Students sitting in lecture hall class

Helpful Information

You may be curious about other topics related to your transition to Cornell. Below are some frequently asked questions, not directly related to your courses, that we thought would be helpful for us to answer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who will be my faculty advisor and when will I meet them?

All students are assigned an Engineering Faculty Advisor when they matriculate to Cornell Engineering. Students usually keep that advisor until they affiliate with a major, even though the advisor may not be in the major in which they intend to affiliate. You will meet your Faculty Advisor during the Engineering Orientation in August and meet weekly with them for your Engineering Seminar (ENGRG 1050) course in the fall.

What is the Engineering Seminar (ENGRG 1050)?

All first-year students are pre-enrolled in a section of ENGRG 1050.  This one-credit fall course gives first-year students an opportunity to get to know their Faculty Advisors on a more personal level.  Meeting regularly with their advisees gives Faculty Advisors an opportunity to learn about each student, to assist in resolving problems as they arise, and to help new students adjust to the demands of the engineering curriculum.  Activities in ENGRG 1050 may include discussion of engineering careers, active research in the college and engineering in general, ethics, and workshops on study and exam skills useful to engineering students.  Practicing engineers, student services professionals, and faculty members from different disciplines may join the group from time to time.

Will I need a personal computer?

We constantly maintain and modernize our computing facilities in the College to make sure that each student has access to the necessary technology. So the answer to this question is "no", you don't need to have your own computer, though most students feel that owning one is convenient and opt to have one.  If you decide to buy a computer, check out these computer recommendations.

Do I need a calculator?

Yes, a scientific (non-graphing) calculator is necessary for your coursework in some classes. Additionally, most students tell us that a graphing calculator, although not necessary, is also helpful for some assignments. Students indicated Casio and Texas Instrument calculators are the most widely used brands for each type of calculator.

How do I know what books I need and how to purchase them?

The Cornell Store will provide lists of books required for each of your courses. You may buy them through the Cornell Store or an independent vendor of your choice.

How can I find out more about August Orientation?

The Office of New Student Programs coordinates the Orientation for Cornell University. In addition, the College of Engineering facilitates several important orientation events that are critical to your transition. We will provide a schedule of these events to you during the summer prior to Orientation, but you can view the tentative schedule now. 

When and how do I declare my major?

The Engineering Undergraduate Handbook offers helpful information about the affiliation process (applying to your major). Most students apply for affiliation (apply to their major) during the first semester of their second year. Students apply directly to the major with which they wish to affiliate. In order to be accepted into their major, students must have a cumulative grade point average of ≥2.0 and have satisfied the major's specific course and grade requirements. Students who are not affiliated or "conditionally affiliated" with a major by the beginning of their fifth semester will be withdrawn from the College of Engineering.

How do I know I have done/am doing everything for a smooth transition to Cornell in August?

Cornell's New Students Website serves as the centralized location for all of the information students need to help ensure a smooth transition to Cornell. It highlights important information, provides a portal for students to complete and check the status of forms, and tracks all university requirements. Students should check the New Students website throughout the summer and use it to confirm that they have prepared for their matriculation in August.