Cornell Requirements for Admission

What are Cornell's admission requirements? While there are a lot of pieces that go into a college application, you should focus on only a few critical things:

  • GPA requirements
  • Testing requirements, including SAT and ACT requirements
  • Application requirements

In this guide we'll cover what you need to get into Cornell and build a strong application.

School location: Ithaca, NY

This school is also known as: Cornell University


Admissions Rate: 15%

If you want to get in, the first thing to look at is the acceptance rate. This tells you how competitive the school is and how serious their requirements are.

The acceptance rate at Cornell is 15%. For every 100 applicants, only 15 are admitted.

image description

This means the school is extremely selective. Meeting their GPA requirements and SAT/ACT requirements is very important to getting past their first round of filters and proving your academic preparation. If you don't meet their expectations, your chance of getting is nearly zero.

After crossing this hurdle, you'll need to impress Cornell application readers through their other application requirements, including extracurriculars, essays, and letters of recommendation. We'll cover more below.


Cornell GPA Requirements

Many schools specify a minimum GPA requirement, but this is often just the bare minimum to submit an application without immediately getting rejected.

The GPA requirement that really matters is the GPA you need for a real chance of getting in. For this, we look at the school's average GPA for its current students.

Average GPA: 3.18

The average GPA at Cornell is 3.18.

image description

(Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA. This school did not officially report its average GPA, but we've estimated it here using data from over 1,000 schools.)

With a GPA of 3.18, Cornell accepts below-average students. It's OK to be a B-average student, with some A's mixed in. It'd be best to avoid C's and D's, since application readers might doubt whether you can handle the stress of college academics.

If you're currently a junior or senior, your GPA is hard to change in time for college applications. If your GPA is at or below the school average of 3.18, you'll need a higher SAT or ACT score to compensate. This will help you compete effectively against other applicants who have higher GPAs than you.


SAT and ACT Requirements

Each school has different requirements for standardized testing. Most schools require the SAT or ACT, and many also require SAT subject tests.

You must take either the SAT or ACT to submit an application to Cornell. More importantly, you need to do well to have a strong application.

Cornell SAT Requirements

Many schools say they have no SAT score cutoff, but the truth is that there is a hidden SAT requirement. This is based on the school's average score.

Average SAT: 1430 (New: 1050)

The average SAT score composite at Cornell is a 1430 on the old 2400 SAT scale.

On the new 1600 SAT, this corresponds to an average SAT score of 1050.

This score makes Cornell Competitive for SAT test scores.

image description

Cornell SAT Score Analysis (New 1600 SAT)

The 25th percentile New SAT score is 980, and the 75th percentile New SAT score is 1110. In other words, a 980 on the New SAT places you below average, while a 1110 will move you up to above average.

Here's the breakdown of new SAT scores by section:

SectionAverage25th Percentile75th Percentile
Math760710790
Reading373539
Writing373538
Composite10509801110

Cornell SAT Score Analysis (Old 2400 SAT)

The 25th percentile Old SAT score is 1330, and the 75th percentile SAT score is 1530. In other words, a 1330 on the Old SAT places you below average, while a 1530 puts you well above average.

Here's the breakdown of old SAT scores by section:

SectionAverage25th Percentile75th Percentile
Math730680780
Reading700650750
Writing700650750
Composite143013301530

SAT Score Choice Policy

The Score Choice policy at your school is an important part of your testing strategy.

Cornell has the Score Choice policy of "All Scores."

This means that Cornell requires you to send all SAT scores you've ever taken to their office.

This sounds daunting, but most schools don't actually consider all your scores equally. For example, if you scored an 1800 on one test and a 2100 on another, they won't actually average the two tests.

In fact, we researched the score policies at Cornell, and they have the following policy:

Note that Cornell requires students to submit all scores from SAT tests taken and does not participate in the College Board’s Score Choice.

Source

Some students are still worried about submitting too many test scores. They're afraid that Cornell will look down on too many attempts to raise your score. But how many is too many?

From our research and talking to admissions officers, we've learned that 4-6 tests is a safe number to submit. The college understands that you want to have the best chance of admission, and retaking the test is a good way to do this. Within a reasonable number of tests, they honestly don't care how many times you've taken it. They'll just focus on your score.

If you take it more than 6 times, colleges start wondering why you're not improving with each test. They'll question your study skills and ability to improve.

But below 6 tests, we strongly encourage retaking the test to maximize your chances. If your SAT score is currently below a 1530, we strongly recommend that you consider prepping for the SAT and retaking it. You don't have much to lose, and you can potentially raise your score and significantly boost your chances of getting in.


Exclusive: Want to learn how to improve your SAT score by 160 points? image description

Download our free guide on the top 5 strategies you must be using to improve your score. This guide was written by Harvard graduates and SAT perfect scorers. If you apply the strategies in this guide, you'll study smarter and make huge score improvements.

Get eBook: 5 Tips for 240+ Points

Cornell ACT Requirements

Just like for the SAT, Cornell likely doesn't have a hard ACT cutoff, but if you score too low, your application will get tossed in the trash.

Average ACT: 32

The average ACT score at Cornell is 32. This score makes Cornell Strongly Competitive for ACT scores.

image description

The 25th percentile ACT score is 30, and the 75th percentile ACT score is 34.

Even though Cornell likely says they have no minimum ACT requirement, if you apply with a 30 or below, you'll have a very hard time getting in, unless you have something else very impressive in your application. There are so many applicants scoring 32 and above that a 30 will look academically weak.

ACT Score Sending Policy

If you're taking the ACT as opposed to the SAT, you have a huge advantage in how you send scores, and this dramatically affects your testing strategy.

Here it is: when you send ACT scores to colleges, you have absolute control over which tests you send. You could take 10 tests, and only send your highest one. This is unlike the SAT, where many schools require you to send all your tests ever taken.

This means that you have more chances than you think to improve your ACT score. To try to aim for the school's ACT requirement of 34 and above, you should try to take the ACT as many times as you can. When you have the final score that you're happy with, you can then send only that score to all your schools.

ACT Superscore Policy

By and large, most colleges do not superscore the ACT. (Superscore means that the school takes your best section scores from all the test dates you submit, and then combines them into the best possible composite score). Thus, most schools will just take your highest ACT score from a single sitting.

However, from our research, Cornell is understood to superscore the ACT. We couldn't confirm it directly from the school's admissions website, but multiple sources confirm that the school does superscore the ACT. We recommend you call their admissions office directly for more information.

Source

Superscoring is powerful to your testing strategy, and you need to make sure you plan your testing accordingly. Of all the scores that Cornell receives, your application readers will consider your highest section scores across all ACT test dates you submit.

Click below to learn more about how superscoring critically affects your test strategy.

How does superscoring change your test strategy? (Click to Learn)

For example, say you submit the following 4 test scores:

English Math Reading Science Composite
Test 1 32 16 16 16 20
Test 2 16 32 16 16 20
Test 3 16 16 32 16 20
Test 4 16 16 16 32 20
Superscore 32 32 32 32 32

Even though the highest ACT composite you scored on any one test date was 20, Cornell will take your highest section score from all your test dates, then combine them to form your Superscore. You can raise your composite score from 20 to 32 in this example.

This is important for your testing strategy. Because you can choose which tests to send in, and Cornell forms your Superscore, you can take the ACT as many times as you want, then submit only the tests that give you the highest Superscore. Your application readers will only see that one score.

Therefore, if your ACT score is currently below a 34, we strongly recommend that you consider prepping for the ACT and retaking it. You have a very good chance of raising your score, which will significantly boost your chances of getting in.

Even better, because of the Superscore, you can focus all your energy on a single section at a time. If your Reading score is lower than your other sections, prep only for the Reading section, then take the ACT. Then focus on Math for the next test, and so on. This will surely give you the highest Superscore possible.


Studying for the ACT instead? Want to learn how to improve your ACT score by 4 points? image description

Download our free guide on the top 5 strategies you must be using to improve your score. This guide was written by Harvard graduates and ACT perfect scorers. If you apply the strategies in this guide, you'll study smarter and make huge score improvements.

Free eBook: 5 Tips to 4+ Points on the ACT

SAT/ACT Writing Section Requirements

Both the SAT and ACT have a Writing section that includes an essay.

Cornell requires you to take the SAT/ACT Writing section. They'll use this as another factor in their admissions consideration.


SAT Subject Test Requirements

Schools vary in their SAT subject test requirements. Typically, selective schools tend to require them, while most schools in the country do not.

Cornell has indicated that SAT subject tests are required for SOME applicants. Typically this means that applying to certain majors or colleges within the school requires SAT subject tests, and others don't. Read further to see if you'll need to submit SAT subject scores.

Typically, your SAT/ACT and GPA are far more heavily weighed than your SAT Subject Tests. If you have the choice between improving your SAT/ACT score or your SAT Subject Test scores, definitely choose to improve your SAT/ACT score.


Our Expert's Notes

We did more detailed research into this school and found the following information.

When applying to Cornell, you will select a specific college, from the College of Arts and Sciences to the College of Engineering to the College of Agriculture. For the College of Arts and Sciences -- the largest undergraduate college at Cornell -- 2 SAT Subject Tests are required in addition to the SAT or ACT. For the College of Engineering, 2 Subject Tests are required as well, but they must be in math (any level) and a science. Architecture, Art, and Planning as well as Hotel Administration require an SAT Subject Test in math. The other schools do not require subject tests. You can view a full chart of the various colleges' testing requirements here.

Source


Final Admissions Verdict

image description

Because this school is extremely selective, getting a high SAT/ACT score and GPA is vital to having a chance at getting in. If you don't pass their SAT/ACT and GPA requirements, they'll likely reject you without much consideration.

To have the best shot of getting in, you should aim for the 75th percentile, with a 1530 SAT or a 34 ACT. You should also have a 3.18 GPA or higher. If your GPA is lower than this, you need to compensate with a higher SAT/ACT score.

For a school as selective as Cornell, you'll also need to impress them with the rest of your application. We'll cover those details next.

But if you apply with a score below a 1530 SAT or a 34 ACT, you unfortunately start out with the odds against you and have a tiny chance of getting in. There are just too many students with high SAT/ACT scores and strong applications, and you need to compete against them.



Admissions Calculator

What are your chances of admission at Cornell University?
Chances of admission with these scores:

Here's our custom admissions calculator. Plug in your numbers to see what your chances of getting in are.

Pick your test: Old SAT New SAT ACT

SAT Score
Your GPA
Note: This is only an estimate for the average student, based on data collected from thousands of students. Other factors in your application may come into play, such as extracurriculars and recommendation letters.

How would your chances improve with a better score?

Try to take your current SAT score and add 160 points (or take your ACT score and add 4 points) to the calculator above. See how much your chances improve?

At PrepScholar, we've created the leading online SAT/ACT prep program. We guarantee an improvement of 160 SAT points or 4 ACT points on your score, or your money back.

Here's a summary of why we're so much more effective than other prep programs:

There's a lot more to PrepScholar that makes it the best SAT/ACT prep program. Click to learn more about our program, or sign up for our 5-day free trial to check out PrepScholar for yourself:

SAT Free Signup

Application Requirements

Every school requires an application with the bare essentials - high school transcript and GPA, application form, and other core information. Many schools, as explained above, also require SAT and ACT scores, as well as letters of recommendation, application essays, and interviews. We'll cover the exact requirements of Cornell here.

Application Requirements Overview

  • Common Application Accepted, supplemental forms required
  • Universal Application Accepted, supplemental forms required
  • Electronic Application Available
  • Essay or Personal Statement Required for all freshmen
  • Letters of Recommendation 2
  • Interview Not required
  • Application Fee $80
  • Fee Waiver Available? Available
  • Other Notes

Testing Requirements

  • SAT or ACT Required
  • SAT or ACT Writing Required
  • SAT Subject Tests Required for some
  • Scores Due in Office None

Coursework Requirements

  • Subject Required Years
  • English 4
  • Math 3
  • Science
  • Foreign Language
  • Social Studies
  • History
  • Electives

Deadlines and Early Admissions

  •  
    • Offered? Deadline Notification
  • Regular Admission
    • Yes January 2 March 31
  • Early Action
    • No
  • Early Decision
    • Yes November 1 December 15

Admissions Office Information

Our Expert's Notes

We did more detailed research into this school's admissions process and found the following information:

If you are applying to the Agriculture, Architecture, or Human Ecology colleges, there are additional portfolio requirements.

Source


Other Schools For You

If you're interested in Cornell, you'll probably be interested in these schools as well. We've divided them into 3 categories depending on how hard they are to get into, relative to Cornell.


image description

Reach Schools: Harder to Get Into

These schools are more selective and have higher scores than Cornell. If you improve your SAT score, you'll be competitive for these schools.

School Name Location SAT Avg (1600) SAT Avg (2400) ACT Avg
University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL 1190 1652 27
Ohio University Athens, OH 1180 1632 24
University of North Texas Denton, TX 1160 1610 23
Pace University New York, NY 1140 1070 24
Florida Gulf Coast University Fort Myers, FL 1150 1595 24
Washington State University Pullman, WA 1110 1535 23
Coastal Carolina University Conway, SC 1080 1005 22

image description

Same Level: Equally Hard to Get Into

If you're competitive for Cornell, these schools will offer you a similar chance of admission.

School Name Location SAT Avg (1600) SAT Avg (2400) ACT Avg
Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis Indianapolis, IN 1090 1499 22
Northwestern University Evanston, IL 1080 1480 33
California State University Long Beach Long Beach, CA 1060 984 21
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Tallahassee, FL 1030 1413 20
University of Texas at El Paso El Paso, TX 1010 935 20
Kean University Union, NJ 1010 930 19
California State University Northridge Northridge, CA 990 912 19

image description

Safety Schools: Easier to Get Into

If you're currently competitive for Cornell, you should have no problem getting into these schools. If Cornell is currently out of your reach, you might already be competitive for these schools.

School Name Location SAT Avg (1600) SAT Avg (2400) ACT Avg
California State University East Bay Hayward, CA 990 1347 19
California State University Fresno Fresno, CA 990 1340 19
California State University San Bernardino San Bernardino, CA 980 1334 18
Stevens Institute of Technology Hoboken, NJ 980 1331 31
California State University Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA 980 1322 18
State University of New York College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill Cobleskill, NY 960 881 19
California State University Dominguez Hills Carson, CA 910 1227 17

If You Liked Our Advice...

Visit our blog for free strategy guides on college admissions and test prep.

Our experts have written hundreds of useful articles on improving your SAT score and getting into college. You'll definitely find something useful here.

Visit our blog now.

Subscribe to our newsletter to get FREE strategies and guides sent to your email. Learn how to ace the SAT with exclusive tips and insights that we share with our private newsletter subscribers.

Get Free SAT Tips to Boost Your Score
100% Privacy. No spam ever.


You should definitely follow us on social media. You'll get updates on our latest articles right on your feed. Follow us on all 3 of our social networks:


Twitter and Google+