Cornell University was founded in 1865 by a telegraph pioneer and an accomplished scholar and writer. This partnership of business acumen and intellectual excellence resulted in a university that has consistently set educational standards and achieved many academic ‘firsts.’ Cornell was the first university to teach a course in American history, the first to establish professorships in American Literature and American Studies, the first American university to teach modern Far Eastern languages, and the first to establish a university press. It was even the first to allow undergraduates to check books out of the university library.
Cornell is unique among Ivy League schools in having been founded as a state land-grant university. This has given Cornell University a unique vision of itself as a private institution with a public mission, and formed the basis of a lasting commitment to social engagement and the public good.
Cornell is a large and diverse university, with highly autonomous schools and colleges. Everything from administrative procedures to admissions rates to institutional culture can differ significantly from one program to another. Prospective students should look closely at the school or program they are thinking of applying to, and not just at the university as a whole.
Cornell University is located in Ithaca, in upstate New York. This is a rural area of woods and lakes renowned for its natural beauty and popular with weekend vacationers from New York City. Ithaca is a quintessential example of an American college town – small, close-knit, surprisingly cultured and rather liberal, with film houses, galleries, vegetarian restaurants (including the famous Moosewood Restaurant), and, in recent years, social experiments such as a local currency and a cooperative health care system. The University and the city offer what is probably the most family-friendly environment in the Ivy League – a factor that can make Cornell an especially attractive choice for graduate and Ph.D. students.
Geographical isolation is a fact of life for Cornell students. The nearest large cities are Syracuse and Binghamton, each about an hour away by car. New York City is approximately 250 miles away. Tough winters are a reality of life – if you don’t like snow, you’ll probably have a hard time getting through winter in upstate New York. However, long winters and physical remoteness are offset by Cornell’s rich social and cultural life.
Cornell University has over 1,000 student organizations, and one of the largest intramural sports programs in the U.S. This offers students many opportunities to explore and develop their interests, as well as chances to gain the kind of organizational and leadership experience that help round out a resume.
SAT Range (25 to 75 Percentile)
ACT Range (25 to 75 Percentile)
Early decision application deadline: November 1.
Decisions are sent in mid-December.
Regular decision deadline: January 2.
Decisions are sent in early April.
Fall transfer application deadline: March 1.
Decisions are sent by June 15.
Spring transfer application deadline: October 1.
Decisions are sent in December.
Number of 2019 (Class of 2023) applicants: 49,118
Acceptance rate: 10.6%
Note: Only the application volume and acceptance rate have been updated for the Fall 2019 (Class of 2023) admission season.
Early Decision Admission Statistics
Number of 2019 ED (Class of 2023) applicants: 6,159
ED applicants admitted: 1,395
Acceptance rate: 22.6%
Waitlist Admission Statistics
Number of waitlisted applicants: 4,546
Applicants admitted off waitlist last year: 164
Waitlist acceptance rate: 3.6%
Number of transfer applicants: 5,219
Transfer applicants admitted: 892
Transfer acceptance rate: 17.1%
Average GPA: N/A
Top 10% of High School: 83%
Middle SAT Range (25 to 75 Percentile)
SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing: 680-750
SAT Math: 710-790
Middle ACT Range (25 to 75 Percentile)
ACT Composite: 32-34
Standardized Test Requirements
Writing portion required
SAT Subject Tests are optional for engineering (not required for any of the other undergraduate colleges/schools)
Loan Defaults and Rhodes Scholars
Salary After Attending
Score Card Information
4 years: 88.4%
5 years: 93.3%
6 years: 94.5%
Loan default rate: 1.0%
Total Rhodes Scholars: 31
Salary after attending: $77,200
R&D Expenditures: $984.5 million
Sex offenses: 20
Aggravated assaults: 6
Car thefts: 0
Net Cost and Total Expected Cost of Attendance
Average Net Price By Income
Tuition, room and board (2019-2020): $71,796
Total estimated cost of attendance (2019-2020): $76,788
$0 to $30,000: $6,048
$30,001 to $48,000: $6,918
$48,001 to $75,000: $13,653
$75,001 to $110,000: $22,588
$110,001 and more: $47,089
Graduates with student debt: 40.5%
Average student debt at graduation: $29,762
Undergraduate Class Sizes
Student to Faculty Ratio
Student to Faculty Ratio: 9 to 1
Undergraduate Class Sizes
Under 20: 57%
20 to 39: 21%
40 to 99: 15%
In State: 29%
Out of State: 58%