At Cornell our campus rhythm is different than what you’ll find at semester schools. Our flexible core curriculum, Ingenuity, is taught One Course At A Time, allowing faculty and students to create a new classroom micro-community every 18 days where they focus on one subject through shared learning. Each semester offers four blocks for coursework, full-time internships, research projects, and intense, hands-on learning in the campus classroom or the global classroom.


Cornell students follow our Ingenuity core curriculum which supports adaptable and experiential learning opportunities. You’ll dive deep into your major(s) coursework while also building core essential abilities that strengthen your preparedness for careers across the fine arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. The workforce demands certain skill sets, and Ingenuity hones them—in writing, quantitative reasoning, intercultural literacy, and foreign language. Paired with One Course At A Time, where you study one course for 18 days at a time, completing 8 courses a year, Ingenuity offers unparalleled flexibility in scheduling coursework, internships, research, and off-campus study opportunities

With over 70 majors, minors, and pre-professional programs to explore, you’ll find your curiosity has no limitations. We encourage career exploration here. If the majors we offer don’t quite fit your ideal, you can create your own major at Cornell, designed and mapped out by you and your academic advisor. Creativity, originality, and resourcefulness are characteristics shared by Cornellians, and we welcome inventive academic pursuits. Along your personalized path, you’ll acquire the 31-course credits required to earn your degree, you’ll complete an Ingenuity Profile that prepares you to speak to your education and strengths, and you’ll be prepared for the next stage of your journey—the launch of your career, graduate school, or service.

Residence life

93% of Cornellians live on campus, and most remain in our residence halls for their full four years as students. We offer housing in themed living and learning communities that dig deeper into a topic, hobby, or cause. You’ll be able to build close relationships with other first-year students interested in majoring in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields, with students focused on fitness and health, or with students interested in leadership roles in service opportunities.

The Hilltop Café and Zamora’s Market are located in the Thomas Commons, a central hub of campus. You’ll find plenty of dining options here—vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, global cuisine, sustainably sourced and farm to table options, much of which come from our local farmers.

Downtown Mount Vernon, Iowa is a short walk from campus. You’ll find a vibrant mix of small locally owned boutiques, restaurants, and of course, places to fuel up with a good cup of coffee. Mount Vernon hosts 14 festivals that range from the Chocolate Stroll to Magical Night to Chalk the Walk, a Chili Cook-Off, and the Lincoln Highway Arts Festival.

Extracurricular life

Students of Cornell are unique, engaged, multi-talented, and ambitious. With so much to get involved with on campus—music, theatre, dance, athletics (19 DIII teams), service projects, spiritual practices, visiting writers, guest lectures, 36 official student organizations, 14 greek organizations, and 14 academic honor societies—you'll build relationships and find community.

Interested in participating in the political scene? Iowa is one of the first in the nation to hold a primary in the presidential election and you’ll see a flood of candidates at events across the state. Looking for cross-cultural community? Our Intercultural Life Office hosts a wide array of events throughout the year.

Admission website   

Deadline information

Early action: Apply by Nov. 1
Regular decision: Apply by Feb. 1
After Feb. 1, applications are accepted on a space-available basis.

Required application materials

Cornell’s application process is strengths-based, and who knows your strengths better than you? Each application option is test-optional, which means you don’t have to submit your ACT or SAT scores unless you want to do so.

If you want to submit your ACT/SAT scores:

  • ACT/SAT scores.
  • High school transcript.
  • Personal essay or writing sample.
  • Optional teacher recommendations.
  • Optional personal portfolio.

If you don’t want to submit your ACT/SAT scores:

  • High school transcript.
  • Two short answer questions.
  • Optional teacher recommendations.
  • Optional personal portfolio

Financial aid

Attend the school where you can successfully graduate in four years. One Course At A Time sets you up to finish in four years because the singular focus prevents the traditional semester disruptions and fatigue that can make completing college in four years difficult. 94.5% of the graduating Class of 2018 completed their degree in four years.

Cornell offers merit and stackable additional scholarships. Merit scholarships are awarded automatically at the time of admission. Some stackable scholarships require a secondary application, portfolio submission, interview, and/or audition to be considered for the scholarship.

Additional information

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Information for International students