Mount Vernon, IA
Admission Difficulty
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Reviews 543 total reviews with an average rating of 3.2

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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.

3 College Junior

Diversity: We aren't as racially diverse as some people like to say. There are a handful of PoC students and quite a few international students. There isn't a lot of interaction between different groups. And while the campus is generally accepting of everyone, it's not perfect. It doesn't help that last year some idiot kept putting swastikas all over campus. However, there are plenty of student groups that raise awareness for all groups and it is easy to find someone who will understand and accept you for you who you are.

4 College Senior

Majors: Social Sciences at Cornell are very loosely structured. Anything you're interested in, you can pursue.

5 College Senior

Majors: The science and language programs are intensely structured, but most others aren't at all.

3 College Senior

Facilities: It's a small school, so don't expect anything super fancy, but the updated student center is nice and everything else is perfectly functional.

5 College Senior

Facilities: One Course At A Time truly changes your life for the better. One of the school slogans that really holds up is "I can do anything in 18 days."

5 College Senior

Overall Experience: The academic experience here has been the greatest gift I could ever have given myself.

3 College Senior

Campus Strictness: There's a very silly open container rule that means you are allowed to have alcohol in your possession but if anyone sees you drinking it you could be in trouble.

5 College Senior

Academics: If the One Course At A Time system works for you, it works like a dream come true.

4 College Senior

Health & Safety: It's a small town in Iowa, so the students are by far the greatest health and safety risk in the area. Drunk people are about as risky as Mount Vernon gets.

3 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: Mt. Vernon is really small, so there isn't much to do and find here. Though there are some really cute stores downtown.

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3 College Freshman

Off-Campus Dining: Unless you want to make the 20-30 minute drive into Cedar Rapids or Iowa City there is only like 5 places to chose from in Mt. Vernon.

3 College Freshman

Off-Campus Housing: Only seniors or students with special circumstances are allowed to live off campus, so it's not really a big thing here.

College Freshman

Nightlife: I'm more focused on my school work, so I don't go to many parties. But I heard that the ones during pledge week were pretty great.

College Freshman

Transportation: I have my own car and two working feet, so I've never need to try to find some other sort of transportation to get around town.

4 College Freshman

Health & Safety: I haven't heard of any crazy crimes happening on campus, just small stuff that the dean sends emails out to put an end to it. The security people drive around campus a lot, especially at night, to check up on people. And if you ever feel unsafe about walking anywhere they are always willing to come pick you up and drop you off at your dorm.

College Freshman

Campus Strictness: I've never seen security stop someone who was drunk and check for their I.D. or anything like that. Everyone here is pretty lenient in all respects, and unless you're doing something that might cause harm to others you are left alone.

College Freshman

Drug Safety: I know that there is a lot of drinking, some students drink every night, despite what their age might be. However, I have to idea about how prominent drugs are on campus, though I know that at least one girl on my floor has bought pot brownies from some guy, but that's pretty much the extent of my knowledge on that.


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Rankings View more rankings . . .

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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