Cornell University

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  • Cornell University Ithaca, NY 14853

Welcome to Cornell University

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Cornell University

Information about Cornell University

We have taken to heart the revolutionary spirit that founded our university and encourage each other to pursue unpredicted lines of thinking in order to effect change on local and international scales.

Cornell is a privately endowed research university and a partner of the State University of New York. As the federal land-grant institution in New York State, we have a responsibility—unique within the Ivy League—to make contributions in all fields of knowledge in a manner that prioritizes public engagement to help improve the quality of life in our state, the nation, the world.

Cornell is a private, Ivy League university and the land-grant university for New York State. Cornell’s mission is to discover, preserve, and disseminate knowledge; produce creative work; and promote a culture of broad inquiry throughout and beyond the Cornell community. Cornell also aims, through public service, to enhance the lives and livelihoods of our students, the people of New York, and others around the world.

University Vision

Cornell University will be widely recognized as a top-ten research university in the world, and a model university for the interweaving of liberal education and fundamental knowledge with practical education and impact on societal and world problems.


The nature and implicit values of Cornell University were the theme of President Skorton’s “State of the University” address on October 23, 2009. He argued that Cornell University is supported by four fundamental pillars:

  1. Classical and contemporary inquiry, “shaped by the founder’s commitment to liberal and practical education.” In other words, Cornell values the arts and humanities as well as advanced scientific and technological research; in broader terms, the university is committed to the interweaving of fundamental knowledge and practical education.
  2. Thinking otherwise” Cornell’s faculty members have a history of being intellectually diverse and entrepreneurial and as Carl Becker indicated, “thinking otherwise.” This reflects a deep commitment to academic freedom and a belief that such freedom is essential to creativity and innovation. The One Cornell theme of our strategic plan stresses the importance of creative collaborations that emerge from the “bottom up” rather than from the “top down.”
  3. Student access, which expresses a central principle of Ezra Cornell’s original vision, namely a university open and accessible to all who merit entrance (“any person”). The longstanding and recently reaffirmed commitment to need-blind admissions reflects this value, as does the commitment of the university to diversity and inclusion and the notion that diversity and excellence are interrelated. The university’s commitment to student access has been tested in recent years, given significant competition with peer institutions, and Cornell has addressed this challenge successfully with a program to reduce the costs of a Cornell education for students from families in lower income quintiles.
  4. Public engagement, which expresses the university’s commitment to search for knowledge-based solutions to societal and world problems. Public engagement is an interpretation of the university’s outreach mission that emphasizes being proactive (actively engaged) and having a public impact. It implies a broadening of the historic land grant mission of the university.

These four pillars of Cornell imply a set of core values that stand at the center of Cornell as an institution.

  • Seek knowledge
  • Support free and open intellectual inquiry and expression
  • Sustain excellence in teaching, research, and public engagement
  • Use knowledge to enlighten ourselves and benefit the world
  • Reward and recognize merit, creativity, and innovation
  • Treat all individuals with dignity, respect, and fairness
  • Embrace difference and diversity
  • Promote cross-cultural and cross-national understanding
  • Be a collaborative, collegial, and caring community
  • Be accessible and affordable to all who meet high academic standards

Themes in the values include excellence, diversity and inclusion, openness, and collaboration.

Academic Departments

Admission procedure into Cornell University

At Cornell, we celebrate the great diversity and globalism of our university, its faculty, and students and we are excited that you are considering Cornell for your education. We invite you to explore what it is like learning at Cornell and living on our historic, beautiful campus in Ithaca, New York.

Our applicants are an eclectic group, including international students who have moved among several countries or schools, U.S. citizens who have lived most of their lives abroad, or non-U.S. citizens completing school in the U.S. We read applications based on where you currently attend school, rather than by your citizenship status. Your application will be read with others from the school you attend and those from the same state (U.S.) or country.

Our international students follow the same application process as our first-year applicants or our transfer applicants.

Credentialing services or other forms of paid professional assistance:
Cornell University expects all applicants to complete their application materials without the use of paid agents or credentialing services.

The use of such services violates University policy, and may lead to the rejection of application materials, the revocation of an admissions offer, cancellation of admission, or involuntary withdrawal from the University.

Test Requirements

All international students must meet the same test requirements as our first-year or our transfer applicants.  SAT or ACT and SAT Subject Test requirements cannot be waived based on the completion or submission of IB, A-levels, or other international credentials.

  • Standardized Testing Requirements
  • New SAT FAQ

TOEFL and IELTS Testing Requirements

International freshman and transfer applicants for whom English is not the first language must submit a TOEFL or IELTS score.

The recommended minimum scores are:
TOEFL – Score of 100 (Internet-based exam) and 600 (paper exam)
IELTS – Score of 7

TOEFL/IELTS testing policy exemptions:
The TOEFL and/or IELTS requirement for international applicants is waived for students achieving a score of at least 670 on the Critical Reading section of the OLD SAT exam (or a NEW SAT Reading Test score of at least 35) OR for students who have studied for at least four years in the U.S. or other nations where English is an official language. You can request a TOEFL waiver. Please note that Cornell does NOT waive the TOEFL/IELTS test requirement for students who have attended an English-speaking school in a non-English speaking country.

Application Tips:

  • We want to review at least 3 years of secondary school records that list subjects you studied and marks received for each subject. State or national tests or other external exams taken should be included also (GCSE, Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education, ICSE, etc.). If there is a provincial, national or other board exam you will take on completing school (A-Levels, Higher Secondary Certificate, I.B., German Abitur, etc.) please ask the school official who completes your secondary school report to include predicted marks.
  • All transcripts and certificates must be official and must be translated into English. If you have attended more than one school, you should request a separate transcript from each school.
  • Do not send supporting documents until you have sent your application.
  • Please do not send materials in plastic covers or multiple envelopes and do not bind application materials together in any way. Lengthy bound documents cannot be included with applications. If you have completed a special project, submit a one-page summary and letter of recommendation from the teacher or other person who supervised the project. Do not send copies of individual awards or distinctions. These personal accomplishments should be summarized on one page.
  • Although some colleges and universities require a statement or certification of finances as part of the application, Cornell University does not require this information during the application process. Please do not send this information with your application. If you are admitted to Cornell University, we will then request this information from you.

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