The Ivy Coach Daily

December 14, 2023

What to Do After Being Deferred by Cornell

A look inside an old Cornell University library, filled with stacks of books.
Cornell is the only Ivy League school to offer a guaranteed transfer option (photo credit: Eflon).

Were you deferred in the Early Decision round by Cornell University to the Class of 2028? After making a binding commitment to the Ivy League school in the Early, it’s undoubtedly not the news you had hoped for when you submitted your application at the beginning of November. But it’s also not the worst possible news. You could have been denied admission outright. So, what does your Cornell deferral to the Class of 2028 mean, and how can you optimize your chances of admission in Regular Decision?

Cornell Early Decision Admission Rates Over 20+ Years

Below are Cornell’s Early Decision admissions statistics over the last two-plus decades.

While statistics have yet to be released for the Class of 2028, we at Ivy Coach have our ear to the ground inside the Cornell admissions office. We hear that Early Decision applications to Cornell’s Class of 2028 were up — not by a large margin, but they were up nonetheless.

Additionally, in response to the recommendations of the University’s Presidential Task Force on Undergraduate Admissions, it’s expected that Cornell offered admission to fewer students this ED cycle.

Cornell Class YearEarly Decision ApplicationsEarly Decision AcceptancesEarly Decision Acceptance Rate
Class of 2028Not Yet PublishedNot Yet PublishedNot Yet Published
Class of 2027Not Yet Published1,670Not Yet Published
Class of 20269,5551,83119.2%
Class of 20259,0171,93021.4%
Class of 20246,6301,59424.0%
Class of 20236,1591,39522.6%
Class of 20226,3191,53324.3%
Class of 20215,3841,37825.6%
Class of 20204,8821,34027.4%
Class of 20194,5601,19626.2%
Class of 20184,7751,32527.7%
Class of 20174,1931,23729.5%
Class of 20163,6091,18032.7%
Class of 20153,4561,22835.5%
Class of 20143,5941,17532.7%
Class of 20133,4051,24936.7%
Class of 20123,0951,13936.8%
Class of 20113,0171,10336.6%
Class of 20102,8491,11039%
Class of 20092,5721,07241.7%
Class of 20082,5501,11943.9%
Class of 20072,7291,11040.7%

Cornell Early Decision Deferral Rates

Cornell tends to defer less than many of its peer institutions. While Cornell hasn’t released its deferral rate since the Class of 2024, below you’ll find the percentage of Early Decision applicants who received deferrals for the Classes of 2024, 2023, and 2022:

Cornell Class YearDeferral Rate
Class of 2028Not Yet Published
Class of 2027Not Yet Published
Class of 2026Not Yet Published
Class of 2025Not Yet Published
Class of 202421.7%
Class of 202324.3%
Class of 202222.9%

5 Steps to Take After Being Deferred by Cornell

If you’ve been deferred by Cornell, we encourage you to follow the following five steps:

  1. Sign up for a complimentary consultation with Ivy Coach to learn how we optimize students’ cases for admission post-deferral.
  2. Complete Ivy Coach’s PostMortem. We’ll let you know what went right, what went wrong, and what you should and should not be focusing on in your letter. As an added bonus, you’ll find out what mistakes should be corrected for the Regular Decision schools to which you’ll be applying in two weeks’ time.
  3. Submit a compelling Letter of Continued Interest to Cornell with Ivy Coach’s help. And don’t wait several days to write it — it needs to go in expediently. But merely submitting a letter doesn’t improve your case for admission. It’s all about what goes in that letter. In a word, Ivy Coach’s Letters of Continued Interest are weird. And it’s a big reason why they’re so often effective.
  4. After submitting the letter, refocus your attention on your Regular Decision schools. You can’t change your Cornell application. But you can certainly change every other application you haven’t yet submitted.
  5. In the New Year, bring your Letter of Continued Interest to your school counselor and ask them to make an advocacy call to Cornell on your behalf. This way, they’ll present you as you presented yourself in your letter. And while, yes, there are some school counselors who will refuse to make advocacy callsgood school counselors will always pick up the phone. It’s their job to champion your case for admission.

Cornell Deferral FAQ

Does Cornell accept, defer, or deny most Early Decision candidates?

Cornell denies most Early Decision candidates. While the school hasn’t released its Early Decision acceptance rate since the Class of 2026, it’s surely below 20%. And since, in recent years, between 21.7% to 24.3% of applicants have been deferred, the overwhelming majority have been denied admission outright.

Why has Cornell been withholding their Early Decision admissions statistics in recent years?

Cornell seems to believe that keeping their admissions statistics close to the vest makes the process less stressful. This way, applicants won’t see the school’s low admission rates, and therefore, they won’t be discouraged from applying, ultimately boosting the school’s all-important US News ranking.

Of course, we at Ivy Coach don’t agree that withholding these figures makes the process less stressful for anyone. Indeed, we believe Cornell only keeps these figures close to the vest to serve themselves (and their ranking).

Do deferred Cornell candidates really have a shot of getting in?

Yes, deferred Cornell candidates have a genuine shot of earning admission in Regular Decision. A deferral at Cornell has meaning since most Early Decision candidates receive rejections.

Can deferred Cornell candidates be waitlisted in Regular Decision?

Yes, Cornell has historically deferred candidates in the Early Decision round only to waitlist them in Regular Decision.

Now, we think waitlisting a deferred candidate is wrong, but schools do it all the time. Cornell’s peer, Harvard University, is notorious for waitlisting many deferred candidates. You’d think admissions committees would have had enough time — between the two rounds of admission — to consider the student’s case for admission and render a final verdict. But, alas, they sometimes kick the can down the road again.

Can deferred Cornell candidates receive guaranteed transfer offers in Regular Decision?

Yes, Cornell has historically offered guaranteed transfer options to deferred candidates at the conclusion of the Regular Decision round. Cornell’s guaranteed transfer means that a student must attend another institution for one year, receive certain grades above their set minimums, not get into any trouble with their school or the law, and they’ll have a guaranteed slot at Cornell in the fall.

We believe that Cornell’s guaranteed transfer option isn’t right since the Ivy League school is essentially sending a rental student over to another institution. This student may have little inclination to make friends and invest in the university during their first year since they know they’ll be at Cornell the following year. It’s unfair to the student and the college they attend over their first year.

Ivy Coach’s Assistance with Cornell Deferral

Over the last 30 years, 33% of students who first came to Ivy Coach after being deferred by Cornell earned admission in Regular Decision — a figure that compares to about 10% of the overall pool of deferred candidates.

If you’re interested in optimizing your case for admission after your Cornell deferral, fill out Ivy Coach’s complimentary consultation form, and we’ll be in touch to outline our go-forward services for deferred seniors.

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