Cornell University, a private research university located in Ithaca, New York, was founded in 1856. It is currently ranked #18 in the U.S. News and World Report ranking of National Universities and boasts an undergraduate enrollment of 15,182, including students from over 140 countries. Cornell is a member of the Ivy League and is situated on a rural, 745-acre campus.
Applicants to Cornell must select one of the undergraduate colleges in which they hope to enroll. The most popular of these colleges, each of which provide their own faculty and admit their own students, are the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) is the second largest undergraduate college at Cornell. Its students focus on research in food & energy systems, life sciences, environmental sciences, and social sciences. CALS students choose from over 20 majors and more than 25 minors, many of which are interdisciplinary.
College of Architecture, Art, and Planning
The College of Architecture, Art, and Planning (AAP) was established in 1871 by Andrew Dickson White, the first president of Cornell University to provide academic training in architecture. It consists of 55 faculty members, 276 graduate students, and 507 undergraduates. The mission of the college is to “teach and practice architecture, fine arts, and city and regional planning as creative and powerful forces with the potential to improve the world.” For undergraduates, AAP’s Department of Architecture offers a five-year program that culminates in a bachelor of architecture (B.Arch.) degree.
The College of Arts and Sciences, the liberal arts college at Cornell, is the largest and most popular of the seven colleges. There are 40 majors and 59 minors offered, in addition to more than 50 foreign languages. Students are welcome to double major within the College of Arts and Sciences or minor in one of Cornell’s other colleges. The top 10 most popular majors, in alphabetical order, are Biological Sciences, Computer Science, Economics, English, Government, History, Information Science, Mathematics, Physics, and Psychology.
Cornell SC Johnson College of Business
The Cornell SC Johnson College of Business unites the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Managements, the School of Hotel Administration (SHA) and the Johnson School of Business. Undergraduates may choose from two business programs: a BS in applied economics & management through the Dyson School, or a BS in Hotel Administration from the School of Hotel Administration.
College of Engineering
Cornell’s College of Engineering is both the largest and highest ranked engineering program in the Ivy League. It offers 14 majors and 20 minors in addition to 29 student-led project teams. Every year, approximately 780 first-year students are admitted to this undergraduate program. Notably, 53% of the Class of 2022 was female, as is 50% of the College of Engineering overall. Prospective applicants to Cornell Engineering must complete 4 units of math (including calculus), 1 unit of physics, and 1 unit of chemistry before high school graduation. It is also recommended that applicants complete computer science and 1 unit of biology.
College of Human Ecology
The College of Human Ecology offers undergraduate programs that combine career-oriented skills with a liberal arts curriculum. These programs include: Design + Environmental Analysis, Fashion Design and Management, Fiber Science, Global and Public Health Sciences, Health Care Policy, and Human Biology, Health, and Society, Human Development, Nutritional Sciences, and Policy Analysis and Management. Students are also encouraged to participate in independent research, directed studies, internships, and off-campus study programs.
School of Industrial and Labor Relations
The School of Industrial and Labor Relations (IRL) was established in 1945 and offers an interdisciplinary major for undergraduates that combines business, economics, government, history, international relations, labor relations, law, public policy, and social justice. The flexible curriculum includes required introductory courses on topics such as organizational psychology, economics, labor history, statistics, management, and law. Students then tailor the curriculum to their individual interests and select advanced electives, complemented by research, internship, and study abroad opportunities.
Applying to Cornell
For students who know Cornell is their first choice, there is a binding early decision plan available with a November 1 application deadline. Students are then notified in mid-December. Cornell uses the Common Application or the Universal College Application, both of which are completed and submitted online.
You must also submit a school report, official transcript, counselor recommendation, two teacher recommendations, standardized test scores, an application fee, and a midyear report, if applicable.
Students applying to the architecture program or the School of Hotel Administration are required to participate in a formal interview as part of the admissions process. For applicants to other programs, there are no interviews.
Cornell’s mandatory Writing Supplement asks applicants to provide a detailed explanation of their academic goals and intended areas of study. This question differs slightly by school:
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: Why are you drawn to studying the major you have selected? Please discuss how your interests and related experiences have influenced your choice. Specifically, how will an education from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and Cornell University help you achieve your academic goals?
College of Architecture, Art, and Planning: What is your “thing”? What energizes you or engages you so deeply that you lose track of time? Everyone has different passions, obsessions, quirks, inspirations. What are yours?
College of Arts and Sciences: Students in Arts and Sciences embrace the opportunity to delve into multifaceted academic interests, embodying in 21st century terms Ezra Cornell’s “any person…any study” founding vision. Tell us about the areas of study you are excited to explore, and specifically why you wish to pursue them in our College.
Cornell SC Johnson College of Business: Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management: The Dyson School is unique by design. What motivates you to apply to Dyson and where do you plan to go from here?
Cornell SC Johnson College of Business: School of Hotel Administration (SHA): How have your interests and experiences influenced your decision to apply to the School of Hotel Administration? How does this decision relate to your future plans and aspirations?
College of Engineering: Tell us about your interest in engineering or what you hope to achieve with a degree in engineering. Describe what appeals to you about Cornell Engineering and how it specifically relates to your engineering interest or aspirations.
College of Human Ecology:How has your decision to apply to the College of Human Ecology been influenced by your related experiences? How will your choice of major impact your goals and plans for the future?
School of Industrial and Labor Relations:Tell us about your intellectual interests, how they sprung from your course, service, work or life experiences, and what makes them exciting to you. Describe how ILR is the right school for you to pursue these interests.
Cornell Admissions Wrap Up
Class of 2025 (ED) This year, Cornell received over 9,000 applications for Early Decision admission. This is a 36% increase from last year’s 6,615 ED applicants. As of last spring, Cornell will no longer release detailed admissions numbers for the ED or RD cycle.
Class of 2024 Out of 51,500 applications received last year (4 percent more than the previous year), Cornell admitted 10.7 percent to the Class of 2024.
Class of 2023 According to its Office of Admissions and Enrollment, Cornell received 49,118 applications for admission to the Class of 2023, down from the previous record of 51,328 applicants for the Class of 2022.
A total of 5,183 applicants were admitted for an overall admit rate of 10.55 percent, up from last year’s admit rate of 10.30 percent. Cornell admitted 1,395 early applicants from a pool of 6,159. Of the students accepted, 32 percent of admitted students self-identify as underrepresented minorities, and 670 of those admitted will be first-generation college students. Cornell also accepts transfer applicants. Read more about Cornell’s transfer process here or get help from our experts.
Top Tier Admissions Can Help You Get Into Cornell University:
“I am excited to inform you that I will be attending Northeastern University this fall! I am hoping that they fully reopen the campus as they plan to. Until then, I’m greatly anticipating being a Husky. I could not have done it with you and your team. Thank you very much for helping me with my application. I greatly appreciate it.”–C.K., Application Boot Camp student, Northeastern
"Thank you so much for all your time and work with N over these last few months. N found his experience at Boot Camp to be incredibly helpful and he very much enjoyed meeting you and working with all the Top Tier counselors as well as the other students. The process was educational for N in so many ways- thank you, thank you, thank you!" –M.T., Application Boot Camp parent
"I want to thank you, again, for a fantastic Top Tier Boot Camp experience. As a second time Top Tier family, we drank your Kool Aid fully and completely, and it paid off! You know your stuff; you manage to thread the needle with a mix of tough love and compassion (for both the students and their parents - no small feat) and you run a super-efficient 4-day program." –R.R., Application Boot Camp parent
"I got my acceptance letter over the weekend from Middlebury!! I’m officially a Panther!!! 🙂 Thank you for all of your help; I could not have made it through 1st quarter without ABC!!!" -S.F., Application Boot Camp student
"Dear Michele, I just wanted to let you know that I just got accepted into Dartmouth for ED! I’m overjoyed and incredibly excited to continue my academic journey in New Hampshire. Thank you so much! You were always there to answer so many of my questions and were incredibly supportive of me; I couldn’t have done it without you and the Top Tier team!" –B.S., Application Boot Camp student
"Thank you so much!! He couldn’t have done it without your amazing team!" –H.O., Application Boot Camp parent
"We just got the news! Northwestern Class of 2024! She’s over the moon. This would not have happened without the advice and guidance along the way from all of the folks at Top Tier Admissions! From the advice on how to structure her supplemental info, including how to position her interests and activities relative to her major, the advice to take a college course this summer, and the amazing work that was done during Boot Camp, Top Tier is the absolute best and I know we have you to thank for her acceptance!!! Happy Holidays and thank you from the bottom of my heart!" –P.S., Application Boot Camp parent
"Michele and team - Just wanted to pass along the great news that J got admitted today to Pitzer, her first choice ED school. Thanks for all the amazing support you've provided H and J over the past few years. They both learned a lot from the process and, of course, benefited greatly. We now get to celebrate the holidays with a sigh of relief!" –V.J., Application Boot Camp parent
"J is so thrilled about attending Middlebury College next fall (and we are thrilled for her) and we appreciate all your assistance. It was so exciting for her to get the official acceptance last week. She loved her time at ABC and still keeps in touch with the group of friends she made. Boot Camp was tough, but she thoroughly loved it. She’s a grinder so the intensity and complete immersion didn’t bother her at all. She loved working with all of you and cherishes having another little group of friends that she bonded with in Boston. Don’t fire your caterer - she’s a big fan of the food at Boot Camp." –W.R., Application Boot Camp parent
"B, you helped me with my application during Boot Camp this past summer and I wanted to let you know that I committed to UPenn last night! Thank you so much for helping to transform my supplements into something readable. Boot Camp DEFINITELY helped me get in and made the process a lot less stressful. Thank you so much for all of your help!" –B.A., Application Boot Camp student
"We wanted to thank you for your guidance, counsel and support through T’s application process. Your advice has been instrumental to his success and, more importantly, you gave him the confidence boost he needed to apply early at Princeton. We will continue to recommend Top Tier services to our friends and will always be grateful for what you did. We hope we can stay in touch and wish you a wonderful holiday season." –K.L.T., Application Boot Camp parent
"We are excited to report that B was accepted ED to Duke University and has committed to attend next fall. We’ll forward a picture once our first Duke swag order arrives. Duke was her clear first choice and we are all very happy! We are also very pleased with the assistance we received from all of you at Top Tier and are confident that the guidance we received over the last seventeen months helped B wind up with this great outcome. So, thank you!" –E.R., Application Boot Camp parent
"I am ecstatic to report that I got into my ED school: University of Chicago! Thank you so much for all your help and willingness to work through draft after draft until I got it right." –W.D., Application Boot Camp student
"I am happy to report that we found out this evening that L has been accepted to Boston College! We are SO excited! And for your records, he was also accepted at Villanova and invited to the honors program. Thank you all so much for your help and support! We would have been lost without you!" –M.J., Application Boot Camp student
"I wanted to extend my personal thanks for all your help with my son's application process and essays. Your Bootcamp proved to be well worth the investment and per your advice I stayed away from the temptation of even reading my son's essays until he was accepted. The bottom line is that he was accepted into his top choice of UChicago and in his acceptance letter his essay was specifically mentioned. Furthermore, this was a reach school for him which made the acceptance even more sweet. Your methods and advice were instrumental in his success and I cannot thank you enough for making my son's aspirations real!!" –L.T., Application Boot Camp parent
"I'm not sure if my daughter told you yet, but she was accepted ED to Dartmouth in December. So, two for two with the W sisters-- thanks Top Tier Admissions!" –G.W., Application Boot Camp parent x2
"I wanted to let you know that I got into my first choice, Boston College, early decision. I'm so excited. Thank you all so much for everything, I'm so grateful!" –L.K., Application Boot Camp student
"Thank you to Mimi who wrote my personalized report back in junior year, to the entire team, and definitely to E! My quick acceptance into Cornell owes much to your insights and guidance. Although I have been accepted to Cornell, the process with Top Tier has made me want to stay competitive in college — whether for internships, or for graduate schools later in life. I thank you for that!" –P.O., Application Boot Camp student
"WE MADE IT!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH! I COULDN'T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT YOU!" –L.J., Application Boot Camp student
“Once again, I am so impressed with your program. I am amazed at the sheer amount B. accomplished in four days! Equally as important, she feels really great about her essays. She loved working with each of you as well as A. (a great pairing for her!). I know how hard each of you worked this week; I hope you get to enjoy some well-deserved R&R!” –N.G., Application Boot Camp parent
"G is excited to go to her first choice, the University of Miami! She continues to say that Application Boot Camp was the best investment we ever made for her education." –R.J., Application Boot Camp parent
"I liked the process of having multiple people read my essays before finalizing a draft. This made me confident that my essays were clear and concise while also captivating to a diverse audience. Everyone was also patient and encouraging. Boot Camp took away so much stress coming into Senior Fall, allowing me to focus on my academics and earning my highest term average ever." –S.A., Application Boot Camp student
"I know first hand how you run your business. Off the charts ethical! We look forward to continuing our relationship with Top Tier's Application Boot Camp."
"Thank you so much for your help and guidance. I wouldn't have been able to do it without you and the Top Tier Admissions Team! I'm still in between UPenn and Georgetown, but I will make sure to visit both." –S.I., Application Boot Camp student
"Clearly, Application Bootcamp and Top Tier took a lot of anxiety out of the whole situation. Our children know a number of kids who did not get into their top choice ED school, only to be devastated and stressed as they are without a plan for ED II and regular decision and have not worked on a range of essays for other schools. So while F & J’s EA-only strategy is not for everyone but made sense for them since they did not have a clear lead school when they were applying, being prepared made all the difference. The help Bootcamp provided in honing their voice and words into essays that reflect their intent was fantastic. In the end, it is all about having choices they are happy with, and I am happy to say they both have those now!" –F.A., parent of Application Boot Camp students
"E., I just wanted to let you know that I got into Barnard Early Decision! Thank you for everything you have done!!! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate everything you did for me! Thank You!!" - H.L., Personal Boot Camp student
Barnard, Class of 2023
"I wanted to say thank you again for all your help! I got into UPenn, Cornell, Barnard, Wellesley, Wesleyan, Tufts, University of Michigan, and Wake Forest, and am waiting to hear from Georgetown; I think I'm leaning towards UPenn. Thank you so much for all your guidance; I don't think I could have done it without your help!" --I.R., Application Boot Camp student
"We are thrilled! Duke is absolutely fantastic and is the exact right fit for K. Application Boot Camp definitely helped her get into Duke during their most selective year in history, a year in which they turned away well over 2,000 Valedictorians. Thank you!" -Y.R., parent of ABC student accepted to 9 top-tier colleges
"Boot Camp was the most incredible experience. It made me push myself into thinking about my future and prepared me to send in all my applications. I am so thankful that I got the help I needed at Boot Camp because it made my application process effortless once I had completed my essays. I think that the colleges were able to clearly see my goals and ambitions through the writing of my essays. I believe this helped me have a very successful application process." –P.K., Application Boot Camp student