Mount Vernon, IA
Admission Difficulty
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Reviews 489 total reviews with an average rating of 3.2

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3 College Sophomore

Transportation: There are not many transportation options available at the school. Most people rely on others to share rides with them to and from the Cedar Rapids airport or elsewhere, and it is difficult to get off-campus without a car.

3 College Sophomore

Drug Safety: There is rarely any drug use that is strongly noticeable at this school. The most popular form of drug use is alcohol use, which usually only occurs heavily on weekends and with upperclassmen. Peer pressure is not particularly strong, and I do not see Cornell as having any particular issues with drug and alcohol visibility or usage.

3 College Sophomore

Health & Safety: I think that our campus safety service is effective and helpful in creating a safe environment on campus, but I sometimes feel as if they are less involved than they should be. However, I have never once felt unsafe or scared while on campus and have not experienced anything that requires more security presence.

4 College Sophomore

Athletics: I am a member of the Cornell College Track & Field Team, and I find my involvement in a sport at Cornell to be very rewarding and satisfying. I do think that the facilities could be improved for many of the sports on campus, and the coaching could be done slightly differently. Athletics are a very big deal at Cornell, and I find the amount of student involvement and school spirit for sports is very satisfying.

3 College Sophomore

Campus Strictness: The campus strictness is appropriate considering the community that the administration is attempting to shape and promote. Students are expected to uphold a mature understanding of the rules and regulations that exist on campus, without being unjustly punished or reprimanded for breaking said rules. The administration deals with issues effectively and appropriately.

4 College Sophomore

Diversity: Cornell College is a wonderfully diverse community that embraces all types of ethnicities, religions, political beliefs, sexual orientations, and economic backgrounds. Students are usually very open to meeting new people and display their beliefs through various activities and organizations that are available on campus.

1 College Sophomore

Off-Campus Dining: There are few places to dine off-campus in Mount Vernon. If you are willing to make the drive to Cedar Rapids or Iowa City, decent restaurants can be found, but for students who do not have a car, dining off-campus is fairly out of the question. A few local restaurants on main street offer some variability, but are not typical hot-spots for the college community.

4 College Sophomore

Greek Life: I am part of Kappa Theta, one of the larger sororities on campus. I think that Greek life at Cornell is a wonderful way for students to be involved within the campus community; members are expected to complete a certain amount of community service and fundraising hours, as well as attend multiple campus events that strengthen the overall community. Greek life is a fairly large presence on campus, and is very different from nationally affiliated Greek communities. Greek housing is not available, which decreases the likelihood of cliquey attitudes and snobbiness while increasing the diversity of students that preference a sorority or fraternity. I think Greek life is a very important part of the social atmosphere at Cornell, and brings a variety of students together to get more involved in the campus community.

5 College Sophomore

Greek Life: greek life here is different than most schools, but it is still extremely enjoyable. socially very active with many opportunities to be involved in the community

4 College Sophomore

Nightlife: while it doesn't quite compare to larger schools, parties at cornell are still extremely fun. there is also a uniqueness factor at cornell (some parties take place over multiple nights, some have different themes, etc.).

4 College Sophomore

Scholarships: cornell hassles you a ton about any paperwork (or lack thereof) that they receive regarding financial aid, but as soon as everything is sorted out, they literally throw money at students who qualify

4 College Sophomore

Athletics: the nice thing about athletics here is that the events are very easily accessible and most teams have a decent amount of success. athletics aren't huge here, mostly because some of the teams have an unwarranted elitist attitude. this does overshadow the fact that we can still enjoy quality athletics without having to pay a cent. that's pretty special

3 College Sophomore

Campus Housing: housing on campus ranges from very nice to very poor, with the poor options slightly outnumbering the nice options. furthermore, older students get first access to the nicer dorms. the one redeeming factor for the less nice dorms is that the atmosphere in these buildings tends to be much more social and fun than the atmosphere in the nicer dorms

1 College Sophomore

Transportation: there is no provided transportation on campus mostly because the campus is so small

3 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: everyone is very friendly, but the town is so small and it gets very old after a while. the nice thing is that an escape to a larger city is only 20-30 minutes away

4 College Senior

Campus Dining: With Bon Apetit, the campus dining has improved dramatically.

3 College Senior

Guys & Girls: Remember before you dive in the dating pool is very shallow.

3 College Senior

Parking: Getting parking in a lot close to where you live is a small miracle.

3 College Senior

Local Atmosphere: Mount Vernon is a painfully tiny town, but its proximity to Cedar Rapids makes it cute and livable.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Senior

Computers: The computers on campus are nice, there just aren't that many of them around.

3 College Senior

Greek Life: The Greeks don't really exist until after Pledge Week in February, where the 30% of the student body involved becomes a moderate annoyance to the rest of the student body and shows their existence mostly by sexually harassing passers-by and puking in places they shouldn't for the rest of the year.

3 College Senior

Nightlife: I don't really engage with the partying too much. Many people go out to the bars in town or party off campus, but to really get things started you need to go into Iowa City.

3 College Senior

Weather: It's very, very cold and windy and snowy in the winter. People who don't come from the midwest should be prepared for a midwest winter.

3 College Senior

Diversity: The campus is diverse for small-town Iowa, and has a sizeable international student population, and about a 30% minority group population. That said though, this is Iowa, and it's overrun with white people the second you step off campus.

2 College Senior

Transportation: We live in a small town in Iowa, so the campus has no need for a shuttle. Taxis and public transit are usually out of Cedar Rapids, but honestly it's more convenient to just have a car or find someone who does.


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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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