What GPA and SAT Scores Do You Need to Get Into Cornell?

November 24, 2021
By AdmissionSight

What GPA and SAT Scores Do You Need to Get Into Cornell?

For students all over the world, Cornell University remains one of the most attractive and targeted schools in the United States. Thanks to its wonderful history, incredible faculty, and committed alumni community, there is so much to love about Cornell. But what GPA and SAT score do you need to get into Cornell?

Without a doubt, that is a question that a lot of interested high school students ask themselves each and every school year.

Whether you are just getting started in your high school journey or are already preparing your list of colleges and universities that you plan to apply to in the next application cycle, knowing how to get into Cornell, what the lowest GPA to get into Cornell is and other Cornell requirements is really important information to have a handle on if you are indeed wanting to get into – and attend – this wonderful school.

Cornell University's cherry blossoms in the early morning.

At AdmissionSight, we know how important it is for students to have some basic knowledge about every school that they have on their list.

While knowing about the Cornell University acceptance rate and the Cornell SAT scores that are typical amongst high school students that get in is certainly crucial, there is a lot more to know as well!

Sometimes, simply knowing some of the best tips to improve your chances of getting into Cornell and other prestigious Ivy League schools will be enough for you to beat the odds of the Cornell acceptance rate and get in!

That’s where we come in. We decided to break down some of the most important facts and considerations about Cornell to keep in mind.

By the end of this breakdown, you should have a pretty solid idea of where you stand in terms of your chances of getting into this prestigious institution.

So, without further delay, let’s get started and we’ll go over what GPA and SAT scores you need to get into Cornell!

Cornell’s GPA requirements

First off, we want to make it clear that neither Cornell University, nor any of the top schools in the United States have official GPA requirements. There is no GPA threshold that any student will need to meet in order for their application to be considered.

With that being said, there are some pretty clear averages and standards that schools tend to maintain that can give high school students a better understanding of the baseline GPA that they will want to aim for if they are interested in attending a specific set of schools.

As Cornell is part of the historic, prestigious and selective cluster of schools known as the Ivy League, you can already be sure that the average grade point average that students earn in high school and subsequently get into Cornell is high. But what is the official answer to the first part of the question, “What GPA and SAT scores do you need to get into Cornell?”

The answer turns out to be an incredibly impressive 4.07 Cornell average GPA. Though Cornell is thought to be one of the easier Ivy League schools to get into – especially when compared to schools like Harvard University, Yale University and Columbia University – you can see from this number alone that it still ranks amongst the most selective and competitive schools in the entire United States.

Another important factor that should be kept in mind for any student that is interested in attending Cornell University is that the 4,07 GPA tells another story aside from the obvious fact that students that get into this school perform well.

The fact that the Cornell average GPA is also a weighted GPA over the traditional straight-A grade point average of 4.0 tells us that the vast majority of students that are getting into Cornell each year are taking advanced courses like honors, AP and IB courses.

These courses come with a weighted GPA on a 5.0 scale. Not only can taking – and earning strong grades – in these types of courses help improve a student’s GPA, they can also go a long way towards convincing an admissions officer at a school like Cornell that you are Cornell material.

You see, one of the most important decisions that admissions officers have to make every year is whether or not a student that applies to schools like Cornell can succeed within the incredibly advanced and challenging course list.

Students who want to make sure that admissions officers at Ivy League and other top-10 schools know that they can excel at their school should absolutely prioritize taking advanced courses whenever possible.

At AdmissionSight, when assisting one of our students with mapping out their high school course list, we always encourage students to get started in AP courses as soon as possible.

Typically, the smartest way to go about doing this is taking as many AP core classes as possible while also taking AP courses in any subjects and topics that a student is uniquely interested in or gifted at. That is the best way to ensure that the student will both enjoy the experience and earn a great grade that will help their final GPA.

What is the GPA cutoff for Cornell?

Just like Cornell does not have any required GPA that students need to earn in high school in order to be considered for admission, so too does the school not have an official cutoff that students need to keep in mind.

However, when thinking about applying to a school like Cornell, it is also important for students to be realistic about their chances and know that if their GPA is too low, they probably do not have a very strong case to get into a top school.

With that in mind, the lowest GPA to get into Cornell probably sits somewhere around a 3.7. That is still an incredibly high GPA by most student’s standards. A 3.7 GPA would likely help most high school students into the vast majority of schools, including some of the most prestigious public universities in the country.

A silhouette of man reading a book while being surrounded by lots of books.

But the fact that the lowest GPA to get into Cornell would likely be strong enough to get into most non-Ivy League schools is just another reason why the Ivies are so highly regarded.

The level of the prestige makes them more selective, and their high level of selectiveness makes them more prestigious!

Typical Cornell SAT scores

Now that you know the answer to the first part of the question, “What GPA and SAT scores do you need to get into Cornell?” Let’s break down the second part!

When it comes to the average Cornell SAT scores, the score is – predictably – quite high.

Based on the numbers that the school has reported in recent years, it looks like the average SAT score sits at 1480 out of the perfect SAT score of 1600. The 25th percentile score at Cornell is a 1420, while the 75th percentile score is a 1540!

A shaded answer sheet with a green pencil on top.

Much like the high average GPA, the high SAT score is a clear indication that really only the best of the best are getting into this school.

With all this in mind, AdmissionSight knows that it is important to keep our readers as informed as possible on all of the current goings on in the world of college admissions. For that reason, it is imperative that we cover the current state of standardized tests when it comes to getting into schools across the United States.

As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many schools – including Cornell – have adopted a standardized test optional policy for the last couple of application cycles.

This has dramatically changed the admissions landscape as the SAT and ACT used to play a major role in whether or not students got into top schools.

This is what Cornell currently states on its official undergraduate admissions site regarding the test optional policy at the school:

“The SARS-COV-2 pandemic emergency has led to many SAT and ACT administration cancellations,” the school announced.

“Due to this extraordinary circumstance, students seeking to enroll at Cornell University beginning in August 2022 can submit their applications without including the results from ACT or SAT exams. This will be true for both the Early Decision and Regular Decision rounds of review.

“For All Applicants to Current and Future Terms: Please do not feel you need to take exams unless you are able to take the exam locally near your home and you feel safe in doing so.

As a reminder, we will evaluate your application without standardized testing. For your health and safety, please always adhere to your local, state, and national COVID-19 guidelines.”

With that being said, while some schools have actually signaled that the test-optional policy may remain even after the COVID-19 pandemic is under control, Cornell makes it clear on their site that the test optional approach should not be considered a forgone conclusion for students that will be applying after 2022.

“Cornell overall has not planned to adopt a test-optional admission policy permanently,” the school says. “As appears to be true at test-optional colleges and universities, we anticipate that many students who will have had reasonable and uninterrupted opportunities to take the ACT and/or SAT during 2020-2021 administrations will continue to submit results, and those results will continue to demonstrate preparation for college-level work.

“Students who have taken a test, or even more than one test, but would still prefer not to submit those results, can make that choice.”

So, what does this mean for students that are interested in getting into Cornell now and are weighing whether or not it is worth it for them to take the SAT?

Well, thanks to the simple fact that Cornell has already made it clear that the school plans to make the SAT and ACT a required component of students’ applications in the future, it can be assumed that the admissions office at the school still highly values the importance of those grades when making decisions about student applicants each year.

For that reason, if you are able to safely take either the SAT or ACT, you should absolutely consider doing so if you are interested in attending Cornell. In fact, right now, students have a pretty rare opportunity to make the test optional policy work for them.

It is quite likely that many students these days are safely taking the SAT or ACT and then deciding whether or not to include the score as part of their college applications depending on the score itself. What GPA and SAT scores do you need to get into Cornell?

Well, if you take the SAT and earn a score that is at or above that 75th percentile score of 1540, you would be very wise to include it as part of your Cornell application!

What is the Cornell acceptance rate?

The final important number to go over on this list is the Cornell acceptance rate. Last year, in the 2021 application cycle, a total of 47,038 students were accepted to Cornell. Just 5,889 of those students ended up getting accepted to the school. This yielded an overall acceptance rate of 12.5 percent.

Without a doubt, it’s a low acceptance rate compared to the overall admissions landscape in the United States. However, Cornell is thought to be one of the Ivy Leagues that is less competitive. It’s not hard to see why considering the fact that several schools in the Ivy League have overall acceptance rates below 5.0 percent!

Still, Cornell has gotten harder to get into over the last half decade or so. Take a look at this graph to get a feel for the admissions trends at Cornell since 2014.

Cornell Admissions Trends

How to improve your chances of getting into Cornell University?

Now that we have gone over the average GPA at Cornell, the average SAT score at Cornell and the Cornell acceptance rate, let’s wrap up by covering some important tips to improve your chances of getting in.

Apply via early admission

You see that graph right above? There are two really important numbers to consider for each application cycle that is listed. That is the overall admission rate and early admission rate. While the regular admission rate in 2021 was 12.5 percent, the early admission rate was more than twice that at 26 percent!

So, if you are sure that Cornell is your top option among all the schools that you plan on applying to, applying via early admission is a great idea! It is a way to signal to the school that you are committed to attending Cornell. However, you have to be sure that Cornell is your top choice.

The reason for this is because Early Decision at Cornell is binding. That means that if you do end up getting in, you will have to withdraw your applications from all the other schools you have applied to and enroll at Cornell.

Send in fantastic letters of recommendation

To complete your application to Cornell, you will have to send in a total of three letters of recommendation. One will come from your high school counselor and two will come from two members of your high school’s faculty.

Make sure to ask the teachers that you are closest with and who have seen you excel in the classroom as early as possible to ensure that they have the time and energy to write great letters for you.

It can also be helpful to meet with your teachers before they start writing their letter for you to give them an idea of how you plan to present yourself in the application.

That is not to say that you should be “coaching” your teachers on what to say, but ensuring that the message they provide and the story you tell in your application is a coherent one can certainly be helpful!

Crush your personal essays

The personal essay section of the college application has gained importance in a major way in recent years. That is even more true with the current test optional policies at so many institutions.

A woman is sitting on the bedroom floor while holding a pen on her face and thinking.

Before you craft your essays, make sure that you are giving yourself the time you need to come up with the best topics possible.

Come up with topics that prove just how curious, intelligent and passionate you are! Finally, make sure that you give yourself enough time to review, edit and improve all of your essay responses before you finally send them in as part of your application to Cornell.

Will you get into Cornell University?

At AdmissionSight, we pride ourselves on helping committed and intelligent students get into top colleges and universities just like Cornell.

While there is no guarantee that any student will get into their dream school, there are certainly some important steps that they can take to improve their chances. If you are curious to learn more about how to beat the odds and get into Cornell, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.




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