When Do Cornell’s Decisions Come Out?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

front view of Cornell University surrounded by trees

When Do Cornell’s Decisions Come Out?

For students who are interested in attending a top undergraduate program in terms of prestige, competitiveness and quality of education, the search often starts and stops with the Ivy League. Of course, the Ivy League is a group of eight schools in the Northeast of the United States that are some of the most historical, well-financed and prestigious schools in the world.

Cornell University is one of those eight schools, and if you are determined to get into Cornell as an undergrad student, chances are good you are asking the question, “when do Cornell’s decisions come out?”

Of course, when we say decisions, we mean the announcements that all schools make in regards to which students are accepted, rejected, deferred or waitlisted every application cycle. For students who have the goal of attending a highly prestigious university such as Cornell, the application period and the weeks and months in between application deadlines and decision dates can be incredibly stressful.

After all, a student who has the goal of getting into these kinds of schools takes their education very seriously and the pressures that they can put upon themselves can be quite immense.

Female student smiling with her classmates.

While the college application experience can be stressful for any student, there is no reason to experience added anxiety by checking your home’s mailbox or email inbox everyday hoping that you will hear back from the school of your dreams well before the school is even done making admissions decisions!

That is just one of the reasons why AdmissionSight thinks it is important for high school students who plan on applying to Cornell know the window in which they might be getting their Cornell acceptance letter!

We make it a top priority to give the students that we work with every application cycle all of the information and tools that they need to improve their chances of getting into the schools at the top of their list. We work with both first-year and transfer applicants and personalize each student’s application strategy based on the strengths and weaknesses of their personal application profile. It is why 75 percent of the students that we work with every single year end up getting into either an Ivy League school like Cornell or a top-10 school outside of the Ivy League such as MIT, Stanford or the University of Chicago.

So, if you are a student that is thinking about applying to Cornell and wants to know about the Cornell acceptance rate, when students learn about Cornell waitlist decisions or simply want to get an answer to the questions, “When do Cornell’s decisions come out?” then you have come to the right place!

Let’s get started on breaking down the facts regarding the most important questions that students applying to Cornell may have!

The Cornell acceptance rate

When it comes to applying to Ivy League schools, the first thing that any student with this goal has to know is that it is incredibly hard to get into any of these eight programs. Without a doubt, the competitive nature of these schools and the prestige that they hold – both as individual schools and as a collective – go hand in hand. All eight of the schools have incredibly lofty expectations for applicants, both academic and otherwise, and the admissions committees at these schools have very little space in each graduating class.

Group of students talking in a room.

While acceptance rate at school varies from year to year, schools also typically display pretty consistent trends from year to year as well. With that in mind, it is quite important for any applying student to know that the most prestigious schools like Cornell have had a consistent downward trend of their acceptance rates in recent years.

It is also important to know that for schools like Cornell, which offer some form of early admissions, there are two different acceptance rates for students to keep in mind. One is the overall acceptance rate and the other is the Early Action/Early Decision acceptance rate. At Cornell, students can apply via a binding Early Decision application. We’ll get into what that means in a little bit, but first we want to break down the two acceptance rates that students at Cornell faced.

While some schools have already begun to release their admissions statistics for the graduating class of 2026 (students that applied during the 2021-22 application cycle), Cornell does not release the admissions date until the following summer. For that reason, we will be looking at the data from the 2020-21 application cycle for the graduating class of 2025.

  • In 2021, 9,017 students applied to Cornell via Early Decision and 1,930 students were accepted, good for an acceptance rate of 21.4 percent
  • In 2021, 58,369 students applied to Cornell via Regular Decision and 3,922 students were accepted, good for an acceptance rate of 6.72 percent

As you can see, there is a massive disparity between acceptance rates for students that apply to Cornell via Early Decision compared to those that apply via Regular Decision. There are other benefits of applying early as well, including but not limited to the fact that the Cornell early acceptance date is far sooner than the regular decision acceptance date. Right now, the estimate is that the overall acceptance rate at Cornell in 2022 is around 8.0 percent. That would mark a decrease from the previous acceptance rate, in which the overall acceptance rate was 8.7 percent.

If you want to get a good idea of what the acceptance rates at the other seven Ivy League schools are looking like for the graduating classes of 2026, take a look at the table below:

Ivies Acceptance Rate
Harvard 3.19%
Princeton ~4%
Columbia 3.73%
Yale 4.46%
Brown 5%
Penn 4.4%
Dartmouth 6.2%
Cornell ~8%

As you can see, despite the fact that Cornell is still very much in the top tier of schools in terms of competitiveness compared to the rest of the schools in the United States, it is actually the easiest school to get into in the entire Ivy League. This should not be seen as a sign that Cornell is easy to get into, because it is not. Instead, it should be seen as proof of just how competitive the ivy League truly is as a whole.

To make matters more difficult, the number of students that have applied each year have been skyrocketing in recent application cycles. As you can see in the table below, application pools were rising steadily leading up to 2019. In 2019, the number of applicants severely decreased due to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, the numbers have exploded and show no signs of slowing down.

Three students walking in front of a school building.

Regarding Cornell specifically, while we do not know the raw statistics regarding the graduating class of 2026 for Cornell, there is some information that we already know.

“On Monday, April 11, the University announced that it had admitted a total 4,908 applicants from both Regular and Early Decision pools, noting a ‘talented and diverse’ class from ‘a broader range of places than ever before,’ the Cornell Sun reported in April.

“Admitted students represent 85 countries and all 50 U.S. states including Washington, D.C.; Puerto Rico; the U.S. Virgin Islands; Guam; American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands.

“Additionally, 57.7 percent of admitted students identifying as underrepresented minorities self-identified as students of color and 19.9 percent of admits will be first-generation college students.”

After learning this important information regarding the Cornell acceptance rate, you may be convinced that applying to Cornell via Early Decision is the best way to get in. While applying this way does statistically improve a student’s chances of getting in and the Cornell REA decision date is far earlier than the regular decision date, there are some important things to know about applying in this way:

  • Early decision is binding. Admitted students are required to withdraw any application(s) they’ve submitted to other colleges or universities, and Cornell enrollment deposits are due by early January.
  • Students who are denied during early decision are not eligible to apply again under regular decision, nor can students apply to another Cornell college or school.
  • While early decision acceptance to Cornell is binding, students may be eligible to be released from the early decision agreement if their financial aid award does not make a Cornell education affordable for applicants and their families. This applies only to students who have applied for financial aid.

Important dates to know for Cornell decisions

So, now that you have a solid idea of what the Cornell acceptance rate is, it is time to break down the two different admission timelines. The first timeline is for students who apply via Early Decision and the second is for students who apply via Regular Decision.

Early Decision admission timeline

Submit all required application materials (application mailing instructions) November 1
Financial aid application materials due for international students November 1
Financial aid application materials due for U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens November 21
Architecture and art portfolio and interview due Check Deadline
College of Human Ecology design supplements (for those applying to DEA and FD&M) Check Deadline
Admission decisions and financial aid awards announced Mid-December

Regular decision admission timeline

Submit all required application materials (application mailing instructions) January 2
Financial aid application materials due for international students January 2
Financial aid application materials due for U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens February 15
Architecture and art portfolio and interview due Check Deadline
College of Human Ecology design supplements (for those applying to DEA and FD&M) Check Deadline
Admission decisions and financial aid awards announced Early April
Reply to offer of admission May 1

Cornell waitlist decisions

For students that are thinking about applying to Cornell, it is important to know that simply being offered a spot of admissions in the upcoming graduating class or not being offered a spot are not the only outcomes that can come out of your application.

The other outcome is that you are put on the school’s waitlist. If you have been spending time gathering information about the application process at top schools in the United States, chances are pretty good that you have come across the term waitlist. But do you know what it really means and what students should do when they are offered a spot on a school’s waitlist?

Two students talking in a bench.

Here are some important questions that students who are planning on applying to Cornell should know about Cornell waitlist decisions and it means to get on the waitlist.

What is the Cornell waitlist?

If you are offered a spot on the school’s waitlist, it essentially means that you fulfill all of the qualifications and expectations to be accepted into Cornell, but the school cannot offer you a spot at the school due to the school’s enrollment limitations.

Keeping your name on the school’s waitlist means that you have a chance to keep your application open and active, thus giving the school time to figure out if it has any remaining open spots in the incoming class based on the students who have accepted a spot at the school after being notified of their acceptance.

If spaces remain after National Decision Day on May 2nd, the school will then move to the waitlist and extend an offer of admission to students who accepted a place on the list.

What are the chances of being selected from the Cornell waitlist?

The simple truth with getting on the waitlist at any school, no matter how competitive that school is, is that the admissions committee will never be able to really predict how many students will get in off the waitlist from one year to the next. The reason for this is because the number of students that are accepted into a school from the waitlist depends entirely on the number of spots that are still available after the Nation Decision Day on May 2nd.

Two students walking in the hallway talking about how to transfer colleges

With that in mind, we can offer a bit of information based on the average numbers that the school has seen over the last five years. Over the past five years, an average of 4,500 applicants confirm a spot on the Cornell waitlist. During that time, the school has admitted as many as 190 students in one year and as few 24 students from the waitlist.

When do Cornell waitlist decisions come out?

The only solid date that we know about when Cornell waitlist decisions come out is that it will be after the May 2nd deadline for students to let the school know that they will accept their spot at the school. Only then will the school know how many vacant spots there still are in the upcoming class, if any.

Typically, students hear back fairly soon after the May 2nd deadline at Cornell. However, it is important to know that it is quite common for students to hear back quite late in the summer, and some students have even been known to hear back as late as just a few weeks prior to the start of the fall semester!

One absolutely crucial thing for students on the Cornell waitlist to know specifically is that students who are accepted to Cornell off of the waitlist will receive an online notification of the decision and that your enrollment deposit must be received by the school within five days of your online notification.

On top of that, it is useful to know that the school notifies waitlist candidates of their status as soon as it is clear that additional offers of admission can be made by the school or if there are no longer spaces available in the incoming class.

Can I improve my chances of getting in off the waitlist?

At some schools, the waitlist will be ranked, meaning that the school will have students that will get in over others based on their credentials or other factors within their application profile.  There are also schools that encourage students to send in additional material, such as grade upgrades, additional letters of recommendation, or other achievements that have been accomplished to the school’s admissions committee.

The truth is that none of this is needed or will really help a student’s chances of getting into Cornell off the waitlist. All student’s on the waitlist have already been deemed deserving of a spot. So if you are offered a spot on the waitlist, you will simply want to decide whether or not you want to accept or reject the offer.

You will also want to make a decision about what other school you will want to attend in the event that you do not get accepted off of the Cornell waitlist. Admissions officers encourage all students to accept a spot of admission at a different school that they have been accepted by and pay the down payment for their spot. In the event that they are ultimately accepted into Cornell off the waitlist, it is very easy and common for students to rescind their acceptance of the spot at the other school.

Get more advice on Cornell admission

There’s no question that it is difficult to get into Cornell. Despite that, thousands of students accomplish the goal every single year! If you are curious to learn more about the admission process at Cornell and figure out ways to improve your application profile, contact AdmissionSight today to set up a free consultation.




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