3,150, MetaEzra calculates an expected yield of 48 percent, with a 37 percent yield for regular decision acceptances. That's inline with last year, assuming no wait list use. Last year no students were admitted off of Cornell's wait list.

The New York Times is reporting admissions statistics for a whole host of schools -- Penn and WashU have posted some eyebrow-raising drops. But as longtime MetaEzra readers know, acceptance rates aren't very useful on their own; conditional acceptance rates by metrics like SAT scores are much more valuable, and selective higher education institutions need to rethink the admissions game entirely.

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on March 31, 2011 (#)

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