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4 College Freshman

Academics: The academics here are very rigorous in some majors and they require a decent amount of work.

2 people found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Academics: There are a lot of places to study and get help. Class are a little challenging due to having to learn a lot in 18 days.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Academics: You will be busy from sun up to sun down

4 College Senior

Academics: For Environmental Studies/ Biology we have great off campus courses and some scholarship to help you pay for them. We have a field station up in the Boundary Waters, Minnesota and a few classes go up there every fall. We get off campus a lot into the field since we only have the one course so we get some great hands on research

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Junior

Academics: academics is where cornell really shines. the professors are amazing and the schedule is nice. the only issue is a variance in workload between classes. some classes require 6+ hours of work per night while others require next to none. i personally enjoy it very much, but it isn't for everyone

1 person found this useful Report

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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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Academics at Cornell can be summed up in one word—OCAAT. OCAAT, or One Course At A Time, stands for the unique block plan Cornell’s academic calendar follows, and it’s pretty much what it sounds like. Students take one course for 18 days, and then have a four-day break before beginning their next course. Most courses average two to four hours of class time per day and all classes finish by 3 p.m., so the rest of the day is free for extracurricular activities and studying. This means no juggling an English paper, a math test, and a science presentation all in the same week. And instead of end-of-the-semester finals mania, you have just one final a month. Students still learn about the same amount of material as they would on a standard semester plan, just in a more condensed and intensive setting.

OCAAT provides a number of exceptional opportunities for students aside from the ability to focus on a single subject. With classes capped at 25 or fewer and professors who are only focusing on one course as well, many students develop mentoring relationships with professors in their major fields. Additionally, opportunities to study off campus are easy to come by and very affordable. There are between 20 and 30 courses offered in both domestic and international locations in a wide variety of departments. These block-long experiences include studying the genetics of fire coral in The Bahamas, learning about education in South Africa, and absorbing literature and theater on a tour of Great Britain. Cornell students can also take advantage of semester-long programs offered by the ACM—Associated Colleges of the Midwest—with locations in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Facts & Statistics

Student-Faculty Ratio
Full-Time Instructional Faculty
Part-Time Instructional Faculty
Total FT Faculty
Faculty with Terminal Degree
Average Faculty Salary
Full-Time Retention Rate
Graduation Rate
Programs/Majors Offered
Academic/Career Counseling?
Remedial Services?
Class Sizes
  • Fewer than 20 students: 60%
  • 20 to 49 students: 40%
  • 50 or more students: 0%
Instructional Programs
Occupational: No
Academic: Yes
Continuing Professional: No
Recreational/Avocational: No
Adult Basic Remedial: No
Secondary (High School): No
Special Credit Opportunities
Advanced Placement (AP) Credits: Yes
Dual Credit: Yes
Life Experience Credits: No
Degrees Awarded
Bachelor's degree
Most Popular Majors
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: 4%
  • Economics and Econometrics: 3%
  • English Language Studies: 3%
  • Psychology: 5%
Graduation Requirements
  • Arts/fine arts
  • English (including composition)
  • Foreign languages
  • Humanities
  • Mathematics
  • Sciences (biological or physical)
  • Social science
Special Study Options
  • Study abroad
  • Teacher certification (below the postsecondary level)
Other Academic Offerings
  • Accelerated program
  • Double major
  • English as a Second Language (ESL)
  • Exchange student program (domestic)
  • Independent study
  • Internships
  • Liberal arts/career combination
  • Student-designed major
Best Places to Study
  • Cole Library-second floor
  • Comfy chairs in The Commons
  • Ink Pond
Tips to Succeed
  • Always go to class. With only 18 days in a block, missing one day of class at Cornell is like missing a week of class on the semester plan.
  • Get involved. Find a campus organization or two that you are interested in-you never know what opportunities may present themselves.
  • Get your general education requirements out of the way your freshman year. You don't want to be that lame senior in an intro-level course.
  • Keep partying for the weekends. Missing just one night's homework can put you way behind.
  • Learn good time management skills and find a balance between class work and a social life. It's easy to focus on one and let the other go, but both are necessary to have a fulfilling college experience.
  • Take classes that sound interesting, even if you have no experience in that department or subject area. You may stumble across something you're truly passionate about.

Student Polls

How strongly do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements?    Based on 36 responses

Strongly disagree
Strongly agree
  • My Gen-Ed requirements are worthwhile and meaningful.
  • It is easy to get the classes you want.
  • The academic advisers are helpful.
  • Grading is generally consistent and fair.
  • There are a variety of interesting courses to take.
  • Students are encouraged to explore a wide range of courses and topics.
  • The workload is easy to manage.
  • There are plenty of good online course options.
  • Teaching assistants (TAs) are used effectively.
  • The course scheduling/registration process is efficient and student-friendly.
  • Classrooms/labs are up-to-date and incorporate new technologies effectively.

How often do you:    Based on 17 responses

  • Attend class (lectures and recitation)
  • Do all of your homework
  • Do all of your assigned reading
  • Adequately study
  • Take advantage of office hours/study sessions
  • Take notes

Where did this school rank in your list of potential schools when applying?    Based on 16 responses

  • 12% This was my dream school.
  • 69% This was one of my top choices.
  • 19% This was a school I settled for (safety school).


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