Waitlisted Applicants

Thank you for visiting our waitlist page — we hope you are still excited about Cornell Engineering. Please take a moment to read the information below to understand the process.

We know that you are likely disappointed to be placed on the waitlist. At this point it is uncertain if we will utilize the waitlist—we will not know whether or not we can use our waitlist until early May. We appreciate your patience as we move through the coming weeks.If you are interested in remaining on the waitlist, please respond to your waitlist offer (if you have not already done so) by April 10, 2020.

Frequently Asked Questions

How large is the waitlist?

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The College of Engineering offered a place on the waitlist 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 waitlist, approximately half of those individuals will ask to remain on the waitlist. Of those individuals who tell us they want to remain on the waitlist, some percentage of that number 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, ultimately, the actual number of candidates becomes much smaller.


The waitlist is not ranked. If the University asks us to make offers of admission to our waitlisted engineering candidates, we look carefully at those who have told us that they want to remain on our waitlist. We use initial reviews of applications and continued student interest to determine which students we will select from the waitlist.

May I visit campus and meet with someone?

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Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the University is not open for visitors. Our buildings are locked and staff are working remotely.

Is there anything that I can do to enhance my chances of being taken off the waitlist?

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Be sure to indicate that you would like to remain on the waitlist. It is important to do this by April 10.

We encourage you to send us one email update to engr_admissions@cornell.edu.

  • Please make the subject line: WL Update: your first and last name, your high school name.

  • Your update should not be lengthy. In general, two or three sentences will suffice (e.g. Please know that I remain interested in attending Cornell Engineering.). Your continued interest will be noted.
  • Please do not send us multiple emails.

Please do NOT send any additional letters of recommendation, particularly from teachers or guidance counselors. Relative to the burden they place on referees, we find the impact of these are minimal at this point.

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

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We make every effort to notify students as soon as possible after the May 1 response deadline. We will not know whether we will make admission offers to our waitlisted candidates until mid-May at the earliest. In some years, we have made waitlist 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 or not you would like to receive an official offer of admission.

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

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Yes, if you are offered admission from the waitlist, your application for financial aid will be reviewed as all others are reviewed to determine the amount of need. A package will be put together, and you should 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 not completed your paperwork, you must do so immediately.  

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

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Yes. All freshmen live in on-campus housing. When offering spots to students from our waitlist, we are filling actual spots in our entering freshman class—and on campus housing is available to all incoming freshman.

If I am offered admission from the waitlist may I take a gap year.

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Unfortunately, if you are a student offered admission from the pool of waitlisted applicants you must enroll in the fall. We are not able to grant deferrals for students admitted from the waitlist.