Cornell University Admissions: Everything You Want to and Need to Know

Overview of Cornell University

Situated in Ithaca, New York, Cornell University is an Ivy League research institution with an acceptance rate of 11%. The institution has a large selection of undergraduate and graduate degree programs for students to choose from. A robust student/faculty ratio backs students, and professors take a personalized approach to the teaching and learning process. Outside of the classroom, students will find plenty of opportunities to engage with the campus community via the university’s many clubs and organizations.


  • Total Enrollment: 23,600 (15,182 undergraduates)
  • Gender Breakdown: 47 percent male/53 percent female
  • 100 percent full-time

Cost of Attendance Information

  • Tuition and Fees: $57,222
  • Books: $970
  • Room and Board: $15,296
  • Other Expenses: $2,820
  • Total Cost: $76,308

Financial Aid Information

  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Aid: 60 percent
  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Types of Aid
    • Grants: 49 percent
    • Loans: 32 percent
  • Average Amount of Aid
    • Grants: $39,868
    • Loans: $4,621

Academic Programs Offered

  • Most Popular Majors: Engineering; Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services; Biological and Biomedical Sciences; Agriculture, Agriculture Operations, and Related Sciences; and Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services

Retention and Graduation

  • First-Year Student Retention (full-time students): 97 percent
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate: 88 percent
  • 6-Year Graduation Rate: 95 percent

NCAA Athletic Programs

  • Men’s Sports: Baseball, Basketball, Crew-Rowing, Equestrian, Fencing, Hockey, Football, Golf, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Track and Field
  • Women’s Sports: Basketball, Cross Country, Crew-Rowing, Equestrian, Fencing, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Swimming and Diving, Tennis, Track and Field, Volleyball

Overview of Cornell University Admissions

Cornell University has a competitive admissions process with a low acceptance rate and high mean SAT/ACT scores. This institution has a robust admissions process that involves a multitude of academic measures. A persuasive essay and glowing recommendation letters can bolster your application, along with being involved with student organizations and attempting a challenging course load. Students with unique talents and accomplishments can still receive strong consideration even if their GPAs are outside of the admissions offices mean range. After applying, students will receive a message from an admissions counselor about the next steps of the application process. Interested students should check out the university’s website, which has helpful tips and contact information for the admissions offices.If you’re planning to get into Cornell Law School be aware that Cornell typically receives over 3,800 applications per year, while only about 200 students begin the JD program each fall.

Admissions Data

Throughout the 2018-19 admissions phase, Cornell University had an acceptance rate of 11%.  for every 100 students who submitted applications, 11 students gained admission, making Cornell’s admissions process highly competitive.

SAT Requirements and Scores

Cornell requires that applicants submit either SAT or ACT scores. Throughout the 2018-19 admissions phase, 71% of admitted students provided SAT scores. This admissions dataset tells us that Cornell’s admitted students scored in the top 7% on the SAT.  50% of students admitted to Cornell scored between 680 and 750 on the reading and writing section, while 25% scored below 680, and 25% scored over 750. In the math section, 50% of students who gained admission scored 710 and 790, while 25% scored below 710, and 25% scored over 790. Applicants with a cumulative SAT score of 1540 or higher will have competitive chances at Cornell.

ACT Requirements and Scores

Cornell requires that applicants submit either SAT or ACT scores. Throughout the 2018-19 admissions phase, 44% of admitted students provided ACT scores. This admissions data tells us that Cornell’s admitted students scored in the top 5% on the ACT. The median 50% of students admitted to Cornell received a cumulative ACT score between 30 and 34, while 25% scored over 34, and 25% scored below 30. Applicants must have test scores well over the national mean to be competitive for admission to Cornell.


Safety Net Schools: Easy to Gain Admission

If past admission data predicts that you would be a competitive candidate for Cornell University, then it should be easy for you to gain admissions to the schools below. If Cornell University is currently out of your reach, then you are sure to be a competitive candidate for the schools below.

University of Michigan, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York University, Boston University, Boston College, Villanova University, University of California, Santa Barbara

Same Tier: Just As Hard to Gain Admission

If you’re a competitive candidate for Cornell University, then you should have an equal chance of gaining admissions at these schools.

Brown University, Dartmouth College, University of Notre Dame, Tufts University, Duke University, Georgetown University, Northeastern University

Reach Institutions: Gaining Admissions Will Be More of a Challenge

These schools are more challenging to gain admission into than Cornell University. If you improve your GPA and SAT/ACT scores, then you’ll be a competitive candidate for these schools.

Rice University, University of Chicago, Princeton University, Carnegie Mellon University, Yale University, Columbia University, Harvard College

Applying to Cornell University

Application Deadline: January 2

Undergraduate Admissions Website:

Undergraduate Application Link(s):

Graduate Admissions Website:

Graduate Application Link(s):

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