Is Cornell Test Optional?

September 2, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Is Cornell Test Optional?

Is Cornell test optional for 2022-2023 admissions cycle? Undergraduate applicants to Cornell who submit their applications during either of the next two admissions cycles will not be required to submit their test scores.

In September of 2021, the undergraduate admissions office made an announcement that the University would be waiving the SAT and ACT requirements for first-year applicants beginning in the Fall of 2023 and Fall of 2024. This decision was made in response to ongoing COVID-19 risks. The SAT and/or ACT test requirement that was previously in place for applicants to Cornell in the years 2022, 2023, and 2024 has been removed.

As a result of the pandemic emergency caused by SARS-COV-2, numerous SAT and ACT testing sessions have been canceled. As a result of this exceptional circumstance, prospective students who wish to enroll at Cornell University beginning in August 2022 may submit their applications without including the results of the ACT or SAT exams in their supporting documentation. This will be the case during both the Early Decision round of review as well as the Regular Decision round.

College consultant taking to two people.

Do not feel that you need to take exams unless you are able to take the exam locally, close to where you live, and you feel safe doing so. Whether “is Cornell test optional?”, this advice applies to all applicants for current and future terms. To refresh your memory, Cornell will consider your application even if you have not taken any standardized tests.

Why is Cornell test optional? this is to ensure that you always follow the local, state, and national COVID-19 guidelines at all times for the sake of your health and safety. After becoming the first university in the Ivy League to do away with SAT and ACT requirements for first-year applicants in any of Cornell’s seven colleges in April 2020, this policy is a direct result of that decision.

In general, Cornell does not intend to implement a test-optional admission policy in the long-term for applicants who have already taken the ACT or SAT, or who have the opportunity to do so. Cornell has anticipated, as appears to be the case at test-optional colleges and universities, that a large number of students who will have had reasonable and uninterrupted opportunities to take the ACT and/or SAT during the 2020-2021 administration will continue to submit results, and those results will continue to demonstrate preparation for college-level work. This is consistent with what appears to be the case at test-optional colleges and universities.

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, and the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning will not accept standardized test scores going forward as a result of this policy. It is the policy of the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, the College of Engineering, and the College of Human Ecology, in addition to the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, to not require students to submit their SAT or ACT scores for admission consideration.

Furthermore, why is Cornell test optional, students have the option of not turning in their test results, even if they have taken the exam more than once. This option is available to students who have already taken the exam. The University strongly recommends that applicants prioritize their own health and safety over the testing process.

Cornell Acceptance Rate

What is the current Cornell acceptance rate? A fresh round of applications from prospective students known as the Class of 2026 has been submitted to Cornell University as another year passes and a new admissions cycle begins.

The university made the announcement on April 11, 2022, that it had accepted a total of 4,908 applicants from both the Regular Decision pool as well as the Early Decision pool, noting that the class was “talented and diverse” and came from “a broader range of places than ever before.”

Students who have been accepted into the program come from 85 different countries as well as all 50 states in the United States, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

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In addition, 57.7 percent of admitted students who identified as underrepresented minorities self-identified as students of color, and 19.9 percent of admitted students will be the first in their families to attend college.

The often nerve-wracking process of applying to colleges and universities came to a satisfying and ultimately rewarding conclusion in December 2021, when a large number of prospective students were offered admission to the University through the Early Decision program.

The University will not disclose acceptance rates during the admissions cycle that is currently underway. Furthermore, the University will not disclose acceptance rates for the Class of 2026 until the middle of summer 2022, after the admissions cycle will have concluded. However, the Class of 2025 set new records for the lowest acceptance rate in recent years with 8.7 percent. With 67,830 applicants and 5,836 accepted students, this class had the lowest acceptance rate in recent history.

Cornell Admission Requirements

What are the required Cornell admission requirements? If you have Cornell University on your list of dream colleges, you are likely already aware of how competitive the admissions process is. This Ivy League institution can be found in the state of New York, and it is famous both for the quality of its educational offerings and the caliber of its graduates.

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Since Cornell is a school that is highly sought after by first-year students, since you already know why is Cornell test optional, you will need to do everything in your power to ensure that your application is noticed among the other candidates. Before submitting an application, whether “is Cornell test optional?”,  it is in your best interest to conduct thorough research covering all of the requirements.

Cornell University GPA Requirements

You are required to give careful consideration to Cornell University’s GPA prerequisites before submitting an application. This is to ensure that your application is not immediately dismissed without further consideration.

You can get a good idea of the minimum GPA needed to attend Cornell University by looking at the average GPA of the university’s students. The majority of Cornell’s acceptances have unweighted grade point averages of 4.07 or higher. You might be asking yourself, “How is it possible for students to have a grade point average that is higher than 4.0?” Some secondary schools assign grades on a scale of 5.0 rather than 4.0 to the Advanced Placement (AP) exams and other advanced coursework.

Using a laptop for Common app essay.

Let’s talk about the typical grade point average at Cornell. The exact grade point averages of admitted students are kept secret by the vast majority of the nation’s top educational institutions. Despite this, the vast majority of students finish in the top 10 percent of their respective high schools. It is in your best interest to keep your overall grade point average at or above 4.0 in all of your classes.

You’ll need to earn a majority of A’s in your high school courses if you want your grade point average to be high enough for Cornell. Other information in your transcript, such as awards, certificates, and AP classes, are taken into consideration by Cornell as well. In conclusion, it is absolutely necessary to maintain a grade point average that satisfies the requirements set forth by Cornell University while simultaneously enrolling in the most difficult classes that your high school has to offer.

Cornell University SAT Requirements

63.7 percent of students who were offered admission to Cornell ultimately decided to send in their Cornell SAT score, while 55.9 percent of students ultimately sent in their Cornell ACT score. The following table provides a breakdown of the Cornell SAT scores of applicants who were accepted into the middle 50 percentile range.

Section 25th percentile 50th percentile 75th percentile
Evidence-Based Reading and Writing 690 730 760
Math 700 760 790
SAT total 1390 1480 1530

The following is an additional breakdown of the accepted students’ SAT scores, broken down by section.

Cornell University SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing:

Score Percentage of accepted students with scores
700-800 78%
600-700 21%
500-600 2.3%
Below 500 0.1%

Cornell University SAT Math:

Score Percentage of accepted students with scores
700-800 81%
600-700 17%
500-600 2.5%
Below 500 Less than 0.1%

Cornell University ACT Requirements

The average score on the ACT for admission to Cornell in 2021 was 33. A score of 34 on the ACT would put you well above average, while a score of 31 would put you below average. The range of ACT scores for the middle 50 percent of accepted students at Cornell was 31-34, which means that a score of 34 would put you well above average, while a score of 31 would put you below average.

Cornell University Application Requirements

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

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

The Common App (CA)

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

The Report from School

This form, along with your official transcript, should be submitted on your behalf by a school counselor or other designated school official. Alternatively, your school may have its own report form.

A Recommendation from Your Counselor

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

A Total of Two Teacher Evaluations

You are required to turn in recommendations from two different teachers. Be certain to remind the people who are writing letters for you to include your name and date of birth on each page if the letters are going to be mailed to you.

The Midyear Report, which is issued when your grades for the first half of the year are complete

Send in the Midyear Report the application deadline has passed in as timely a manner as possible. For the sake of expediting the review of your application, Cornell strongly encourages school counselors to also submit this information online.

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

An official transcript from your secondary or high school

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

Application fee of $80 or fee waiver if applicable

In order for applications to be taken into consideration, either a non-refundable application fee in the amount of $80 or a fee waiver must be submitted. The admissions process begins with the submission of the application, along with the application fee or a fee waiver. This step should be completed as quickly as possible to avoid any delays. Your application will not be reviewed by Cornell unless you either pay the $80 application fee or request a fee waiver.

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

The Questions and Writing Supplement of Cornell University (CA)

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

The Results of Standardized Tests

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

Students taking an exam in their desk.


Since we already did discuss above why is Cornell test optional, they still, have the option of not turning in their test results, even if they have taken the exam more than once. This option is available to students who have already taken the exam.

Items that must be submitted in order to be considered for admission to the undergraduate college or school at Cornell to which you have applied: Interviews, as well as submissions of your portfolio and designs.


Students who are interested in enrolling in the architecture program are required to take part in an interview as a component of the admissions process. Interviews are strongly recommended, but not required, for those interested in applying to the Department of Art or the Department of Urban and Regional Studies.

Additional Submissions

There are some of our majors, such as architecture, art, design, environmental analysis, and fashion design and management that do require additional forms, portfolios, or design indexes. These majors can be found on our website.

Requirements For International Students

In terms of admissions requirements, Cornell is known for being relatively strict. As a result, you should make getting high scores across the board in your exams and maintaining a solid academic track record a priority. The specific requirements necessary to qualify for each course are different from one another.

The application procedure that our first-year applicants and transfer applicants go through is also used for prospective international students. The financial circumstances of international applicants are taken into consideration when making admissions decisions at Cornell University.

This indicates that they will be evaluated for admission taking into consideration the financial capability of either the students or their parents in order to cover the costs of education. If international applicants do not submit an application for financial aid at the time they submit their admissions application (and if they are granted admission), they will not be eligible to submit an application for financial aid at any point during their time as undergraduate students at Cornell.

Applicants to Cornell University’s undergraduate program who believe they may, at any time during their time there, require financial assistance are required to apply for aid at the same time they submit their application for admission. The following is a list of the requirements for international students to attend Cornell University as undergraduates.

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

Cornell Application Deadline

What is the current Cornell application deadline for 2022? Applicants to Cornell’s first-year program have the option of submitting their applications under either the early decision or the regular decision admission plan. Students who have Cornell high on their list of potential schools to attend should give serious consideration to applying under the early decision plan.

Applications for early decision are evaluated in the fall, and Cornell’s decision is communicated to prospective students in the middle of December. At Cornell University, the deadlines for admission to undergraduate courses are separated into two categories: early decisions and regular decisions. The following list contains the upcoming due dates for the semester:

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

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

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

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