Cornell University is reinstating its first-year spring admissions program. This will mark the first time that Cornell has offered a spring admissions program since 2003. The program back then was known as ‘J Frosh.’ With applications to Cornell more than doubling since Cornell had its ‘J Frosh’ program, Cornell is seeking alternative ways to accommodate students interested in matriculating to Cornell. As reported by Zachary Silver of “The Cornell Daily Sun” in a piece about the new Cornell spring admissions program, “‘Applications to Cornell have more than doubled since the former J Frosh program was discontinued,’ [Jason] Locke, [Cornell’s associate vice provost for enrollment] said. ‘For this year’s class, Cornell reviewed close to 42,000 applications for a class of 3,182 new first-year students. In order to allow more students to benefit from a Cornell education, the University approved the FYSA program.”
But our regular readers know that a college’s PR spin might be just that — spin. Certainly Cornell wants to accommodate more students. But what’s the school’s reasoning behind this — as in what’s the reasoning that an associate vice provost for enrollment won’t express to the school’s newspaper? For starters, tuition dollars. Cornell wants more money. By enrolling more students, they can make more money. It’s quite simple. Additionally, students who are admitted for spring enrollment don’t count against the university’s fall admissions statistics that are reported to “US News & World Report.” Colleges like Cornell care (a whole lot!) about their rankings. By admitting a student with subpar SAT scores and grades for fall admission, the school is hurting its statistics. By admitting this same student for spring enrollment, the student will have no impact on these statistics.
So legacies, recruited athletes, the children of major donors — these are often prime candidates for spring admission. Does that mean a student needs to be a legacy or recruited athlete in order to gain admission for spring enrollment? No. But you can bet that these students are a part of this pool — whether or not its included in the PR spin. And of course it most certainly is not.