Wait List Information

Thank you for visiting our wait list page. We hope you remain excited about Cornell Engineering. Please take a moment to read the information below to understand our wait list process before you begin making phone calls, sending emails, or requesting additional letters of recommendation.


Information for Applicants on the Wait List

If you remain interested in Cornell Engineering, we require just three simple tasks for wait-listed applicants:  

  1. Officially accept your wait list offer by April 10. Log into your application status page and indicate your wish to remain on the wait list.
  2. Ask your guidance counselor whether your mid-term grades have been sent. If not, request they be sent to Cornell. Only applicants with mid-year grade reports will be considered for offers of admission from the wait list.
  3. If we go to the wait list, we will ask everyone remaining on the list to write a brief paragraph on a topic of our choice. More information will be sent directly to you by email if we go to the wait list.

We understand that the wait list seems daunting but we truly want you to focus on finishing your senior year. For applicants to the College of Engineering, we have found that interest letters and extra recommendations do not substantively add useful information to an application at this phase of the review process. It is our recommendation that you simply submit your mid-term grades. However, if you feel it is important to submit additional information, please upload materials through your application status page rather than emailing or mailing them in, as they will be directly added to your application.

Should spots become available, we will provide you a link where you can write a brief topical paragraph. We do want to give everyone remaining on the wait list the opportunity to vouch for themselves in a fair and equitable process so we ask for short paragraph to accomplish that.

In late-April, we will send you an update on the status of the wait list. Thank you for your interest in Cornell Engineering and your patience throughout the process. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How large is the wait list?

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The College of Engineering offered a place on the wait list to approximately 2,000 candidates this year. This number sounds like a lot, but in truth, it is not the operative number. Of the 2,000 candidates offered a space on the wait list, approximately half will ask to remain on the wait list. Of those individuals who want to remain on the wait list, some percentage will drift away over April and May. They will develop ties to the college or university where they have deposited and their interest in Cornell Engineering will diminish over time. So in actuality, the operative number is much smaller than 2,000.

The wait list is not ranked. If the University asks us to make offers of admission to our wait list engineering candidates, we look carefully at the candidates who have told us that they want to remain on our wait list. We use initial reviews of applications and the brief topical paragraph to determine which students we will select from the wait list.

When should I hear if I will be offered admission from the wait list?

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Although we make every effort to notify students as soon as possible after the May 1 response deadline, we will not know if we will make admission offers to our wait list candidates until mid-May at the earliest. In some years, we have made wait list offers as late as mid-June. If we are able to make an offer of admission to you, you will receive an email message from an Engineering Admissions staff member asking if you are interested in receiving an official offer of admission from the College of Engineering. Your parents/guardians and high school guidance or college counselor will be copied on the email message. The email addresses we will use to reach you are the addresses listed on your application for admission. You will have 24 hours from the delivery date and time of our email message to you to let us know whether you would like to receive an official offer of admission.

Should I accept an offer of admission from another college/university and make a deposit there?

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Yes, you should do whatever is necessary, including making a deposit, to secure a spot at one of the institutions to which you have been admitted. We often do not know if we will go the wait list until after the deposit deadline. If you are offered a spot off the Cornell Engineering wait list, you will have a short window of time (usually five days from when you receive the official offer of admission or, if you have applied for financial aid, five days from the electronic receipt of your financial aid award) to make your decision. If you choose to accept the offer of admission from Cornell you may forfeit the deposit that you had previously made at the other institution. Some colleges/university will refund your deposit, others may not.

If I am offered admission from the wait list, will financial aid still be available?

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Yes, if you are offered admission from the wait list, your application for financial aid will be reviewed as all others are reviewed to determine the amount of need. An aid package will be put together, and you will receive official correspondence from the Financial Aid Office soon thereafter. You must have submitted all financial aid documents in order to be considered for financial aid. If you have applied for financial aid, we recommend that you check your financial aid checklist to ensure all documents have been submitted. If you have not completed your paperwork, please do so immediately.  

If I am offered a spot, will housing still be available?

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Yes. All first-year students live in on-campus housing, so housing will be available to you if you are offered a spot from the wait list. On-campus housing is available to all incoming first-year students.

If I am offered admission from the wait list, may I take a gap year?

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If you are offered admission from the pool of wait-listed applicants, you must enroll in the fall. We cannot grant deferrals for students admitted from the wait list.