December 2020

December 2020

Greetings from Cornell University! Fall in Upstate New York has moved on rather quickly and winter will soon be here. Instruction at Cornell for the remainder of the fall 2020 semester moved entirely online beginning on November 30. And our spring 2021 semester is expected to begin on February 8, with the university again offering in-person, hybrid and online learning modalities.

In this e-newsletter we will cover: Cornell’s early decision notification date, important reminders, and deferral requests from early decision admitted students; Cornell’s regular decision admission and financial aid application deadlines; undocumented applicants and applicants with DACA status; Summer College at Cornell; and Cornell University’s winter break closure.

Our admission committees across the undergraduate colleges and schools are in the throes of another challenging early decision selection process. This year is an especially challenging year as we received over 9,000 applications for early decision admission. Applicants will be notified of their decision online on Thursday, December 17 at 7 pm (EST). Applicants will receive details in the days leading up to notification regarding how to access their online decision through their application status page/portal.

A few special notes and reminders regarding early decision:

  • Early decision incomplete applications will be rolled over to regular decision and affected early decision applicants will receive communication indicating that it is now too late for them to be considered in the early pool.
  • Early decision admits who wish to defer: Students interested in deferring must submit an email requesting a deferral to the Undergraduate Admissions Office at no later than March 1, 2021.
  • Early decision admits who wish to withdraw: We receive a small number of requests to withdraw each year during early decision. Please note that we expect all students and families who wish to withdraw for financial aid reasons to formally engage in the financial aid appeal process before we grant the request to withdraw the application. If an admitted early decision applicant changes to regular decision (often due to financial concerns), they will be read within the context of the regular decision pool and there is no guarantee that they will be admitted during regular decision.
  • Early decision applicants postponed to regular decision are not permitted to change the college/school to which they are applying. Additional, new information can be submitted for the admission committee to consider.
  • Early decision refusals cannot apply to another college/school at Cornell for regular decision.

The regular decision admission application deadline is January 2nd. Please remind students to submit required application materials by the deadline: If the application and fee/fee waiver arrive by the deadline, it is fine for other required application materials to arrive shortly thereafter. We understand that some required application materials may be delayed in reaching us this year. Students are encouraged to use their application status webpage to monitor our receipt of their application materials. Application status will be available after we have received and processed an application.

Cornell University meets full demonstrated financial need for all admitted students who are United States citizens and eligible non-citizens. Eligible non-citizens include permanent residents, refugees and asylees, undocumented students, students who hold DACA status, and eligible students who have been long-term Green Card applicants but have not yet achieved Legal Permanent Resident (Green Card) status. Undocumented applicants and applicants who hold DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival) status granted by the federal government will be considered domestic students by Cornell University for purposes of admissions and financial aid, and thus are eligible for need-blind admissions and need-based financial aid like any U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The regular decision financial aid application deadline for U.S. citizens/permanent residents, and eligible non-citizens is February 15th. For more information on financial aid, visit:

Cornell University also meets full demonstrated financial need for all admitted international citizens who apply for aid by the stated deadline. The regular decision international financial aid application deadline for international citizens is January 2nd. For more information regarding financial aid at Cornell, please visit: As a reminder, Cornell practices need-aware international admissions for international citizens.

Be sure to tell your students about our highly regarded precollege programs. Summer College engages 1,500+ motivated high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors from around the world for two, three- and six-week courses. Students earn college credits, study with Cornell faculty, attend admissions workshops, and experience college life. Learn more at

Cornell University will be closed from Thursday, December 24 through Friday, January 1 for the Winter Break Recess. The university will reopen on Monday, January 4. The Undergraduate Admissions Office at Cornell will also be closed December 24 – January 1, reopening on Monday, January 4. We will not be responding to emails or phone calls during this time.

We look forward to working with you and your students during this busy time of year and invite you to contact us if you have any questions. We wish you all a happy and healthy new year. All the best in 2021!


Shawn L. Felton
Director of Undergraduate Admissions 
Cornell Undergraduate Admissions Office