Avalon Insights – Cornell University

Cornell is the largest of the Ivy League colleges, both in campus size, which is 745 acres, and undergraduate population, which is 15,000. For comparison, Colombia’s is the smallest Ivy League campus at merely 32 acres. Cornell is located in the very rural town of Ithaca, in upstate New York, and is considered to be a campus school. In other words, virtually all social activities take place on campus. If you want to take a long weekend in New York City, it is a good 200 miles away. The best word to describe the Cornell campus is “gorgeous.” All four seasons in this Upstate New York region have their own special quality, whether that is attributable to fall foliage, winter snow, spring flowers, or summer at the lakes that are bountiful in the region. You are quite likely to fall in love with it if you visit. Plus, the area around Cornell is spectacular as well. In all fairness, some students do indicate that they feel a sense of isolation based on its remote location. However, most students simply take advantage of the activities that abound on campus.

Cornell Culture

For the most part, students at Cornell students ascribe to the notion: “Work hard, play hard.” Academics are quite rigorous especially when you consider that the most popular majors are related to science and engineering. There is also lots of competition between students at Cornell for a variety of reasons, including the fact that the academics are so rigorous. Some students who are accepted to Cornell feel they have something to prove versus students who attend some of the more exclusive Ivy League colleges. Nonetheless, there is an active social side to Cornell, partly due to its isolated location and large size, and partly due to its significant Greek life encompassing 25% of its students. For those seeking a fun nightlife, there are plenty of places to go, both on campus and in the fraternities and sororities. If you are not into Greek life and you crave the hustle and bustle of a big city, then Cornell may not be the right college for you. However, if you value attending some of the best classes taught by the best professors in the world, and if your goals in life are aspirational, then Cornell could be the perfect fit. Cornell is a true university in that it encompasses more than 14 individual colleges, each one prestigious. As an undergraduate, you have the benefit of taking classes at all of these schools. In fact, this is one of the biggest draws to universities as compared to liberal arts colleges. At universities, you give up some personal interactions with professors and small class size, but you gain the opportunity to decide from among a much wider variety of classes and resources.

Cornell Reputation

First and foremost, Cornell is an Ivy League university which, by itself, means a great deal. On its own, Cornell has a superb reputation especially for certain majors. A degree from Cornell can open up many doors into prestigious opportunities. Cornell’s excellent reputation is most pronounced in computer science, engineering, science, business, and hotel administration. It has a very robust program in agricultural science as well. Cornell professors are currently involved in some of the most cutting-edge research in the world in everything from the human genome and climate change to analytic economics.

Cornell Facts

College Type: University

Undergrad Size: 15,000

Location: Ithaca, NY

Setting: Rural (Campus School)

Tuition and Fees: $61,000

Financial Aid: Need-based only. 100% of need (based on FAFSA) is met.

Best Programs: There are many. Among the top programs are: Hotel Admin, Engineering (all types), Computer Science, Agriculture, Business, Management, and Finance.