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 College Freshman

Facilities: Cornell has great gyms and a huge variety of athletic programs. They also have a ton of student centers and libraries. Something is always going on somewhere.

3 College Freshman

Athletics: Hockey Rules – Hockey is definitely the big sport at Cornell. Anything outside of that is sort of ignored by the student body. Athletic facilities are top-notch.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Freshman

Health & Safety: Highly Insulated – The campus is so well protected that when something does happen, the students are so stunned that they react with panic and terror.

1 College Junior

Parking: do not get me started on the "scam" that is on-campus parking. First there is no free parking on campus to park on campus you need a permit which costs about 650 per semester and even with that permit you cannot park anywhere you want, just a few select lots. the average parking fine is 30 which isnt that bad but if you get enough tickets the parking police threaten to tow your car.

4 College Junior

Computers: Cant Complain – on campus there are dozens of computers with the latest software. there is always a cpu to use if you need it. and there is wifi pretty much every on campus so getting a signal is never a problem

2 College Junior

Local Atmosphere: Not Much to Offer – Up here in ithaca theres not much to offer. There pretty much only a couple of fast food places and one or two "dine-in" (i.e. applebees, chilis, friendlys, etc.) within a 20 min radius

4 College Senior

Overall Experience: Be Ready for a Challenge – The work load here at Cornell can get pretty heavy. Cornell is well known for it's biology and chemistry research, and with such a reputation comes very difficult classes. Be sure to put in the needed effort.

3 College Senior

Campus Housing: There are 5 main housing systems on west campus. Two of the buildings were recently constructed. The gothics provide a rustic atmosphere that is realatively pleasent. Becker has the best food of the houses.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Senior

Computers: Typically, only the libraries have computer labs with the exception of some educational buildings. The computers in the library are typically full during the day, although each library has WiFi so taking a laptop with you is not a problem.

5 College Freshman

Transportation: The TCAT (Tomkins County Area Transit) Bus system is incredible; as a first year student you get a free bus pas and you should use it as much as you can--take it to the Commons, the mall, IC, etc. Get to know the Ithaca area and take advantage of the fact that you can get pretty much anywhere in the area for free anytime--you can even take the bus to class, if you want! Upperclassmen and IC students I've talked to are very jealous of Cornell's free first-year bus pass, and as an incoming freshman I didn't realize what a big deal it was at first.

4 College Freshman

Overall Experience: I'm only a freshman, but so far my experience at Cornell has been amazing. The academics took me a little while to get used to, but I've managed to figure out what I like and don't like. The campus is HUGE and that also took me ages to get, but now I can't imagine anything smaller. I have a very diverse group of friends so I've gotten to know a lot of random aspects of the campus. I have a bunch of friends that went Greek and love it, but I go out Thurs-Sat without going to a single Greek event (especially this semester, now that I know how things work). The thing that a lot of people will tell you is that there is no social life here outside of the Greek system, and they're right--but only to the extent that if you don't get involved with other clubs and organizations, or meet cool people who are also non-Greeks (especially upperclassmen), then yes, you will be forced to use and abuse the Greek system as an underclassmen. However, all it takes is a little bit of investigation into your other options, going out of your way to meet a lot of people and get to know them, and just simply being open to a lot of different options for parties. I've had more fun this semester being a non-Greek than I EVER did last semester hounding the open parties that Frats threw every weekend. Don't let the Greek system scare you away from Cornell--you can avoid it and have just as much--if not more--fun without it.

3 College Freshman

Off-Campus Housing: The majority of people that live off-campus live in either apartments in Collegetown or the surrounding area or in Greek houses. But what a lot people don't know about is the entire co-op system; the co-op system is kind of a happy medium between living in a Greek house or an apartment, because you get all the benefits of living in a house with a kitchen (some have meal plans, some allow you to cook for yourself and get an on-campus meal plan), and your own room as well as living and family rooms. The co-op atmosphere is much more homey and free than any other kind of housing, and it's usually pretty easy to paint your room or decorate however you want. You get really close with your housemates and it's generally a really great idea. But aside from this there are also literally thousands of apartments on North and West campus, as well as the prime real estate in Collegetown. And if you have a car, you have even more options and can live closer to downtown and drive up to class (though there is very little parking on campus). Overall, there are a lot of cool ways to do off-campus housing, it's just a matter of doing some independent research.

3 College Student

Greek Life: The Greek life on campus is where all the parties are at.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Student

Transportation: Buses Are Awesome. Cornell has a deal with the local bus service. There are lots of routes on and around campus that can get you pretty much anywhere you need to go. Bus passes (activated with your student ID) are free for freshman anytime and on nights and weekends for everybody at Cornell. If you don't have a pass, the fare is only $1.50. There are also several taxi services which aren't that expensive.

2 College Student

Parking: You can't drive to class because there are no spots near the academic buildings. Parking on campus is for limited permits which are expensive. Even if you do have a permit, you have to be careful where you park so you don't get a ticket.

4 College Student

Health & Safety: It's Pretty Good. I've always felt safe here. I lock my door at night when I'm asleep, but other than that it's unlocked and open (even when I'm not in my room). There have been some reports of theft in the upperclassman housing area, but none in the freshman area.

3 College Junior

Weather: Bring a Coat! Spring and fall at Cornell are amazing. You can frolic in the gorges- yes, that includes swimming- or just sit beneath a flowering tree on the Arts Quad. It's winter that you have to watch out for. It snows quite a bit and the wind whips across the hill, but when the day is done, you still have to admit that the campus is beautiful despite your five layers of clothing.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Junior

Nightlife: Keystone, Anyone? Night life at Cornell can begin to feel monotonous- frat parties every weekend that mostly have cheap beer. That being said, it's all free. Once you're 21, there's a good mix of bars in Collegetown, and a visit to Oasis, the dance club outside of town, is always awesome.

4 College Junior

Campus Housing: Go With the New – Cornell has a huge variety of dorms from the Gothics to the brand new ones on West Campus. In most people's opinion, shoot for the new ones once you're past freshman year- Becker, Cook, Keeton, Rose, and Bethe. For freshman, at least you all live together on North Campus, and there are a lot of good options there as well, though the low-rises and high-rises are generally the least desirable. Donlon is by far the loudest.

3 people found this useful Report
2 College Junior

Drug Safety: Not So Much – If you're looking for a big drug scene, Cornell is probably not the place. That's not to say there isn't one (if you take one look at the Commons in downtown Ithaca, you'll immediately find the hemp shop), but it's not something that students would describe as prevalent.

3 College Junior

Guys & Girls: Some for All Kinds – Cornell is a big place, which means that no matter what your tastes, you're bound to find a girl or guy who appeals to you. There's a big frat scene, but then there's always the art scene, the athletes, the nerds, and the golden girls/guys. In a word, Cornell's diverse. The best part: most of them are intelligent.

4 College Junior

Academics: Worth It – It would be lying to say that Cornell is easy. Having both transferred in and studied abroad, I can say that it is by far the hardest of the three colleges that I attended. That being said, it's also the best- most stimulating, best professors, and widest course offerings. It also boasts an excellent study abroad office that helps you every step of the way. Once you find your niche in a department, you start to feel right at home not only with the professors but with your fellow students, and trust me, with the huge number of departments at Cornell, you will find one eventually.

College Junior

Weather: It snowed two days ago. Today is April 10th. However, I still love Cornell.

College Junior

Computers: Computer labs are good. Honestly, there's no need to carry around your own laptop, and I wouldn't since it can become extremely distracting during class time.

1 person found this useful Report
College Sophomore

Facilities: Most facilities on campus are nice. Some of the more recent buildings are very ugly, but the libraries are all well stocked, and the athletic facilities seem fairly modern. Student centers seem to receive a lot of money, which is odd because people don't seem to frequent them that often. The gyms at Cornell are well stocked and worth the relatively low membership cost.

3 people found this useful Report

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Goldwin-Smith Hall
Goldwin-Smith Hall
Goldwin-Smith Hall Goldwin-Smith Hall
Photo by Gaodifan under Public Domain | Source

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.

Admitted Students' GPA/Test Scores More on admissions . . .

Applicant Status At Cornell University

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