Waitlisted Applicants

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


At this point it is uncertain if we will utilize the waitlist—will not know whether we can use our waitlist until early or mid May. We appreciate your patience over the coming weeks. If you are interested in remaining on the waitlist, please respond to your waitlist offer by April 10, 2021.

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 will ask to remain on the waitlist. Of those individuals who want to remain on the waitlist, 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 waitlist is not ranked. If the University asks us to make offers of admission to our waitlisted engineering candidates, we look carefully at the candidates 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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In the interest of community safety, the Cornell campus remains closed to visitors. If you are admitted off the waitlist, we will direct you to some resources available for admitted students.

Is there anything that I can do to enhance my chances of being accepted from 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 via your application status page.

If you would like to submit a letter of continued interest, you may do so via your application status page. These letters do not need to be extensive—a simple note stating your continued interest is sufficient.

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

If you have applied for financial aid, we recommend that you check your financial aid checklist to ensure all documents have been submitted. This will expedite the process should you be offered a spot off the waitlist.

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

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Although we make every effort to notify students as soon as possible after the May 3 response deadline, we will not know if 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 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 waitlist until after the deposit deadline. If you are offered a spot off the Cornell Engineering waitlist, you will have a short window of time (usually five days from when you receive the official offer of admission) 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 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. 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 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 first-year students live in on-campus housing, so housing will be available to you if you are offered a spot from the waitlist.  On campus housing is available to all incoming first-year students.

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

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If you are offered admission from the pool of waitlisted applicants, you must enroll in the fall. We cannot grant deferrals for students admitted from the waitlist.