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Application FAQs

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How can I get a copy of the application? 

Cornell's application is available strictly online, either from the Admissions website or on the Common Application website.  Students are strongly encouraged to submit their applications electronically, although we will accept paper applications if you choose to download, print, and mail the application to Cornell.

Can I apply to more than one college at Cornell? 

Yes, Cornell offers applicants for undergraduate admission the option of applying to two colleges, recognizing that Cornell's undergraduate colleges and schools offer a multitude of distinctive academic programs, and that many applicants have diverse intellectual interests that may be satisfied by more than one college or school. Applicants using the primary/alternate admission option must satisfy the application requirements for both colleges, including submitting a college interest essay for both colleges. Only exceptional candidates with a serious intellectual passion satisfied by the alternate college or school will be considered for admission by the alternate college.

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Do I have to apply to a particular major?  If so, what if I change my mind later?

No, you do not apply to a particular major; you apply to the college. When you apply to the College of Engineering, you can indicate an intended major if you wish. You do not officially select your major until the second semester of your sophomore year. It is not uncommon for students to change their minds about what area of engineering they'd like to specialize in.

What happens if I'm not admitted during Early Decision?

Students not admitted during the Early Decision period will be deferred to Regular Decision or denied admission.

Can I apply Early Decision if I am applying for financial aid? What happens if I'm admitted and my family can't afford to pay for my Cornell education?

You can still apply Early Decision if you are applying for financial aid. Make sure to follow the financial aid application deadlines and submit all the required forms as outlined on the Financial Aid website. When you receive your financial aid package, we expect you to work with the Financial Aid Office to make any necessary adjustments to your package. If both sides have done as much as possible and your family is still unable to afford Cornell, we will release you from your Early Decision agreement, and your seat in the class will be given to another student.

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What are the minimum SAT/ACT scores required to be admitted to the College of Engineering as a freshman?

The College of Engineering does not have a minimum SAT, since the standardized test scores are simply one aspect of an applicant's preparation. However, we do know that of the admitted students in the class, at least 75% scored between 720-800 on their SAT math and approximately half of the class scored better than 700 on the SAT verbal.  For a recent admitted class profile, click here.

What are the SAT II requirements?

The College of Engineering requires students applying for admission to submit scores for two SAT II exams: one in math (any level) and one in science, as well as scores from the SAT General Test or the ACT.  If you choose to submit ACT scores, Cornell requires that you also take the 30-minute writing component of the ACT exam. ACT scores, AP exams, or other standardized tests cannot be used to replace the SAT II requirement.

When is the last date I can take the SAT/ACT and have my scores in time for my application? It is in your best interest to take your standardized tests as soon as you feel academically prepared to do so.  In most years, the SAT is offered in early October, early November, Early December, and mid-January.  Students planning to apply Early Decision should plan to finish all tests by the October test date.  Results of the November tests are usually available in time to be considered for Early Decision applications, but not always.  Students applying through Regular Decision should plan to finish all testing by December if possible.  January results are usually available in time to be considered for Regular Decision applications, but not always.

How important are my SAT/ACT scores for my application?

The admissions officers review applications holistically, which means everything is taken into consideration. Your SAT/ACT scores are considered as part of your application, but they are never used as the sole factor in a student's application. Your essays, extracurricular activities, recommendations, and academic record are all equally important to your application.

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Does Cornell consider the writing portion of the SAT/ACT?

Currently, Cornell is not using the writing scores for admissions consideration. 

What is the minimum high school GPA required to be admitted to the College of Engineering as a freshman?

There is no set minimum, but it should come as no surprise that we look for students who excel in their studies, particularly in math and science, and who have grades in the A range. When considering a student's GPA, we look at things like the rigor of the high school curriculum, whether the GPA is weighted or un-weighted, and whether the student has taken challenging courses.

Does the College of Engineering offer credit for AP, IB, and A-level scores? 

The College of Engineering routinely offers credit for appropriately high scores on Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate Higher Level (IB), and General Certificate of Education (A-level) examinations. This advising chart shows what scores you need in order to be eligible for credit for different Cornell Engineering courses.  You can also earn credit by taking a Cornell Advanced Standing Exam (CASE) during the fall orientation period.

Will the College of Engineering offer transfer credit for college classes taken during high school? 

Transfer credit for college courses taken before high school graduation may be awarded if the course was taught at an accredited college or university by its own faculty members and if the student can present a signed statement from the high school registrar certifying that the course was not used to fulfill high school graduation requirements. If these criteria are met, Cornell faculty will review the course description and award transfer credit if the course is equal in scope and rigor to a corresponding course in the Engineering curriculum.

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How do you evaluate applicants who are home-schooled? 

Because we strive to understand and appreciate the depth and variety of a home-schooled applicant's experience, we require the following information for the three years prior to college application: course syllabi and textbooks used for all courses; information on independent projects, laboratory experiences, research projects, etc.; standardized test scores, including state exams, ACT, SAT, and SAT II, and Advanced Placement exams (as appropriate); information on any college-level courses taken; and (if available) a high school certification of the home-school curriculum. Feel free to contact the Engineering Admissions Office if you have additional questions.

Are admissions interviews required?

No, interviews are not required for Engineering. Campus visits are always encouraged, and most students who apply for freshman admission will be contacted by a member of a local Cornell alumni committee in the fall or winter. These informal conversations with alumni are not required and are meant only to allow an additional opportunity for the student to learn more about Cornell---and for Cornell to learn more about the student.  For more information on alumni meetings, please call the Undergraduate Admissions Office at 607-255-5241.

How can I check on the status of my application?

When we receive your Common Application and application fee (or fee waiver request), we will email you with the information you need to establish your Self-Service account, an online application status account on Cornell's web site. Receiving your ApplicantID and PIN via email is your confirmation that we have received you application. Using this secure site, you will be able to track your application materials and update your email address as necessary.

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When will I find out about my admissions decision? 

Decisions for Early Decision candidates will be released in mid-December; decisions for Regular Decision candidates will be released around the first of April. Decisions are posted to applicants' Self-Service accounts so it is critical to ensure you have access to your account.  Only admitted and waitlisted students will automatically receive a paper copy of their decision letter.