Ithaca, NY
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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Reviews 1379 total reviews with an average rating of 3.6

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2 College Senior

Weather: Ithaca is COLD, snowy, and fickle. I have literally experienced days where it is 75 and sunny one day, and then 30 and snowing the next day. That's not an exaggeration either, nor is it atypical.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Senior

Nightlife: Parties are usually in collegetown, so if you live on west or north, it can be a journey in itself to get to the actual party. Buses, cabs, and DDs are livesavers. Big parties are usually at frat annexes, but not always. Easy to get into almost any party if you are a girl. Bars are also a huge scene, bust mostly for upperclassmen. The freshman and sophomores that do get into bars, are usually easy to spot, and can be kind of annoying, but usually tend to just stick to the mixers.

3 College Senior

Local Atmosphere: Pros to living in Ithaca: food, scenery (Ithaca is gorges), townies, the fact that the city is being run by a 25-year-old Cornell alumn, tolerance, did I say beautiful scenery yet?, organic options

Cons: literally in the middle of nowhere, weather, not the cheapest place to live, poor shopping options

3 College Senior

Transportation: Public transportation is free for first year students, and then $150/year after that. Bus passes are pretty useful if you have classes all over campus, but if you are staying on one quad, you might as well save the money and just suck it up walk the 20-40 minutes to campus twice a day.

4 College Senior

Diversity: In my opinion, there is quite a bit of diversity on campus (although opinions differ), but minorities are still the minority. Lots of acceptance of sexual orientation and religion, as well as political beliefs. There are a lot of rich kids and trust fund babies at this school, but also a lot of people who work three jobs just to support themselves.

4 College Senior

Campus Housing: You definitely will make some of your best friends in the dorm you are in. Its the best way to make friends, complain about the dorm, the food, the walk to classes, etc.

3 College Senior

Athletics: We are a Division I school, but honestly, almost every team except for our Lacrosse and Hockey teams are a joke.

5 College Senior

Off-Campus Dining: If you are vegan or vegetarian, into organic food, and eating green, Ithaca is the place for you! There are co-op chains that sell exclusively vegan/environmentally conscious food. The entire town is founded on the ideal that you try to eat as healthy as possible and try to harm the environment as little as possible.

5 College Senior

Overall Experience: I love Cornell. It's a great place to get an Ivy League education, with a variety of people and professors around. You will most certainly find your "clique" and have a great social experience. The course load is difficult (especially if you're an engineer/science major) but it's because the professors are trying to challenge you so when you go out into the work force, you can be competent in whatever you do.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Senior

Health & Safety: Health: So Gannett is the health center on campus. They are closed on weekends and after 4:30, so if you get hurt during those times you're on your own. They have a pretty big counseling and psychological services which isn't bad, but definitely not the best. The clinical part which is okay, they have their own lab and are pretty quick. But every single time I go in, I've been misdiagnosed. But its not the worst.

Saftey: Ithaca in general is a pretty safe town. Most people don't even lock their doors. However, the past few years there has been a rise in crime in Ithaca and on the Cornell campus. There have been a few rape/sexual assaults reported on campus, and multiple break ins. But in my opinion, it can be completely avoid. Lock your doors! That's the best way to prevent a break in (most of the break ins that were reported involved owners not locking their front door). Also, if you can avoid it, don't walk home alone. Whether you're a guy or a girl, there's safety in numbers.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Senior

Scholarships: They have been known to make mix ups, but in the end you get what you what. There are two kinds of people that work in the financial aid office: either super nice, super helpful people, or super mean, super grumpy people. So if you call them and the person on the phone sounds grumpy, just call again later and hopefully you will get a nice person. Grumpy financial aid counselors most likely don't want to be there in the first place, and are not going to be going the extra mile to help you out. BUT there are plenty of nice one's there who do.

5 College Senior

Computers: My laptop died on me during prelim season (or midterms) and so I basically had to go on campus to do all my work. I personally love desktops, so I didn't mind it at all. Especially if you get one of the iMacs, those are some nice computers. But anyway, I love going to the computer labs at the libraries if I have to get work done. I don't have the distractions I would on my personal laptop, plus everyone can see what you're doing if you go on facebook and decide to stalk your classmates...which could be awkward since there is always the possibility they could be in the same room.

2 College Senior

Parking: Cornell is known as one of the greenest campuses in America. That being said, parking on campus is intentionally made difficult to encourage walking, biking, public transportation, etc. However, MANY people of campus have cars, so definitely feel free to bring one if you do have it. It's so much more convenient to have one, especially if you plan on living off campus. There are paid parking spots in a few places on campus that charge money per 15 minutes, which can get expensive. But if you have to turn in a paper due at 8:00am and you woke up at 7:50am, having a car can be godsend. Also, free parking after 5:00pm!!

5 College Senior

Facilities: If you ask any Cornell alum one of the best memories they had as students there, it will probably involve Slope Day. Slope Day is a concert on, you guessed it, a slope (Libe Slope to be exact). It's takes place on the last day of class during the spring semester, with drinking festivities starting as early as 6:00am continuing well into the night. Around afternoon, people eventually make it to the slope for the guest performance. Past years performers have included Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Pussy Cat Dolls, Tiao Cruz, and other mainstream artists with various opening acts. If you are not into drinking for 12 hours straight, don't feel bad--it's just as fun to watch all the shenanigans.

4 College Senior

Facilities: The greek system has a pretty strong presence on campus. However, it is seems more present when you are involved in Greek Life or are a freshman. I know plenty of people not in Greek life who have just as amazing in time experiencing the "college experience" as those people involved in fraternities and sororities. However, being involved does have its upsides: there will usually always be at least one person in your major who you can study with; you will always have people to go out with in case all your bffs are studying; formal events; networking and more leadership opportunities! It's definitely something to check out. You make your own experience with it. You can either be super involved or not so involved. You don't always have to be drunk all the time or having sex with strangers every night. It's what you make of it.

5 College Freshman

Overall Experience: Absolutely love my school. It's got great academics, a fun social environment, and a multitude of activities and good people and I wouldn't change anything.

4 College Freshman

Off-Campus Housing: Lots of life and variety in Collegetown but make sure you find your house or apartment early because places fill up quickly for the following year.

4 College Freshman

Health & Safety: Gannett is a great health care center right on campus that is very quick and effective.
I feel very safe on campus. There are a couple alerts every year about somebody being approached but for the most part I have no problem with safety on or around campus. Blue lights are everywhere.

4 College Freshman

Facilities: Some dorms are nicer than others, but all are suitable. Dining facilities are great with a large variety of options. The freshman community centers offer good places to study as do the libraries on campus.

5 College Freshman

Facilities: There are always different events going on around campus to get involved in. Libraries are always busy, some being open 24 hours a day. Student fitness centers are nice.

5 College Freshman

Academics: There are always opportunities to get involved in research and extracurricular activities regardless of your major.

5 College Freshman

Academics: Classes are tough but interesting. All of the professors are experts in their field, many having published their own books and research. There's something for everybody to study.

College Freshman

Campus Strictness: You don't really see administration or campus police hardly ever on campus. I have heard of people being JA'd but really haven't seen much action first hand from any type of administration.

4 College Freshman

Guys & Girls: Plenty of good fish in the sea to pick from! Always new, friendly people to meet.

3 College Freshman

Athletics: Academics are definitely the emphasis at Cornell so not much focus is on athletics. There are a few very good, competitive teams at Cornell but several of the others don't fair too well. Regardless, not many sports are attended but there is still some interest from the community.


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Goldwin-Smith Hall
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Overall ExperienceWhat's This?

Mandy Kain and Radhika Arora
Hewlett, N.Y., and Ithaca, N.Y.
View all previous student authors

Students express both praise and criticism of their overall experience at Cornell University. Positive experiences seem to outweigh negative ones, with most agreeing that even some of the negative aspects of Cornell—the immense workload, competition, dreary weather, and social pressures of a large campus—have taught them valuable life lessons. The large size of the campus can be both a blessing and a curse.Cornell offers a wealth of academic, professional, and personal opportunities, but can also offers the feeling of getting lost in the crowd.

Most students agree that it falls on the individual to make the most out of one’s time at Cornell to be outgoing, open to new ideas and experiences, and proactive in pursuit of one’s goals. Classes are difficult, and no one can expect to coast, but for those who are willing to work hard, classes can be very fulfilling. Finding a balance between coursework and social activities can be difficult, but if you can manage it, you will find a campus filled with new and interesting activities to get involved in.

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Applicant Status At Cornell University

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