Cornell University Top Questions

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


The most important thing is to look for in a campus is whether or not it will be a place where you will feel at home. You will be the happiest at college if you choose a school that offers programs, both academic and extra-curricular, that you are most interested in. You want it to be in an area that you can picture your self living in. If you like to hike and be outdoors make sure you are in a place with a lot of nearby places to explore and pick a school that offers classes and programs that allow you enjoy the outdoors. If you like being in the city make sure you pick a school located in a city you'd like to be it with lots of museums, clubs, stores, and other places to go. Also make sure that the students and professors are the type of people you fell comfortable being with. Even if a school is perfect for what you want academically, you will never be able to get the most out of your experience if you are not comfortable and happy living on campus.


Visit a TON of places if you aren't really sure about where you're going to go, and even if you think you are. If you can, don't just go to a school once, but visit at different times in the year, and try to take advantage of any programs or activities that would allow you to sit in on a class, spend a night in a dorm, or otherwise get a closer feel for what it's really like to live there. A lot of the time what you see in a brochure doesn't necessarily give the full picture of a school, and sometimes there's just an atmosphere for a college that can't be experienced other than simply being on campus and seeing it all spread out around you.


Don't focus too much on the Newsweek rankings. Identity your kid's strengths and weaknesses and the type of environment they learn best in. Anywhere they do well, doors will open.


Start early. It is important that students in their Sophomore year of high school begin focusing on the next step. Initially this means evaluating your likes and dislikes to help determine a major or academic area of interest. Before looking at the activities, the sports, and pictures of the campus, it's important that there are several majors that you would consider declaring. After you know this, then you can begin looking at the size, the look of the campus, the activities, sports, and diversity, and make a list of schools that seem to be a good fit for you. One common mistake people do, is to not visit the schools prior to applying, or not visiting them at all. College applications are costly,(about $75 a piece) and it makes absolutely no sense to spend the money applying, and then visiting the campus and not liking the vibe that you get. The more tours and research you do in advance, the better your results. Your college education is one of the biggest and important investments that you can make for yourself, and it is key that you dedicate time into the decision, because really affects your opportunities upon graduation.


Go with your gut feeling. If you feel comfortable at the school, then it is the right school for you and you will enjoy your four years there.


Apply Early Decision.


Location, campus size, school spirit, facilities and extra-curricular activities are good to look at. Location refers to how far the college is from familiarity, including rural versus urban campus. Campus size refers to distance between classes, residency and amenities. If you are not a walker, you won?t want to walk a mile to class. School spirit is important. Sporting events are great social events. As for facilities, make sure the places you will be spending time are comfortable and accessible. Extra-curriculars balance out schoolwork. You will need a break, and it is a great way to meet people. With all that being said, you will find a way to make college fit for you. That is the best part about college; it encourages you to do what you want. It's there for you. If you take advantage of the opportunities given you will get what you need from the college. There is not just one school for you, there are many. As long as you open your eyes to new ideas you will find your niche. Trust your instincts, if a college has made your top 5, you will be happy there. Don?t doubt yourself.


Make sure the school is a social as well as academic fit


Be open minded. Most students will find their place at a large variety of schools. Also, as a student, try a little bit of everything and get involved. Your favorite parts of college will be outside the classroom.


Do a lotof research, visit campus, talk to the faculty your child's potential major, look at support services such as the career office, tutoring, psychology etc.


College is a life changing experience. It is a place to grow and learn more about yourself as an individual. It is a place of empowerment and fustration. It is a place of triumphs and defeats. Deciding which college to attend is often analyzed via costs and benefits. Ultimately, however, college is a second home; a place where happiness and security should be found and that makes all the difference.


Choose a school that has a good program for what you want to take. Going Ivy League got me my job!


Go to the most prestigious school you can because you will make the connections which will help you attain your goals faster. You can get a great education pretty much anywhere these days, reputation is what will give you the edge in the "real world".


Don't look only for the 'best' schools by others' standards, but please keep your own happiness and potential for growth in mind. If you know you won't be happy in the hustle-bustle of a city, or will be restless in someplace too quiet, don't succumb just to a brand-name. In the process of college, there will indeed be times when you're unhappy, but don't let the these times get you down; know that everybody has their days (or weeks). Hopefully you'll find people to share your burden with, and even just knowing that you're not alone will make the load a lot easier. Fear of failure is big in universities like Cornell, despite all of the mighty fronts of grades, research, internships, networks, etc. that people put up. It's okay to admire your peers or professors...but don't let yourself be intimidated by them. They're only human, like you. Make sure you make time for enjoyment-- things YOU enjoy, not things you have to be persuaded are 'fun,' but be open to trying new things, too. Don't be too surprised when you're surprised!


join things. dont just concentrate on work. get out there and experience everything your school has to offer. college is the best time of your life, so live. when deciding what college is best for you, decide what kind of person you are. if you like getting to know everyone in your class and constantly being on top, then go to a smaller, lesser ranked school. if you are up for a challenega nd want to be surrounded by people of your same capability, go to a better ranked or a bigger school


Pick something for yourself. No one else.


Don't want the scholarship, just the 10g's


The most difficult and important part of college life is making decision about the future plans. for me, Cornell provided all resource and opportunities to test drive anything and everything before arriving at that final decision. It's only the beginning of experiencing life, might as well enjoy the ride.


Don't just follow school rankings/prestige. Visit the schools!


The best advice that I can possibly give is to LET THE STUDENT MAKE THEIR OWN CHOICES. Forcing a student into choosing a school based on money, prestige, location or any other factor is merely setting up the student to fail in some way. While all of those factors must be considered, I know I considered all of them in my search, none should be decisive nor exclusive. Many, many avenues for success and health in your undergrad carreer will be available to all who seek them. Do not, however, assume that your struggles will be noticed by anyone. I urge you to seek help, if needed, but realize that only you can make things work. I went through the divorce of my parents during my sophomore and junior years, and in my idiocy, I failed to seek help to deal with the issues. I instead turned to partying, and I have regretted that each day since.


I would suggest finding a school that has a sense of tradition and is well-respected around the country for academics and /or research. I would also look to find a school that offers opportunities for involvement prior to graduation, whether in clubs, intramurals, Greek life, research, community service, etc. These kinds of opportunities allowed me personally to not only build up my resume and make friends, but to better inform me about what I like and dislike, and also enables me to sample different interests before making a sustained commitment in the form of a career. Also, pick a school where you know you will be able to make friends, have fun, and relax, as school should not only be about studying hard and getting good grades, but also making lifelong friends and connections. In short, I would recommend choosing a school that allows you to maximize your future potential in the 4 short years you're there, as your education can and should be a "golden ticket" to advance yourself in the future!


Visit! Take the tour, but also talk to students who go there who aren't being paid to convince you to go there; they're a lot more likely to be honest. Find out what jobs people who graduate there usually get and determine if that matches up with what you want. If you're a female student, find out how women perform at the school. Look at the school's newspaper and list of student organizations; they will give you a feel for the school's political atmosphere. Once you've amassed all the information about a college, be very honest with yourself about whether you think you would be happy there for four or more years. That matters more than cost or prestige.


take the time to really walk around and experience college life at any campus that you are considering. name brand recognition and prestige are important, but if you are not happy at the institution you choose you will not do well no matter how prestigious the name.


Visit each school and really envision yourself there. Of course the curriculum matters but what really matters is that you are going to be socially comfortable in your environment to enable your ability to learn.


Watch the people, not the classes. it's about what you make of it - all in the attitude.


First make a list of what you or your child wants from the college experience. This can be academics, social aspects, or alumni relations. Next pick schools that fit the profile on paper of what you desire. It is very important to visit the schools to know what they have to offer above and beyond what is on the brochure. In order to get the most from your college experience, I would say try to get as involved in as many activities as you can at school. Doing intramural sports, joining student government, rushing a fraternity/sorrority are all great options to meet different types of people and make important relationships for the time you are at school and after you graduate. Also, get to know your professors and any alumni that stop by. They will be your best resource for getting a job once you get out of school.


Talk to the students there- if you like the people you'll be with, you'll like the school.


When it comes to finding the right college, make sure you do a lot of research and visit schools that seem appealing. Also make sure that the school has a diversity of fields, or a strong program in the specific field in which you are interested. Never base your personal college decision on the decisions of others, and absolutely do not be dissuaded from applying to a school because someone tells you something negative about it (or that you are not qualified). To make the most of your college experience the most important thing is to be open to trying new things and meeting new people. Try out different activities and get to know as many people as possible. Do not limit yourself to a certain group of people and do not place too much value on being accepted into any certain organization. Most of all, have fun and stay focused!


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Make sure that you spend plenty of time reading about schools and talk to students from the school to get a good idea about what campus is really like.


To find the right college in the midst of all of today?s institutions is an amazing personal challenge. The best advice I can give is to first stay true to yourself when choosing your field of study, because ultimately you will earn a degree that will, if nothing else, get you started. If you don?t know, ensure your choice doesn?t limit your options. Second is that people surrounding you will make your experience. Visit schools for a night or two during the ?off-season?, attend some classes, and look up professor ratings online. That will give you an idea as to whether you will be doing a lot of work or partying on your own. Other factors cannot make up for these first two. The college experience is goes along the same lines. Don?t forget that your studies will get you to the next ?step? in life, but that college will (normally) only be there once. Find and spend time with your friends, go to sports games, and make those connections that will last for your lifetime. Make sure you have stories to talk about with your buddies, and some that you can tell your grandchildren.


In order to find the right college and/or university for yourself or for your child, you have start researching schools that fit you or your childs needs. However, before even the research begins, the child needs to be passionate, ambitious, and driven enough to want to succeed and learn in a higher learning environment. The school and child will form a symbiotic relationship where both the school and student gives and take as much as each puts in. To summarize, the best advice I can give parents and/or students about finding the right college and making the most of the college experience is to first enjoy high school and start the college application process early. Enjoying high school will teach students how to enjoy college and thus life, and an early start on a college application will reduce stress and make for a well informed decision.


Make sure you do you research and start early. Its as simple as that. Just take the process one step at a time and dont get overwhelmed. When you start doing research look at common schools and decide what specifications your college should have. Make a list, visit schools and revise your list. Theres nothing that helps define a campus more than visiting while class is in session. Just seeing how the students carry themselves, what they do for fun and their overall determination will give you an idea whether or not you want to join them. The most important thing is to pick a school you are excited to attend. When you are excited you are motivated so make sure you make the right choice. In some cases you get down to the fact that the school you would love to attend is also the school you would love to afford. Student loans, financial aid and work opportunities are availible if you look into it. As a student who expects to have 25 thousand dollars a year in loans I still think it is worth every penny to go to the school you want. You only get one chance.


There is no magical formula. Do the best you can with what you have. You'll know after the first semester whether it's the right place for you. If it isn't, don't be afraid to transfer. I transferred to Cornell from another school where I wasn't happy and it was one of the best decisions I've ever made.


Do not pay too much attention to college rankings! I know too many parents and students who aggressively mull over every tiny detail of Princeton Review or US News ranks. Decisions are made due to reasons as silly as because School A ranks 0.1 higher than School B. There is no substantial meaning to that. I would advise rather that students first identify what they would like to study. If it's engineering, then what tendencies do you have? Do you like financial engineering or are you a prospective tech savvy electrical engineer? What have you done in and outside of school that you really loved and wanted to follow up on? Having identified a core interest, then do some research on what schools excel in that. Again, don't heed too much attention to ranks. Rather, talk to students of said university how they feel their classes are, what the social life consists of, what a typical weekend is like. Don't believe everything that the college brochures that the university admissions office print. Visit the campus, stay and experience life on campus and decide for yourself if this is the right environment for you.


To the student: Finding the right college for you can be very intimidating for someone just out of high school - it was for me, at least! The first thing I reccommend that you do is decide what interests you and what you think you might enjoy doing later on in life. The next step is researching schools that offer majors in subjects that interest you (if you don't know what you want to do, it's OK! You can apply Undecided to schools that are strong in multiple fields). Next, be sure to narrow down your list of schools based on affordability and location! When you have five (give or take) or fewer remaining on the list, I *highly* recommend visiting the schools that interest you so that you can get a feel for the campus academics, diversity, social life, and the surrounding area. While you're there, ask students if they like it there and why, what the worst thing about the school is, and whether they made the right decision by enrolling! Making the most of your college experience is easy - GET INVOLVED! Don't be shy around new people, it'll be easier to make friends!


Keep this kind of answer simple: Lots and lots of students are applying to colleges today. Simply not everyone can get into every college taht they choose. There are many super qualified and wonderful candidates out there, and with so many excellent students applying grades are far from the determining factor. Character, personality and excitement in what you do is the most important -- if you are excited it will come across, so take time to write well on your essays and to learn about a school before interviewing if you chose to do that. And don't be dissappointed is you don't get in. There are also many good schools out there, and the real quality of a school comes from what you make of your time there. So wherever you end up just work hard and do what you love, and don't let the application process make you feel inferior or cheated. This is simply a step of life. And of course, good luck to all.


Tours, visits and campus stays are critical. Try to take classes, get a job, or get involved on the campus as a pre-frosh over the summer if you can before deciding where to apply/enroll.


Take the time to visit the school and learn what the institution offers its students. Take advantage of the bus trips that many of these schools offer to interested/prospective students to spend a night or weekend at the school. Make sure to ask both administrators and students at the university plenty of questions regarding your field of interest as well as any general interests (eg ? social life). Don?t worry if you are undecided! It is perfectly ok not to know your field of study going into college. Once in college, make sure to take full advantage of the resources available that help students succeed. If unsure of something, do not be afraid to ASK questions ? no matter the topic (academics, financial aid, housing, etc.). Lastly, just because you do not get accepted into your top choice college, it does not mean that you cannot fully embrace everything that the institution you attend has to offer. It is up to you to make the most of your college education and experience and you must be open minded about what will most likely be the BEST 4 years of your life. (Yes ? it is even better than high school!)


Visit each school you are interested in. It may sound expensive, but it is worth it to go to the campus, talk with the students, and see what the college is like. Also, don't brush the school off if you don't like it the first time. I didn't like Cornell the first time, and now I love the school and am happy I chose to go here. Always have a safety school ready, and don't be afraid to aim high; Cornell was a reach school and I now go there. And once you pick a college, explore it to the fullest; go to movies, check out clubs, and do something new. You'll be happy you did. Good luck!


Look at what your needs are. I chose my university because I wanted to be challenged. Do not choose a college or university just because your friend goes there, or because your parents went there, or because it looks nice. I would suggest looking at how well a student would "fit", that is, be compatible with the school both academically and socially.


With all the events and programs available at Cornell, make sure you organize and plan your time and schedules well. It?ll definitely be worth it in the end.?


Try a lot before you decide-- that goes for visiting colleges, taking courses, choosing activities, etc. As tempting is it is to settle in where you first feel comfortable, don't narrow things down too quickly.


I?ll never forget career day. Our puerile responses were spontaneous and simple. One student proudly proclaimed to the teacher, ? I want to be a fireman.? Another smugly shouted, ? I want to be a doctor.? I always thought that my answer was the coolest, and most profound for my young first grader status, ? I want to be an astronaut.? That bold statement never traipsed across my mind as something that was out of my range, something that was unachievable. I didn?t stop to fret about the many applications I would have to pound through, the hours, days, and weeks waiting for a response from that reach school, or even the money that it would cost. I truly believed I was going to be an astronaut, sipping tang and wearing space boots, but after watching Armageddon I was singing another tune. Although I no longer have the desire to become an astronaut I realize I had made a pivotal decision on that day. Young age is a catalyst for the imagination. I set no limits because I foresaw none. Parent?s and students shouldn't see college is unattainable, forget the naysayers and work hard.


There is no easy way to make such a daunting decision. No matter where you go you will second guess yourself and you will have friends who appear to be enjoying their experience more than you are. After completeing one year of school I have realized that it is far more important to choose a university based on the availability of both classes and activities that involve your interests than to choose a school based on the climate, social environment, appearance and reputation. There is diversity everywhere and you will always be able to make lifelong friends put in a little effort to find them. Ultimately college is about learning new things and developing your mind with the addition of information you will not be able to recieve anywhere else other than a college campus. As such it is far more important to be in an intellectually stimulating environment than where you can get a nice tan and love every person you may meet.


Do an honest assesment of what kind of person you are and what you want. Fitting in on campus and being happy are much more important that going to a school that is ranked slightly higher. Going to a 15th ranked school over a better fitting 20th ranked school can mean the difference between being happy and being motivated to do well or barely passing.


You should definitley visit the school before going. I thought I would hate cornell before coming up and was not really even considering it. I thought it was too big, but i realized it was just the right size (big enough for good research facilities, but small enough to not get lost, and i dont mean in terms of directions). Visiting other schools i realized i did not like them at all, so it is very important.


Make sure you're making the choice for yourself and not for your parents. If it's between just a handful of schools, go with the place you think you can be at for 4 years and know that you will have the same opportunities regardless of which similarly ranked school you go with.


The best advice would be to actually check out the schools that the student is interesting in attending. The brochures and facts and peer experiences can be misleading and exxagerations. Take a trip over the weekend and see if the campus is a fit for you and your personality. If there are programs where you can sit in on some classes or stay the weekend at at a dorm with a student, I would highly encourage prospective students to take them.


In terms of selecting the right college for you, availability of particular areas of study and location, should be important factors to consider. Finding a school that offered the somewhat unique major I wanted to go into (landscape architecture) was hard, so that narrowed my choices significantly. From there, I took geographic location into account. I could have chosen the school in my home town, or a school that was a 4 hour drive away. I chose the farther one. While both were good schools, I wanted to get away a little bit to broaden my horizons. Because I love my family and home, it was very hard for me to adjust, but after two years I've decided it was a good decision. I appreciate the unique opportunities that the small but ecclectic town of Ithaca, NY offers. On the other hand, it's not so far that I can't drive home in case of a family emergency. Overall, it is most important that the student, and not the parent, is the main decision-maker when it comes to choosing the best college.