Although the Ivy League schools review the Common Application or Coalition 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 Cornell 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: Why are you drawn to studying the major you have selected? Please discuss how your interests and related experiences have influenced your choice. Specifically, how will an education from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and Cornell University help you achieve your academic goals?
College of Architecture, Art, and Planning: Describe two or three of your intellectual interests and why you are excited to pursue them within your chosen major in AAP. What personal experiences, background, or future goals will you bring to your scholarly and artistic pursuits at Cornell?
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: Cornell Engineering celebrates innovative problem solving that helps people, communities…the world. Consider your ideas and aspirations and describe how a Cornell Engineering education would allow you to leverage technological problem-solving to improve the world we live in.
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.
College of Business: Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management: Why are you drawn to studying the major you have selected? Please discuss how your interests and related experiences have influenced your choice. Specifically, how will an education from the College of Agriculture and Life Science (CALS) and Cornell University help you achieve your academic goals?
Your responses should enthusiastically discuss your past and present with a focus on your future. You will also identify why the program at Cornell is the best fit. 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 at Cornell. In addition, they ask you to look toward the future and how your educational experience at Cornell might support your goals. Keep in mind; you also need to reflect on 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 47,039 undergraduate applications for the class of 2021. Only 5,962 or 7.2% were offered admission and 86% of the students admitted were in the top 10% of their high school class with average SAT scores of 725 in evidenced based reading and writing, 745 in math, and an average ACT score of 33.5. 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 remember that these supplemental essays are a chance for you to share your personal stories and real-life experiences. Pay attention to deadlines and word limits as you craft each response to represent your unique perspective. Start early to allow time for reflection and revision. Your goal is to demonstrate that Cornell is the right school for you and that you are the right student for Cornell.
If you’re applying to Cornell, you already know you’re up against tight competition. Don’t be overwhelmed. Get the guidance of an experienced admissions specialist who will help you stand out from the highly competitive applicant pool so you can apply with confidence, and get accepted! Click here to get started!
***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!