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Comparing Cornell vs Washington University in St. Louis

July 15, 2023
By AdmissionSight
View of students lounging in the campus.

Comparing Cornell vs Washington University in St. Louis

Are you torn between two great universities, Cornell and Washington University in St. Louis? It can be challenging to compare schools beyond their rankings, but this article aims to provide an in-depth and comprehensive guide to each institution. From campus life and admissions to tuition fees and student organizations, we will compare and contrast the features of Cornell vs Washington University in St. Louis to help you make an informed decision.

Young man smiling while on a hallway.

Performance between the two universities

Before delving into the details, let’s briefly compare the two universities. Cornell is a private Ivy League in Ithaca, New York, founded in 1865, while Washington University in St. Louis is a private research institution founded in 1853, located in St. Louis, Missouri. With a lower acceptance rate (10.6%) than Washington University (15%), Cornell is a highly selective institution with a larger undergraduate population of over 15,000 students compared to Washington University’s nearly 7,000.

However, despite the difference in undergraduate population, Washington University in St. Louis has a higher student-to-faculty ratio of 7:1 compared to Cornell’s 9:1. This means that students at Washington University may have more opportunities for one-on-one interactions with their professors and potentially more personalized attention in their academic pursuits. Additionally, Washington University has a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary studies, with numerous research centers and institutes that encourage collaboration across different fields of study.

Campus Life: A comparison of student experiences at Cornell and Washington University in St. Louis

Both universities offer a vibrant campus life that caters to a diverse student population. Cornell has over 1,000 clubs and organizations, including Greek Life, cultural, academic and professional organizations. They also have numerous athletic programs, and students can participate in intramural sports and outdoor activities. Similarly, Washington University in St. Louis also has a breadth of clubs and organizations, recreational sports programs, and wellness initiatives. Their campus culture is known for its work-life balance, emphasizing time management and relaxation.

However, there are some differences in the campus life experiences at Cornell and Washington University in St. Louis. Cornell is located in a rural area, which provides students with a unique opportunity to explore nature and engage in outdoor activities such as hiking and skiing. On the other hand, Washington University in St. Louis is located in a bustling city, which offers students access to a wide range of cultural events and internship opportunities. Additionally, Cornell has a strong emphasis on community service and social justice, with many organizations dedicated to these causes. In contrast, Washington University in St. Louis has a strong focus on entrepreneurship and innovation, with many resources available to students who are interested in starting their own businesses.

Admissions: What are the similarities and differences between the admissions processes at Cornell and Washington University in St. Louis?

Students working on a library while working.

The admissions processes at Cornell and Washington University in St. Louis are similar in that both consider factors beyond academics, such as extracurricular activities, essays, and recommendation letters. Cornell also offers applicants to submit an arts portfolio as part of their application, while Washington University requires demonstrable leadership or service in their community and a personal statement. Both universities practice need-blind admissions, meaning that financial aid applications are divorced from admissions decisions. Lastly, Cornell has a binding Early Decision deadline on November 1st, while Washington University has two rounds of early application deadlines.

However, there are also some notable differences between the admissions processes at Cornell and Washington University in St. Louis. For instance, Cornell has a higher acceptance rate than Washington University, with an acceptance rate of 10.6% compared to Washington University’s 7.6%. Additionally, Cornell has a larger undergraduate student body, with over 15,000 students compared to Washington University’s 7,000 students. Another difference is that Cornell offers a wider range of majors and programs, with over 100 undergraduate majors compared to Washington University’s 90 majors.

Financial Aid: A comprehensive comparison of financial aid packages at Cornell and Washington University in St. Louis

For many students, financial aid is a significant factor in the decision-making process. Both institutions provide robust financial aid packages that aim to meet students’ demonstrated financial need. Cornell’s undergraduate financial aid program covers demonstrated need without loans, reducing the burden of student debt, while Washington University is known for its flexibility in meeting the diverse needs of its students.

It is important to note that both Cornell and Washington University offer merit-based scholarships in addition to need-based financial aid. These scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement, leadership potential, and other factors. Cornell offers a range of merit-based scholarships, including the prestigious Cornell Presidential Research Scholars Program, which provides funding for undergraduate research projects. Washington University offers several merit-based scholarships, including the Danforth Scholars Program, which covers full tuition and provides additional funding for research and study abroad opportunities.

Faculty: An evaluation of teaching quality at Cornell and Washington University in St. Louis

Cornell and Washington University in St. Louis pride themselves on the quality of their faculty, with both having internationally renowned researchers and award-winning professors in their respective fields. Cornell has notable alumni such as Ruth Bader Ginsberg, James B. Sumner, and Bill Nye, and boasts six Novel laureates and one Turing Award winner, while Washington University counts 25 Nobel laureates among its current and former faculty.

However, teaching quality is not solely determined by the prestige of the faculty. Both universities have implemented various initiatives to ensure that their professors are effective educators. Cornell, for example, has a Center for Teaching Innovation that provides resources and support for faculty to improve their teaching methods. Washington University has a Teaching Center that offers workshops and consultations for faculty to enhance their teaching skills. Additionally, both universities regularly solicit feedback from students to evaluate the effectiveness of their professors and make improvements where necessary.

Research Opportunities: A comparison of research facilities and opportunities offered by Cornell and Washington University in St. Louis

Both Cornell and Washington University in St. Louis provide opportunities for undergraduate research and hands-on experiences in their respective fields. Cornell has over 100 research centers and institutes, including the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, which is renowned for its research on birds, while Washington University collaborates with the nearby Barnes-Jewish Hospital and the St. Louis Children’s Hospital for medical and scientific research.

Additionally, Cornell offers research opportunities in fields such as agriculture, engineering, and computer science, with access to state-of-the-art facilities and equipment. On the other hand, Washington University has a strong focus on interdisciplinary research, with opportunities for students to work across multiple fields and collaborate with faculty from different departments. Both universities also offer summer research programs and funding opportunities for students to pursue their research interests.

Alumni Network: How do the alumni networks of Cornell vs Washington University in St. Louis compare?

The alumni networks of Cornell and Washington University in St. Louis are extensive and very active. Cornell has over 250,000 alumni worldwide and an active alumni association that offers career networking and advice to current students. Meanwhile, the Washington University Alumni Association has over 110 chapters, clubs, and networks worldwide and offers numerous events, benefits, and services to its alumni.

Students talking in the school campus.

Despite the similarities in size and activity, there are some notable differences between the alumni networks of Cornell and Washington University in St. Louis. For example, Cornell’s alumni association has a strong focus on philanthropy and encourages its members to give back to the university through donations and volunteer work. On the other hand, the Washington University Alumni Association places a greater emphasis on social events and networking opportunities, with a particular focus on connecting alumni with each other for personal and professional growth.

Another key difference between the two alumni networks is their geographic reach. While Cornell has a large global presence, with alumni chapters and clubs in many countries around the world, Washington University in St. Louis has a more regional focus, with a strong presence in the Midwest and a smaller number of international chapters. This reflects the different priorities and goals of the two universities, as well as the unique needs and interests of their alumni communities.

Location: A look at how the location of each university affects student life and opportunities

The location of each institution provides unique opportunities and challenges. Cornell’s location in rural Ithaca provides a peaceful and contiguous campus, a change of pace from urban life with plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities. Meanwhile, Washington University’s location in St. Louis provides a rich metropolitan area with entrepreneurial opportunities and a thriving arts and culture scene.

Another example of how location affects student life and opportunities is the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Its location in Honolulu provides students with access to a diverse and vibrant city, as well as the opportunity to explore the natural beauty of the Hawaiian islands. Students can take advantage of the university’s strong programs in marine biology and environmental studies, and participate in research and internships with local organizations.

On the other hand, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, located in the interior of Alaska, offers a unique experience for students who are interested in outdoor activities and environmental studies. The university is surrounded by vast wilderness areas, and students can participate in research and internships with local organizations focused on wildlife conservation and natural resource management. However, the remote location can also present challenges for students who are not accustomed to living in a cold and isolated environment.

Campus Facilities: A comparison of campus resources, including libraries, laboratories, and sports facilities, at Cornell and Washington University in St. Louis

Cornell and Washington University in St. Louis both have state-of-the-art facilities that cater to various academic and non-academic needs. Cornell’s 21 libraries house millions of books and electronic resources, and its 4,000-acre campus provides ample space for recreational activities. Washington University has an extensive library system, including the Olin Library, known for its vast collections and excellent study spaces. Its athletics district, near the Danforth Campus, offers a variety of sports and recreational opportunities.

In addition to their impressive libraries and sports facilities, both Cornell and Washington University in St. Louis have top-notch laboratory facilities. Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has a world-renowned research program, with state-of-the-art labs for studying plant and animal sciences. Washington University’s School of Medicine is also highly regarded, with cutting-edge research labs for studying diseases and developing new treatments.

Students taking an exam on their desks in a classroom.

Furthermore, both universities have invested heavily in sustainability initiatives. Cornell has a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2035 and has implemented numerous energy-saving measures, such as using geothermal energy to heat and cool buildings. Washington University has a similar goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and has implemented a variety of sustainability programs, including a campus-wide recycling program and a green transportation initiative.

Student Demographics: An examination of the diversity of student populations at Cornell vs Washington University in St. Louis

Diversity is essential to the college experience and enriches the perspectives and conversations on campus. Cornell and Washington University both have diverse student populations, although their demographics differ. Cornell has a larger undergraduate population than Washington University, with a student body that’s 46% female, 39% minority students, and 12% international students. In contrast, Washington University has a smaller undergraduate population, with a student body that’s 52% female, 27% of minority students, and 12% international students.

It’s worth noting that both Cornell and Washington University have made efforts to increase diversity on their campuses in recent years. Cornell has implemented programs such as the First in Class program, which provides support for first-generation college students, and the POSSE program, which recruits and supports students from diverse backgrounds. Similarly, Washington University has established the Danforth Scholars Program, which provides full-tuition scholarships to students who demonstrate exceptional academic achievement and leadership potential, with a focus on increasing diversity on campus.

Career Services: A comparison of career services offered by both universities to help students prepare for their future careers

Both Cornell and Washington University in St. Louis provide extensive resources and career services that help prepare students for their future careers. Cornell’s career development center offers workshops, career fairs, and on-campus recruiting opportunities, while Washington University’s career center provides comprehensive career coaching, resume and cover letter review, and interview preparation. Both institutions have high post-graduation job placement rates.

Additionally, Cornell’s career development center offers a variety of online resources, including career assessments and job search databases, to help students explore different career paths and find job opportunities. Washington University’s career center also offers networking events and alumni connections to help students build professional relationships and gain industry insights.

Furthermore, both universities have specialized career services for students in certain fields. For example, Cornell’s College of Engineering has a dedicated career center that provides industry-specific resources and connections, while Washington University’s Olin Business School offers career coaching and networking opportunities specifically for business students.

Rankings: How do Cornell vs Washington University in St. Louis compare on national rankings?

Both Cornell and Washington University in St. Louis frequently rank highly in national university rankings. According to the latest US News and World Report rankings for 2021, Cornell ranks 18th overall, while Washington University in St. Louis ranks 16th overall.

However, when it comes to specific program rankings, the two universities differ. Cornell is known for its strong programs in engineering, agriculture, and business, while Washington University in St. Louis is known for its top-ranked programs in medicine, law, and social work. Additionally, Cornell has a larger undergraduate student body, with over 15,000 students, while Washington University in St. Louis has a smaller undergraduate population of around 7,000 students.

Student Organizations: An overview of the various clubs, organizations, and extracurricular activities available to students at both universities.

Both Cornell and Washington University in St. Louis foster a robust and diverse campus life, with numerous clubs and organizations for students to get involved in. Cornell offers over 1,000 clubs and organizations for students, including student government, cultural clubs, and an active Greek life. At the same time, Washington University has over 300 student-run clubs, organizations, and groups covering academic, cultural, recreational, and social interests.

Students lounging around the school grounds.

One unique aspect of Cornell’s student organizations is the Cornell Outdoor Education program, which offers students the opportunity to participate in outdoor activities such as rock climbing, kayaking, and backpacking. Additionally, Cornell has a strong focus on sustainability, with numerous clubs and organizations dedicated to environmental activism and education.

Washington University also has a strong emphasis on community service, with many student organizations dedicated to volunteering and making a positive impact in the St. Louis area. The university also has a thriving arts scene, with student-run groups focused on theater, music, and visual arts.

Tuition fees: How much does each university cost?

While tuition fees change year-to-year, for the 2021-2022 academic year, the undergraduate tuition fee for Cornell was $59,282. In comparison, Washington University in St. Louis had an undergraduate tuition fee of $58,901. However, both institutions provide substantial financial aid and scholarships to help students pay for their education.

Overall, both Cornell and Washington University in St. Louis offer exceptional academic programs, numerous resources and opportunities, and vibrant campus culture to their students. While the decision of which university to attend is ultimately personal, we hope that this article has provided you with a comprehensive guide to each university’s features, helping you make an informed decision.

It is important to note that tuition fees are not the only cost associated with attending university. Students must also consider the cost of housing, textbooks, and other living expenses. Cornell and Washington University in St. Louis both offer on-campus housing options, as well as resources to help students find off-campus housing. Additionally, both universities have extensive libraries and other academic resources to support student learning.

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