Cornell University is an Ivy League private research university located in New York. The Cornell acceptance rate is the highest of all Ivy League schools. However, it is still highly selective. As a high school student looking to get into one of the top schools in the country, you will need help with navigating the admissions process to ensure you know how to get into Cornell.
This article outlines Cornell University requirements and lists some top tips on how to get accepted into Cornell. We will discuss the college admissions process, your application essay, recommendation letters, and admissions statistics to help you score your spot in the incoming class at one of the most elite schools in the country.
All About Cornell Admissions
Admission into Cornell is a difficult task as there are thousands of students who are equally trying hard to get into the school. It can be tricky to meet the wide range of admissions requirements that will affect your admissions decision. You have to have a high GPA, participate in extracurricular activities, and write an impressive personal statement to impress the Cornell University admissions office.
Cornell Acceptance Rate
Cornell University’s class of 2025 has an acceptance rate of less than nine percent. This figure is lower than in previous years. The school received a total of 67,380 applications, which is almost 16,000 more than the previous year. It admitted 5,836 undergraduate students, of which 3,750 are first-year students, 55 percent are women, and 19 percent are first-generation college students.
Admission into Cornell doesn’t require a specific GPA. However, because it is a highly competitive school, you have to be among the best-ranking students in your class. While your GPA will not determine whether or not you get accepted, you should strive for at least a GPA of 3.9 to raise your chance of admission because the competition is high.
Cornell Total Enrollment
Cornell has a total enrollment of 25,582 students, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. The diverse student body is composed of 15,503 undergraduate students, 7,101 graduate students, and 2,978 professional students. These figures include male and female students of all races and from various countries worldwide.
- Common Application. Cornell uses the Common Application platform for applicants to complete the college application process. This can be completed fully online. Students will be submitting all or most application materials through this application.
- High school report. Students are to submit a high school report through a high school official. This report will contain information on your academic performance in high school, including academic coursework and class lists.
- Counselor recommendation. A counselor recommendation is filled out by your school counselor. It includes information that tells the college about your academic experience and personal qualities, stating why you would be the right fit for the school. A strong recommendation that outlines your leadership roles, community involvement, and academics increases your admissions chances.
- Teacher evaluation. The teacher evaluation will state information about the teacher, their relationship with the student, the academic rating of the student, and a letter of recommendation. These evaluations typically come from two teachers.
- Mid-year report. Your mid-year report tells the school about your high school performance so far. It is sent by your school counselor or any other official and includes details on course changes, grades, and any other updates on your academics.
- Official high school transcript. The official transcript is sent by your high school official. It shows your academic records, achievements, courses, subject tests, grades, and awards throughout your high school career.
- Application fee. Application to Cornell requires a nonrefundable application fee of $80. Applicants have to pay this amount before beginning the admissions process. Those who can’t afford this fee can request a fee waiver that relieves them of payment.
- Interview or portfolio submissions. Cornell doesn’t require an admission interview, except in the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning (AAP). Prospective students of these academic programs may be required to submit a portfolio. It is also not compulsory for all programs and doesn’t affect the application if not requested.
- Standardized test score. Cornell first-year applicants usually have to take and pass SAT or ACT tests to be considered. However, this requirement has been suspended for 2022, 2023, and 2024 applicants until further notice. International students, however, still have to take English proficiency tests.
- Additional submissions. Depending on your academic program, you may be required to include additional submissions like design indexes or portfolios.
- Cornell University Questions and Writing Supplement (CA) or Cornell Supplement (UCA). This is an essential requirement for all applicants. It includes Cornell-specific questions and essays and shows your intellectual goals.
Is It Hard to Get Into Cornell?
Yes, it is difficult to get into Cornell. Cornell University is one of the few Ivy League colleges in the United States and is on the top college list for many students. It gets 40,000 applications each year but can only accommodate a fraction of these students, hence the low acceptance rate.
Cornell has an admission rate of approximately 10 percent, which is higher than other Ivy League schools but still very low compared to most colleges. This makes the competition really high and requires students to be exceptional to get accepted.
To surpass the thousands of other qualified applicants, you need to have a high GPA and other outstanding academic achievements that will impress the admissions officers.
How to Prepare for a Cornell Interview
Cornell doesn’t hold admissions interviews for all applicants. However, applicants to the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning are required to interview. Students applying to the Department of Urban and Regional Studies are encouraged to interview, but it isn’t a requirement.
Students who want an interview regardless can apply to meet with the Cornell Alumni Admissions Ambassador Network (CAAAN), who meet with over 25,000 applicants each year. The interview, however, isn’t a formal question-and-answer session, but more of a conversation that allows students to ask questions about the school and get any additional information.
Cornell Interview Questions
- Tell me more about yourself.
- Why do you want to attend Cornell?
- What are your favorite school clubs or activities? Why?
- Why are you interested in this program?
- Tell me about a time you faced challenges and how you overcame it.
10 Tips for Getting Into Cornell
To get into Cornell, you have to ensure that you have all the necessary requirements and put in the hard work and dedication required to be chosen from thousands of applicants. While the admissions process is quite straightforward, you need to be exceptional to get in. Here are some tips to help you.
1. Prepare Early
Preparing for your admission process ahead of time will help you in many ways. You will be able to compile and perfect your application requirements in advance and avoid mistakes. You will also be able to find your strengths and weaknesses and work on them before the application deadlines.
2. Understand and Prepare the Application Materials
You should clearly understand all of the school’s application requirements. This will make it easier to prepare and submit them. Cornell has an application checklist that can help students understand what documents are required of them and keep track of each one.
3. Apply Through Early Decision
Early Decision allows students to apply before the Regular Admission period. It typically starts a month before the Regular Decision period and requires students to accept the admission if it is offered. That is, students who apply through Early Decision have to agree to accept admission to the school. Early Decision applicants have higher chances of acceptance.
4. Get Great Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation are sent by two teachers who have taught you in high school. They inform the admissions officers about what kind of student you were in their classes and include information on your academic performance and personal qualities. The purpose of these letters is to demonstrate what kind of student you have been.
5. Get a High GPA
Your GPA can open doors of opportunities, including getting accepted into Cornell University. Cornell mainly accepts students who are high ranking in their classes. This makes it important that you aim to be among the best students in your class to stand a chance of getting accepted into the school.
6. Write an Impressive Essay
A personal essay or supplemental essay is one of the most common college application requirements. Most schools request it and it is one of the determinants of your admission. It helps the admissions committee get an insight into your personality beyond your academics. It also highlights your achievements, academic goals, challenges, motivations, and aspirations.
7. Take the Right High School Classes
There are certain courses that are required of you as an applicant of Cornell University. You should find out what they are for the college or school you intend to join and ensure you take them. Not having these classes on your application might discredit you and ruin your chances of admission.
8. Participate in Extracurricular Activities
Extracurricular activities are one of the best ways of demonstrating your personal qualities, interests, and experience. You should engage in relevant extracurricular activities throughout your high school period to prove to the school that you have what it takes to be a great student. It is even better when these activities are related to your field of study.
9. Secure a High Class Ranking
Cornell is an Ivy League school with thousands of applicants annually. The university can only accept a fraction of these applications. It looks for students who stand out among their peers and deliver outstanding academic excellence. One of the best ways to stand out is through a very high class ranking. If you rank highly in your class, you stand a higher chance of acceptance.
10. Take AP Classes
Advanced placement (AP) classes consist of a college-level curriculum and are used to prepare high school students for college life. These classes prove to the admissions team that you are ready to handle advanced work. They are impressive on a college application and will help you get one step closer to a favorable decision.
What Does It Take to Get Into Cornell?
To get into Cornell, it takes being a remarkable student with an amazing academic profile and a stellar character. Cornell is looking for students with intellectual potential and character. involvement in things like extracurricular activities, summer programs, and community activities will boost your chances as well.
You’ll need to write engaging application essays and prove that you can fit with the school culture. If you meet all these requirements, you are one step closer to enrolling in this dream school.
How to Get Into Cornell FAQ
You should aim for a minimum GPA of 3.9 to get into Cornell. The university doesn’t have GPA requirements but due to the high competition, your GPA needs to be really high and impressive.
Cornell is the easiest Ivy League school to get into because of its relatively high acceptance rate of around 10 percent. This figure is significantly higher than the admissions rates of other Ivy League colleges.
Cornell is test blind at the moment because it has scrapped the SAT/ACT requirements for students until 2024.
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Cornell is quite expensive, with an average undergraduate tuition of $60,286 per year and $30,143 per semester. This may be affordable for some but not others. Because college is so expensive, there are financial aid opportunities to assist students with payments. These include grants, gift aids, student loans, work-study, and scholarships.
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