Cornell Undergraduate Requirements

August 31, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Cornell Undergraduate Requirements

Located in Ithaca, New York, and founded in 1865, Cornell University is a private university and is the youngest Ivy League school. Since its founding, the school has focused on educating students who will have positive impacts throughout the world in all fields of study. Cornell ranked #17 in the 2022 edition of Best Colleges in National Universities.

Students at Cornell enjoy the rare chance to study directly under a world-class faculty that includes Pulitzer Prize winners, MacArthur Fellows, and Nobel Laureates. Cornell also provides a diverse range of academic options, including 80 majors and 120 minors, making it far more likely that you’ll discover exactly what you’re looking for. It offers an ocean of opportunities in seven undergraduate schools.

Female teacher teaching something to a male student.

Cornell is the first American university to offer a major in American Studies and the first university to teach modern Far Eastern languages. Today, the Department of Asian Studies teaches 19 classical and modern Asian languages.

Apart from this, its yearly traditions such as Dragon Day, Chimes Concerts, Homecoming, Slope Day, and Cornell Ice Hockey are highlights of the university. It has an 8.6:1 student-to-faculty ratio ensuring the best academic experience for each student. In 2019, Cornell developed the following set of core values to make the university a more inclusive and equitable institution:

  • Purposeful discovery
  • Free and open inquiry and expression
  • A community of belonging
  • Exploration across boundaries
  • Transforming people’s lives through active participation in the community
  • An appreciation and awe for the natural world

Cornell University has produced many notable people who have gone on to make their mark in the world. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an American lawyer, Ratan Tata, an Indian industrialist, Anthony Fauci, an American physician-scientist and immunologist, and Barbara McClintock are among the distinguished alumni of the university (American Scientist). Because Cornell has a history of producing notable graduates who have graced its halls, the university receives a lot of attention from students who are just beginning their college careers. Therefore, you will need to put forth every effort possible to distinguish yourself among the Cornell undergraduate requirements.

Due to all of this, a significant number of students are interested in attending Cornell. However, given that it is one of the most prestigious colleges, the admissions process can be quite challenging. The acceptance rate that Cornell is currently at, which is approximately 6.9 percent, is the lowest it has ever been in the school’s history.

There were over 71,000 applications submitted for a spot in the 2022-23 freshman class, but the school only accepted 4,908 of them. This is a significantly lower rate than the 8.7 percent admission rate that was seen for the Class of 2025. In this guide, we will explain what Cornell is looking for, the Cornell undergraduate requirements, and anything else that pertains to admission.

How do you get into Cornell University Undergraduate?

How do you get into Cornell University Undergraduate? If you are applying for admission to the university for the first time and you graduated from high school during the academic year 2022-23, or if you graduated from high school but have earned fewer than 12 credits at a college or university, you are considered a first-year applicant.

Young teacher talking to a group of students.

Check that you meet all of the Cornell undergraduate requirements for admission before submitting your application by reading through the list of requirements available on their website. The requirements that need to be fulfilled by you are as follows.

The Standard Application Form (CA)

The Common Application (CA), which can be filled out and sent in via the internet, is the application that Cornell uses.

The Report from School

As part of the Cornell undergraduate requirements, this form, along with your official transcript, should be submitted on your behalf by a school counselor or other designated school official. Alternatively, your school may have its own report form.

A Recommendation from Your Counselor

The University of Cornell requires a letter of recommendation from either your guidance counselor or college advisor.

A Total of Two Student-Teacher Evaluations

You are required to turn in recommendations from two different teachers. Be sure to remind the people who are writing letters for you to include your name and date of birth on each and every page if they are going to send the letters through the mail.

The Midyear Report

As a part of the Cornell undergraduate requirements, students have to send in the Midyear Report  as soon after the application deadline as possible. For the sake of expediting the review of your application, Cornell strongly encourages school counselors to also submit this information online.

Cornell is aware that some students who attend schools that use trimesters may not have any new grade information to report at the time that the submission is due. These students do not have to submit a Midyear Report because they do not have any new grades to report.

An official transcript from your secondary or high school

Before the application deadline, you are required to send us one or more official transcripts from secondary schools or high schools that you attended. This should be sent by your school either online or via mail, and either option is acceptable.

Application fee of $80 or fee waiver if applicable

In order for applications to be taken into consideration, either a non-refundable application fee in the amount of $80 or a fee waiver must be submitted. The admissions process begins with the submission of the Cornell undergraduate requirements, along with the application fee or a fee waiver.

This step should be completed as quickly as possible to avoid any delays. Your application will not be reviewed by Cornell unless you either pay the $80 application fee or request a fee waiver.

The commitment of Cornell University to providing equal opportunities and access to all of its students is unwavering. There is the possibility that you could be granted a fee waiver if the $80 application fee would put an undue burden on your family’s finances.

The Questions and Writing Supplement of Cornell University

Because it contains essential Cornell-specific questions as well as required essays, the Cornell Questions and Writing Supplement is a requirement that must be met by all applicants. Having this information allows us to better match your intellectual aspirations with the Cornell college or school to which you are applying.

Female student typing in a couch.

The Results of Standardized Tests

The SAT and/or ACT test requirement that was previously in place for applicants to Cornell in the years 2022, 2023, and 2024 has been removed.

  • Interviews, portfolio reviews, and design submissions may be required by the Cornell undergraduate college or school to which you have applied. These may be considered “required items.”
  • Interviews. Students who are interested in enrolling in the architecture program are required to take part in an interview as a component of the admissions process. Interviews are strongly recommended, but not required, for those interested in applying to the Department of Art or the Department of Urban and Regional Studies.
  • Additional Proposals and Comments. There are some of our majors, such as architecture, art, design, and environmental analysis, and fashion design and management, that do require additional forms, portfolios, or design indexes. These majors can be found on our website.

What GPA do I need to get into Cornell?

What GPA do I need to get into Cornell? Let’s talk about your grade point average, also known as your GPA, from high school. You are required to give careful consideration to Cornell University’s GPA prerequisites before submitting an application. This is to ensure that your application is not immediately dismissed without further consideration.

You can get a good idea of the minimum GPA necessary to attend Cornell University by looking at the average GPA of the university’s students. The majority of Cornell’s acceptances have unweighted grade point averages of 4.07 or higher.

Group of students taking an exam in a classroom.

You might be asking yourself, “How is it possible for students to have a grade point average that is higher than 4.0?” There are some high schools that give advanced classes like APs different grades, using a scale of 5.0 instead of a scale of 4.0.

In the United States, the majority of the most prestigious educational institutions do not reveal the exact grade point averages of students who are accepted into their programs. Despite this, the vast majority of students finish in the top 10 percent of their respective high schools.

It is in your best interest to keep your overall grade point average at or above 4.0 in all of your classes. You’ll need to earn a majority of A’s in your high school courses if you want your grade point average to be high enough for Cornell.

Other information in your transcript, such as awards, certificates, and AP classes, are taken into consideration by Cornell as well. In conclusion, it is absolutely necessary to maintain a grade point average that satisfies the requirements set forth by Cornell University while simultaneously enrolling in the most difficult classes that your high school has to offer.

Cornell requirements for international students

What are the Cornell requirements for international students? In terms of admissions requirements, Cornell is known for being relatively strict. As a result, you should make getting high scores across the board in your exams and maintaining a solid academic track record a priority.

The specific requirements necessary to qualify for each course are different from one another. Our first-year applicants, as well as our transfer applicants, as well as our international students all, go through the same application process.

Three students talking in a bench while holding their notes.

The financial circumstances of international applicants are taken into consideration when making admissions decisions at Cornell University. This indicates that they will be evaluated for admission taking into consideration the financial capability of either the students or their parents in order to cover the costs of education.

If international applicants do not submit an application for financial aid at the time they submit their Cornell undergraduate requirements (and if they are granted admission), they will not be eligible to submit an application for financial aid at any point during their time as undergraduate students at Cornell. Applicants who are expecting to receive

  • IELTS- at least 7 overall or
  • TOEFL- Score of 100 (internet-based) and 600 (paper-based)
  • Duolingo English Test: Score of120 and above
  • Advanced Placement scores, as per course
  • SAT or ACT scores (for 2022 intake, Cornell has suspended SAT/ACT requirements.)
  • Class 10, 11, and 12 records (or as asked by the university)

Does Cornell require SAT for 2022?

Does Cornell require SAT for 2022 admissions? The SAT and/or ACT test requirement that was previously in place for applicants to Cornell in the years 2022, 2023, and 2024 has been removed. As a result of the pandemic emergency caused by SARS-COV-2, numerous SAT and ACT testing sessions have been canceled.

As a result of this exceptional circumstance, prospective students who wish to enroll at Cornell University beginning in August 2022 may submit their Cornell undergraduate requirements without including the results of the ACT or SAT exams in their supporting documentation. This will be the case during both the Early Decision round of review as well as the Regular Decision round.

Do not feel that you need to take exams unless you are able to take the exam locally, close to where you live, and you feel safe doing so. This advice applies to all applicants for current and future terms. To refresh your memory, Cornell will consider your application even if you have not taken any standardized tests. Please ensure that you always follow the local, state, and national COVID-19 guidelines at all times for the sake of your health and safety.

In general, Cornell does not intend to implement a test-optional admission policy in the long-term for applicants who have already taken the ACT or SAT, or who have the opportunity to do so.

Cornell has anticipated, as appears to be the case at test-optional colleges and universities, that a large number of students who will have had reasonable and uninterrupted opportunities to take the ACT and/or SAT during the 2020-2021 administrations will continue to submit results, and those results will continue to demonstrate preparation for college-level work. This is consistent with what appears to be the case at test-optional colleges and universities.

Students have the option of not turning in their test results, even if they have taken the exam more than once. This option is available to students who have already taken the exam.

What kind of student does Cornell look for?

What kind of student does Cornell look for? The principles of discovery, curiosity, and innovation were the cornerstones upon which Cornell University was established. Naturally, the admissions committee at Cornell is aware that students who are enthusiastic about research tend to have grades and test scores that demonstrate their level of ambition.

Cornell, a respected member of the Ivy League, has scores that, on average, reflect the institution’s commitment to academic excellence. However, that is not the only thing that Cornell is looking for; administrators at Cornell care about the moral standing and honesty of their students just as much as they care about academic achievement among the student body.

In order to highlight their ideal student, Cornell’s requirements have been carefully crafted; however, the university is also looking for a few other, more profound qualities in the applicants they accept.

Intellectual Potential

Cornell believes that if you have the academic record to support your passion for uncovering new knowledge through dedicated and comprehensive research, then you will have the passion to back up your record.

Honesty and sincerity in one’s actions

An admissions officer at Cornell will be looking for evidence of your character when they read your essays and letters of recommendation. This evidence can include things like honesty, open-mindedness, and empathy.

Participation in Both the Classroom and the Community

The university places a high priority on its engagement with the local community. It will be to your advantage tremendously if you include in your application any information that demonstrates the ways in which you were involved in both your school and the community.

Cornell University seeks students who aren’t afraid to push themselves academically, who are curious and passionate about learning in order to share what they learn with their community, and who aren’t afraid to challenge themselves with challenging coursework. In particular, growth is encouraged at Cornell by means of exhaustive research, which is carried out under the direction of illustrious faculty and staff.

If you are open and honest about why you have chosen Cornell, you will be submitting an application that will capture their attention, and hopefully, help them see you as Cornell’s ideal student. If you are not open and honest about why you have chosen Cornell, you will not be considered.

Cornell University application deadline for 2022

When will be the Cornell University application deadline for 2022? At Cornell University, the deadlines for admission to undergraduate courses are separated into two categories: early decisions and regular decisions. The following list contains the upcoming due dates for the semester:

Application Deadline
Early Decision November 1
Regular Decision January 2
Early Decision November 1

If you need help putting the finishing touches on your early applications, or want some advice on whether or not applying Early Decision or an Early Action is a good option for you, at AdmissionSight, we have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process, including our athletic recruitment program.

AdmissionSight can help you put your best foot forward when applying to college this fall. Contact us today for more information on our services.


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