Cornell vs Middlebury: A Comprehensive Overview

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Asian beautiful woman thinking idea with laptop computer in coffee shop

Cornell vs Middlebury: A Comprehensive Overview

Choosing the right college can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to comparing top institutions like Cornell and Middlebury. Both are world-renowned schools with impressive academic programs and many student opportunities. In this article, we’ll take a comprehensive look at Cornell vs Middlebury, weighing the pros and cons in various areas to help you decide which one is best suited for you.

Location and Campus Size: Which is Better?

Let’s start with location and campus size. Cornell University is located in the town of Ithaca in upstate New York. The campus covers over 2,300 acres, making it one of the largest in the country. Meanwhile, Middlebury College is situated in Middlebury, Vermont, and its campus encompasses around 350 acres.

In terms of location, Cornell’s setting is idyllic, with stunning natural beauty and a charming college town. Middlebury’s campus is equally picturesque and has the advantage of being close to outdoor recreational opportunities like hiking and skiing.

Top view of cornell university

The size of a campus can also impact the sense of community and social life on campus. With its large student body and sprawling campus at Cornell, it can be easy to feel lost in the crowd. However, the university offers many clubs and organizations to help students find their niche.

Middlebury, on the other hand, with its smaller campus, fosters a tight-knit community where students often form close relationships with their peers and professors. Ultimately, the campus size can play a role in shaping the overall college experience.

The winner in this category ultimately depends on personal preference, with Cornell offering more space to explore and Middlebury offering a cozy, intimate campus experience.

Admissions Criteria: What do they Look For?

The admissions process at both Cornell and Middlebury is highly selective, with rigorous standards for academic achievement and extracurricular involvement. Cornell’s acceptance rate hovers around 9 percent, with a middle 50 percent SAT score range of 1450-1560.

Conversely, Middlebury boasts an acceptance rate of around 13 percent, with a middle 50 percent SAT score range of 1380-1530.

While both schools value academic excellence, they prioritize well-rounded students who demonstrate leadership potential, community involvement, and a passion for learning. It is important to note that Cornell and Middlebury consider factors such as diversity, personal background, and unique experiences in their admissions decisions.

They strive to create a diverse and inclusive student body; therefore, applicants who come from underrepresented backgrounds or have faced significant challenges may have an advantage in the admissions process.

Additionally, both schools value demonstrated interest, so it is essential for applicants to engage with the schools through campus visits, interviews, and other interactions to show their enthusiasm for attending. Ultimately, the admissions criteria at these two institutions are similar, with a slightly higher bar set at Cornell.

Academic Programs Offered: Which One Suits Your Interests?

Cornell and Middlebury both have a wealth of academic programs to offer in various fields. Cornell is a renowned research institution with over 80 majors across seven undergraduate colleges. The university strongly focuses on STEM fields but also offers a wide range of liberal arts and social science programs.

Meanwhile, Middlebury has fewer majors but still offers an impressive array of options, notably in language, international studies, and writing.

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Both schools are committed to providing students with a well-rounded education, encouraging exploration across fields and interdisciplinary study.

It is worth noting that Cornell and Middlebury offer unique academic programs only found at a few other universities. For example, Cornell has a highly regarded hotel administration program combining business and hospitality management.

On the other hand, Middlebury offers a unique major in environmental studies, which integrates natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities to address environmental issues from various perspectives. These specialized programs can provide students with valuable skills and knowledge in high demand in today’s job market.

Cornell’s vast faculty and resources make it a leader in cutting-edge research. At the same time, Middlebury’s smaller class sizes and emphasis on close faculty-student relationships foster a more intimate and collaborative learning environment.

Faculty and Student Ratio: Which School Offers More Personalized Attention?

The student-to-faculty ratio is a crucial factor to consider when choosing a college, as it directly impacts the level of personalized attention you will receive.

Cornell has a student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1, with a total undergraduate enrollment of around 15,000. Middlebury has an almost similar student-to-faculty ratio of 8:1, with an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 2,800.

While both schools have a commitment to small class sizes and individualized attention, Middlebury’s more intimate campus and smaller student body make it easier to forge close relationships with professors and peers.

However, it’s worth noting that Cornell’s vast resources also mean access to various research opportunities and mentorship from a diverse range of experts.

Another important factor to consider when comparing the faculty and student ratio of these two schools is the type of academic programs they offer.

Cornell is a large research university with a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs, while Middlebury is a smaller liberal arts college with a more focused curriculum.

This means that students at Cornell may have more opportunities to work with faculty on cutting-edge research projects. Still, students at Middlebury may benefit from a more cohesive and personalized academic experience.

It’s also worth considering the impact of the student-to-faculty ratio on student outcomes, such as graduation rates and post-graduation success. According to U.S. News & World Report, Cornell and Middlebury have high four-year graduation rates (around 88% and 84%, respectively), indicating that students at both schools receive the support they need to succeed academically.

However, it’s important to note that the graduation rate can be influenced by various factors beyond just the faculty-and-student ratio, such as student demographics and academic preparedness.

Campus Life and Extracurricular Activities at Cornell vs Middlebury

Both Cornell and Middlebury offer a vibrant campus life, with plenty of opportunities for involvement and community building.

Cornell has over 1,000 student organizations, including clubs, teams, and arts groups. The campus also features numerous cultural events and a robust Greek life. Middlebury, by contrast, has a smaller but still active community, focusing on sustainability, outdoor recreation, and community service.

students arranging items inside the boxes for donation

One unique aspect of Middlebury’s campus life is its Language Pledge program. All students who attend Middlebury must take a language pledge, which means they must speak only the language they are studying for the duration of their time on campus. This immersive language experience is a hallmark of Middlebury’s language programs and sets it apart from other institutions.

Additionally, Middlebury’s location in Vermont provides ample opportunities for outdoor recreation, including skiing, hiking, and camping.

The campus culture at these two institutions is distinct, with Cornell offering a more diverse and lively experience and Middlebury emphasizing individual participation and community building. Which one you prefer depends on your personal style and interests.

Housing and Dining Options: Where Will You Feel Most Comfortable?

Cornell and Middlebury provide students with various housing and dining options. Cornell’s housing system is divided by undergraduate college, with various residence halls, apartments, and program houses available. The university also has a substantial dining program, offering diverse cuisines and dietary options.

Middlebury’s housing system is similar, with options for traditional residence halls, apartments, and theme houses. The college also boasts a sustainable dining program, focusing on local and organic ingredients.

It is important to note that Cornell and Middlebury have housing and dining options catering to different needs and lifestyles. For example, Cornell offers a variety of program houses that are centered around specific interests or identities, such as the Latino Living Center or the Ecology House.

Conversely, Middlebury has theme houses that focus on specific topics, such as the Social Entrepreneurship House or the Women’s International House.

Additionally, both schools have options for students who prefer to cook for themselves. Cornell has several apartment-style residences with full kitchens, while Middlebury has a co-op program where students can work together to prepare meals and share expenses.

While the details of each school’s housing and dining options differ, both provide comfortable and convenient solutions for students. The winner here ultimately depends on your personal preferences and priorities.

Athletics and Sports Teams: Which School Has the Better Program?

Both Cornell and Middlebury have competitive athletics programs, with numerous varsity and club teams available for student participation.

Cornell is a Division I school, fielding teams in sports like football, basketball, and wrestling. Middlebury, by contrast, is a Division III school focusing on individual and team sports like soccer, cross country, and skiing.

college soccer players in action

While both schools have fans and supporters, the winner in this category ultimately depends on whether you prefer the atmosphere of a large Division I program or the camaraderie of a smaller Division III program.

It’s worth noting that Cornell’s Division I status means that its athletics program receives more funding and resources than Middlebury’s Division III program. This can translate to better facilities, equipment, and coaching staff.  However, Middlebury’s smaller program allows more individual attention and opportunities for student-athletes to excel in multiple sports.

Another factor to consider is the level of competition. While Cornell’s Division I teams compete against some of the top schools in the country, Middlebury’s Division III teams often compete against other small liberal arts colleges in the region. This can create a more level playing field and potentially more competitive games for Middlebury athletes.

Career Services and Alumni Network: How Will They Help You After Graduation?

When choosing between Cornell vs Middlebury, it’s essential to consider how it will prepare you for your future career. Cornell and Middlebury offer robust career services and resources for students and alumni, including career counseling, job search assistance, and networking opportunities.

Cornell’s vast alumni network and resources make it a popular choice for students interested in fields like finance, engineering, and computer science. Middlebury’s strength in language and international studies also gives its graduates a competitive edge in those fields.

Finance trade manager analysing stock market indicators for best investment strategy

Additionally, Cornell offers a variety of internship and co-op programs that allow students to gain hands-on experience in their desired field. These programs often lead to job offers upon graduation and provide valuable connections in the industry.

Middlebury also offers internship opportunities, but its location in a small town may limit the number of available positions.

Furthermore, both schools have active alumni networks that provide mentorship and career guidance to recent graduates. Cornell’s alumni network is particularly strong in the Northeastern United States, while Middlebury’s network has a strong presence in international organizations and non-profits.

While both schools have impressive career services and alumni networks, the winner in this category ultimately depends on your career goals and desired field.

Cost of Attendance and Financial Aid Opportunities: Which One is More Affordable?

One of the most pressing concerns for any college applicant is the cost of attendance. Both Cornell and Middlebury have high sticker prices, with Cornell’s annual cost of attendance coming in at over $88,000 and Middlebury’s at over $80,000.

However, both schools offer generous financial aid packages to qualifying students, with Middlebury famously becoming need-blind in 2007.

The specifics of financial aid packages and affordability depend on individual circumstances. However, it’s worth noting that both Cornell and Middlebury are pricey institutions, and students should carefully consider their financial ability to attend before committing.

It’s important to remember that the cost of attendance goes beyond just tuition and fees. Students should also factor in the cost of housing, textbooks, transportation, and other expenses. Cornell and Middlebury offer various resources and options to help students manage these costs, such as work-study programs, scholarships, and grants.

It’s recommended that students research and compare the different financial aid opportunities available at each school to determine which one is more affordable for their specific situation.

Student Reviews and Testimonials: What Are Students Saying About Their Experiences at Each School?

Student reviews, and testimonials can provide valuable insight into the student experience at any college. Both Cornell and Middlebury have passionate and dedicated student communities with a diverse array of opinions and perspectives.

Cornell is known for its academic rigor, strong Greek life, and exceptional faculty. Meanwhile, Middlebury’s unique campus culture, emphasis on sustainability, and close-knit community are similarly lauded.

Taking student reviews with a grain of salt is important, as individual experiences and opinions can vary widely. However, they can provide a helpful window into the campus culture and atmosphere.

One common theme among student reviews of Cornell is the intense workload and competitive atmosphere. Some students report feeling overwhelmed and stressed, while others thrive in the challenging academic environment.

Middlebury, on the other hand, is often described as a more laid-back and supportive community. Students appreciate the small class sizes and personalized attention from professors.

Another factor to consider when reading student reviews is the campus location and surrounding area. Cornell is located in Ithaca, a small college town with a vibrant arts and culture scene.

In contrast, Middlebury is situated in rural Vermont, surrounded by mountains and natural beauty. Some students prefer the city life and opportunities Ithaca offers, while others enjoy Middlebury’s peacefulness and outdoor activities.

Future Prospects and Employment Opportunities: How Likely Are You to Succeed After Graduation from Each Institution?

The success of a college can be measured by the future prospects and employment opportunities it provides its graduates. Both Cornell and Middlebury have impressive track records of alumni success, with graduates moving on to careers in fields like finance, business, education, and the arts.

However, it’s worth noting that Cornell’s focus on research and technical fields may give its graduates an edge in certain industries. At the same time, Middlebury’s emphasis on language and international studies may be ideal for diplomacy and international relations careers.

Cornell and Middlebury also offer extensive career services and resources to their students and alumni. These resources include career fairs, networking events, job search assistance, and alumni mentorship programs. These services can significantly enhance graduates’ chances of success in their chosen fields.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Cornell vs Middlebury

In recent years, diversity, equity, and inclusion have become increasingly important factors for prospective college students. Cornell and Middlebury have made strides in these areas with various initiatives and programs to create an inclusive and diverse campus community.

Cornell’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion provides programming and support for underrepresented students. At the same time, Middlebury has an Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion that promotes diversity and equity across campus.

Both schools have active student organizations and groups dedicated to creating an inclusive atmosphere. However, there are some differences in the approaches taken by Cornell vs Middlebury toward diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Cornell has a larger student body and offers a wider range of academic programs, which allows for a greater diversity of perspectives and experiences. On the other hand, Middlebury has a smaller student body and a more tight-knit community, which can foster a greater sense of belonging and inclusivity.

A Day in the Life of a Student at Cornell vs Middlebury

It can be helpful to get a sense of what it’s really like to be a student at each school. A typical day at Cornell might involve attending classes, participating in research or extracurricular activities, and grabbing a bite to eat at one of the many on-campus dining halls or food trucks. It could also include unwinding with friends or at one of the many campus events that night.

Meanwhile, a day at Middlebury might include similar activities. Still, the smaller campus might make for a more intimate and low-key experience, with outdoor recreation, arts performances, and community events playing a bigger role in daily life.

theater actors performing onstage

One major difference between the two schools is the location. Cornell is located in Ithaca, New York, a small college town surrounded by natural beauty. Students can take advantage of the nearby hiking trails, waterfalls, and lakes.

Middlebury, on the other hand, is located in a rural area of Vermont, with a picturesque campus surrounded by mountains. Students can enjoy skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports during the colder months.

Another difference is the academic focus. Cornell is known for its strong engineering, agriculture, and business programs, while Middlebury is known for its strong humanities, social sciences, and environmental studies. This can impact the types of classes and research opportunities available to students at each school.

Cornell vs Middlebury – Which College Has the Best Faculty?

The quality of faculty is a crucial factor to consider when choosing a college. Cornell and Middlebury have talented and accomplished faculty members committed to providing students with a top-notch education.

Cornell’s faculty includes numerous professors who are leaders in their fields, strongly emphasizing research and innovation. Meanwhile, Middlebury’s faculty is known for its dedication to teaching, focusing on close faculty-student relationships and interdisciplinary collaboration.

It’s worth noting that both Cornell and Middlebury have a diverse faculty, with professors from various backgrounds and experiences. This diversity brings a range of perspectives and ideas to the classroom, enriching the educational experience for students.

Additionally, both schools offer opportunities for students to work closely with faculty members outside of the classroom, such as research projects, internships, and mentorship programs.

Another factor to consider is the size of the faculty and student body. Cornell has a larger faculty and student population, which can make it more challenging for students to form close relationships with their professors. Middlebury, on the other hand, has a smaller faculty and student body, which allows for more personalized attention and support from faculty members.

The choice of which school has the better faculty depends on your preferred teaching style and the type of educational experience you’re looking for.

In conclusion, comparing Cornell and Middlebury is a challenging task. Both schools offer impressive academics, vibrant campus life, and a wealth of opportunities for personal growth and development.

Ultimately, the decision between Cornell vs Middlebury will depend on your individual priorities and goals for your college education. Consider the factors discussed in this article, weigh them against your priorities, and decide which school is right for you.

AdmissionSight provides valuable guidance to students facing the decision between Cornell and Middlebury. By considering factors such as academic programs, industry connections, and campus culture, they assist students in making an informed choice.

Furthermore, AdmissionSight offers personalized strategies, essay review, and interview preparation to enhance students’ chances of gaining admission to either university, maximizing their potential for success.



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