Early Decision

A majority of first-year students apply under the regular decision plan. However, if you have completed a thorough college search and are certain that Cornell is your first choice, you may consider applying under the early decision plan. Early decision at Cornell is a binding commitment. While you may apply to other, non-binding early admissions programs, you may only apply early decision to one school. Early decision means you have committed to enroll at Cornell if accepted, and you must withdraw any applications sent to other schools and send your acceptance deposit by the date specified in your acceptance letter. About a third of each entering class is admitted by early decision.

The advantages? Early decision students have their applications reviewed first and are notified of their decision in early December.

To apply for early decision, you must submit your completed application by November 1.

Answers to Some Common Questions

Is early decision binding at Cornell?

Yes. Remember that an early decision application is a commitment to attend if admitted. Prospective students may apply early decision to only one college or university. Early decision applicants may apply to other non-binding early admissions programs, but if they are admitted to Cornell, they must withdraw any applications they have filed at other schools and send their acceptance deposit by mid-January.

If a student applies and is accepted under early decision, but the financial aid package awarded does not make attendance possible, the student may decline the offer of admission and be released from the early decision commitment.

How many first-year students apply early decision?

About a third of recent freshman classes have been admitted to Cornell early.

If I am denied admission early decision, can I apply for regular decision at Cornell?

No. If you have been denied admission as an early decision applicant, you may not apply to Cornell University as a regular decision applicant.

What does it mean if my application is postponed to regular decision?

If you are an early decision applicant who is not admitted, your application may be deferred for consideration during the regular admissions cycle. In that case, you will be considered for admission only after submitting your senior grades. You will be notified of a final admission decision in late March - early April.

When should I plan to take my SAT, Subject Tests, or ACTs so that my scores can be considered with my early decision application?

You should plan to take the SAT before November or the ACT no later than October of your senior year.

Do I need to complete any additional forms if I apply early decision?

You must complete all required items for your application. Cornell now accepts the Common Application (CA) or the Universal College Application (UCA).