Cornell University, a private research university located in Ithaca, New York, was founded in 1856. It is currently ranked #17 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:
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Barnard, Class of 2023
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