How to Get into Cornell: Admission Requirements and Tips

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Cornell University is known for having the highest acceptance rate among Ivy League schools. Getting into Cornell, however, is not a walk in the park. In fact, its admissions process is among the most selective in the United States.

In this article, we’ll discuss the competitive process of getting into Cornell. We’ll dive deep into the essential steps, from understanding what Cornell looks for to mastering the application process. Our goal? To equip you with practical tips and help you craft a compelling Cornell application.

Overview of Cornell

Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White founded Cornell University in 1865. Their dream of creating an institution where “any person can find instruction in any study” has since become the school’s motto and informed the university’s direction and progress.

Located in Ithaca, New York, Cornell’s scenic campus spans over 2,300 acres, offering a blend of natural beauty and architectural marvels. This location is not just a backdrop but an integral part of the Cornell experience, fostering a learning environment that is both intellectually stimulating and serene.

Cornell’s stature in the world of academia is evident in its rankings. In the 2024 edition of Best Colleges by U.S. News, Cornell University is ranked #12 nationally. The QS World University Rankings 2024, on the other hand, places Cornell at #13 in the world. These rankings reflect Cornell’s commitment to excellence in research, education, and innovation.

Moreover, Cornellians embody the university’s ethos of impacting the world positively. Notable alumni include Nobel in Literature laureate Toni Morrison and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Mae Jemison, the first African American woman to travel in space, also graduated from Cornell.

Choosing Cornell means becoming part of a legacy of change-makers. At Cornell, you’re not just choosing a place of study; you’re embracing a community that challenges and supports you, preparing you for a world that values innovation, leadership, and social responsibility.

How Hard Is It to Get into Cornell?

Gaining admission to Cornell University is undeniably competitive. As of recent years, Cornell’s acceptance rate has consistently remained below 11%.

Understanding this rate sets the stage for an exploration of what Cornell truly looks for in its prospective students and how you can prepare an application that resonates with their values and expectations.

Cornell’s acceptance rate

Cornell University’s acceptance rate is a significant indicator of the university’s selectivity. In the past few years, the acceptance rate has been decreasing:

Class Acceptance Rate
Class of 2023 10.6%
Class of 2024 11%
Class of 2025 9%
Class of 2026 7.3%
Class of 2027 Officially Undisclosed

For the Class of 2027, Cornell University admitted a total of 4,994 students. The university has not yet revealed the official total number of applications and acceptance rate. From previous admissions data, however, we can estimate a total of around 68,000 applications, bringing the recent acceptance rate to around 7.4%.

This rate reflects the university’s high standards and the intense competition for a limited number of spots.

While the low acceptance rate might seem intimidating, it’s important to understand that it’s not just about academic excellence. Cornell seeks to admit students who will contribute to their community in unique and meaningful ways.

This means that exceptional talents, diverse experiences, and a clear demonstration of personal values can significantly impact your chances of admission.

Factors influencing the acceptance rate

Several key factors contribute to Cornell’s overall acceptance rate:

  • Academic Excellence: Cornell prioritizes high academic achievement, including GPA, standardized test scores, and the rigor of a student’s high school curriculum (like AP, IB, and honors courses).
  • Holistic Student Evaluation: The university evaluates candidates beyond academics, considering extracurricular activities, leadership experiences, and community involvement to assess a student’s overall potential and balance.
  • Diversity and Inclusivity: Diversity in race, ethnicity, geography, socioeconomic background, and experiences is a key factor, reflecting Cornell’s commitment to a varied and dynamic student body.
  • Alignment with Cornell’s Values and Mission: Applicants demonstrating a fit with Cornell’s ethos, including a passion for learning and potential community contribution, often stand out, particularly through essays and recommendations.
  • Supply and Demand: The acceptance rate is also influenced by the number of applications received versus the limited spots available, with increasing application numbers leading to greater competitiveness.
  • Program-Specific Requirements: Different colleges and programs within Cornell have varying levels of competitiveness and distinct criteria, affecting the overall acceptance dynamics.

Understanding these factors can provide you with a clearer picture of the competitive landscape at Cornell and guide you in preparing a well-rounded and compelling application.

Is Cornell the Easiest Ivy to Get Into?

First, let’s take a look at the latest acceptance rates of Ivy League schools:

Ivy League School Acceptance Rate
Harvard 3.4%
Columbia 3.9%
UPenn 4.07%
Yale 4.35%
Brown 5%
Princeton 5.8%
Dartmouth 6%
Cornell 7.5%

Cornell’s acceptance rate does tend to be higher than the other Ivies, which might lead to the perception that it’s the “easiest” to get into. But it’s important to acknowledge that the term “easiest” can be misleading when discussing Ivy League admissions.

Each Ivy League school has its own unique set of criteria and a highly competitive applicant pool. While a useful indicator, the acceptance rates don’t tell the whole story. Like its peer institutions, Cornell looks for a diverse and highly talented group of students who not only excel academically but also bring unique experiences and perspectives to their community.

It’s also worth considering the different programs and colleges within Cornell, each with its own level of selectivity and specific admission criteria. Some programs may be more competitive than others, affecting the overall perception of Cornell’s admission difficulty.

In short, while Cornell’s acceptance rate might be the highest among Ivy League schools, it still remains one of the most selective universities in the US and in the world. The admission process is rigorous, and success requires a strong academic record, meaningful extracurricular involvement, and a compelling personal narrative.

Cornell Admission Requirements

Navigating the admission process to Cornell University requires an understanding of several key components. As you prepare your application, here’s what you need to know:

  • GPA: Your Grade Point Average (GPA) is a critical indicator of your academic performance. Cornell looks for high GPAs, but also considers the difficulty of your coursework.
  • Standardized Test Scores: Cornell has adopted a test-optional policy for some applicants, allowing you to decide whether to submit SAT or ACT scores. If you choose to submit them, strong scores can bolster your application, but remember, they are one part of a larger picture.
  • Extracurricular Activities: Your activities outside the classroom are vital. Cornell seeks students with a passion for extracurriculars, be it in leadership roles, community service, arts, or sports. These activities highlight your personal interests and commitments.
  • Personal Essays: This is where your voice is heard. Your essays should convey your personality, goals, and reasons for choosing Cornell. They offer a glimpse into who you are beyond your academic record.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Letters from teachers, mentors, or employers provide Cornell with insight into your personal and academic qualities. Choose recommenders who can speak to your strengths and potential.

Cornell’s admission process is designed to evaluate you holistically. It’s about how you, as a whole person, fit into the Cornell community. Each element of your application offers a different perspective on who you are and the potential you bring to the university.

Remember, requirements may vary across Cornell’s different colleges, so tailor your application to align with the specific criteria and expectations of your chosen program.

Cornell GPA and SAT Requirements

When you’re aiming for a spot at Cornell University, understanding the weight of your GPA and SAT scores is crucial. These components play a significant role in your application and here’s why.

Your GPA is perhaps the most direct indicator of your academic performance over time. Cornell looks at your GPA as a measure of your ability to handle challenging coursework consistently. A high GPA, especially in rigorous classes, signals your readiness for the demanding academic environment at Cornell.

While Cornell has a test-optional policy for some applicants, submitting SAT scores can still be beneficial. High SAT scores can complement your GPA by providing a standardized benchmark of your academic abilities. It’s a way to showcase your strengths in specific areas like critical reading, math, and writing.

Both your GPA and SAT scores (if submitted) are used by Cornell not just to gauge your academic capabilities, but also to assess how well you might perform in a competitive academic setting. They are indicators of your potential to succeed in Cornell’s rigorous intellectual environment.

Cornell GPA Requirements

Cornell University does not officially state an absolute minimum GPA requirement for admission, but latest statistics reveal that the average GPA of admitted students is typically around 4.07 on a weighted scale. This high average underscores the university’s emphasis on academic excellence.

Cornell’s average GPA signifies a student body that has excelled in their high school academics, often taking challenging courses like AP or IB classes. Nationally, this places Cornell admits among the top students in terms of academic performance. It reflects the university’s status as an elite institution with high expectations from its students.

While a high GPA is advantageous, Cornell’s holistic admissions process means that your GPA is just one part of your overall application. It’s also crucial to consider the rigor of your coursework, as Cornell values students who challenge themselves academically.

GPA recommendations

Follow these tips to make your GPA competitive:

  • Strive for a GPA close to or above the average of 4.07. Excelling in the most challenging courses available to you can significantly strengthen your application.
  • Alongside maintaining a high GPA, enroll in advanced courses to demonstrate your ability to succeed in a challenging academic environment.

Can you get into Cornell with a low GPA?

Getting into Cornell University with a low GPA is challenging, but it’s not necessarily impossible. Cornell’s admissions process is holistic, meaning they consider all aspects of your application. Consider these tips:

  • Cornell considers the context of your academic performance. This includes the rigor of your coursework and the opportunities available at your school. If you’ve taken challenging courses or shown an upward trend in grades over time, this can positively influence how your GPA is perceived.
  • If your GPA isn’t your strongest suit, focus on highlighting other areas where you excel. This could be in your extracurricular activities, your personal story, or a unique skill set you possess.
  • Use your essays to provide context for your GPA, if necessary, and to show how your experiences have shaped you. This is your opportunity to connect with the admissions committee on a personal level.
  • Strong letters of recommendation can provide insight into your character, work ethic, and potential, helping to offset a lower GPA.
  • Show your enthusiasm for Cornell and how you see yourself contributing to their community. A clear, genuine interest in the university can sometimes make a difference.

As always, it’s important to present a well-rounded application that showcases your strengths and potential to contribute to the Cornell community.

Cornell SAT Requirements

Cornell University does not have an absolute minimum SAT score requirement, but the SAT scores of admitted students typically fall within a competitive range. The latest statistics reveal:

Average SAT Score 25th Percentile SAT Score 75th Percentile SAT Score
1520 1470 1550

The typical SAT scores of Cornell students indicate a highly competitive applicant pool and align with the university’s reputation for academic excellence. Nationally, these scores place Cornell admits among the top test performers, reflecting the university’s status as an elite institution.

Scoring at or above the 75th percentile (1550) means your SAT score is higher than about 75% of the students admitted, placing you in a very competitive position regarding standardized testing. It suggests that your SAT score will likely be a positive factor in your application.

If your score falls at or above the 25th percentile (1470), it means you’ve outperformed approximately 25% of admitted students in terms of SAT scores. If your score falls below this threshold, it doesn’t automatically disqualify you, but it does mean that your application may need to be stronger in other areas to compensate.

While SAT high scores can enhance your application, remember that Cornell’s admissions process is holistic. Scores are one factor among many that are considered, including your academic record, extracurricular achievements, and personal essays.

SAT recommendations

To boost your chances of getting into Cornell, consider the following SAT tips:

  • Strive to achieve an SAT score within or above the 75th percentile (1550 or higher). This score range puts you in a competitive position among applicants.
  • Invest time in preparing for the SAT. Utilize study guides, practice tests, and, if possible, SAT preparation courses.
  • Taking the SAT more than once can be beneficial. Many students improve their scores on a second or third attempt.
  • Identify areas where you can improve and concentrate your study efforts on these topics.

Cornell ACT Requirements

Cornell University does not set an absolute minimum ACT score for admissions. However, understanding the typical ACT scores of admitted students can provide valuable context for applicants. The most recent statistics indicate:

Average ACT Score 25th Percentile ACT Score 75th Percentile ACT Score
34 33 35

These figures reflect the competitive nature of Cornell’s applicant pool in terms of standardized testing. Nationally, these scores place Cornell admits among the top-performing students, reflecting the university’s status as a prestigious academic institution.

A score at or above the 25th percentile (33) means you’ve scored higher than the lowest quarter of admitted students, while a score at or above the 75th percentile (35) places you above the majority of admitted students.

Gaining a SAT score of 35 will give you a competitive edge. If you score below 33, you won’t be disqualified, but you will need to strengthen other parts of your application.

A strong ACT score can enhance your application, but it’s essential to remember that Cornell evaluates applicants holistically. This means that other aspects of your application, such as your GPA, extracurricular activities, personal essays, and letters of recommendation, are also critically important.

ACT recommendations

Follow these tips:

  • Aim for an ACT score at or above the 75th percentile (35 or higher).
  • Prepare thoroughly for the ACT, using practice tests and study materials to improve your performance across all sections.
  • If feasible, consider taking the ACT more than once. Many students find their scores improve on subsequent attempts.
  • Identify the sections where you can improve the most and concentrate your preparation efforts on these areas.

Is Cornell Test-Optional?

Since April 2020, Cornell University has not required first-year applicants to submit SAT or ACT exam scores. Currently, this test-optional policy has been extended for Fall 2024 undergraduate applicants.

Here’s what the policy means for you:

  • If you have strong SAT or ACT scores, you can choose to submit them as part of your application. However, if you’re unable to take these tests or believe your scores do not reflect your true academic abilities, you can opt not to include them.
  • With the test-optional policy, other components of your application, like your GPA, extracurricular activities, personal essays, and letters of recommendation, become even more significant. It’s crucial to ensure these elements strongly convey your abilities and potential.

Cornell’s decision to adopt a test-optional policy reflects a broader trend in higher education recognizing the difficulties students may face in accessing standardized testing opportunities.

The policy also acknowledges that standardized test scores may not always fully represent a student’s academic abilities or potential. By going test-optional, Cornell levels the playing field, offering students from all backgrounds an equal chance to showcase their qualifications and interest in Cornell.

What Does Cornell Look for in Students?

When you’re aiming for a place at Cornell University, it’s essential to understand that they’re looking for more than just academic achievers. Sure, strong grades and test scores matter, but Cornell digs deeper.

Cornell wants students who are intellectually vibrant, character-strong, actively involved, and clear about why Cornell is their chosen destination.

Let’s discuss the qualities one by one:

1. Intellectual potential

Cornell seeks students who display a burning passion for learning. This means you’re not just chasing grades; you’re genuinely curious and excited about delving into new knowledge areas. Your application should highlight how you’ve embraced academic challenges, showcasing your engagement in rigorous coursework or any in-depth research projects.

It’s also beneficial to illustrate your creative thinking capabilities. If you’ve applied your knowledge innovatively, maybe in a science fair, a unique class project, or starting a club, this is your chance to shine. Cornell values students who bring fresh, out-of-the-box ideas to the table.

2. Character

But it’s not all about academics. Your character plays a pivotal role. Cornell is on the lookout for students who demonstrate resilience in the face of challenges and who conduct themselves with integrity. Share stories or experiences that highlight these traits, perhaps in your personal essay or through your recommenders.

Equally important is your ability to work collaboratively and empathize with others. In a diverse environment like Cornell, the ability to understand and respect different viewpoints is crucial. Illustrate times when you’ve successfully worked in teams or navigated complex group dynamics.

3. Involvement

Your extracurricular activities can also make a big difference. Cornell values students who show leadership and have made a tangible impact, whether in their school, local community, or beyond. Detail your involvement in various activities, but focus on quality over quantity. It’s more about the depth of your commitment and the impact you’ve made.

Also, don’t hesitate to showcase your diverse interests. Cornell appreciates students who bring a rich array of passions to their campus.

4. Your Reasons for Choosing Cornell

Finally, it’s vital to articulate why Cornell is the right fit for you. This goes beyond its prestigious name. What specific programs, opportunities, or aspects of campus life draw you to Cornell? And importantly, how do you see yourself contributing to the Cornell community? This is your opportunity to align your goals and values with what Cornell offers, demonstrating a mutual fit.

In essence, Cornell is searching for well-rounded individuals who bring a unique blend of intellectual prowess, strong character, active involvement, and a clear vision of their place in the Cornell community. Your application should paint a holistic picture of who you are, beyond just a transcript and test scores.

Cornell Application Tips

If you’ve set your sights on Cornell University but aren’t sure where to begin, you’re in the right place. To help give you a leg up on the competition, we’ve put together these tips that can help you increase your chances of getting accepted into Cornell.

1. Maintain a high GPA.

Your GPA serves as a clear indicator of your academic abilities and work ethic. A high GPA, especially in a rigorous curriculum, demonstrates your readiness to handle the academic challenges at Cornell.

Your GPA is a metric that admissions officers use to gauge your potential for success in a rigorous academic environment.

Specific tips:

  • Prioritize your coursework. Stay organized and focused on your academic responsibilities. Use planners, apps, or other organizational tools to keep track of assignments, tests, and deadlines. Time management is key to balancing your coursework and maintaining high grades.
  • Seek help when needed. Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you’re struggling with a subject. Utilize resources like tutoring, study groups, or office hours with teachers. Understanding concepts thoroughly and seeking assistance promptly can prevent falling behind.
  • Challenge yourself appropriately. Enroll in advanced courses (like AP, IB, or honors classes) where you can realistically excel. These courses demonstrate your willingness to push yourself academically, but be careful not to overload yourself to the point where your grades may suffer.
  • Stay consistent. Consistency is crucial in maintaining a high GPA. Work steadily throughout the year, and avoid the pitfalls of cramming or procrastination. Regular study habits and consistent effort can lead to a strong academic record.

2. Pursue meaningful extracurricular activities.

Extracurricular activities offer a glimpse into who you are outside the classroom and demonstrate your interests, skills, and contributions to your community. Cornell values applicants who show leadership, initiative, and a commitment to impacting their surroundings positively.

Well-chosen extracurriculars can complement your academic achievements and help you stand out as a well-rounded candidate.

Specific tips:

  • Follow your passions. Engage in activities that genuinely interest you, rather than what you think might look good on a resume. Authentic passion shines through and is more likely to lead to meaningful involvement and achievements.
  • Seek leadership roles. Where possible, take on leadership roles in your extracurricular activities. Leadership experience demonstrates your ability to manage responsibilities, work in a team, and make a positive impact.
  • Show commitment and growth. Stick with your activities for an extended period to show commitment. Progressing in a role or in skill level over time can illustrate your dedication and ability to grow.
  • Keep it balanced and diverse. While depth in a few activities is valuable, having a balance of diverse interests can also be beneficial. It shows that you’re a well-rounded individual with a variety of skills and interests.

3. Write excellent essays.

Your essays are your opportunity to speak directly to the admissions committee, to share your story, your aspirations, and your fit with Cornell. A well-written essay can distinguish you from other applicants by showcasing your unique personality, perspective, and motivation.

Specific tips:

  • Start early and plan your approach. Give yourself ample time to brainstorm, draft, and revise your essays. Start by carefully reading the essay prompts and plan your response to align closely with what the question is asking. Organizing your thoughts and ideas beforehand can lead to a more coherent and impactful essay.
  • Be authentic and personal. Your essays should reflect your true self. Avoid clichés and don’t try to guess what the admissions committee wants to hear. Share genuine experiences and insights that have shaped you. Authenticity resonates more than a perfectly polished but impersonal response.
  • Show, don’t just tell. Use specific examples and anecdotes to illustrate your points. Instead of simply stating that you’re passionate about a subject or an activity, describe an experience that demonstrates this passion. This approach brings your story to life and makes it more memorable.
  • Proofread and revised. A well-written essay is free from grammatical errors and typos. After writing your essay, take a break and then come back to it with fresh eyes for editing. It’s also helpful to have someone else review your essay – they can offer valuable feedback on clarity, flow, and impact.

4. Find compelling letters of recommendation.

Letters of recommendation provide the admissions committee with an external perspective on your academic abilities, character, and potential. Good letters can bring depth to your application, offering insights into who you are as a person and a student, beyond grades and test scores.

Specific tips:

  • Choose recommenders who know you well. Select teachers, mentors, or supervisors who have worked closely with you and can speak to your strengths and accomplishments. It’s better to have a letter from someone who knows you deeply than a more superficial letter from someone with a notable title.
  • Provide context to your recommenders. Help your recommenders by providing them with a summary of your academic and extracurricular achievements, as well as your goals and aspirations. This information can guide them in writing a more personalized and compelling letter.
  • Request letters early. Don’t wait until the last minute to ask for recommendations. Give your recommenders plenty of time to write a thoughtful letter. A rushed letter is rarely as compelling as one that’s been well thought out.
  • Follow up and say thank you. After your recommenders agree to write a letter, follow up with them if necessary, and always express your gratitude. A simple thank-you note goes a long way in showing your appreciation for their time and effort.

5. Prepare early.

Starting your Cornell application process early gives you ample time to carefully craft each component of your application, from essays to gathering recommendations.

Early preparation reduces last-minute stress and allows you to present the best version of yourself. It also demonstrates your serious intent and commitment to applying to a prestigious institution like Cornell.

Specific tips:

  • Research and plan. Begin by researching Cornell’s specific requirements and deadlines. Create a timeline that includes all important dates and deadlines, such as when to start your essays, request recommendations, and submit applications.
  • Draft essays in advance. Start working on your essays well before the deadlines. This allows you time to brainstorm, draft, receive feedback, and revise. A thoughtful and well-edited essay can significantly enhance your application.
  • Prepare for standardized tests early. If you plan to submit SAT or ACT scores, start preparing for these tests well in advance. This gives you time to retake them if necessary and to submit the best possible scores.
  • Cultivate relationships for recommendations. Build and maintain strong relationships with teachers and mentors early on. When it’s time to request recommendations, these individuals will have a better understanding of your character and achievements.

6. Speak with alumni.

Cornell alumni can offer first-hand experience and advice on how to strengthen your application. They can also provide a realistic view of student life at Cornell, helping you determine if it’s the right fit for you. Engaging with alumni can deepen your understanding of Cornell’s culture and values, which can then be reflected in your application.

Specific tips:

  • Seek out alumni networks. Utilize your school’s alumni network, local community groups, or online platforms like LinkedIn to connect with Cornell alumni. Attend college fairs or informational sessions where alumni might be present.
  • Prepare your questions. Before speaking with alumni, prepare specific questions. Ask about their experiences at Cornell, what they believe made their application successful, and any tips they have for prospective students.
  • Discuss campus life and academics. Inquire about their experiences with campus life, academic programs, and opportunities at Cornell. This can give you a clearer picture of what to expect and how you might fit into the university.
  • Ask for application advice. Alumni can offer practical advice on the application process. While they can’t influence admissions decisions, their insights on what Cornell values in students can be extremely helpful.

7. Apply Early Decision.

Applying Early Decision (ED) to Cornell can be a strategic move for students who are certain that Cornell is their top choice. This decision demonstrates to the admissions committee your clear commitment and strong desire to attend Cornell.

ED applicants often face slightly different odds than regular decision applicants, as this pool is typically smaller and can show a higher level of interest in the university.

Specific tips:

  • Understand the commitment. Be aware that an Early Decision is binding. If accepted, you are committed to attending Cornell and must withdraw applications to other schools. Ensure Cornell is undoubtedly your first choice.
  • Complete your application sooner. ED deadlines are earlier than regular decision deadlines. Plan to complete all parts of your application, including essays, standardized tests, and recommendations, well in advance of the ED deadline.
  • Demonstrate your fit with Cornell. In your application, specifically articulate why Cornell is the right school for you. This could be its academic programs, campus culture, or specific opportunities that align with your goals and interests.
  • Understand your financial situation. Since ED decisions are binding, it’s important to discuss with your family whether Cornell is a feasible option financially, as you will be making the commitment before receiving financial aid offers from other institutions.

Specific Areas that Can Boost Your Cornell Application

To strengthen your application to Cornell University, it’s crucial to enhance both your academic and extracurricular profiles. Engaging in specific activities and programs can significantly elevate your application by showcasing your skills, interests, and commitment to personal growth.


Engaging in research projects can demonstrate your intellectual curiosity and ability to delve deeply into subjects.

  • Summer Science Program (SSP): SSP is a renowned program focusing on advanced study and research in areas like astronomy, biochemistry, or astrophysics. Your participation in SSP can significantly boost your application to Cornell by showing your commitment to in-depth scientific research and your ability to engage with complex scientific concepts.
  • Simons Summer Research Program: This program offers you the chance to conduct hands-on research in science, math, or engineering at the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics. Engaging in this program demonstrates your initiative in pursuing research opportunities and your capability to contribute to scientific advancements, qualities highly valued by Cornell.


Academic competitions can highlight your expertise and passion in specific subject areas.

  • Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF): ISEF is a prestigious global science competition that allows you to present original research. Excelling in ISEF can bolster your Cornell application by showcasing your ability to conduct high-level research and present it on an international platform.
  • American Mathematics Competitions (AMC): Participating and scoring well in AMC competitions displays your strong mathematical skills and problem-solving abilities. Success in these competitions can enhance your academic profile for Cornell, indicating your proficiency in critical thinking and analytical skills.

Summer programs

Summer programs can provide exposure to college-level coursework and academic interests.

  • Cornell University Summer College: By taking pre-college courses at Cornell’s Summer College, you gain exposure to college-level academics in various fields. This experience not only prepares you for the academic rigor of university life but also demonstrates your keen interest in and familiarity with Cornell’s academic environment.
  • Research Science Institute (RSI): RSI allows you to combine coursework in scientific theory with practical research experience. Participating in RSI is an excellent way to show Cornell your strong foundation in STEM and your readiness to engage in university-level research.


Internships in fields of interest can provide practical experience and a deeper understanding of certain academic disciplines.

  • NASA High School Internship: This internship provides hands-on experience in science and engineering research. Participating in this program can significantly enhance your Cornell application by showing your practical experience in these fields, indicating a strong foundation for pursuing a STEM-related major.
  • Smithsonian Internships: Engaging in Smithsonian Internships offers you a broad exposure to various disciplines, from history to science. These internships can strengthen your application to Cornell by demonstrating your diverse academic interests and your ability to apply learning in real-world contexts.


Participation in arts-related activities can showcase your creativity and dedication to cultural pursuits.

  • National YoungArts Foundation: By participating in the National YoungArts Foundation, which recognizes excellence in visual, literary, design, and performing arts, you can demonstrate your creative talents and dedication to the arts. Success in this prestigious program can enhance your Cornell application by showcasing your artistic abilities and commitment to cultural engagement.
  • Interlochen Arts Camp: Engaging in the Interlochen Arts Camp, a renowned summer program offering training and performance opportunities in music, theater, dance, visual arts, and creative writing, allows you to develop and showcase your artistic skills. Participation in this program can strengthen your application to Cornell by highlighting your artistic talent and dedication to continuous learning in the arts.


Active involvement in sports can demonstrate teamwork, discipline, and commitment.

  • AAU (Amateur Athletic Union): Participating in the AAU, which offers competitive opportunities in various sports, allows you to demonstrate your athletic skills, teamwork, and discipline. Your involvement and achievements in AAU sports can boost your application to Cornell by showing your commitment to excellence and teamwork in athletics.
  • Junior Olympics: Competing in the Junior Olympics showcases your dedication and excellence in sports. This prestigious event can enhance your Cornell application by demonstrating your high-level athletic abilities and commitment to pursuing goals, both essential qualities for a well-rounded student.

School clubs

Leadership or active involvement in school clubs can reflect your leadership skills and interests.

  • Model United Nations (MUN): Involvement in MUN enhances your understanding of global issues and develops your public speaking and diplomacy skills. Active participation in MUN can strengthen your application to Cornell by showcasing your leadership abilities and engagement in global affairs.
  • DECA or FBLA: Participating in business-focused clubs like DECA or FBLA demonstrates your interest and skills in business, entrepreneurship, and leadership. Your active involvement in these clubs can enhance your application to Cornell by showing your initiative, leadership skills, and interest in the business world.

Community service

Community service initiatives can reflect your empathy, social awareness, and commitment to making a positive impact.

  • Key Club or Interact Club: These clubs offer numerous opportunities for community service, allowing you to demonstrate your commitment to social causes. Active participation in Key Club or Interact Club can strengthen your Cornell application by highlighting your empathy, social awareness, and dedication to making a positive impact.
  • Local Nonprofit Volunteer Programs: Regular volunteering at local nonprofits shows a sustained commitment to community service and social responsibility. This kind of involvement can enhance your application to Cornell by demonstrating your dedication to helping others and contributing to your community.

By actively engaging in these academic and extracurricular activities, you can create a well-rounded and impressive profile that aligns with Cornell University’s standards and values.

Cornell Application Requirements

As you prepare to apply to Cornell University, understanding and meticulously preparing each component of the application is crucial. Here’s a breakdown of the mandatory and optional requirements for your application, along with helpful tips for each.

Mandatory requirements

  • Common Application: Submit the online Common Application, which is the primary form for your application details. Start your application early and thoroughly review all sections to ensure accuracy and completeness​​.
  • Application Fee or Fee Waiver: Pay the $80 nonrefundable application fee, or submit a fee waiver if the application fee presents a financial hardship. Explore the different fee waiver options available and apply early to avoid last-minute issues​​.
  • High School Transcript: Official transcripts must include grades from 9th through 11th grade and list in-progress 12th-grade courses. Ensure your transcript reflects your academic rigor and achievements accurately. For Early Decision applicants, including first marking period grades can be advantageous​​.
  • Counselor Recommendation: This is a letter from your school counselor, college counselor, principal, or headmaster, highlighting your accomplishments within your high school context. Choose a recommender who knows you well and can provide detailed insights into your academic and personal growth​​.
  • School Report: Submitted by your counselor or designated school official, this form is part of the Common Application. Remind your counselor or official about this requirement well in advance of the deadline​​.
  • Teacher Evaluations: You need two recommendations from teachers, focusing on your academic strengths and contributions in the classroom. Select teachers who have taught you recently in core academic subjects and can speak specifically to your abilities and contributions​​
  • Mid-year Report Transcript: Your counselor or designated school official should submit your mid-year grades from 12th grade. Maintain strong academic performance throughout your senior year, as these grades play a crucial role in the review process.
  • Cornell Writing Supplement: This is an essential part of your application, unique to each college and school at Cornell. Tailor your writing supplement to reflect your interest and fit with the specific Cornell college or school you are applying to​​.

Optional requirements

  • Standardized Testing: Cornell has suspended the SAT/ACT testing requirement for 2023 and 2024 applicants. However, you may choose to self-report AP, IB, or AICE exam scores. If you have strong standardized test scores or relevant AP/IB/AICE exams, including them can add depth to your academic profile, even though they are optional​​.
  • Alumni Meetings: These are optional, informal conversations with a Cornell Alumni Admissions Ambassador. Use this opportunity to gain insights about the university and demonstrate your interest in Cornell​​.

Other requirements (for specific programs)

  • Supplemental Materials: These are required for certain programs like Architecture, Art, Design and Environmental Analysis, Fashion Design and Management, and Landscape Architecture. An optional musical recording supplement is available for Music applicants. These materials are crucial in showcasing your specific talents and fit for the program.

How to Apply to Cornell

Applying to Cornell University involves careful planning, attention to detail, and patience. Each phase of the application process is crucial in presenting a strong case for your admission.

1. Preparation

Begin by researching Cornell’s programs, identifying your interests, and understanding the application requirements.

Create a timeline for your application process, including deadlines for standardized tests, if you plan to take them.

Focus on maintaining a strong GPA, engaging in meaningful extracurricular activities, and building relationships with potential recommenders.

2. Gathering application materials

Collect all necessary documents, including your high school transcript, standardized test scores (if applicable), and letters of recommendation.

Begin drafting your essays, especially the Cornell Writing Supplement, ensuring they align with the specific college or program you are applying to.

3. Submitting your application

Complete your Common Application and Cornell Writing Supplement. Carefully review all sections for accuracy and completeness.

Pay the application fee or submit a fee waiver request, if necessary. Ensure all components, including your school report and teacher evaluations, are submitted before the deadline.

4. Post-submission

After submitting your application, check your email and Cornell’s application portal regularly for updates or requests for additional information.

Submit your mid-year grades as soon as they are available. Consider requesting an optional alumni meeting to learn more about Cornell and demonstrate further interest.

5. Awaiting results

While waiting for a decision, continue to excel academically and stay involved in your extracurricular activities. Be prepared to respond promptly to any additional requests from Cornell’s admissions office.

Finally, wait patiently for your admission decision, which will be communicated through the application portal.

How to Submit Supplemental Materials to Cornell

Submitting supplemental materials to Cornell University can be an essential part of your application, particularly if you have additional information or achievements that can enhance your profile.

Cornell University allows applicants to submit supplemental information beyond the required application items. This may include a supplemental letter of recommendation from a non-teacher individual, updates on recent honors or awards, or explanations of changes in coursework.

It’s important to note, however, that supplemental information should not include required materials like teacher recommendations or transcripts, as these will not be processed if submitted as supplemental material.

Submission methods

After submitting your application to Cornell, you will receive an email about setting up an online application status account. Through this secure site, you can upload any supplemental materials to your application. This process ensures that any additional information you provide is properly associated with your application file.

Step-by-step guide

  1. Complete and submit your application to Cornell University.
  2. After submitting your application, wait for an email from Cornell with instructions on establishing your online application status account.
  3. Collect any additional materials you wish to submit, such as an extra letter of recommendation, updates on awards, or other relevant documents.
  4. Log in to your application status account and upload your supplemental materials.
  5. Make sure to receive confirmation that your supplemental materials have been successfully uploaded and are linked to your application.

By carefully selecting and submitting appropriate supplemental materials, you can enhance your application and provide the admissions committee at Cornell University with a more complete understanding of your achievements and capabilities.

Scholarships and Financial Aid at Cornell

Cornell University offers various grants and scholarships specifically for undergraduate students, but it’s important to note that all grant aid at Cornell is need-based. This means there are no merit-based awards or athletic scholarships. The amount of gift aid you can receive isn’t fixed; it varies based on each student’s financial need.

If you receive outside scholarships, they will replace the loan or work components of your aid package, but won’t reduce the parent contribution.

To be eligible for federal grants, completing the FAFSA financial aid form is essential. This form helps determine your eligibility for different types of federal aid. It’s a key step in ensuring you receive the financial support you need to attend Cornell​.

Cornell Regular Decision vs Early Decision

When considering your application to Cornell University, you have two primary options: Early Decision and Regular Decision.

Early Decision is binding, meaning if you’re accepted, you must withdraw all other college applications and commit to Cornell. This option is best if Cornell is undoubtedly your first choice.

Regular Decision, on the other hand, is non-binding. It allows you the flexibility to consider various college options and make a decision without the immediate commitment required by Early Decision.

Choosing between these options depends on your level of certainty about Cornell being your top choice and your readiness to commit early in the application process.

Cornell Application Deadlines

When planning your application to Cornell University, it’s important to keep track of the key deadlines:

  • Early Decision: The application deadline is November 1, with supporting materials due by November 15.
  • Regular Decision: The deadline for applications and supporting materials is January 2.

Meeting these deadlines is crucial for your application to be considered timely and complete.

How Hard is it to Get into Cornell?

Gaining admission to Cornell University is a competitive and challenging process. As one of the prestigious Ivy League schools, Cornell maintains high standards for its applicants. The difficulty in gaining admission can be measured by its acceptance rate, which is the percentage of applicants who are offered admission.

Historically, Cornell’s acceptance rate has been relatively low, often fluctuating around 8-10%. This low acceptance rate indicates that only a small fraction of those who apply are accepted. The university looks for students who not only excel academically but also contribute uniquely to the campus community. High school grades, standardized test scores, extracurricular activities, essays, and letters of recommendation all play crucial roles in the admissions process.

It’s important to understand that while the admissions process is highly selective, it is not solely based on academic achievements. Cornell values diverse perspectives and experiences. Thus, applicants who demonstrate unique talents, leadership qualities, and a commitment to their community also stand out.

Benefits of Attending Cornell

Attending Cornell University offers numerous benefits, making it a coveted choice for many students. Firstly, the academic reputation of Cornell is stellar. As an Ivy League institution, it offers a rigorous and comprehensive education across various fields, including engineering, arts, business, and agriculture.

Beyond academics, Cornell’s diverse and inclusive campus community is a significant advantage. Students from all over the world come here, providing a rich cultural and intellectual environment. This diversity prepares students for global citizenship and broadens their perspectives.

Cornell’s location in Ithaca, New York, offers a unique blend of natural beauty and intellectual vibrancy. The campus is known for its stunning natural scenery, enhancing the student experience.

Additionally, Cornell has strong alumni networks, providing graduates with valuable connections in various industries. This network can be instrumental in securing internships, job opportunities, and mentorship.

How Can an International Student Get into Cornell?

For international students, gaining admission to Cornell involves additional considerations. The first step is meeting the academic requirements, which include high school transcripts and standardized test scores like the SAT or ACT. English proficiency tests like TOEFL or IELTS are also required for students whose first language is not English.

Cornell seeks well-rounded individuals, so involvement in extracurricular activities, leadership roles, and community service can enhance an application. The university values diversity, so sharing your unique cultural background and experiences in your application can be beneficial.

Financial planning is crucial for international students. Cornell offers need-based financial aid to international students, but it’s competitive. Therefore, being aware of the costs and exploring scholarships and financial aid options is important.

Finally, navigating the visa process is a key step. Accepted international students will need to obtain a student visa, for which Cornell provides guidance and support.

How to Get into Cornell as a Transfer Student?

Transfer students are an essential part of the Cornell community, and the university has specific guidelines for those looking to transfer. Firstly, it’s important to have a strong academic record at your current institution. Cornell looks for students who have excelled in their college coursework, particularly in courses relevant to their intended major.

In addition to academic performance, Cornell values the reasons behind your decision to transfer. Clearly articulating your reasons for transferring and how Cornell aligns with your academic and career goals is crucial in your application.

Transfer applicants must also submit college transcripts, recommendations, and standardized test scores. Some colleges within Cornell might have additional requirements, such as prerequisite courses or portfolio submissions.

It’s recommended to research the specific college within Cornell you are applying to, as each has its own transfer policies and preferences. Understanding these requirements and tailoring your application accordingly can increase your chances of a successful transfer.

In summary, whether you are a high school student, an international applicant, or a prospective transfer student, gaining admission to Cornell requires strong academic performance, a well-rounded profile, and a clear understanding of what makes you a good fit for the university. With careful preparation and a clear articulation of your goals and experiences, your application can stand out in the competitive process.

Can an Average Student Get into Cornell?

Cornell University, known for its prestigious reputation and high academic standards, may seem like a daunting goal for the so-called “average” student. However, the definition of “average” varies, and what matters most is a student’s unique qualities and how they align with Cornell’s values and expectations.

Firstly, it’s important to understand that Cornell, like many Ivy League universities, considers a holistic approach to admissions. This means they don’t just look at grades and test scores; they consider the entire profile of an applicant, including extracurricular activities, personal essays, and letters of recommendation. An “average” student with strong leadership skills, a passion for extracurricular activities, or unique life experiences could still capture the attention of the admissions committee.

Moreover, Cornell values diversity and the unique perspectives each student brings to their campus. Students who may have average grades but have overcome significant challenges or have made a substantial impact in their community can stand out. It’s about showcasing your strengths, passions, and how you’ve grown from your experiences.

However, it’s crucial to be realistic. Cornell is highly competitive, and the majority of admitted students do have strong academic records. But remember, being “average” in one area doesn’t preclude excellence in others. Showcasing your unique talents, experiences, and determination can make a significant difference.

How to Get into Cornell with a Low GPA?

Getting into Cornell with a low GPA is challenging but not impossible. The key lies in compensating for the low GPA with other impressive aspects of your application.

  • Strong Test Scores: If your GPA isn’t high, achieving strong scores on standardized tests like the SAT or ACT can help demonstrate your academic potential.
  • Compelling Essays: Your essays are a great opportunity to explain your GPA, highlight your strengths, and share your unique story. Use this platform to show your passion, resilience, and how you’ve overcome challenges.
  • Impressive Extracurriculars: Engage in extracurricular activities that align with your interests and showcase leadership, commitment, and impact. This can include clubs, sports, volunteering, or personal projects.
  • Outstanding Letters of Recommendation: Seek recommendations from teachers or mentors who can vouch for your abilities and character. They should be able to provide insight into your work ethic, character, and potential.
  • Special Talents or Achievements: Highlight any unique talents or significant achievements that set you apart, such as awards, artistic abilities, or entrepreneurial ventures.
  • Interviews and Campus Visits: If possible, visiting the campus and participating in interviews can demonstrate your interest in Cornell and give you a chance to make a personal impression.

Remember, a low GPA is just one aspect of your application, and showcasing your strengths in other areas can significantly improve your chances.

What Makes Cornell Unique?

Cornell University stands out for several reasons, making it a unique institution among its Ivy League peers:

  • Diverse Academic Offerings: Cornell offers a wide range of academic programs, including those in traditional fields like engineering and humanities, as well as unique disciplines like hotel management and labor relations. This diversity allows students to explore a multitude of interests and disciplines.
  • Combination of Public and Private Sectors: Cornell is unique in its structure, combining both privately and publicly funded colleges. This arrangement offers a blend of experiences and resources typically found in both private and public universities.
  • Beautiful Campus and Location: Located in Ithaca, New York, Cornell boasts a beautiful campus that combines natural beauty with impressive architecture. The campus is known for its stunning gorges and waterfalls, creating a picturesque environment for education.
  • Commitment to Research: Cornell is a research powerhouse, with extensive resources and opportunities for undergraduate and graduate research. This commitment to discovery and innovation allows students to work on cutting-edge projects.
  • Global Perspective: The university has a strong international focus, with numerous programs and partnerships across the globe. This global perspective enriches the educational experience and prepares students for a connected world.
  • Supportive Community: Despite its large size, Cornell is known for its supportive community and collaborative atmosphere. This fosters a sense of belonging and encourages personal and academic growth.

What Does the Cornell Application Look Like?

The Cornell application process is comprehensive and designed to capture the full breadth of an applicant’s capabilities and interests.

  • Common Application or Universal College Application: Cornell accepts both of these applications, which include basic personal information, educational history, and extracurricular activities.
  • Cornell Supplement: The Cornell supplement is an essential part of the application. It includes college-specific essays that ask applicants to elaborate on their academic interests and why they have chosen a specific college or program at Cornell.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Applicants must submit letters of recommendation, typically from teachers and a guidance counselor, that provide insight into their academic and personal qualities.
  • Standardized Test Scores: Cornell requires SAT or ACT scores, though these requirements can vary, especially in light of recent changes due to the pandemic.
  • High School Transcript: An official transcript from your high school is required, showing your courses and grades throughout your high school career.
  • Interviews: While not a mandatory part of the application, interviews can be offered or requested in some cases, providing an opportunity for personal interaction.
  • Portfolio or Auditions: For certain programs, such as those in the arts, a portfolio or audition might be required to showcase artistic abilities.

Each part of the Cornell application offers an opportunity to present a different facet of your strengths and interests, making it crucial to approach each section thoughtfully and authentically.

Is Cornell a Good School for You?

Determining if Cornell University is the right fit for you involves considering various factors, including academic offerings, campus culture, and personal goals. Cornell is renowned for its diverse range of study options and research opportunities. It is a member of the Ivy League, which speaks to its high academic standards and reputation.

Academic Excellence and Diversity

Cornell stands out for its wide range of academic programs. It offers everything from engineering and business to agriculture and human ecology. This diversity allows students to explore different fields or focus intensely on a specific area. The university is also known for its outstanding faculty, many of whom are leaders in their fields. This means students have the chance to learn from experts and engage in cutting-edge research.

Campus Life and Community

Campus life at Cornell is vibrant and diverse. With over 1,000 student organizations, there’s a community for everyone, whether you’re interested in arts, sports, or social activism. The university’s location in Ithaca offers a scenic backdrop and a range of outdoor activities, alongside a lively local town filled with cafes, shops, and cultural events.

Consider Your Goals and Preferences

When deciding if Cornell is right for you, reflect on your academic and career goals. Do the programs offered align with your interests? Are you excited about the opportunities for research and collaboration? Also, think about the campus environment you’re seeking. Do you prefer a large, diverse university with a wide range of opportunities and resources? If these aspects align with your aspirations and learning style, Cornell might be a great fit for you.

How Selective is Cornell?

Cornell University is highly selective, with a competitive admissions process reflecting its status as an Ivy League institution. The selectivity rate varies each year but generally indicates that Cornell accepts a small percentage of its total applicants.

Understanding the Admissions Rate

The admissions rate at Cornell has historically been low, often under 10%. This rate can be even lower for certain highly competitive programs. The selectivity is a measure of both the quality and quantity of applicants, indicating that many high-achieving students apply to Cornell.

The Implications of Selectivity

This high level of selectivity means that applicants must present strong academic credentials, including high grades and standardized test scores. However, Cornell looks beyond just numbers. They seek students who have shown excellence in various areas, be it in academics, leadership, community service, or other extracurricular activities.

Should You Apply to Cornell?

Deciding to apply to Cornell should be based on a careful assessment of your academic achievements, interests, and readiness for a highly competitive academic environment.

Evaluate Your Academic Profile

Look at your grades, test scores, and the rigor of your high school curriculum. Are they in line with the profiles of admitted students at Cornell? This information is often available on the university’s admissions website or through college counseling resources.

Consider Your Fit and Goals

Think about whether Cornell’s academic programs, campus culture, and values align with what you’re looking for in a college experience. If you’re seeking a diverse, academically rigorous environment with a wide range of programs, Cornell might be a good match.

Be Realistic but Optimistic

Applying to a highly selective school like Cornell always involves some uncertainty. It’s important to be realistic about the competitive nature of the admissions process but also optimistic about what you can offer. Showcasing your unique talents, experiences, and perspectives can make your application stand out.

How Does Cornell Review Applications?

Cornell University follows a holistic review process for its admissions, meaning they consider a wide range of factors beyond just academic metrics.

Academic Credentials

Your high school grades, the rigor of your coursework, and standardized test scores (if submitted) are crucial components. Cornell looks for students who have excelled in a challenging academic environment.

Beyond the Numbers

Cornell’s admissions team also looks at your extracurricular activities, leadership experiences, community service, and other achievements. They are interested in how you have contributed to your community and what you might bring to Cornell’s campus.

Essays and Recommendations

Your application essays and letters of recommendation offer insights into your character, motivations, and potential. Cornell values applicants who can articulate their passions and how they align with the university’s offerings.

The Holistic View

Overall, Cornell seeks to understand who you are as a whole person, not just as a student. Your unique experiences, perspectives, and aspirations are all considered in the context of the university’s mission and values.

In conclusion, applying to Cornell requires careful consideration of both the university’s offerings and your own goals and qualifications. The process is competitive, but a thoughtful, well-prepared application that highlights your unique strengths and fit for Cornell can increase your chances of success.

Does Cornell Require Interviews?

When considering applying to a prestigious institution like Cornell University, it’s important to understand all aspects of the application process. A common question among applicants is whether Cornell requires interviews as part of their admission process.

Cornell University, unlike some other Ivy League schools, does not consider interviews to be a mandatory part of their application process. This means that for the vast majority of undergraduate applicants, an interview will not be a requirement. However, it’s crucial to note that some specific programs within Cornell may have different requirements. For instance, the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning (AAP) recommends an interview, though it is not mandatory.

The absence of a compulsory interview in the general admissions process at Cornell does not diminish the importance of other elements of your application. Your academic records, standardized test scores, essays, and letters of recommendation hold significant weight in the admissions decision. Therefore, it is essential to focus on these components to present a strong application to Cornell University.

What Extracurriculars Do You Need for Cornell?

Cornell University seeks students who demonstrate not only academic excellence but also a well-rounded personality. Extracurricular activities play a significant role in showcasing your interests and abilities beyond the classroom.

There is no fixed set of extracurricular activities required by Cornell. However, what matters most is the depth of your involvement and the impact of your contributions. Cornell values quality over quantity. Engaging deeply in a few activities where you have demonstrated leadership, commitment, and achievement is more impressive than a long list of superficial involvements.

Some areas that could strengthen your application include community service, leadership roles in school clubs or sports teams, participation in the arts, involvement in research projects, or any other activity that aligns with your passions and interests. These activities should reflect your personal growth, initiative, and ability to balance various responsibilities.

What Should You Write About in Your Personal Statement to Get into Cornell?

Your personal statement is a critical component of your application to Cornell University. It provides an opportunity to showcase who you are beyond your grades and test scores. The key to a compelling personal statement is authenticity and reflection.

When writing your personal statement, focus on experiences, insights, or challenges that have significantly shaped your perspective and character. The topic can range from a personal hobby, a family experience, a challenge you’ve overcome, or an academic interest. What’s important is that it should provide a deeper understanding of your personality, values, and how you engage with the world.

Be specific in your writing. Instead of making broad statements, use concrete examples and personal anecdotes to illustrate your points. This makes your essay more engaging and memorable. Also, reflect on your experiences, explaining what you learned from them and how they have influenced your aspirations and approach to life.

Remember, the personal statement is your voice in the application process. It’s your chance to make a personal connection with the admissions committee and stand out in a pool of many qualified applicants.

How Do You Write a Cornell Supplemental Essay?

The Cornell supplemental essay is an essential part of your application, designed to understand your academic interests and how they align with the opportunities at Cornell. Each undergraduate college at Cornell has its prompt, so your essay should be tailored to the specific college you are applying to.

Here are some tips on how to write a compelling Cornell supplemental essay:

  1. Research Thoroughly: Before writing your essay, research the specific college at Cornell to which you are applying. Understand its unique programs, faculty, resources, and opportunities. This will help you write a more informed and focused essay.
  2. Be Specific: Your essay should clearly articulate why you are interested in the chosen field of study and how Cornell’s specific resources and opportunities align with your academic and career goals. Avoid vague statements and generalities.
  3. Show Your Fit: Explain why you are a good fit for the college and how you can contribute to the Cornell community. Reflect on your experiences and interests and how they connect with what the college offers.
  4. Be Authentic: Write in your voice and be honest about your interests and aspirations. Authenticity is key to making a genuine connection with the admissions committee.
  5. Proofread and Edit: Make sure your essay is well-written and free of grammatical errors. A polished essay shows your attention to detail and commitment to presenting your best self.

Remember, the Cornell supplemental essay is an opportunity to demonstrate your enthusiasm for your chosen field and your potential fit at Cornell. Make the most of it by being thorough, specific, and authentic in your writing.

What Enrichment Opportunities Will Help You Get Into Cornell?

Gaining admission to Cornell University, a prestigious Ivy League institution, requires more than just strong academic performance. Enrichment opportunities play a significant role in making your application stand out. Here, we will explore various enrichment activities that can bolster your chances of getting into Cornell.

  1. Academic Competitions and Research: Participating in academic competitions such as science fairs, math Olympiads, or debate tournaments demonstrates your passion and expertise in a particular subject area. Engaging in research projects, especially those resulting in publications or presentations, can also be a powerful addition to your application.
  2. Leadership Roles: Holding leadership positions in clubs or organizations showcases your ability to lead and work with others. This could be being the president of a student club, a captain of a sports team, or an organizer of community events.
  3. Community Service: Involvement in community service projects indicates a commitment to helping others and contributing to society. This could range from volunteering at local shelters to organizing large-scale charity events.
  4. Internships and Work Experience: Gaining practical experience in a field of interest through internships or part-time jobs can provide a real-world perspective and professional skills.
  5. Extracurricular Achievements: Excelling in areas like music, arts, or sports can demonstrate a well-rounded character and dedication to pursuits outside of academics.
  6. Summer Programs: Participating in summer programs, especially those related to your intended major, can help you gain deeper knowledge and show your commitment to the field.

Remember, the key is not just to participate in these activities, but to excel in them and demonstrate your passion and commitment. These experiences should reflect your interests and align with your overall application narrative.

Do You Need to Take AP Courses to Get Into Cornell?

While Cornell University does not explicitly require AP (Advanced Placement) courses for admission, taking them can be beneficial for several reasons. AP courses are college-level classes offered in high school, and they can demonstrate your ability to handle challenging coursework, a quality that Ivy League schools like Cornell value.

Academic Rigor

When you take Advanced Placement (AP) courses, it shows that you’re not afraid to push yourself and take on tough subjects. This is something that admissions officers at Cornell University pay attention to. They look for students who have chosen the hardest classes available to them. This isn’t just about being smart; it’s about showing that you’re eager to learn and grow, even when it’s not easy.

Preparation for College-Level Work

Taking AP courses is also a good way to prepare for the kind of work you’ll encounter in college. College courses are usually more challenging than high school classes. AP courses are designed to be similar to college-level classes, so doing well in them suggests that you’re ready for college academics. If you can handle AP courses in high school, you’re likely to do well with the demanding coursework you’ll find in college.

Competitive Edge

Finally, AP courses can give you a competitive edge when applying to colleges like Cornell. Many students who apply to top universities have taken multiple AP classes. So, having AP courses on your transcript can help you stand out. It’s a way to show that you’re not just meeting the basic requirements, but going above and beyond. In a pool of many talented applicants, this can make a difference.

Taking AP courses can be a key part of your high school experience if you’re aiming for a competitive university like Cornell. It demonstrates your willingness to challenge yourself, and your readiness for college-level work, and can give you an edge over other applicants.

Does Cornell Accept AP Credit?

When we talk about AP credit, we’re referring to the college credit you earn when you take an AP course in high school and then pass the corresponding AP exam with a certain score. These courses are designed to give you a taste of college-level academics while you’re still in high school.

Cornell University recognizes the value of these courses, but its acceptance of AP credits isn’t a one-size-fits-all policy. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Varies by College within Cornell

Cornell is made up of several different colleges, each focusing on a specific area of study. For instance, there’s the College of Engineering, the College of Arts and Sciences, and others. Each of these colleges has its own set of rules about AP credits. What does this mean for you? Simply put, an AP credit that counts towards your advancement in one college might not have the same effect in another. It’s like each college has its language for interpreting AP scores.

2. Dependent on AP Courses and Scores

The type of AP course you’ve taken and the score you’ve received also play a critical role. Generally, Cornell looks for scores of 4 or 5 – these are considered high scores and reflect a strong understanding of the course material. Achieving these scores can lead to two potential benefits:

  • Earning College Credits: This is like getting a head start in your college education. Certain high AP scores might directly translate into college credits at Cornell. It’s as if you’ve already completed a college course before even setting foot on campus.
  • Placement Out of Introductory Courses: Sometimes, instead of earning you actual credits, a high AP score might allow you to skip introductory courses in a related subject. This way, you can dive into more advanced courses right away, making your academic journey more challenging and enriching.

3. Reviewing the AP Credit Chart

Cornell University provides a helpful resource known as the AP Credit Chart. This chart is essentially a guide that details how different AP scores translate into credits or course placements. It’s a critical tool for prospective and incoming students, helping them understand exactly how their high school efforts in AP courses will be recognized at the university.

Will Cornell Look at Your Social Media?

When applying to Cornell University, a question that might come up is whether the admissions committee will look at your social media profiles. Like many colleges and universities, Cornell doesn’t officially state that they check the social media accounts of applicants. However, it’s important to remember that your online presence can reflect who you are. On rare occasions, if something very troubling is noticed by the admissions team, it could affect your application. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Be Mindful: It’s a good idea to make sure your social media profiles show that you are mature and responsible, just like you want to appear in your application. Think of your online presence as an extension of yourself, showcasing qualities like respect, responsibility, and maturity.
  • Privacy Settings: It’s worth considering who can see your posts and personal information. Adjusting your privacy settings can help control what others, including potential colleagues, can view. This step is about protecting your personal information and managing your online reputation.

Overall, while Cornell might not routinely check your social media, it’s always a good practice to have a positive and respectful online presence. This approach not only aligns with presenting your best self in your application but also helps in creating a good impression in general.

Will Visiting Cornell Help You Get In?

Many students wonder if visiting Cornell University can improve their chances of being admitted. Cornell explicitly states that demonstrated interest, such as visiting the campus, is not a factor in their admissions decisions. However, visiting Cornell can have other benefits that might indirectly enhance your application:

  1. Personal Insight: Visiting the campus can give you a real feel for what it’s like at Cornell. You can understand the culture, the environment, and see if it feels like the right place for you. This personal insight is invaluable in making an informed decision about where you want to study.
  2. Application Enhancement: When you visit, you experience the campus first-hand. This can provide you with unique details and perspectives that you can mention in your application essays. Such personal experiences can make your essays more engaging and reflective of your genuine interest in Cornell.
  3. Information Sessions: During a visit, you can attend information sessions that offer deep insights into the admissions process and what Cornell looks for in its applicants. These sessions can be incredibly helpful in understanding how to present your application effectively.

While a campus visit to Cornell doesn’t directly increase your chances of getting admitted, it can offer valuable experiences and insights. These can help you in making a well-informed decision and in crafting a more personalized and insightful application.


Applying to Cornell is highly competitive. With a holistic review process, Cornell seeks students who not only excel academically but also demonstrate intellectual curiosity, character, involvement, and a clear understanding of their fit with the university.

Balancing your academic achievements with meaningful extracurricular involvement, while clearly articulating your reasons for choosing Cornell, is crucial. Remember, while the process is competitive, your unique story and experiences can make your application stand out.

In short, approach each part of the application thoughtfully to present the best version of yourself.

We can help you figure out how to get into Cornell

Getting into Cornell University might seem like rocket science to students and parents who haven’t had much experience in the college admissions process. And even though Cornell has a higher acceptance rate than some other Ivies, it’s still a challenging feat.

Fortunately, working with a qualified and reputable college admissions counselor can help work wonders for your chances of getting accepted. AdmissionSight has spent years perfecting its services to guide students in the right direction towards gaining admittance into some of the top schools in the country.

We can help you with every step of the process from selecting your classes and extracurriculars in high school to writing your college supplemental essays. Our services are custom-tailored to make sure we’re playing to your strengths and personal interests.

AdmissionSight has a proven track record of supporting students just like you in their pursuit of the Ivy League. And you know what? We’ve been incredibly successful, and our team would love to add your name to our growing list of successful students.

Feel free to contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about our services and how they can benefit you.


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