Rice University vs Cornell University

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

View of Rice University sign

Rice University vs Cornell University

Choosing a college or university can be a daunting task, especially if you’re considering multiple institutions. Two prestigious institutions often compared with each other are Rice University vs Cornell University. This comprehensive overview will guide you through everything you need to know about these two academic giants. From campus facilities and programs to admissions criteria and career prospects, this article covers it all. So, keep reading for a detailed comparison of Rice University and Cornell University.

Location and Campus Facilities

Located in Houston, Texas, Rice University’s campus spans over 300 acres and is home to a variety of facilities and resources for students to enjoy. The campus boasts stunning architecture, state-of-the-art classrooms, and research facilities, including an extensive library system and computing centers.On the other hand, Cornell University’s campus is located in Ithaca, New York, and spans over 2,300 acres of land. Cornell offers a picturesque setting with a mix of historic and modern buildings providing ample facilities for their students. The campus boasts 21 libraries with over 8 million books and an impressive 9,000-acre biological field station.

Both Rice University and Cornell University offer a wide range of extracurricular activities for their students. Rice University has over 300 student organizations, including clubs for sports, arts, and community service. The university also has a strong athletic program, with 14 varsity sports teams. Similarly, Cornell University has over 1,000 student organizations, including clubs for outdoor activities, music, and cultural groups. Cornell also has a strong athletic program, with 36 varsity sports teams and a variety of intramural sports for students to participate in.

Cornell University building

Academic Programs and Curriculum Offered

Both Rice and Cornell Universities offer a wide range of academic programs and curriculums. At Rice University, there are eight schools with over 50 undergraduate degree programs, three doctoral programs, and multiple graduate degree programs. At Cornell University, there are seven undergraduate colleges and four graduate schools offering more than 80 majors across varied fields of study. Cornell also offers more than 4,000 courses, ranging from the humanities and social sciences to natural and physical sciences, engineering, and applied studies.

In addition to the wide range of academic programs and courses offered at Rice and Cornell Universities, both institutions also provide students with numerous opportunities for research and experiential learning. Rice University has a strong focus on undergraduate research, with over 50% of students participating in research projects during their time at the university. Cornell University offers a variety of hands-on learning experiences, including internships, co-ops, and study abroad programs, allowing students to gain practical skills and real-world experience in their chosen fields of study.

Faculty and Teaching Quality at Rice University and Cornell University

Both Rice and Cornell Universities pride themselves on having world-renowned faculty members who are experts in their respective fields. With a faculty-to-student ratio of 6:1, Rice University ensures students get individualized attention, allowing them to ask questions as and when they arise. Similarly, Cornell University has a faculty-to-student ratio of 9:1, providing students with an exceptional learning environment.Both universities have access to state-of-the-art facilities, which encourage creativity and interdisciplinary learning.

Furthermore, both universities have a strong commitment to teaching quality. Rice University has a Center for Teaching Excellence, which provides resources and support to faculty members to enhance their teaching skills. Similarly, Cornell University has a renowned Teaching and Learning Center, which offers workshops, consultations, and other resources to help faculty members improve their teaching practices. Both universities also have a culture of continuous improvement, regularly seeking feedback from students and using it to improve their teaching methods.

Admission Criteria and Process at Rice University and Cornell University

As two of the most competitive universities in the United States, Rice and Cornell have rigorous admission requirements and processes. At Rice University, prospective students must complete the Common Application and submit various documents, including essays and letters of recommendation. Similarly, Cornell University accepts the Common Application and supplementary information, including school transcripts, test scores, and recommendations. High academic achievement and extracurricular activities are essential criteria for admission at both universities.

In addition to academic and extracurricular achievements, Rice University and Cornell University also consider other factors in their admission process. Rice University values diversity and encourages students from different backgrounds to apply. The university also considers demonstrated leadership skills, community involvement, and personal qualities such as resilience and adaptability. Similarly, Cornell University values diversity and seeks to admit students who have made a positive impact in their communities. The university also considers factors such as work experience, artistic talent, and athletic achievements.

Both Rice University and Cornell University have highly selective admission rates, with acceptance rates below 15%. To increase their chances of admission, prospective students should aim to exceed the minimum requirements and showcase their unique strengths and qualities. It is also important for students to research the universities thoroughly and demonstrate a genuine interest in their programs and values. Ultimately, the admission process at Rice and Cornell is highly competitive, but the universities offer exceptional academic and personal growth opportunities for those who are admitted.

Group of students walking in the campus.

Cost of Attendance and Financial Aid Options Available

The cost of attending Rice or Cornell University varies based on the degree program and campus location. Both universities offer various forms of financial aid to help students cover the cost of tuition and other related expenses. Need-based financial aid, merit-based scholarships, and grants are available to eligible students. Students at both universities can also apply for loans to help finance their education.

In addition to the financial aid options mentioned above, Rice University also offers work-study programs for eligible students. These programs provide part-time employment opportunities on campus, allowing students to earn money to help cover their educational expenses while gaining valuable work experience.

Cornell University also offers a unique program called the Cornell Commitment. This program provides financial support and resources to students from low-income families, first-generation college students, and students from underrepresented backgrounds. The program includes mentorship, academic support, and leadership development opportunities to help students succeed academically and professionally.

Campus Life: Housing, Dining, Extracurricular Activities, Sports, and Recreation

Campus life is a crucial part of the college experience, and both Rice and Cornell offer an abundance of housing options, dining facilities, and extracurricular activities to ensure students have an enjoyable college experience. Rice’s “Residential College System” provides students with a home-like setting where they can form close-knit communities with other students. Cornell offers a diverse range of housing options, ranging from traditional dormitories to apartments and fraternities. Both universities have idyllic campus settings and offer a plethora of sports and recreational activities, including fitness centers, sports fields, and hiking trails.

In addition to the housing and dining options, both Rice and Cornell offer a wide range of extracurricular activities for students to get involved in. Rice has over 300 student organizations, including academic clubs, cultural groups, and service organizations. Cornell has over 1,000 student organizations, ranging from sports clubs to political groups to performing arts organizations. These extracurricular activities provide students with opportunities to explore their interests, develop leadership skills, and make new friends.

Furthermore, both universities have strong athletic programs and offer a variety of sports for students to participate in. Rice is a member of Conference USA and has 14 varsity sports teams, including basketball, football, and soccer. Cornell is a member of the Ivy League and has 36 varsity sports teams, including ice hockey, lacrosse, and rowing. Both universities also have state-of-the-art athletic facilities, including stadiums, arenas, and pools, for students to use.

Career Prospects and Alumni Network at Rice University vs Cornell University

After graduation, students at Rice and Cornell University enter into a vast alumni network, which has the potential to impact their career trajectory significantly. Rice University’s career center provides comprehensive career development, including individualized counseling, internship and job search assistance, and career-focused events. Cornell University has a robust career center that provides students with access to a global network of Cornell alumni, job search tools and resources, and career counseling.

In addition to the career centers, Rice University and Cornell University offer unique opportunities for students to network with alumni and potential employers. Rice University hosts an annual career fair, which brings together students and employers from various industries. The university also has a mentorship program, where students can connect with alumni who work in their desired field.

Group of students walking in the stairs.

Cornell University, on the other hand, has a strong presence in the tech industry, with many alumni working at companies such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. The university hosts an annual tech career fair, which attracts top tech companies from around the world. Cornell also has a program called “Entrepreneurship at Cornell,” which provides students with resources and support to start their own businesses.

Research Opportunities for Students at Rice University vs Cornell University

Both universities offer an abundance of research opportunities for students. Rice University’s research center, the Kinder Institute for Urban Research, is one of the most advanced research centers globally. At Cornell, students can participate in research programs spanning across multiple disciplines, from climate change research to healthcare innovation.

Additionally, Rice University has a strong focus on interdisciplinary research, allowing students to collaborate with faculty and peers from different fields of study. This approach fosters a diverse and innovative research environment, where students can explore new ideas and approaches to solving complex problems.

On the other hand, Cornell University has a long-standing tradition of research excellence, with numerous Nobel laureates and other distinguished researchers among its faculty. This provides students with unparalleled access to cutting-edge research and the opportunity to work alongside some of the most renowned scholars in their respective fields.

Rice vs Cornell: Student Diversity

Inclusivity and diversity are critical values for both Rice and Cornell Universities. Rice University is an institution made up of students from all over the world, with diversity being one of the institution’s core pillars. Cornell University also celebrates diversity, welcoming students from different cultures, geographic regions, and socio-economic backgrounds.

At Rice University, the student body is composed of 47% international students, making it one of the most diverse universities in the United States. This diversity is reflected in the various cultural organizations on campus, which provide opportunities for students to learn about and celebrate different cultures. Additionally, Rice University has a strong commitment to inclusivity, with programs and initiatives aimed at creating a welcoming and supportive environment for all students.

Cornell University also has a strong commitment to diversity and inclusivity. The university has a number of programs and initiatives aimed at promoting diversity, including the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives and the Diversity and Inclusion Business Advisory Council. Cornell also has a number of cultural organizations on campus, which provide opportunities for students to learn about and celebrate different cultures. In addition, Cornell has a strong commitment to accessibility, with a number of resources available to support students with disabilities.

Rice vs Cornell: Student Experience

Both Rice and Cornell Universities have received exceptional student reviews for their academic programs, campus life, supportive faculty, and overall college experience. Students at both institutions have expressed how their university experience has equipped them with the skills they need to excel in their future careers.

However, there are some differences in the student experience between Rice and Cornell. Rice University is known for its strong focus on undergraduate research opportunities, with many students participating in research projects alongside faculty members. On the other hand, Cornell University offers a wider range of majors and programs, allowing students to explore a variety of academic interests and career paths.

Additionally, both universities have unique campus cultures. Rice University has a strong sense of community, with residential colleges that provide students with a close-knit living and learning environment. Cornell University, on the other hand, has a more diverse student body and offers a wide range of extracurricular activities, including over 1,000 student organizations and clubs.

Group of students walking in the campus.

Rice vs Cornell: Campus Safety

Both Rice and Cornell Universities have excellent security measures in place, ensuring student safety on campus and during school-sponsored events. Both institutions have designated security personnel and emergency response systems in case of any emergency.

However, when it comes to crime statistics, Rice University has a lower crime rate compared to Cornell University. According to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Education, Rice University reported only 12 incidents of crime on campus in 2019, while Cornell University reported 224 incidents.

In terms of emergency response systems, both universities have similar protocols in place. However, Rice University has a more advanced system that includes a mobile safety app that allows students to quickly report incidents and request assistance. The app also provides real-time updates during emergencies and allows students to communicate with campus security personnel.

Rankings and Reputation of Rice University vs Cornell University

Rice University and Cornell University are both world-renowned institutions, highly respected for their academic programs, research, and faculty. In the 2021 US News and World Report rankings, Cornell University was ranked 18th in the national university rankings, while Rice University was ranked just below at 16th.

However, when it comes to specific programs, Rice University has been consistently ranked higher than Cornell University in several fields. For example, Rice University’s School of Engineering is ranked 29th in the nation, while Cornell’s College of Engineering is ranked 10th. Additionally, Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music is ranked 17th in the nation, while Cornell’s music program is not ranked in the top 25.

Notable Alumni from Rice University vs Cornell University

Both Rice and Cornell Universities boast of an impressive list of notable alumni, including Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, Nobel laureates, and CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies. Some notable Rice alumni include Jim Parsons, Howard Hughes, and Annise Parker, while Cornell boasts luminaries such as Bill Maher, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Jeff Koons.

However, there are some notable differences in the fields in which these universities’ alumni have excelled. Rice University has produced a significant number of successful entrepreneurs, including the co-founder of Dropbox, Drew Houston, and the co-founder of Indeed.com, Paul Forster. On the other hand, Cornell University has a strong tradition of producing leaders in the fields of politics and law, with notable alumni such as former US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and former US Attorney General, Janet Reno.

Future Prospects: Analyzing Trends in the Job Market for Graduates from Both Universities

Graduates from both Rice and Cornell Universities are highly sought after in the job market. The universities’ graduates have secured positions at some of the world’s leading corporations and organizations, testament to their strong academic and interdisciplinary training.

Recent studies have shown that graduates from both Rice and Cornell Universities have a higher likelihood of securing employment within six months of graduation compared to graduates from other universities. This is due to the universities’ strong career services programs, which provide students with access to internships, networking opportunities, and job fairs. Additionally, both universities have a strong alumni network, which often leads to job opportunities for recent graduates.


This comprehensive overview of Rice University and Cornell University has undoubtedly shown how both institutions stand out in different ways. Ultimately, the decision of which institution to attend ultimately comes down to individual preference, goals, and needs. However, one thing is for sure – the opportunities and experiences offered by both Rice and Cornell are unparalleled and will undoubtedly equip students with a robust education for their future success.

It is worth noting that both Rice and Cornell have strong research programs and are home to some of the brightest minds in academia. Students at both institutions have the opportunity to work alongside these experts and contribute to groundbreaking research in a variety of fields. Additionally, both universities have a strong commitment to community service and offer numerous opportunities for students to engage in meaningful volunteer work and make a positive impact on the world.

four students lounging on the steps outside

Ultimately, whether you choose Rice or Cornell, you can be confident that you will receive a top-notch education and be well-prepared for whatever path you choose to pursue after graduation. Both universities have a long history of producing successful alumni who have gone on to make significant contributions in their respective fields, and there is no doubt that the students of today will continue this tradition of excellence in the years to come.

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