Cornell University Top Questions

What's the one thing you wish someone had told you about freshman year?


I wish I had known how quickly it would all be over, and how I should have tried to go after more opportunities as they came or even sought them out. There is so much available that it was overwhelming.


I wish that I had known that unlike high school, where I could depend on my individual intelligence, surviving at Cornell means that you need good friends, you need a network, and you need to utilize your resources. I wish that I had realized that living at Cornell is an experience that transcends academia, and that being a Cornellian is a way of life that extends beyond the graduation date. I also wish that I would have known that I wouldn't be able to finance my upperclassmen years and I would have applied to more scholarships like this one.


If you plan on pledging (the sororities do NOT haze, but they do give you a lot of options for fun activities), make sure to take fewer credits in the spring.


I wish I knew about all of the possible majors and how they work with each other. Certain majors are exclusive in their classes and others are not -- and I may have applied to a different school within Cornell knowing this. I wish I knew just how much fun I would have - so that I would not be nervous. I think it is important to know that Cornell has poor career services


I wish I had double majored--it was my original intention but I got waylaid and didn't have enough time, but I think that is a great way to be able to participate in many career fields. Also, I wish I had interned during those years as many of my friends did. Its a great way to make connections and get hands-on experience.


I wish I knew that transitioning into college would be a challenge but that all it takes is time. Furthermore, that coming into college "undecided" should not be a reason for stress, but an opportunity to explore the endless possibilities and resources that Cornell has to offer. I wish I knew that college is not just about meeting new people, but about self discovery and reflection. That not everyday is easy but that everyday is valuable in its own way.


I wish that I had known the intensity of the classes at Cornell before I arrived. This would have made me feel a lot less stressed when my first tests came around were extremely challenged; I did not have the self-confidence to realize that my peers were experiencing the same stress and confusion. Once I realized this, I gained more confidence in my knowledge and was happier in general with my life at Cornell.


Cornell is very much its own community. The friends you form freshman year will still be your friends senior year and you really form a family and a home away from home. You will really grow to love and hate Cornell, but appreciate all that is has to offer.




I wish that I had known that simply being smart wasn't enough to succeed at Cornell. Great study habits and time management skills are what separated the smart students from the successful ones. I arrived on campus as a smug freshman with mediocre study skills; Cornell tamed me by the end of the second semester. Although this taming was the motivating factor behind my improved studying and time management, it prevented me from doing an honors thesis since I was unable to raise my GPA above a 3.5 (despite making Dean's List multiple times.


Before coming to Cornell, I wish somebody had explained to me the definite possibility that I would no longer be in the top of my class and that school would be very challenging. I wish that somebody had prepared me for the adjustment I would have to make to accepting B's as good grades. I am now a second semester sophomore, but it can be difficult at times to accept that a B is a good grade when in highschool, nothing less than an A was considered "my best" or good.


I wish I had known a little more about the social life at Cornell before I came here. When I arrived I realized that Greek life was very important and many events revolved around it. Because of Cornell's location it makes it hard to find things to do that are not school related, but it is possible. Also, because Cornell offers so many different activities I don't feel bored or forced to always be at Greek events. With time one can adjust to the social life at Cornell.


I wish I had known exactly how hard the curriculum for my major was going to be at the different universities that was considering attending. I knew it was going to be hard I did not think it was going to be as hard as it was my first semester. Before I started at Cornell I was pretty good at managing my time and I quickly found out the extreme importance of time management. I think time management is one of the most important things for a college student to have.


Shit's cold.


I would have wished to know more about the opportunities and classes that people would recommend, so I could make the best use of my time.


I wish I had known how to really study and take notes. I never really felt like high school prepared me for the rigorous course work and exams. My freshman year consisted of me having to completely relearn how to take notes and manage my time for studying. For example, I rely on making exam study sheets and flashcards. I review my notes every night after lecture. And I form study groups to review test materials. However it took a lot of adjusting to get to this point, and I'm still learning and adapting study skills.


I wish I had better high school preping, such as more AP classes but my school had a low budget.


I wish I had known how important it is to utilize social outlets like athletics or community service for building a surrounding network of support toward healthy student formation. There is such a strong emphasis placed on theory in academic development here 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 here! But as in life after college, we all need guidance in choosing the right balance between learning though theory and learning through experience itself.


I wish I knew more about the colleges core course requirement, and the specific courses that meet the requirements.


It's alot of work.


I wish I had known that in addition to academics that Cornell is such a welcoming and fun place to be for my four years of college!!!




To find a small group of people...make the university smaller.


I wish I had known the variety of courses and the role that fraternities play in the campus social life.


I wish I had known how hard it was going to be to adjust to an independent life-style. Also, I wish I had known how difficult it was going to be to readjust to home life once I returned.


How awesome it was


I wish I would have known how important it is to stay ahead with your schoolwork, and not wait until the last minute to complete projects and essays.


Ithaca winters are even colder than you think,


College is much more difficult than highschool and I would have to work harder than I expected.


How to use the resources, or at least insight from an upper classmen about what is most useful to use- it was very overwhelming. Always be prepared for any type of whether here- always carry an umbrella...


Sign up for lots fo classes! You'll never know how much you can handle unless you push yourself. There are so many interesting courses and not enough time to take them all. You can always drop classes if they're too hard.


I wish I had a better idea of my career goals before I started. I could have been more focused and therefore, more effective, resulting in a higher income. However, I still have to say that things have turned out pretty well for me!


how the school does not provide ennough culturally enlightening atmosphere at the school


That most people are very friendly, and just as lonely and insecure and inexperienced as you are. In a big campus you can end up feeling like everyone has more friends than you (all the boys seemed to be best friends by the second day of orientation!) but if you have the confidence to smile and put yourself out there, almost everyone is really nice - and feeling just the way you are. Plus, you should try to meet people, because there is a fantastic diversity of interesting and extremely clever people here.


I wish I had known how to better study before coming to Cornell. At first, it was a hard adjustment, but overtime, you get the hang of things and it all becomes manageable. Its all a matter of not panicking and staying positive in knowing that it does get better overtime.


It is the coldest, dreariest place I've ever been, and engineering is very challenging.


I wish I done more research of the Academic programs offered




The competition seemed overwhelming. I constantly have to tell myself that I can do it. High school was so easy with all the dumbies. This is NOT all dumbies. I am competitive, but the competition has been fierce.


I wish I had known more about financial aid options available. I wish I had known more about undergrads taking grad school classes. Some of the undergard classes had no real world practicality.


How cold it gets.


To join the hotel school. Off campus housing is a HUGE rip off


The value of getting to know older people at the school. Also the value of taking more classes outside of your major and exploring.


About the Learning Strategies Center. About managing your time. How deligent you had to be to really get the grades that you so dearly desire.


How much work it would be, and how to study effectively...studying in high school is nothing compared to studying in college.