For college freshmen, the fall semester typically marks a series of welcoming activities — orientation, student trips and floor events. But at Cornell University, approximately 125 students will join the community in January 2016 through its First-Year Spring Admission program.
This will be the first time that such a program will run since 2003, when Cornell had a similar program called “J Frosh.” Cornell is one among the growing number of colleges adopting spring admissions programs, according to the National Association for College Admission Counseling. It is currently the only Ivy League university to reinstate its spring admissions program.
Historically, Penn also had a similar program, according to Dean of Admissions Eric Furda. Reviving the program does not seem to be a priority.
“From an admissions standpoint, there is a very short period of time and a greater volume of work that you would have to care for if you wanted spring admissions,” Furda said.
But Educational Consultation and Admissions Strategist Steven Goodman explained that spring admissions programs hold an appeal to universities because they bring in more revenue.
“Cornell is trying to make better use of its facilities that it has available and get more money,” Goodman said.
He added that Cornell’s adoption of a spring admissions program may be notable to its peer institutions, as schools like Penn might reevaluate its benefits.
Founder of IvySelect College Consulting Michael Goran stated that spring admissions programs are just one more thing that the Ivy League universities do not agree on.
“Just like the Ivies have different opinions over whether they want to count the writing component of the new SAT or not, spring admissions don’t offer a universal appeal,” Goran said.
Furda said that spring admissions might be more successful at Cornell because the university is a larger and more decentralized institution than Penn. He added that the program also allows Cornell to open its doors to students who might take a more atypical college track.
But some experts say that this new form of admissions allows universities like Cornell to take more special admits like athletes and legacies without counting them in fall admissions statistics.
President of Hernandez College Consulting Michele Hernandez noted that students with credentials not necessarily up to the general admissions level can now be accepted in the spring.
But Goodman added that since the number of spring students is only a small part of Cornell, special admits would not change the university’s overall statistics profile.
And for some students, spring admissions is a second opportunity to get into their first-choice school, Hernandez said. However, she also added that it might be harder for some of these new students to adapt to college life.
Goodman agreed: “Some students do feel like they’ve been left behind,” he said. “Their peers have started college and they haven’t.”
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