Although the Ivy League schools review the Common Application essay, they also require supplemental essay responses. These help you to convey in greater detail how the specific school and program of study are a good fit for you and how you can contribute to the collegiate environment. The additional essay questions are geared to help these elite schools glean a better understanding of you as a potential student. To respond well, think about your future goals and how attending Cornell will help you achieve them.
It is important to familiarize yourself with the specific character of the school before sitting down to write your essays. You can begin by visiting the school website. Whenever possible, a campus visit is also helpful to get a feel for the school and gain a sense of how it supports your interests. Take a campus tour and speak with current students. Cornell’s curriculum focuses on the collaborative nature of liberal arts education and fundamental knowledge. In addition, its practical approach to education is intentionally designed to impact societal and world problems. As you respond to each prompt, think about your personal objectives, the mission of the school, and why Cornell is the best place for you.
Cornell boasts 14 undergraduate colleges and schools with over 80 majors. Through the broad scope of majors and the individual course of study options, it prides itself on being “a place where any person can find instruction in any study.” It fosters creative collaborations with a bottom-up approach. If you are unsure of which major is right for you, the Courses of Study catalog provides degree requirements for each college.
The Common Application Writing Supplement is based on the undergraduate college(s) or school(s) to which you are applying. Each essay response should be a maximum of 500 words. These questions are fairly straightforward and the content is somewhat similar between colleges/schools. Your goal is to convincingly explain why your selected school is the best fit for you and vice versa.
Note, if you are utilizing the Primary/Alternate admission option, you must complete an essay for both colleges/schools that correspond to your primary and alternate selections.
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: How have your interests and related experiences influenced the major you have selected in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences?
College of Architecture, Art, and Planning: Why are you excited to pursue your chosen major in AAP? What specifically about AAP and Cornell University will help you fulfill your academic and creative interests and long-term goals?
College of Arts and Sciences: Describe two or three of your current intellectual interests and why they are exciting to you. Why will Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences be the right environment in which to pursue your interests?
College of Engineering: Tell us about an engineering idea you have, or about your interest in engineering. Describe how your ideas and interests may be realized by—and linked to—specific resources within the College of Engineering. Finally, explain what a Cornell Engineering education will enable you to accomplish.
School of Hotel Administration: The global hospitality industry includes hotel and foodservice management, real estate, finance, entrepreneurship, marketing, and law. Describe what has influenced your decision to make the business of hospitality your academic focus. What personal qualities make you a good fit for SHA?
College of Human Ecology: How have your experiences influenced you to consider the College of Human Ecology and how will your choice of major(s) impact your goals and plans for the future?
School of Industrial and Labor Relations: Tell us about your intellectual interests, how they sprung from your course, service, work or life experiences, and what makes them exciting to you. Describe how ILR is the right school for you to pursue these interests.
These essay prompts ask you to discuss specific examples from your life experience (academic and otherwise) that support your interest in a particular school/college. In addition, they ask you to look toward the future and how your educational experience at Cornell supports your goals. They also want to know how you can enrich the collegiate environment at the school. These questions allow you to focus on what excites you about certain subjects and how studying at Cornell makes sense for you. Consider academics, campus atmosphere, location in Ithaca, and your long-term objectives. This is your opportunity to convey your passion for Cornell!
Cornell has a highly competitive applicant pool. It received 41,900 undergraduate applications for the class of 2019. Only 6,315 were offered admission and 88% of the students admitted were in the top 10% of their high school class with average SAT scores of 700 in reading and writing, 730 in math, and an average ACT score of 32. The best way to distinguish yourself from your peers is through your essays.
Applying to an Ivy League school can seem like a daunting process. It is reassuring to keep in mind that these supplemental essays are a chance for you to share your personal stories and real-life experiences. Pay attention to word limits and deadlines as you craft each response to represent your unique perspectives. Start early to allow time for reflection and revision. Remember your goal is to demonstrate that Cornell is the right school for you and that you are the right student for Cornell.
***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***
By Marie Todd, Accepted’s college admissions specialist. Marie has worked in college admissions for over twenty years. She has both counseled applicants and evaluated applications. Most recently she evaluated 5000+ applications for the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science and the Arts; College of Engineering; School of Kinesiology. She is available to assist you (or your child) with your applications. Want Marie to help you get accepted? Click here to get in touch!