Cornell Acceptance Rate: 9%

February 12, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Cornell Acceptance Rate: 9%

Shortcut to sections offered for Cornell prospective students and Cornell acceptance rate:

Successful Applicant Profile

  • Demographics
  • Majors
  • SAT/ACT scores

Entry Requirements

  • Tuition
  • Scholarships
  • Checklist of Application Requirements
  • Application Deadlines

What Should You Expect

  • Student life
  • Academics offered
  • Athletics offered
  • Notable Alumni

Cornell University is an Ivy League private institution founded in 1865. The campus is located in rural Ithaca, New York and covers a sprawling 745 acres. Even though the total undergraduate enrollment is 15,182, Cornell acceptances rates are still pretty low. However, in comparison to Princeton, Harvard, and Yale, Cornell acceptance rates are slightly better at 9%.

You need all the help you can get if you are attempting to get into this university. AdmissionSight has all the resources required to help students get into this university despite the low acceptance rates.

In fact, the fact that the Cornell acceptance rate is in the double digits should fill you with confidence, especially if you have the right test scores and achievements.

Admission to Cornell can be very competitive, but the right guidance by an experienced admission counselor can help you make your application and interview stand out.

You have a serious opportunity of being accepted if your ACT is above 34, SAT is around 1550, and GPA is a steady 3.9 or above. But, these are just numbers. Here’s what you really need to know about a successful applicant profile.

Successful Applicant Profile

Cornell is among the highest-rated Ivy League universities. It is among the largest campuses in the world. Each year there are over 49,000 applicants to the undergraduate first-year courses. However, only about 5,183 applicants are accepted.

Spaces are limited and the applications are more, which makes Cornell acceptance rates tough and competent. However, the attempt to get into this university is worth it since 95% of graduates tend to start at a base salary of $64,500.

Do you already see yourself at Cornell? Here’s how your class will look like.

Where are the applicants from?

Cornell prides itself on diversity and you can expect to learn among students from all around the world of various ethnicities. Cornell offers the opportunity to study in hundreds of fields.

Gender distribution favors the female sex which is not seen in Yale or Princeton. There are 53% female students for 47% of males.

About 54% of students are of color with 32% identifying themselves from under-represented minorities. Typically, about 12% of the freshman class is made up of international students from Asia and the rest of the world.

13% of Cornell admissions are first-generation college students, which means the college is selective only when it comes to scores and achievements.

All freshmen are expected to live on campus, with 52% of undergraduate students living in university-owned, affiliated, or operated housing. Only about 48% of students live off-campus and these are generally seniors.

Back of group of students walking on the campus grounds.

What are the more common programs?

Cornell acceptance rate may be exceptionally low, but there’s a reason for this. The course work can be described as grilling at best.

You will be interacting with a diverse student body of high achievers and world-class faculty. You need to be on your toes at Cornell or you would quickly find yourself left behind. This is why the university only accepts students that are in the top 10% of their class.

However, there is no dearth of help at this university both academically and personally. You will always have a collaborator to help you with your learning, research, and service.

Cornell University is focused on helping students push their ideas and make them a reality. There are over 4,000+ courses on offer and matriculating students tend to pursue a wide array of subjects.

A few of the more common programs include Agriculture and Life Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Architecture, Art, and Planning, Engineering, Hotel Administration, Industrial and Labor Relations, and Human Ecology.

What is the average SAT/ACT score of admitted students?

Test scores are important if you want to get into Cornell. You need to be at the top 10% of your class. In fact, statistics show that 90% of selected candidates topped their high school classes. Here are the numbers:

For admitted students in 2019 who took ACT score:

  • 25th percentile score: 30
  • 75th percentile score: 34

For admitted students in 2019 who took SAT score:

  • 25th percentile score: 1390
  • 75th percentile score: 1570

Cornell acceptance rate is just 9% which means that for every 100 applications there are only 10 that are selected. This makes the admission process highly competitive and strenuous. You need to score the right kind of numbers if you want your application to be considered.

Apart from SAT/ACT you also need to focus on your GPA. Statistics show that Cornell tends to favor students with a minimum GPA of 3.9. Also, you need to focus on other non-academic achievements. Cornell is known to favor all-round achievers who excel in both academic and non-academic fields.

Entry Requirements

The journey to being selected can be overwhelming whether you are in the process of beginning your search or are editing your application essay. There is a lot that goes into picking a college.

This includes understanding the cost of attendance, determining the type of financial aid available, making sure that you submit the application in entirety before the due date, and taking all other appropriate steps that will confirm your admission.

Cornell may be your dream school, but you still need to understand the basics of the admission process. It is not just enough to get the right grades to beat the low Cornell acceptance rate.

You should also be in a position to pay your way through college without accruing a lot of debt. In addition, you need to know the application and admission process. Here’s everything you need to know about Cornell University.

SAT practice test notebook sitting on a table.

How much will it cost to attend?

The estimated cost of attendance to study at Cornell includes fees, tuition, housing, books, supplies, dining, and other personal items required by a full-time student attending the fall and spring semester.

The cost of attendance depends on numerous factors, such as whether you are a New York state resident or the undergraduate college you are interested in.

Financial aid can go a long way in reducing the burden of the yearly cost of attendance. Cornell grants form an important part of financial aid packages. This is free money that does not require repayment. These grants can go as high as $76,997.

The estimated cost of attendance:

  • Tuition and Fees – $58,586
  • Housing – $9,534
  • Dining – $6,262
  • Student Activity Fee – $274
  • Health Fee – $456
  • Books & Supplies – $990
  • Miscellaneous – $1,850

Housing at Cornell includes only double-occupancy rooms. Students that are without health insurance will need to purchase additional insurance.

The cost of supplies tends to be higher for students majoring in Design & Environmental Analysis, Landscape Architecture, and Fiber Science & Apparel Design and the ones planning to study in the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning.

What financial aid opportunities are available?

Financial aid is awarded by Cornell on the basis of demonstrated need. Aid is not offered on the basis of athletic ability, academics, or other talents.

Cornell takes into account a family’s financial need and does everything possible to meet that need with loans, grants, and student employment opportunities.

The university works hard to be diligent and consistent in considering the financial circumstances of applicants each year. Students that plan to apply for financial aid throughout their college term don’t have to worry. Cornell prides itself on offering predictable financial aid packages each year as long as the financial circumstances remain unchanged.

However, grants and loans are usually not enough to cover the entire cost of attendance each year. The family needs to pay an annual amount each year that is also called parent contribution.

This amount is calculated on the basis of the number of undergraduates in college, family size, income, assets, and student contribution

You can estimate your family’s contribution and the kind of grant you qualify for by using this handy Financial Aid Calculator.

Typically, if the family has assets less than $100,000 (including primary home equity) and income less than $60,000, there will be no loans and no student burden or parent contribution. Cornell acceptances shall cover the entire cost of attendance through grants and aids.

However, this doesn’t mean that loans are not necessary at all. If you need to seek a student loan, you would have to take into account your family’s income. Cornell has set maximum limits in place to protect students from graduating with a lot of debt. Cornell graduates, on average, leave school with a loan of $24,000.

Small graduation hat on top of money.

What are the application requirements for Cornell?

It is important that you give yourself enough time to complete the application and supplemental information to the best of your capabilities. You need to be sure about carefully reviewing the information about application requirements, deadlines, and other things.

This is critical for Cornell because of the various different undergraduate colleges and schools. You cannot change your course or your undergraduate college once you apply. Requests to change the college will not be honored by the university.

Cornell offers two ways of applying – the Common Application (CA) or the Universal College Application (UCA). Both applications can be completed and submitted online. However, you can only submit your application using one format.

Cornell Application Checklist

  • The Common Application (CA) or Universal College Application (UCA)
  • Cornell University Questions and Writing Supplement
  • $80 fee or the waiver form
  • School report
  • Mid-year report
  • Two teacher evaluations
  • Counselor recommendation
  • SAT/ACT test scores
  • High school transcript

Make sure you double-check your Cornell application and hit the submit/send button on both the application and the supplement. You would receive an email with instructions to set up an online application status account. This is paramount since your decision reply shall get published here.

What are the timelines for the Cornell application?

Cornell offers early decision and regular decision applications. However, an early decision with Cornell is binding. You will be expected to pull out any applications with other schools if you get selected.

You will also need to send your enrollment deposit by early January. So, be very sure that Cornell is your dream school before you choose an early application.

In certain cases, the admissions committee may postpone your early decision to regular decision. In such a situation, you are not required to withdraw your applications from other universities.

The only time you can release yourself from an early decision acceptance is if the financial aid award is not up to your expectations. Cornell tries to make education affordable for everyone and if the grant does not help you and your family, then you can withdraw your application.

Deadlines for freshmen starting fall 2021

Early Decision Candidates

  • Application deadline – November 1st, 2020
  • SAT/ACT test – November 1st, 2020
  • Financial aid – November 21st, 2020

Regular Decision Candidates

  • Application deadline – January 2nd, 2021
  • SAT/ACT test –January 2nd, 2021
  • Financial aid –February 15th, 2021

Decision notification

Admission and financial aid award decisions are announced by mid-December for early decision candidates and early April for regular decision applicants. Regular decision candidates are expected to reply by May 1st.

What to Expect

Cornell University has 7 undergraduate colleges and schools with each free to make their own admission decisions and provide faculty.

However, a graduate from any 7 colleges would be awarded a degree from Cornell University. The two largest colleges on campus are the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Group of students sitting on the lawn while watching the sunset.

What do students think of life at Cornell?

All first-year students are housed on the north campus. The university has available housing options for graduate and upperclassmen as well. However, most sophomore and seniors choose to live off-campus. The college has a thriving Greek scene with more than 60 sorority and fraternity chapters.

21 days ago, a freshman student posted a testimony about Cornell University on a college-ranking site Niche expressing that Cornell has:

“A huge campus with great diversity. You get to meet people all over the world and learn cultures and lifestyles. The academics at Cornell is very hard not comparable to my high school experience.

You have to invest a lot of time preview and review the class works also have to put a lot of effort into assignments to earn satisfying grades. Even though the academic is really hard, you learn a lot from it.”

There are hundreds of student-led organizations in this university covering a broad array of interests and topics. Some of the more popular student groups include Figure Skating Club, Fashion Collective, Writer’s Block, Swing Dance Club, Biotechnology Club, Computer Animation Club, China Club, Dressage Club, Impact Dance Troupe, Fishing Club, and Juggling Club.

An interesting and among the oldest Cornell traditions is Dragon Day in which first-year architecture students build a dragon and parade it throughout the campus.

You can get more information about Cornell campus life and admissions process by calling the undergraduate admission office at 607-255-5241 or sending an email to [email protected].

What academics are offered?

There are over 80 formal majors offered at Cornell in addition to a score of interdisciplinary majors and several challenging dual-degree programs.

All undergraduate students are required to complete 34 courses over eight semesters. This includes language requirements and classes in liberal arts and majors.

Cornell has an excellent student-faculty ratio at 9:1. 56.8% of all classes have fewer than 20 students enrolled. The more popular majors at Cornell University include Engineering, Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Business Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services, Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services, and Agriculture, Agriculture Operations, and Related Sciences.

Approximately 97% of freshmen stay on to complete their studies and get a graduation degree. A typical academic year begins around August 23rd and ends on May 23rd.

What athletic options are available?

Cornell University is part of the NCAA Division I Ivy League. There are 36 intercollegiate sports teams in addition to several clubs and intramural offerings for men and women.

Some of the more popular teams are Basketball, Ice Hockey, Baseball, Lacrosse, Polo, Lightweight Crew, Heavyweight Crew, Soccer, Swimming, Tennis, Softball, Track, Volleyball, Golf, Alpine Skiing, and Wrestling.

A man getting ready for his turn to ski down the mountain.

Who are some famous Cornell alumni?

Some well-known business tycoons, politicians, musicians, entertainers, and media figures have attended Cornell University. A few particularly well-known alumni include:

  • Controversial Bill Nye the Science Guy
  • E.B. White, author
  • Keith Olbermann retired comical sportscaster
  • Pearl S. Buck, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature
  • Ruther Bader Ginsburg, Associate Supreme Court Justice
  • Bill Maher, comedian
  • Jane Lynch, actress
  • Novelist Tea Orbit
  • Huey Lewis, rock musician
  • Oscar G. Mayer Jr., Chairman of Oscar Mayer

Dying to see your name on that list? Think you have the right scores? Get started on your application today with help from AdmissionSight.

Cornell University may have a competitive acceptance rate and a tough admission pool with high average SAT/ACT scores, but, the university believes in a holistic admissions process. They take into account factors that go well beyond your test scores and grades.

Glowing letters of recommendation and a strong application essay can make all the difference to strengthening your chance of admission. The admission counselors at AdmissionSight can help you enhance your achievements and portray them in the best light.


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