What are the Cornell Admissions Requirements?

Depending on what you plan on majoring in, each college within Cornell has different admissions requirements. Some colleges require SAT Subject Tests and some a portfolio, so be sure to look those over to ensure you have everything you need. You do have to apply to one of the colleges when you submitting your application. Choose wisely and read over the Cornell admissions requirements carefully.

Because Cornell is an Ivy League school, being accepted can be very challenging. Their current acceptance rate is 14%; falling from last year’s 16.2% acceptance rate. This is part of a nationwide trend where college acceptance rates fall and the competitiveness for admission increases. This means the pressure to really wow the admissions committees with excellent grades and even better standardized test scores is more important than ever.

Don’t believe me?

Here are some quick facts about the most recent incoming class.

  •    90% were in the top 10% of their graduating class
  •    4.01 average GPA
  •    Average ACT score of 33
  •    Average SAT score of 1480 on the 1600 scale

Are you nervous, feeling inspired, or both?

It’s a competitive school and you can see from the Cornell admissions requirements that they’re very serious about maintaining this reputation. Cornell is also an Ivy League school, meaning that if you’re accepted, you’ll be getting a top notch education and be part of an exclusive network that will open doors for your future success.

How to Improve Your Chances of Being Accepted

If you’re still reading this, I can tell you’re serious about going to Cornell and I admire that dedication. So much so, I’m going to walk you through four ways to improve your chances of being accepted. I share these strategies with my students to help them make the most of the information given in the Cornell admissions requirements.

A Rigorous High School Curriculum

You see this in the Cornell admissions requirements repeatedly, and actually almost in every college you apply to. But what does it really mean? Cornell is known for having challenging course material and they want to see you can handle their level of intensity. How do you prove this to them?

Generally, you’ll need to take four years of the major academic areas including English, math, social studies, and the sciences. You should also pursue the same foreign language for three years and make sure your electives show a specialized interest like Shakespeare or computer science.

Look over your school’s available classes and sign up for as many AP and IB classes as you can. These courses in particular show you’re capable of handling academics at the Cornell level and that you’re serious about college being your next step in life. Taking these challenging classes isn’t enough — you have to earn as many A’s as possible.

I tell all my students that working with a tutor will help them earn the grades they need to be a viable candidate for schools like Cornell and I’m making the same recommendation to you. So many students view tutoring as a failure, but it’s really like an athlete working with a trainer. It can provide personalized attention to help you perform at your best.

Get a College Consultant

Another recommendation I give my students is to partner with a college consultant while they’re preparing for college. And believe me when I say that you start preparing for college when you’re a freshman in high school. College consultants are relatively new in terms of the admissions experience. They’re professionals at helping you make sense of the application process, will ensure that you’re meeting or excelling in terms of the Cornell admissions requirements, and help you assemble everything you need for an outstanding application.

Be Passionate

Please don’t think I’m telling you that you’re going to have no life before or throughout college, because you’ll be too buried in textbooks to enjoy yourself. I’m not. In fact, I advise the opposite, because I don’t want to see you battling anxiety or depression, because you’re doing nothing but school work.

And I’m not alone, college admission boards actually use your extra-curriculars to get to know you better as a person, see that you’re actively trying to make the world a better place, and see you flex your leadership muscles. Or, rather, develop your leadership muscles in some cases.

So give your brain a break. Get involved with an after school club that puts you on stage or lets you sing, get a part-time job to help your family pay the bills, or volunteer in your community and make your impact there. Your college application will only look better for it and, let’s be honest, so will your brain.

Kick Butt at the ACT or SAT

The higher your score, the better when it comes to the Cornell admissions requirements. My advice to you is to use the average standardized test scores I mentioned earlier as the minimum requirement. Remember: Cornell is an Ivy League and college admissions are getting increasingly competitive.

You can use your scores from the Pre-ACT and PSAT to determine which test you’re going to focus on. Focusing on one test is a better use of your time than trying to master both tests. Be sure to practice, practice, practice. Find some practice tests online or in test prep books and work with a coach who also had a high score. Ask many questions and work with them to prepare for the official test.

What happens if you do all of this and are not happy with your scores? Re-take your test. Cornell superscores the SAT, meaning they take the best sub-section score from any of the tests you’ve submitted and combine them to create your optimal SAT score. You can safely submit between four and six tests without jeopardizing your chances of getting in.

The Cornell admissions requirements vary slightly from college to college, depending on the major you’re going to pursue. If you’re not yet sure of the direction you’re heading, you’re walking away today with actionable steps you can take to help Cornell see you’re one of the students they need to accept into their incoming class.

Have any questions about the Cornell admissions requirements? Aren’t sure if you’re on the right track? Drop your questions or thoughts below in the comments section. We can’t wait to see how we can help you!