Ithaca, NY
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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Reviews 1503 total reviews with an average rating of 3.6

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4 Recent Alumnus

Transportation: Transportation is pretty decent, they have buses running regularly. However, they are often running late and that's no fun when you are waiting in the snow.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Junior

Academics: I am surprised with the students who say the academics are not that great. The teachers are excellent.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Junior

Academics: I've been very satisfied with my classes. They are all interesting and taught by quality professors.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Junior

Campus Dining: The food at first is very good. However, as others have said, you do get tired of eating at the dining halls.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Junior

Campus Housing: Housing is amazing at Cornell. Clean, spacious, and comfortable. The only downside is the housing lottery to determine housing after freshman year.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Junior

Drug Safety: People at Cornell do like to drink, and sometimes like to do Marijuana, but to be completely honest, the environment is never one where you feel required to partake in any of it. Rather, it's a very open environment - do what you feel you want to and that's it. The official policy is that there should be no drugs and no underage drinking. It is not hard to obtain alcohol or marijuana on campus, but it really is not a huge part of the campus culture. There is very little other drug use. The Cornell Police enforce these rules. but have the safety of the kids on their minds more so. If a student is in need of help, they will help the student before saying "you've been drinking, I'm going to write you up."

3 people found this useful Report
4 College Junior

Parking: Parking is polarized to North Campus and West Campus mostly, but when you need parking, there is almost guaranteed going to be parking. The lots are big enough to accomodate a lot of cars. The only downside is if you need to go to Central campus and have to park on North or West. Then, you face a walk between 5 and 10 minutes depending on the lot you choose.

3 College Sophomore

Parking: It's a big school, so you may need a bit of time/patience to find parking. A lot is reserved, so many times if you don't get have an early class time (11am or after), it very hard to find parking. You can find those big parking lots, but they are usually not close to dorms/classes.
Many people ave their friends drop them off (especially those in frats).

3 College Sophomore

Weather: Beautiful first month and half, beautiful last couple of weeks. Otherwise, typical Northeastern varying weather. The complaints you hear are mostly from the Cali/Florida/intertional students, so definitely don't be alarmed. That said, this is college so you spend much more time outside and walking building to building. And there are some days where the wind/coldness just makes it grueling no matter how much you dress up. The huge campus doesn't help either.
In short, cover up those core areas (gloves, scarf, hat) and you'l be more than fine.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Scholarships: Pretty good financial allotment, but probably worst in Ivy League. I'm happy, but definitely know people out there who are not. Administration spiked up tuition by 2k in one year without consulting community, shows little consideration.
Waiting to hear back for next year's tuition...

2 people found this useful Report
3 College Sophomore

Diversity: Statistically diverse, but a terrible system of ethnic housing hurts diversity. Cornell's on-campus housing is very limited after sophomore year, and at some point in time minority groups–rightfully I believe– fought for housing residences that you could stay up til senior year (Ujaama is black residence, LLC is Latino, Akwekon is Native American, HILC is International). The problem is, most college students make a majority of their friends freshman year, and students already have a social pressure to live in their ethnicity's house first year. The majority of friends they make are of same ethnicity, and that hurts campus social diversity. Many love it, but the fact is those dorms are very secluded and they are not experiencing what should be everyone living together. Also, in the housing lottery Ujamma, LLC, and HILC are always last pick so people who don't like those dorms end up there by chance.
College diversity is SO MUCH more than the demographics of who gets accepted. It is about people of different backgrounds socializing and sharing their experience together. Cornell incentivizes a system that terribly disrupts this with its ethnic housing.

13 people found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Facilities: There are so many amazing resources I don't even know them all. One of the highlights, at least to an engineer, is the Duffield Nanofabrication Lab. It is simply brilliant and interesting even to those that may never use it. It also has a co-op program that offers amazing work and business opportunities and still allows you to graduate within four years. You spend an extra summer taking courses and another working for a company in your intended field. Many students receive job offers directly after graduation within the same companies. Also, strong alumni connections are helpful.

2 College Sophomore

Weather: The general weather can be described as miserable. It is mostly over cast and rainy when it's warm and something frozen is always falling from the sky when it is cold. They try to keep the walkways clear, but it is a rather large campus with too many paths to keep completely clear. Can be treacherous. However, when it is nice out, the campus is gorgeous. The various quads fill with students on the grass when it warms up.

4 College Freshman

Academics: The academics are very challenging, but well worth it if you're up for the adventure. The biology major requires a lot of labs, and plenty of related courses like Chemistry and Physics. The workload can be pretty crushing at times, but if you go to lecture, read your notes, and study hard, it should be no problem. There are plenty of internship and job opportunities too, even for freshmen. The summer programs at the SHOALS marine biology lab are very popular.

3 people found this useful Report
5 College Freshman

Campus Dining: The food is really good at Cornell. I've heard people give West Campus rave reviews, and the food on North Campus is already great. There are a lot of dining halls where you can swipe your student ID and get a meal (but you have to be on a meal plan. Anywhere from five meals a week to unlimited meals a week!) Also, there are little cafes everywhere you go, with Starbucks stuff and what they call Freshtake Grab-n-Go. Packaged sandwiches and salads and things. The best part is, meal plans also come with something called Big Red Bucks, which can be used kind of like a credit card at almost all of the cafes, or for buying extra meals when your weekly quota runs out. They're great for buying coffee in the morning!

2 people found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Off-Campus Dining: Basically, you can set one foot off the Cornell campus and be in Collegetown, which has a lot of great restaurants. They have pizza places, and lots of international dining as well. The pricing varies from place to place.

4 College Freshman

Transportation: The transportation at Cornell is pretty great. There isn't much parking if you own your own car, but the streets and sidewalks are very friendly to walkers and bikers. You can even borrow a bike from the library! Also, the TCAT bus system runs all over campus, and to all the cool spots nearby. Freshmen get unlimited free bus rides with their student ID cards!

4 College Junior

Academics: It's interesting to be in my major and we're given a lot of a solid foundation for our material, but it's a lot of stress and getting blindsided by a lot of things. The career services are helpful, but my advisor kind of had me feeling discouraged about some things, and they virtually show you what they've got online and tell you to go look. It'd be nice if someone could sort of work through the process with me in that respect.

4 College Junior

Academics: I've learned a lot at Cornell but I haven't had much of a chance to discuss what I learned and where the school excels in delivering on information, they lack in giving that information substance.

Simply holding group discussions where students can talk about their material would be great, but they only have sections where you're given more information and work or have a TA talking at you, which gets frustrating.

So, good education, not the best reinforcement.

2 people found this useful Report
3 College Junior

Transportation: There isn't a lot of explanation that happens with transportation, almost always in many places, and it's not an exception with the transport lines around Ithaca.

It took me a while to understand what buses would arrive where and when so I could use them to get around campus. And finding a bus to get back to where I wanted to from where I'd be on campus would be difficult, if not impossible, most times.

3 College Junior

Campus Dining: The food is all gourmet, which is great until you realize the reality of such eating on your health and welfare. I personally can't function well if I don't have the option to eat healthy, and there isn't much of a way around it here.

The food tastes awesome a lot of the time, and I've had some memorable meals both for better and worse. I love the cappuccino muffins at Alice Cook, for example, and they were the best way to start a day.

I just didn't like having to juggle between figuring out eating and studying and I'd never feel full walking out of the dining hall for whatever reason. Like the food had to be processed so it's not as heavy as what you get in the supermarket, and that takes getting used to.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Transportation: All freshmen at Cornell University get a free bus pass which is fantastic. The buses get you where you need to go. The only downside is most of the times the 30 gets full pretty quickly (30 goes to the mall). So on Fridays you should go early, weekends as well. The buses don't run on time, especially if they're popular buses like the 30. I have had to walk to a different bus stop in order to catch the 30 on Fridays. Bus is great if you're not trying to get anywhere in a hurry.

3 College Freshman

Campus Housing: The freshman dorms for females is very good, especially if you get into Balch. Balch has by far the most spacious dorms. Also, the noise level is perfect, unless you live in close proximity the arch there shouldn't be any major noise distractions. Also, although Balch is one of the older dorms, every unit has a kitchen, equipped with a stove, microwave, refrigerator,and oven. I would give the housing a better grade, however not all the dorms are as nice. The other dorms are more modern. For guys who can't live at Balch (female only) I would recommend CKB, it gives off a hotel like atmosphere and the community seams more close-knit. However, their FIR is changing so I don't know how that will be like. As for West campus, some Gothics aren't as great as others. definitely try to get into a main house if possible.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Guys & Girls: There are a variety of students at Cornell University. It really depends on where you go around campus. For example, those you find at Risley tend to be more artsy. If you are drawn towards the Plantations or more agricultural environments, then you'll meet people interested in those types of activities. Many students come from different backgrounds. There is a strong Greek presence, however if you are not into that type of activity it's ok because there are plenty of other students on campus not affiliated with the Greek life.

3 College Junior

Guys & Girls: To make this simple, I'll just use some categorization. You've basically got three types of folks at this school.

"Stay-ins/outcasts"-These are the people who are not the most visible for whatever reason. They focus more on academics, athletics, or some other obligation than most. Tend to be more introverted and maybe antisocial; and stick to their groups quite a bit. This also includes people that just don't fit in with the dominant majorities on this campus (social, ethnic, economic, or whatever else).

"Outgoers/bigshots"-Part of the "majority" but tend to be extroverted--with a catch. They only associate and interact with people who fit within their mold; and reject people who don't. They usually dress on the nicer/more expensive side, come from the same areas (Long Island is just one example), and act pretty WASPy. Many of the people in Greek Life and the nightlife scene fall into this category.

"Middlepeople"-The less judgmental, more social people that are often hard to find; and don't fall into the two extremes above.

Of course, going out doesn't make you an "outgoer" and studying doesn't make you an "outcast". There are exceptions to this. And keep in mind that the binary scale does apply within this. Rare is the exceedingly attractive girl; you're more likely to find decent-looking girls who let it get to their heads. Guys that look better or have great bodies have an easier time at Cornell for sure.

3 people found this useful Report

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Goldwin-Smith Hall
Goldwin-Smith Hall
Goldwin-Smith Hall 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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