Cornell vs Pitzer: Which University Is Right for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

a father helping her daughter to make recommendation letter

Cornell vs Pitzer: Which University Is Right for You?

Choosing the right university can be a daunting and challenging task. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming trying to decide which university is the best fit for you. In this article, we will compare Cornell vs Pitzer and analyze the academics, admissions criteria, student life, and many more. Whether you’re a high school student or a transfer student, this article will help you make an informed decision on which university to attend.

Academics: Programs and Majors Offered at Cornell and Pitzer

Cornell University is a private Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York. It was founded in 1865 and is divided into seven undergraduate colleges, each with its own specific academic focus.

Cornell offers over 100 majors and minors across a wide range of disciplines, including engineering, business, agriculture, and the arts. Pitzer, on the other hand, offers 41 majors and minors, with a strong focus on social justice and intercultural understanding. Both universities have a reputation for academic excellence, with highly-qualified faculty and rigorous academic programs.

Additionally, Cornell University is known for its strong research programs, with opportunities for undergraduate students to participate in cutting-edge research projects.

Pitzer College, on the other hand, emphasizes experiential learning and encourages students to engage in hands-on learning through internships, community service, and study abroad programs. Both universities offer a diverse range of academic programs and opportunities for students to explore their interests and passions.

Admissions Criteria: How Do You Get into Cornell or Pitzer?

Admission to Cornell and Pitzer is highly competitive. Both universities consider a combination of factors when evaluating applicants, including academic achievement, extracurricular activities, community involvement, leadership potential, and diversity.

Both universities require a strong academic record but also look for well-rounded students who are passionate about their interests and have a record of making positive contributions to their communities.

Scholarship document, admission paper or letter on table.

In addition to the factors mentioned above, Cornell and Pitzer also consider standardized test scores, such as the SAT or ACT. However, they do not have a strict cutoff for these scores and take a holistic approach to evaluating applicants. It is also important for applicants to showcase their unique qualities and experiences through their essays and letters of recommendation.

Both universities value diversity and seek to create a diverse student body, so applicants from underrepresented backgrounds may have an advantage in the admissions process. Overall, the admissions process at Cornell and Pitzer is rigorous, but with dedication and a well-rounded application, students can increase their chances of being accepted.

Student Life: Extracurricular Activities and Social Scene at Cornell vs Pitzer

Student life at Cornell and Pitzer is vibrant and dynamic. Both universities offer a wide range of extracurricular activities, including student government, clubs, sports teams, and cultural organizations.

Cornell has a larger student body, with over 14,000 undergraduate students, and offers a wide range of activities to suit every interest. Pitzer has a smaller student body, with around 1,000 students, but offers a close-knit community and a wide range of opportunities for involvement. Both universities offer a diverse and inclusive community, with strong support systems for students.

One of the unique aspects of student life at Cornell is the presence of Greek life. Fraternities and sororities play a significant role in the social scene on campus, with over 60 chapters to choose from. Greek life at Cornell offers students the opportunity to form close bonds with their peers, engage in philanthropic activities, and participate in social events.

At Pitzer, students have the opportunity to participate in the College’s Farm Project, which is a student-run organic farm that provides fresh produce to the dining hall and local community. The Farm Project offers students the chance to learn about sustainable agriculture, food justice, and community building.

Additionally, Pitzer has a strong emphasis on social justice and activism, with many student-led organizations focused on issues such as environmental sustainability, racial justice, and LGBTQ+ rights.

Cost of Attendance: Tuition, Fees, Scholarships, and Financial Aid at Cornell and Pitzer

Attending college can be expensive, but both Cornell and Pitzer offer a range of financial aid options to make college more affordable. The cost of attendance at Cornell varies depending on which undergraduate college you attend. The estimated cost for the 2021-2022 academic year is $78,620, which includes tuition, fees, room, and board.

Pitzer’s cost of attendance for the 2021-2022 academic year is $77,262, which includes tuition, fees, and room and board. Both universities offer scholarships, grants, and loans to help students cover the cost of attendance.

Additionally, Cornell and Pitzer offer work-study programs that allow students to earn money while attending school. These programs provide part-time jobs on campus or in the local community, and the earnings can be used to cover educational expenses. Students can also apply for external scholarships and grants from organizations outside of the university to supplement their financial aid packages.

It’s important to note that the cost of attendance may vary depending on a student’s individual circumstances, such as their residency status, major, and personal expenses. Cornell and Pitzer both have financial aid offices that can assist students in determining their eligibility for aid and creating a personalized financial plan. With the help of these resources, students can make attending college a reality, regardless of their financial situation.

Faculty and Class Size: Teaching Styles and Student-to-Faculty Ratio Compared

The quality of faculty and class size is an important factor to consider when choosing a university. Both universities have highly-qualified faculty members who are experts in their fields.

Cornell has a student-faculty ratio of 9:1, with an average class size of 22. Pitzer has a student-faculty ratio of 12:1, with an average class size of 17. Both universities offer small class sizes and personalized attention, allowing students to get to know their professors and receive individualized support.

professor teaching in class

However, there is a difference in teaching styles between the two universities. Cornell emphasizes a more traditional lecture-based approach, while Pitzer focuses on interactive and discussion-based learning.

This means that Pitzer students have more opportunities to engage with their peers and professors in class, while Cornell students may have more opportunities to learn from experts in their fields. Ultimately, the choice between these teaching styles depends on the individual student’s learning preferences and goals.

Career Prospects: Job Placement Rates and Graduate Outcomes at Cornell vs Pitzer

Cornell and Pitzer have strong job placement rates and positive graduate outcomes. Cornell graduates go on to successful careers in a wide range of fields, including technology, finance, law, and education. Pitzer graduates also have successful career outcomes, with a strong focus on social justice and community engagement. Both universities have robust career services offices, with resources and support for students to explore career paths, prepare for the job market, and connect with alumni.

However, there are some differences in the career prospects of Cornell and Pitzer graduates. Cornell graduates tend to have higher starting salaries and more opportunities for advancement in their careers. On the other hand, Pitzer graduates often pursue careers in non-profit organizations, government agencies, and other fields that prioritize social impact over financial gain.

Additionally, Pitzer has a strong emphasis on experiential learning and community engagement, which can lead to unique career opportunities and a deeper sense of purpose for graduates.

Diversity and Inclusion: How the Two Universities Compare in Terms of Student Body Diversity and Equity Policies

Diversity and inclusion are important values for both Cornell and Pitzer. Cornell has a diverse student body, with students from all 50 US states and over 120 countries. Cornell is committed to creating an inclusive and equitable community, with a range of initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion, such as diversity training, recruiting underrepresented students, and partnering with diverse businesses.

Pitzer also has a diverse student body, with a strong commitment to social justice and cultural exchange. Pitzer offers a range of resources and initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion, such as cultural centers, student-led diversity initiatives, and a diverse curriculum.

Despite their similarities in promoting diversity and inclusion, there are some differences between Cornell and Pitzer in terms of their equity policies. Cornell has a comprehensive affirmative action policy that aims to increase the representation of historically underrepresented groups in all areas of the university, including faculty, staff, and student body. In addition, Cornell has a robust system of support services for students from underrepresented backgrounds, such as first-generation college students and students of color.

Pitzer, on the other hand, has a strong focus on social justice and activism, with a range of student-led initiatives and programs that aim to address issues of inequality and discrimination both on and off campus. Pitzer also has a unique core curriculum that emphasizes interdisciplinary learning and critical thinking, with a focus on social responsibility and global citizenship.

Athletics: Sports Teams, Facilities, and Fan Culture at Cornell vs Pitzer

Athletics are an important part of campus life at both Cornell and Pitzer. Cornell has a strong athletic program, with over 30 varsity sports teams competing at the NCAA Division I level. Cornell offers state-of-the-art athletic facilities, including a 4,000-seat arena, a 25-yard swimming pool, and a golf course.

Pitzer also has a strong athletic program, with 12 varsity sports competing at the NCAA Division III level. Pitzer offers a range of athletic facilities, including a tennis court, fitness center, and multi-purpose field. Both universities have passionate fan cultures with supportive student sections and engaged alumni.

unidentified male tennis player playing in the court

However, there are some differences in the way athletics are approached at Cornell and Pitzer. Cornell places a strong emphasis on winning and has a highly competitive athletic culture.

Pitzer, on the other hand, values participation and inclusivity and encourages all students to get involved in athletics regardless of their skill level. This difference in approach is reflected in the types of sports offered at each school, with Cornell focusing on more traditional sports like football and basketball, while Pitzer offers a wider range of non-traditional sports like ultimate frisbee and quidditch.

Research Opportunities: Undergraduate Research Programs at Cornell vs Pitzer

Undergraduate research provides students with opportunities to engage in hands-on learning, discovery, and innovation. Both Cornell and Pitzer have strong undergraduate research programs. Cornell offers a range of research opportunities across a wide range of disciplines, from engineering and natural sciences to the social sciences and humanities.

Cornell also offers a range of research initiatives and programs, such as fellowships, internships, and research symposia. Pitzer also has a strong undergraduate research program, with a focus on interdisciplinary research and community engagement. Pitzer offers a range of research initiatives and programs, such as research grants, research assistantships, and research seminars.

One of the unique aspects of Cornell’s undergraduate research program is its emphasis on collaboration between students and faculty. Students have the opportunity to work closely with faculty members on research projects, which can lead to valuable mentorship and networking opportunities. Additionally, Cornell’s research program is well-funded, with many opportunities for students to receive financial support for their research endeavors.

On the other hand, Pitzer’s undergraduate research program places a strong emphasis on social justice and community engagement. Students are encouraged to use their research skills to address real-world problems and make a positive impact in their communities. Pitzer also offers a variety of research opportunities abroad, allowing students to gain a global perspective on their research topics.


In conclusion, choosing between Cornell vs Pitzer can be a difficult decision. Both universities offer a world-class education, with rigorous academic programs, strong faculty, supportive communities, and exciting opportunities for extracurricular involvement and career development.

It’s essential to carefully consider the factors that matter to you when making your decision, such as academic focus, size, location, cost, diversity, and sustainability. Ultimately, the decision depends on your personal preferences, academic goals, and future aspirations. We hope this article has provided you with valuable insights and resources to make an informed decision on which university is right for you.

Want to learn more about getting into College? You’ve come to the right place. At AdmissionSight, we have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process.

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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