Cornell University Top Questions

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?


Be open to as many things as possible and remember to always be yourself.


Be open to new people and a new home.


Dear Laura, You may not realize it now, but your Senior year of high school will be one of the most stressful times in your life. Please bare with it because all of your hard work will pay off. College is going to be better than you dreamed of. Yes, it will be difficult at times to the point you'll break down and cry and yes, being far from home is going to be a challenge. However, everything will be ok in the end. Here is my advice: 1) Go to class- ALWAYS. Unless you are sick, there is no need to skip, and teachers like to that students want to be in their classroom. 2) Sit near the front- teachers will see your happy face and recognize you. 3) Be outgoing- meet your dormmates, classmates and everyone in between. Smile to people as you walk to and from classes as well. 4) Study- you may not have to do it in high school, but believe me, putting in the hours will pay off. 5) Believe in yourself- try your hardest and don't be intimitated by others. You're just as capable as anyone. Love, Laura


Knowing what I know now, I would say the advice I would give myself is don't base your college dreams/desires on hopes of the past. Just because when I was younger I wanted to go away, far away for college doesn't really mean that I will want the same thing when time comes to actually go away for school. Now that I know how hard it has been for me to adjust to being so far from family, I would tell myself to consider all my options and not just base my decision on things I wanted one, two, or more years ago. I would make sure to also tell myself that if I do base my decisions on previous dreams to make sure that I go to summer school to get acclimated so that the transition is less stressful and more easy to handle.


I was very well prepared when I came to Cornell University because my sister went here as well, so she knew what I needed to do to prepare. Beyond the general advice she gave me like pack warm clothes and learn the bus routes to get to class, she told me something I still remember and adhere to today. The most important advice my sister gave me, and what I would tell myself if I was a high school senior again, was this: study hard and get good grades, but also never forget that college is the experience of a lifetime and always leave time to have fun. Cornell can be a very competitive school at times so the best remedy to relieve stress is to have the perfect balance of work and play so you can get good grades and still have an excellent time in college.


There is no need to look for the perfect school--you won't find it. Instead, find several imperfect ones that you nonetheless think you could feel good at. I really mean do "feel good" at; the superficial things are actually crucial; how do you feel walking around campus, how inviting do the pictures of the library seem, how well do you relate to the blogs, or bios of current students, can you envision yourself studying under that tree? Rankings are fun, especially when your school sits atop them, but unless you are looking at a specific field only offered at three schools nation-wide, it's a pretty safe bet that most schools won't vary much in the quality of education you are getting. Seriously; there will virtually no difference in quality between undergraduate scholarship at all the schools that said "yes" to you. Since we can't count on the economy to get us jobs right no, you better count on a fulfilled and flourishing mind; so forget average SAT scores, and acceptance percentages, and choose a place where you'll breathe easy, work hard, and incessantly hone your mind.


It would be difficult for a student to navigate through college lacking a strong will to take intensive initiative in pursuing academic work, and in building a strong sense of mission in one's personal philosophy toward complex social life and networking. There is not much handholding done in college, in large and diverse student populations. Students are sometimes expected to sink or swim, and unless they reach for the rafts, they can fall into the rapids. One must want to learn to swim, and needs to learn to ask for help whenever needed! As a high school student, I wish I had known how important it is to utilize social outlets like athletics or community service for building networks of support toward healthy student formation. In college there is such a strong emphasis placed on theory in academic development that it is easy to feel somewhat isolated as an individual, less connected to the human elements so necessary to a well-rounded education. Of course, all these outlets abound and flourish in college! But as in life after college, we all must learn to choose the right balance between book-learning and learning through shared experience with other people.


Choose a college based on your gut instinct about where is best. Once you're there take classes from many different professors in many subjects. Get involved in campus life early.


Stay strong and have no regrets. This is a stage in life everyone goes through: a stage of emotional and mental turmoil as well as the happiest and most interesting days of your life. Hang in there and look on the bright side.


Do not overstress your self in high school. Work on techniques that will help you succeed in college. Like reading textbooks, developing good study habits. You should not stress yourself out in high school because college will do that to you. If you do not get into your top choice of schools or do not know what you want to do with the rest of your life, do not worry! You have plenty of time to figure it out. If you do not get into your top choice of schools, consider a two year college. Study hard there and you will be able to get into any school that you want afterwards. You will develope skills that will help you succeed in your next school.


Child (I call you child with the same compassion wherewith you address the children behind you), relax. Perhaps you believe it already but don't know how to trust that belief, but, child, the opportunity to expand to what sits beyond the cement pillars of your torpid high school, all that for which you beg each morning when you drag your brimming, beehive-of-a-head through the throngs of disinterested students and defeated teachers, sits only a few months beyond your reach. In less than a year you will speak fluently a language that you are currently being told you can never learn. In a year and a half, you will have learned the lyrics to every praise and complaint you ever uttered and with scores of wonderful people will learn more. You will learn how to weave all of this into a coherent story, not the rhetorical bellows that you are currently being fed, but a pattern of rationality that, bit by bit, leads you from the shadows to the Forms. You are ready for it now; I have not forgotten how hard it is to wait. So I call you child and beg you do your best.


If I went back in time,I would have a different high school experience.One thing I really wish I did back in high school was get involeved in as many activities so I can start the process of knowing what I like and what I do just for the sake of it.Knowing these aspects of myself would help me to settle in quickly in college life and easily fins a group of friends who I share the same interests with.Although is supposed to be the exploratory period, first hand knowledge of a particular activity of musical instrument helps in finding a base in college.One other aspect I would change is my relationships with people. Learning to build trusting friendships proves to be essential in surviving through college.One needs a constant network of support.Learning to form study groups is also a necessary skill to successfully complete assignments and work through the lecture material together.


I would tell myself to consider not only academics but also social life and also mental health. Academics are highly important but what extra-curriculars will I be involved in on campus? Will I socially identify with enough people? How far from 'civilization' will I be? Class and homework cannot be your only life so what will I do outside of class to be happy and stay healthy?


work extremely hard don't get distracted by girls and other stupid social acitivities the more input you enter in the beginning, the greater the ouput in the end DO WORK, READ MORE BOOKS,


There is no right answer. Whatever you do, whatever you choose, it's going to be great and it'll all work out. Don't stress out and stop doubting yourself.


Take more advanced placement tests.


The advice I would give myself is to make the best of what is offered to me for the next 4 years. Time does fly quickly, and I now realize that I had not maximized my time during freshman year, regrettably. Taking time to adjust to a new environment and to new study and social habits is mandatory, and it is almost guaranteed that stress will accompany the ups and downs a college freshman will undergo. However, sooner or later, things begin to click. A new mindset or a new way of looking at things, such as what one wants out of college and out of life, what and who the important people in that particular person's life are, the priorities that have been decided on, etc. Had I known that I could have explored and done so much more last year, I wouldn't have wasted precious time and money, but I believe that I have grown stronger as a result of this personal test. It is only through mistakes that we, as humans, learn to mature. So, it's never too early to step outside boundaries, try new things and even make mistakes along the way.


Its easier to keep up thatn catch up so, no matter what stay on the ball.


If you apply yourself, not only in the classroom but in terms of extracurricular activities and social environments, you will do well. Remember that doing well is not rankings or ratings but feeling accomplished in every aspect of your life. Be sure to stay involved in everything and not let one part of life (whether it be academics or friendships) take the backseat at any point, because it is balance that brings happiness in college and in life. Keep in contact with the outside world as well--family, friends, previous and potential employers--because college is only 4 years out of a long (one hopes) life. Don't let stress take you over because it can be the most damaging factor in all areas of your life. Stay happy!


I think I would tell my high school senior self that college is about more than just the name. I have time to figure out my career and the steps I want to take to get there. I don't regret coming to Cornell. Not at all. I am firm believer that everything happens for a reason. However, if I knew then what I know now, I would have allowed myself to focus more on the college experience rather than purely academic reasons. I would have visited the campus so that I could really se whether or not my city-girl personality could mesh well with the rural environment that is Ithaca. Ultimately, I would have allowed myself the pleasure of option-weighing rather than relying on the crumpled-up paper with a scribbled plan of my life written by an ambitious eighth-grade girl.


Go into college with an open mind. There is nothing worse than deciding your entire life's plan before even entering freshmen year. If you come in with an open mind and an undeclared major, you can take the classes that seem interesting and academically stimulating to you without feeling obligated to work towards a specific career path. Once you find something that you love to do, the career path will follow.


I would tell myself to be more outgoing. It's really easy to get overwhelmed and retreat into yourself and not branch out when you first arrive, and it just makes things harder to adjust to later on. I would tell myself not to be afraid to go out and meet new people and worry about being judged, because it's not like that. Even though things may seem big and scary, the year is over before you know it. New friends will be made, old ones will fall away, and neither of those things are bad, just different. I would tell my high school self not to be afraid of the changes because it doesn't make it any easier.


I would tell myself that I would be okay no matter what. Whatever college I went to would not define who I was. The people I met, the connections I made, and my overall outlook on life would be a deciding factor of my happiness. I would tell myself that money does not matter: sometimes, the poorest are the happiest and the richest are the hate their lives. I would tell myself to take every chance I had, utilize every opportunity, thank yourself everyonce in a while, reward your successes, and learn from your mistakes. I would tell myself that no matter if things worked out or not, the people you surround yourself with will see you through, count of your family, believe in something bigger than yourself whether it be God or not (once the nonbelievers of college get the best of you), and whatever I do- make it something I could tell my Grandmother with a straight face. When it comes to not knowing, learn it later and don't sacrafice your integrity for a grade. And don't ever doubt your brilliance, you got where you were because of it. No one can take that away.


Don't get lazy or content with the status quo when you get to college. Watch people's reactions when you say things, sometimes different parts of the country can be very different culturally. Don't add too many people on facebook before you meet them, they think it's weird.


Taking a leap of faith or a risk is something that I find particularlly difficult to do, but it is exactly what I would have recommended to myself two years ago as a high school senior and to other students as well. Choosing a school should be based on your perspection of how happy you're going to be your next four years at the college. Academics certainly matter but enjoying life and learning are far superior. I would encourage everyone to take a risk and just follow what your brain and heart intuitively tell you. Everything works out for the best in the end, but only if you take the initial leap and put yourself out there and follow what you feel really want. Otherwise, there is a chance that you will not go to the school that is the best fit for you. Sometimes you just have to make a courageous decision and choose, not knowing all the information you wish you could know about the future, and base it in the facts and your heart.


Be Outgoing. Be yourself. Meet girls.


Really think about what is important to you in the school you attend and how it will help you get to where you want to go in life after college. Do you really want a big sports school? Do you want a school that is more academically focused? Do you want a balance of both? How do the programs the school offers line up with what you are truly interested and passionate about? Can you see yourself living here for the next four years, even during the harsh, cold winter months or the sweltering hot spring and summer months? Does the area surrounding the campus provide what you see yourself wanting while there? If you can answer all these questions, among several others, and you have found the college that fits your preferences, you will almost certainly have no problem adjusting. If that isn't the case, join groups or clubs that interest you and always leave your dorm room door open, because it's the people you know that help you become at successful at college. Surround yourself with people you respect and you will do fine.


I would tell myself that a school with a large oncampus social life is one that I should choose. I ahve many friends who go to schools that rely on the bar scene as their only nightlife and they are significantly less happy than I am. The academics must be good because I really enjoy the difficulty of my classes, but the extracurriculars must also be strong.


Like in real estate, it's all about location, location, location.


Take AP Chemistry and physics! That way, the classes would count towards vet school. Live in a single so you can go to bed early, but be open to visitors whenever you want.


Be more spontanious


Don't limit yourself on your applications, don't limit based on money or intelligence. There's always someone willing to pay for you to go to college, and someone might accept you that you wouldn't expect.


I had a decent first year, the only thing that kind of ruined it for me was a bad roomate. He wasn't one of those roomates that you didn't talk to, but one of those who were just an immature A-hole. Living with him heavily strained my ability to study, socialize, etc. so I believe that my GPA was not as high as it could have been. Now I know that I could have done something about it and requested a roomate change, I would probably go back and tell myself to change roomates once a problem had arisen and attempts to resolve it fails. Besides that, I feel that I had a successful transition from being a high school senior to a College Freshman. In fact I have given advice to many of my friends who are still in high school, and the number one advice I tell them is to not let "senioritis" carry into college. In retrospect, I probably could have studied a bit more my Freshman year, because I always took grades for granted - I was one of those people who didnt really have to work for that 4.0 in highschool.


To be true to who you are and enjoy whatever classes you enroll in as a freshman. It makes life way better!


Go with your gut. I spent so muc htime agonizing over which school would be right for me, but ultimately, you'll probably enjoy wherever you go and if you don't, then transfer.


I want to tell myself that there are more important things in life than just academics. I want my old self to have hung out more with friends and make lasting memories. Also, when choosing colleges, I want my old self to not pick a college for its academic value but for its worth to me. I would advise myself to use the opportunity at the college of my choice to not only build my knowledge but also find where my heart lies. I want myself to discover something that I am passionate about, something that I could spend the rest of my life on. I want to let me know that I do not have to be so quick in choosing a major, but that I can go to college and choose it as I experience different things. I want to remind myself that I am living my life and so I should be in charge of where I attend and what I do.


If given the opportunity to give my high school self even a hint of the insight that I have now, I would tell myself that the most important aspect of college life is becoming the person you one day want to be. I would explain that while grades are important, I should focus more on how to become a person that I can be proud of in the future, far beyond the numbers. I would also tell myself to pick a college not based on academic stature, but on how much I fell that I can achieve my goals at a university. I would also tell myself to go to everything that I think might be interesting including: club meetings, lectures and even exercise classes. There are so many resources on campus that people do not take advantage of that can really change the entire college experience of a person.


Keep working hard, enjoy the freedom but stay focused.


Dont take on too much and try and have fun wherever you go. The experiences you have will override the 12 hour days in the library in the long run.


You shouldn't worry too much about the college you select. The majority of college have more than 2,000 students, which provides a large enough number to give you a diverse range of people and personalities. You will be able to find friends and have a good time, regardless of where you go. With regard to chosing a school, pick one based on what you believe will furher your career goals. Having a good time and partying happens on every campus, but the more selective schools will help you land a job offer. The college you go to may very well determine what career path you enter, and specialized schools (such as engineering and business) will start you on your path. I would also suggest trying to go to a school where a friend from home is attending as well. If you are social enough to make friends and feel comfortable from the start, good for you; most kids find the first weeks awkward and it helps to have someone you know around.


I would advise to be prepared for anything, expect the worst and hope for the best. Study hard, then reward yourself for a good-job done. Don't be wrapped up in finding where you're at on the curve, but focus on your own strengths and weaknesses.


Finding the right college is both exciting and a little overwhelming. First decide what size school the student wishes to attend. Visiting the school is an absolute necessity. The visit will show what the brochure cannot--how well a student fits in with the student body and how a student feels about the school. Pick a school that the student loves for more than just a reputable program for a particular major. Many undergraduates change their minds about what to study. It is important to have many reasons for attending a college so that the student does not feel compelled to transfer if he or she does change majors. If a student does not get into his or her dream school, it is not a time to despair. Many students find they can have a very fulfilling college experience at a school that was not near the top of their list. Once at college, the key to making the most of the experience is getting involved. Especially at a big school, clubs make meeting people with similar interests much easier. Try not to overload on difficult classes and too many activities the first semester: adjusting to college life takes time.


Work hard and do not get too caught up in partying, dating, or socializing. However, be sure to spend time outside your dorm with friends and find things to do that are non-academic. Learn how to cook, clean and take care of yourself before coming to college. Check up with the financial aid office and make sure you do all you paperwork. Fill out application for a bunch of scholarships even if you don't think you will get them. Be true to yourself and try to realize what makes you yourself and what you really want out of your classes, your peers, and the college experience.


It's important to remember to try to remember everything. There are many factors that make a school what it is. You want the right academic atmosphere(say cutting edge competition vs group collaboration), the social atmosphere(more crazy greek life, partying, alchohol, or more passive, say movies, cultural plays, school events, or somewhat active, rock climbing, snowboarding, concerts), the right size, the right place, the right weather(if you like the cold, you like wearing thick jackets, if you like sun, you like wearing shorts during the summer), and the right people (more liberal vs conservative, more middle class, more of one ethnicity or another), and right professors(world-renowed professors or great teachers, research oriented undergraduate school ?). Mix these all around you this gives you the ingredients of a school. The main thing is that you can't know too much about a school. Visit the schools and do your research. You'll spend the next four years there. As far as academics go, I would pay particular attention to the size of the school, because that determines the number of auditorium classes. And lastly remember, that to do well academically, students need a friendly and enjoyable atmosphere.




Visit many schools in order to get a feel for what kind of campus you would like: big or small? rural or city? etc. If you love one particular school consider applying early if possible. Where ever you do end up, throw yourself into the experience. It's so cliche, but getting involved on campus immediately made my transition much smoother because I was part of a group. Take risks and try to be outgoing. GO TO CLASS! It helps alot! Try not to waste time watching tv or surfing the web for hours. Get out and do something with your friends, study harder, or take up something new. That's what will create lasting memories and happiness, not watching reruns. College is so much fun and there is so much offered. Go to that random cultural dance performance, participate in quirky school traditions, take a class that you know nothing about. Don't waste your experience because you only have one chance to be a college student and it will go by fast!


Visit classes, talk with the students and attend some of the social events there.


Visit the college and make sure it feels right.


You don't have to go where your friends go, but you don't have to go far away either. You'll make friends no matter where you go. Find a school that fits you academically, and make sure it's somewhere that you can see yourself spending four years. Remember that college is an investment: what you put in and where you put it determines what you get out.


When looking for a college, I had no idea what I preferred: large or small school, in the city or country, or private or state school. My best advice to parents and students would be to visit as many schools as possible. Once you are actually on the campus you get a feel for what the school is like. The most important thing is that you are able to feel at home at the school. In order to make the most of the college experience, the most important thing to do is to get as involved on campus as much as possible. This will help you make lots of new friends that have similar interests to you. You will also be able to get more involved with your interests and possibly be able to help out causes that you have a personal interest in. Being involved will also help keep you busy so you can work on time management, and being busy helps distract college freshman from feeling homesick. You can even join a group that you have never heard of, to posisbly expand your interests!