Mount Vernon, IA
Admission Difficulty
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Reviews 535 total reviews with an average rating of 3.3

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2 College Senior

Health & Safety: I hear that the nurses are a joke and assume pregnancy for every female that walks into the door. Cornell has a great student organization called TWRG that addresses sexual assaults but I don't see the school take action for any reports. Over all, the student body doesn't think that sexual assaults on campus. Everytime the "Clothesline Project" is up, the school reacts with surprise.

3 College Senior

Athletics: I'm indifferent. These responses are biased and do not reflect the opinion of the Cornell student population.

4 College Senior

Off-Campus Housing: I live in a house. Its pretty affordable and very close to campus. Been living there for 2 years, coming back next year.

3 College Senior

Greek Life: There's some with bad reputations of hazing, sleeping around, being snobs and downright unpleasant. I'm indifferent because I am not part of it. I wouldn't want to join one either way. I don't desire that and I also don't feel inspired by any positive image that any sorority/fraternity displays (because there isn't any).

5 College Senior

Academics: The Block plan is great! It prepares me to absorb a great amount of information in a short amount of time to create reports, essays, and presentations of high quality.

4 College Senior

Academics: There's a lot of opportunities to immerse myself in the Ethnic Studies type of thinking. The professors in the department are supportive. My major is flexible enough to get support from professors from other departments so I am always with help.

3 College Senior

Diversity: There's a lot of different people of different backgrounds at Cornell. It doesn't feel that way because people merge into cliques and groups, making it difficult to interact with people different from yourself without a great amount of effort.

3 College Senior

Guys & Girls: Its a bubble whose dating scene I would NOT want to be part of. Ever. People know each other's business and the small school size makes it easier for STDs to spread. The Block plan also makes it difficult to be in a functional relationship.

4 College Senior

Campus Housing: Beautiful campus and great housing, except for one building which is getting renovated this summer. Everything is close to each other.

3 College Senior

Off-Campus Dining: Location of school is in a small town. The only thing available are local restaurants. Prices are ok, but food gets boring after 2 years. The college cafe doesn't stay open late and the cafeteria closes early too. Can't do much if one is studying late and going hungry.

3 College Senior

Facilities: Only two buildings on campus have elevators or rails. Beautiful campus. Could work on a few things.

3 College Senior

Scholarships: They keep cutting scholarships. If I were admitted this year, I wouldn't have received a $500 scholarship filled in the gap needed for me to attend. The school doesn't manage its money well and cuts back on us.

4 College Sophomore

Greek Life: About 30% of the student body participates in Greek life, which are strictly local groups with no national affiliation. There are no special housing opportunities for Greeks and non-Greeks do not usually view individuals by more than their individual characteristics, but sometimes when Greek groups are together non-Greeks apply the stereotype that is assigned that group.

The social atmosphere is stimulated through Greek groups, and those in Greek groups have a community service requirement so you will often see members hosting or participating in some sort of service project as well as hosting parties and other activities for the campus to take part in.

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4 College Sophomore

Athletics: Being a DIII school, athletics are definitely not the most important thing at Cornell. However, a very large population of the student body participates in a sport, some even two. A lot of student-athletes make a point to support other teams during their games and quite a few more attend games and show school spirit. Organized cheering and dressing up as a theme for games does not happen, but for the most part the school is supportive during games.

Facilities such as the indoor track are becoming a little outdated, but the weight room is fine for the time being and the main gym where all games are held has newly redone floors, new lights, and a new sound system. Not to mention, Ash Park's football field was newly redone with turf in summer of 2013 and looks great. Our baseball field is very nice and is probably the best one in the Midwest Conference, but our softball field is located a little ways off campus, not very far but still a challenge to find if you don't know where you're going.

5 College Sophomore

Majors: Cornell offers a unique One-Course-At-A-Time schedule that allows students to go in-depth in their class for the 3-and-a-half week period and pairing this with classes in your major makes for the ultimate learning experience. It leaves little time to forget any information and connections are made throughout the course through discussions and projects with lecture class periods being very rare.

As an education major, the OCAAT schedule also gives me an advantage being able to student teach without being any conflict with other classes, go into classrooms for observation for an entire day, and go on field trips. Due to the condensed schedule, workload can become heavy, but professors are extremely easy to contact and encourage feedback on assignments to make sure your academic success can be realistically maintained.

Cornell has a very old campus that is listed on the National Historic Registry so the faces of the buildings cannot be remodeled, but the insides of the buildings are nice and have excellent wireless internet, audio, video, and projection capabilities. It makes for a very beautiful yet academically up-to-date campus.

There are countless internship and job opportunities for Cornell students during the school year as well as summer, and of course after graduation. There are work study jobs available in Admissions, at the Sports Center, in Dining Services, and countless others. There are even non-work study positions available on campus as well as off-campus at restaurants, bars, nursing homes, and babysitting. There are internships that can be applied for with help from the college and talking to a professor or an adviser will help you tremendously to find options that will fit your specific interests.

College Sophomore

Majors: I have not had an internship but that does not mean I won't look into it in the future. Student teaching will be completed for my education degree but other than that I have not really explored my options for internships, but working with a non-profit organization that has a focus on education would be an excellent and realistic opportunity.

College Sophomore

Off-Campus Housing: Cornell has about 95% of the students live on campus, including myself, so I have not and do not plan on looking into off-campus living. I am familiar with a few people who do not live on campus who enjoy it, but I do not know any more details.

4 College Sophomore

Scholarships: All of the financial aid I received was need-based and the college provided as much for me as possible along with the additional academic scholarship I received based on my high school GPA along with my extracurricular activities.

3 College Junior

Guys & Girls: I personally believe there aren't a lot of attractive single, guys on campus, but that's just me. A lot of people are in serious on-campus relationships, while many others are in long-distance relationships with people back home. The type of students at Cornell varies a lot, which explains why we have so many student orgs. For example, some kids will cosplay just for the heck of it, while some people treat the sidewalks like a red carpet. It's easy to find a niche on campus.

4 College Junior

Overall Experience: Cornell has a lot of problems, and it's easy to complain, but at the end of the day it really is a good school. It's easy to meet friends, even if you're painfully shy. There are so many great faculty and staff members. I feel at home on campus.

3 College Junior

Local Atmosphere: Mount Vernon is a really, really small town. Incredibly small. There is one theater. It only has one screen, so not only will you have one course at a time, you can only watch one movie at a time. The first time I saw it, when it was painted red, I thought it was an old barn. The town itself is pretty cute, and there are at least 3 antique stores, a chocolatier, and a store that has seven businesses under one roof, including a tanning salon. There are some nice, but expensive, restaurants, and many nice small business. There are places to go for basic supplies and groceries.The clothing stores are actually pretty great, and the Silver Spider is fun. Mount Vernon is small, but interesting. However, you need a car if you actually want to go out and have fun.

2 College Junior

Athletics: Most non-athletes are pretty apathetic about sports here on campus. Some athletes, mainly football players, like to think they're a bigger deal than they are, but I've had professors make jokes about the teams. However, volleyball, women's, basketball, and softball are all great, and I'm pretty sure baseball had a fantastic season recently. Most athletes pretty much talk only to other athletes, but there are quite a few who are friendly.

College Junior

Greek Life: I'm not a part of Greek life, and I don't party much, so I can't say much about them. Each group has its own stereotypes, like the "douchey" fraternity and the "slutty" sorority. Most people involved in Greek life are pretty nice, but there are the few who seem to only like their own group. There are the more well-known groups and then there are a few that are obscure. Also, if you aren't pledging or already in a Greek group, you are probably going to hate Greek week.

2 College Junior

Off-Campus Dining: Mount Vernon is a tiny town. There are a few places and most of them are somewhat pricey.The pizza places are nice, but are often closed before their posted closing times. There are a few fast food places, but they're further out of town, so anyone without access to a car is kinda screwed.

3 College Junior

Campus Dining: Sometimes, the food is great. I live for the quesadillas and mac&cheese. However, a lot of times there aren't many good options. There isn't a lot of variety, and the good food is a little more rare. Sometimes, in the past, the food wasn't well cooked. I work in the dining hall and I remember a chef who managed to burn the outside of burgers while the insides were undercooked. I live for the days prospective students or alumni visit, because the school tries to impress them and we get better food.

The café, Zamora's Market, has better food including chicken strips and bacon cheeseburgers, as well as packaged food like pop tarts. Of course, it gets pretty expensive. If you have the flex dollars meal plan, you get 100 flex dollars a semester, and it's easy to use those up quickly if you aren't careful.


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Overall ExperienceWhat's This?

Erin McNeill
Foristell, MO
Sociology/Anthropology, English
View all previous student authors

One Course At A Time (OCAAT) pervades every aspect of the Cornell experience. From the academic schedule and athletics to involvement in organizations and the expected response time to e-mails, OCAAT becomes embedded in Cornell students’ way of life. The block plan has a way of distorting time at Cornell. Many students find themselves marking time by the day or week of the block rather than by the actual dates. Though, from an academic standpoint, the block plan isn’t for everyone, it does allow the flexibility necessary for learners of all types to be successful in the classroom. Additionally, OCAAT allows most students to at least pick up a minor, while many students double or even triple major. There are valuable internship opportunities around every corner, and several programs and centers focused on helping students thrive. Study abroad experiences are unparalleled and easily affordable, due to the shorter time frame. Why take a Spanish class on campus in Iowa when you can take it while living in Mexico for the month?

While the problem of student apathy tends to get a lot of lip service on campus, it is really only true in terms of school spirit for athletics. Cornell has over 100 student organizations—impressive for a school with a student body numbering less than 1,200, and a majority of these are very active and visible on campus. Recognizing that small-town Iowa may not have a lot to offer in terms of entertainment, Cornell works hard to bring entertainment to campus. The theatre department puts on four to five productions each year, and student organizations like the Performing Arts and Activities Council (PAAC) and KRNL-FM bring bands, comedians, and other performers to campus on a regular basis. Best of all, it’s all free for students. Ultimately, the Cornell bubble can be a bit confining if you let it. But if you make an effort to enjoy your four years at Cornell, it will be more than worth it.

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