Class of 2020 sets records in applications, diversity

Nicholas Levy and Big Red Bear
Nicholas Levy '18, a communication student in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Touchdown the bear with some of this year's Cornell admission letters.

Cornell had the highest number of applications in university history for freshman admission this year, with 44,966 applicants for the Class of 2020.

A lucky 6,277 of those applicants have been admitted, and Cornell has offered another 4,572 a place on a wait list. The selection status of high school seniors who applied to enter Cornell was released March 31 at 5 p.m.

Nearly 700 of the admits are first-generation college students. And for the second consecutive year, a record number of students – 1,718, or 27 percent of the admitted freshman class – self-identify as underrepresented minority students.

The admitted applicants are 49 percent students of color, which includes underrepresented minorities and Asian-Americans.

Students admitted to the Class of 2020 reside in all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; and in 85 countries outside the United States.

More than 10 percent of the total are international students; the countries most represented after the U.S. among admitted freshmen include Canada, China, India, Kenya, the Republic of Korea, Singapore and the United Kingdom. In all, the prospective freshmen represent 104 nations from outside the U.S., based on citizenship.

“This year’s exceptionally large application pool produced a remarkable class of scholars,” said Jason Locke, associate vice provost for enrollment. “From our first-generation students to ROTC candidates and student athletes, the Class of 2020 is incredibly talented.”

Overall, Cornell selected 14 percent of its applicants for admission, including early decision and regular decision candidates. Students have until May 1 to decide whether to accept the university’s offer of admission.

The Class of 2020 will be slightly larger than previous classes, with a target of 3,275 fall freshmen – an increase from 3,182 entering Cornell last year, Locke said.

Cornell also anticipates enrolling 60 additional freshmen in January 2017 as the second class of students in the First-Year Spring Admission program, established in 2015 to expand access to a Cornell education. These students were notified March 31 that they had been admitted for entry in January; they will enroll in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Arts and Sciences.

“Each year, the admitted class raises the bar on what it means to be outstanding, and just when I think we cannot push further with our goals to broaden and diversify the incoming class, it happens,” said Shawn Felton, director of undergraduate admissions.

To help students make their decision, admissions officers expect 1,800 admitted students to visit campus during Cornell Days, April 14-25. Cornell also will host more than 400 underrepresented minority students during Diversity Hosting Month, April 8-27.

Off-campus yield events around the world include a reception for newly admitted Tata Scholars, April 10 in Mumbai, India, and several other in-person events. “CU on the Hill” Days, virtual open houses, will be held April 9 and 16. CU on the Hill is a peer-to-peer social network and online hub, giving newly admitted students an opportunity to learn more about Cornell from current students and alumni ambassadors. More than 1,000 early decision students are participating in CU on the Hill, and newly admitted students will be invited to join April 1.

Media Contact

John Carberry