Cornell University Top Questions

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

Emma

Seek out opportunities and know that you can be happy at many very different schools.

Alex

I think a lot of picking the best college is just going with your gut instinct. I couldn't put my finger on any specific details of why I liked my first pick college, but I knew I had a good feeling about it. Now that I'm here I know I definitely made the right choice. In the end though, it's all about what YOU make of your college experience. If you go in with a good attitude, ready to meet new people and enjoy college, you'll have a great time. If you come in with a bad feeling in the pit of your stomach, it'll take a lot to change your attitude. Find wherever you feel comfortable, and jump in with your chin held high.

Edipo

visit and research.

Jonathan

I would tell parents to let your son/daughter choose where they want to go. Parents should play more of a support/Devil's advocate roll. With that said I would encourage high school students to not be afraid to explore schools around the nation or different from where you grew up. Imagine your dream school write down all the characteristics and use that to search for a school that closely matches it. I also wouldn't worry so much about money there are tons of scholarships and even some of the best schools, which people think would be extra pricey , have really good financial aid packages. Explore and feel out whats right for you and don't be afraid to apply to a place you've only seen in pictures. If the pictures are enough to make your heart race follow it. I did and I honestly couldn't be any more happier.

John

Students should understand that attending college is a privilege, not a right. It is a very important time in a student's life, and in the formative years where a person has to really decide what they will be like for the rest of their life. When looking at a college, don't concentrate on which school will have the biggest and craziest parties, but the school that will influence you to become a better person and a benefit to your family and society. It is also important to look at the financial aspect of education. It is sometimes more reasonable to take a couple years worth of classes at a community college and then transfer to the university of your dreams. This would save money, especially during the economic state we are in right now, and it will allow the student the opportunity to mature for a couple more years and really decide what he/she wants to study. One of the most difficult things to do is to change majors, so the community college allows for changing majors without the huge financial loss of a major university.

Amara

Make sure your children know that they can count on you completely while they are there. They need to know that they can come to you for anything without feeling judged or ashamed. College will be the most difficult thing they will have done in their lives thus far, and they need to know and see that you are behind them 100% of the way.

Emma

Choose the college that is going to best fulfill the needs of yourself/your child. The education is recieved is vastly more important than the parties and athletic events that they will attend. Besides, even at the best schools in the country students party, attend athletic events, and have a great time.

Raymond

So far, being in college has been an emotional roller coaster. Demanding courses, being away from home, adjusting to a new enviornment, and balancing academics with a varsity sport and a social life is very challenging. However, along with the stresses there are also countless memories that I share with my friends that I have met at school. I would suggest to all high school students searching for that "perfect" school to not spend money and time searching for the school that is perfect for you. Find a school that will accomodate your acadmeic needs and simple personal prefernces like size and setting. Then, all that is needed is a good attitude. If you start from day one with a positive attitude and tell yourself you will love your school and that you will be successful, those things will happen. Everything falls into place when you have a positive outlook. This positive attitude even works when you find yourself having troubles; academic or personal. Be positive and remeber to use your friends for help, everyone goes through difficult times. If you spend too much time worrying, you will miss out on the fun thats going on around you.

Fiona

Compared to what you do once you get to college, choosing a college matters very little. Stop worrying about it so much. Once you get to college, take advantage of every oppurtunity that is presented to you. Join clubs. Go to concerts. See guest lectures. Have lunch with your professors. Study, but do these things even if you think you have too much studying to do. These things are more important.

Sarah

Enjoy yourself. College is about learning about yourself and learning what is important to you. If you are too stressed or too nervous, you can't possibly learn about yourself as you should in college. Pick a school that is right for YOU. Do not pick a school based on prestige or what others tell you to do. Have fun!

Daniel

Wherever you end up, meet as many people as possible. To find that perfect fit, look for a school where you could thrive academically and be able to picture yourself enjoying college. If you know what you want to study, make sure you find a school with a solid program in that area. If you are unsure, look for a school with a wide range of majors and once in college, make sure you try everything that you are interested in before choosing a major. Again, meet as many people as you can. Lastly, stay happy, and stay focused.

Corri

Visit the schools and talk to the students. You need to pick a place where you feel like home and where you fit in with the students. If something doesn't feel right then look elsewhere.

Kentaro

If possible, visit the campuses you're considering. Students should try to look for schools to which they have a good chance of being admitted, but at the same time don't be afraid to reach for more selective institutions. These schools should offer programs in the student's academic interests, and have student bodies/demographics and cultures that suit (or, if the student is adventurous, challenge) the student. Students and parents should also be sure they are on the same page in terms of finances, and also location of schools. In college, don't take too many credits at once; it's more rewarding to learn well rather than simply "get some classes out of the way." Pay attention in class. Don't procrastinate, and take some time every day to review what you've learned. Take advantage of office hours, and talk to your professors. They are usually interesting people. Make sure you eat healthy meals and get enough sleep. Don't be afraid to try new things, and try to keep an open mind. Join a club. Read the news. Most importantly, don't let these years just slip by, because they certainly will! Have some fun.

Katie

Don't believe your peers' hype. It's easy to get caught up in yearning for the schools that your best friends lust after, but remember: first, they probably know little about those schools, and second, they aren't you. You wouldn't date someone just because your peers wanted to date them, would you? (Well, hopefully not...) College is your opportunity to begin to discover who you truly are in the relative absence of outside influence, and choosing a college is the first step in that discovery. If you know what you're interested in, look for schools with good programs in that - but give yourself room to change your mind, too: what you're ready to devote your life to can change, fast, so you want a school that 's good at lots of things. And don't get too abstractly theoretical. Visit the colleges! Visit LOTS of them, of all different types. Spend the night, attend classes, talk to students and professors. When you find a place where you feel you could live and grow toward whatever dreams you have, you'll know, and that one's a keeper. It's worth it: college life is fantastic.

Alex

What has proven most important to me is finding people who are willing to answer my questions and who actually care about my experience. If at all possible, try to visit any school you find interesting in order to interact with both students and university administration. It will be the people you interact with that will have the most effect on your experience, therefore, make sure you are going somewhere where you feel comfortable asking questions and also feel like your question or concern matters. If not, at least call. Call offices such as the financial aid office, the careers office or whatever you can think of. These are important places and will definitely require a visit or two. This will also allow you to get a feel for how one is treated as a student and whether their attitude is one that sparks more interest for the school. Do not underestimate your interactions with students and with any admin you may have the opportunity to interact with before making your choice.

Laura

Determine what you want out of life cause that's what you're going to want out of a college. Don't have your future plans set, but you should know yourself well enough to know what you want out of a school. Is the food most important? Is your social life? Academics? I personally visisted the colleges after I got accepted so I couldn't fall in love with any I didn't get into. I knew I wanted good acedemics, a large school, and one with cultural diversity - and I got Cornell. As for the college experience - don't get discouraged. There is always someone on the same page as you, and in the end, it's only school. Parents, don't be the overachievers for your children. I have found numerous kids stress out because they know they're parents will be upset with their B+. Don't be that parent. To students, don't have the mindset of what can I get out of this college and then leave. I became happier when I realized I was a part of a community and this is my home for right now. Otherwise, live, learn, love, and enjoy!

Barbara

The student has to follow his heart, or even his gut, as some may say. A student should choose a college based on what feels best: where he thinks he will be happiest and feel the most "at home," in the sense that he has found a place of belonging. The atmosphere is key, which is why college visits are important. If the family can afford to go on a college visit road-trip, take that opportunity to really get to know the colleges that you (or your child) is going to be be applying to. Be sure to try to schedule college visits for a time of the year when students will be around: this will give you a real taste for the "atmosphere" of the school. If a visit can't be made, do your homework: really get to know the schools so that a confident and promising decision can be made. Students, keep in mind that college is going to be a whole new experience, perhaps very dissimilar from your previous education. Be open to this new experience, and take it easy your first semester so that the transition goes smoothly! Good luck!

Amanda

Make sure you speak to students in whatever major you'd be in at the school. Ask them about mandatory classes, work load, etc. and make sure that's for you! Also make sure you visit the campus and stay overnight with students so you can get a good feel for the campus and student life.

David

You really can't go wrong with whatever school you go to. Ultimately, everyone I know ends up loving their school.

Sylvia

An Ivy League institution is not always suitable for every child. It doesn't always providethe best quality of education, or best network of people. It really depends on whether or not your child is geared towards academia, or wants a practial education to equip him/her with the tools to become an entrepreneur or business person. If the latter is true, I would suggest going to school in major cities i.e. Chicago, NYC /LA, or save some money, go to state school! There, your child have the opportunity to find internships during the school year. If your child is very studious, sees him/herself going towards an academia, getting a masters degree, or going to law school, then an ivy league institution like Cornell would be very suitable. As for networking, low rated ivies like Cornell are not as useful for networking, because we have some public colleges with half-priced tuition. The heirs/heiresses of oil/steel tycoons don't attend our university. Often I find schools in major cities, such as USC and NYU have better networking opportunities, alumni who give a lot to the school, and help make their diplomas more valuable.

Joshua

The most important part is visiting campuses. When you find a school where you belong, you will know immediately.

Stephanie

As someone who not long ago went through the arduous process of finding a college, I know the difficulties of determining whether a college is a ?good fit.? Even today, as a college sophomore, I cannot say with certainty my college was the best choice I could have made. The truth is that ? for most of us ? there is not a 100% perfect fit. When students visit campuses and encounter bouncy tour guides, it is crucial to consider that the enthusiasm guides express for their schools may not be so common among actual students. At the university which I attend, I?ve encountered many students who are only lukewarm about their college experience. This is because there are real sacrifices involved in choosing one college over others. I chose my university for its abundant selection of majors; however, I sacrificed smaller classes and a more cohesive student community. So if everyone around you is raving about their dream college and you are still uncertain, know that you are not alone and think hard about what characteristics you really value in a college. Once you are in, take advantage of those characteristics, work hard, and try not to look back!

Lauren

I recommend applying to a wide variety of schools in terms of size, diversity, and acedemic programs. It is hard to know what type of school a student wants to attend until he/she visits the campus, so I highly advise visiting the schools in person before making a final decision on which school to attend. Once at a college of university, I recommend getting involved and perhaps trying activities that one typically would not become involved in. This way, the student can immediately become involved in the school, meet new people with similar interests, and make the most out of his or her college experience.

Brett

The most important thing is to make sure that the school you attend is the school for you. Do not be afraid to contact current students on facebook or by email. Take a tour and really try to picture yourself there. Grab a student run newspaper and peruse it to see the student take on the campus. Take a tour of the town in which you college is in as well. Also eat in the dining halls as that is where you will be eating for four years. Also sit in on a class to get the "college feel" of what it will be like to be a student there. Also think of what the school will be like all year around; some schools may be nice in the summer but terrible in the winter so you need to make sure you can committ to that for your time in school. Also just try very hard but remember to relax, if you truly have the drive and passion to go to a certain school then it will show in your application and you will be very happy with your decision.

Daniela

If it coincides with what you want to do with your life.

Shani

Its not all about what you think you want to do. The campus environment and people you are surrounded by are much more important in shaping you as a person.

Andrew

First and foremost you need to think about what you want out of your college experience. You many not know what you want to do for your life, but try to have some idea of the opportunities you want your education to provide for you. What doors do you want your college experience to open up for you? Focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the colleges you're looking at in terms of how they can help you reach that goal. Also try to figure out what kind of people you want to be around. You may want to be in a more challenging environment where you're pushed to work harder, or in an environment where you stand out more above everyone else. Always understand that your college will not make you--you will make your college experience. Keep this in mind and don't be afraid to go somewhere just because they don't have a specific club or group that you want to join. Try to look at the overall picture. Look at the social scene, the location, academics, extracurriculars, and take a step back to see how your different options coincide with all of those.

Kian

Know snow. Know yourself.

Jaclyn

1. Never pick a college based on intended major. Many students change their minds over the course of their undergraduate education. Make sure the school has several majors taht you may be interested in. 2. Make sure you fit in, at least mentally if not socioeconomically, with your peers. It will smooth the transition to the university level. 3. Look at the quality of the professors and the opportunities to work with them (ie. research). Their recommendations become extremely important in medical school/graduate school admissions.

Leslie

work hard

Eric

You do not have to attend the most prestegious school in order to be successful. Though a big name might get your foot in the door, reputation only goes so far. In my opinion, it is more important to be self-motivated, willing to work hard, and genuinely interested in what you're doing regardless of where you go to college. During my graduate school interviews, I met many students from so-called less prestegious schools that were just as qualified as I was. Do not be pressured by your parents or anyone else to complete a major you are not passionate about, otherwise you will be miserable. That said, do complete a major or minor that will teach you skills you can apply elsewhere to secure a job. Come to college with an open mind, and go out of your way to explore classes or activities you otherwise would not.

Brian

Explore as many colleges as possible. After exploring the ones you are interested online, make it your objective to go and visit the campus so you get a feel for what the school is like. Do not wait until your Junior year to do this. College should be on your mind starting with Freshman year of high school. Go on a tour, ask questions that are important to you and your decision in where you want to live the next four years. Once you choose the college that you most like and get accepted, be excited about your upcoming college years because these years are often the most exciting years of one's lifetime. Meet new people, try new things you have never tried before, and have an open mind. And don't forget - have fun! Have a positive attitude and enjoy your college experience! Learn as much as possible about academics, society, and life in general!

Kamali

The best advice I could give to a give parents and students is to choose a college/university that could offer you the most benefit you in future career/life endeavors. Think about the possible long-term benefits. Ask yourself: How can an education at this college/university best prepare me for my future career? Make sure the college is affordable and offers an accomodating financial aid package. Make sure the campus dynamic at the school compliments your personailty. Make sure the college/university offers the best package socially, academically, and financially.

Madeline

Take your time and don't base your decision on what your friends or boyfriend/girlfriend are doing. Once you've made your selection, start finding other people who will be there (facebook, myspace, school webpage, etc) and talk to them. Having a few friends before you get there is a huge help. Don't devote your whole life to schoolwork- make friends and have fun. Just remember to turn that paper in on time! Also- the number one tip is to make friends with your professors. They have experience, insights, connections, funny stories, plus they often provide you with free food =) Good luck!

Lisa

Trust your gut. When I was visiting colleges, my dad told me to pay attention to what he called "the tickle factor:" did I feel tickled to be there, or not? If I did, that was an important thing to consider, even if I couldn't identify why. I ended up deciding which school to go to by flipping a coin. I was torn between Cornell and another school, and when the coin chose the other school, I was disappointed. So I went to Cornell. Once you're at college, don't be afraid to work with (and sometimes bend) the bureaucracy to make it what you want. "Requirements" can be substituted or wiggled around; professors don't always care about prerequisites. If you want to take history of pottery instead of a second freshman writing seminar, come up with a reason why it makes sense to do that and talk to your dean! They almost always let you get away with it.

Jennie

Students: Consider the following factors when choosing your college: (a) school reputation, (b) academic diversity and degree of challenge, (c) location. (a) Is the school of interest strong in sports, theatre, academics, etc.? And how does that support your intended major/interests? I chose Cornell because it has a strong reputation as the Ivy League that requires students to earn their degrees. (b) Is your school only own as a "liberal arts" or "technical" college, or do you want a university that offers strong programs in liberal arts and sciences? Expose yourself to new things: I would recommend a well-round university with all types of course offerings. I mean, being an "enginerd" with your own coding language doesn't exempt you from needing to speak proper English in the real world. Also, find a college that challenges you, but is not way above your league. (c) College is one of the best opportunities to travel. I would recommend East and West Coast natives to swap coasts, and those of you in middle America to see how both coasts are amazing. Ithaca was pefect for me: 4 bars alive Wednesday-Saturday, theatre!!!, gorges, and plenty of study time when bored.

Deirdre

There are several factors that you should consider in order to find the perfect college for you. The most important, by far, is the location; are you a city or a rural person? Great colleges are located in large cities, suburbs, small cities, small towns, and everything in between. This is the first step towards finding your comfort zone; next is considering the political, social, and perhaps religious tilt of the faculty and student body. Of course you should be open to new ideas and intelligent debate, but your experience would probably be most supported with those who share your goals, interests, and values. If you're considering a unique major, that may also limit your selection, and definitely keep that in mind. Visit as many colleges as possible, and more than likely, one or more will automatically feel like "home" to you (but if not, that's okay too). Once you have decided on a college, and start to attend it, GET INVOLVED. Check out anything that sounds remotely interesting to you on campus so you can meet friends with your interests. Most of all, be yourself, and enjoy the best four years of you life!

X

visit the campus. sit in on a class, talk to the students, stay o/night in a dorm, look at the cirriculum and course descriptions

Jaime

Go to the school with the best reputation

Nicole

Don't just apply to a school because it has the best ranking. You are making a big investment for the next four years, so make sure the college you choose is catering best to YOUR needs as a student. Remember to apply to a school/major that will cater to YOUR career, academic, and personal goals. When you find a college/major that works best for YOU, success in all areas of your life will come to you naturally! I have seen many people apply to Cornell just because it was a world-renowned school and not because it fit what their needs as a student. As a result, they were miserable for four years, lost motivation for the academics, and did poorly in school. In comparison, I choose Cornell because I saw that it fit my needs, and I flourished. I choose a college/major that was perfect for my academic, social, cultural, career and extracurricular goals/needs. As a result, I had an awesome experience here, and proud to be Cornellian! Go Big Red!!

Kay-Ann

People sometimes believe that money is no object when it comes to education, but I think it is important to consider the financial stress attending a costly institution would cause in one's family. A quality education, though more comfortably attainable at an institution with resources, is no more unattainable at any unequipped institution, because the educational success depends solely on the student. Prospective students must weigh the burden they would place on their families with the value of what they hope to achieve at any institution without romanticizing names. In any case, gut feelings are excellent deciding factors. When one is in college, a student must always look to the future, but never so far forward that he or she cannot enjoy the present. Grades are not the most important, though they help. Social interactions are the key. The people one meets in college will be ones future colleagues, here is where networking begins. Get to know three professors well. Be involved in at least one activity each semester. Explore the course catalogue before sticking to one field, and take fun classes like PE, especially if they are free. The same opportunities would cost non-students fortunes.

Amanda

A variety of students give prospective freshman advice on how to successfully navigate Cornell.

Jennifer

Look at all different types of schools. Don't be afraid to transfer if you're not happy.

Kathryna

Speaking from personal experience, finding the right college is nearly impossible. Once you think you've found the college for you, there's something about it that you couldn't have possibly found out about on a tour around the campus. The best thing to do would be to find a few students you see walking around and ask them what they really think of the college. Chances are, the students that they choose to represent the college aren't allowed to be as honest. Next, ask your self what you want out of your college career and beyond, then find a college that gets as close as possible. Lastly, in order to make the most out of your college career....have fun. Remember that you've come to college not only to learn and advance mentally but to do so socially and psychologically as well. College is a transition period between teenage years and adult ones. Use your four years to better understand yourself and to learn to cope with the ups and downs of life.

Johnny

A right college is not just a college that has the academic program for what you desire or how rigorous the school is. Yes, they are big factors of deciding the right college. However, there are many other factors that may affect you more than you think. Things like how hot or cold the weather is, how big parties are, or how loud or quiet the environment is are just three out of hundreds of questions you want answers to before you choose a college. So in order to decide what the right college is for someone, one must do research and visit the campus him/herself to understand to full benefits and harms that a college can offer. This is the best way to find the right college.

Alyson

You really have to visit the school in order to get the full campus feel. Perhaps plan an extended stay to attend some classes in the major that interests you to get a feel of what the academic life is really like. Talk to people you see and ask questions, not just the tour guides or faculty. Ask real students real questions. Don't choose a school based on appearances or reputation. Yes, those are great things to have, but you have to feel at home and comfortable. in order to make it through 4 years here. I have had several friends, who although they knew the school has a wonderful reputation, could not stay due to pressure and unhappiness.

Samuel

While many colleges offer competitive, comparable curricula in a student's prospective focus, that student would be remiss not to consider the diversity of other programming at the institution. Parents and students should investigate the academic and extracurricular environment to ensure that the school devotes an appropriate quantity of its resources to both of these areas. In all liklihood, students can learn a great deal in any classroom at a qualified intitution, but the true essence of a student's education, in my subjective view, is derived from the lessons a student absorbs beyond the spines of his or her textbooks. A student must seek an insitution where the entire school is committed the prospering of intellect that may or may not be observed in the classroom. More specifically, the school needs to be visibly committed the activities, venues, and people that promote this mentality. A school whose strengths lie in its academic and extracurricular diversity is more likely to facilitate this thought which will ultimately enhance each students' collegiate experience.

Morgan

The best advice I can give is check out the school before you agree to go. Visit as many places as you can and try to pick a university that is in line with your political and social stances in life otherwise it will make for a really tough adjustment.

Barbara

Go with your gut. I feel in love with this school the first time I visited it. I wasn't open to anything else. Perhaps I should have been, and perhaps you should be open minded. For all the stress involved with the hard work, I still would not have gone anywhere else.

Julian

Choose the college that best fits the student. If you choose the one that has the right social and academic atmosphere you will be the most motivated to succeed and be happy. Although money may be an issue, it should not keep a student who really has the desire to go to a school from enrolling. When you graduate, you want to look back and see that you chose the right school for you and have no regrets in settling for less. If you make the most out of the experience, you will be happy with the influence your school had on your life and be excited about what awaits you in your career.