Cornell University Reviews
Student & Graduate Reviews (41)
Great school. The faculty are all very dedicated. The campus is beautiful and located in a small town surrounded by nature. Some of the students are there because they have to be, but many of them still enjoy learning. The classes can be stressful, but if you enjoy what you're learning then the stress doesn't account for much, the ones you hear complaining the most are the ones who don't want to be there.
It really does try to live up to it's motto of "Where anyone can find instruction in any study." You work, live, and socialize with people who come from different walks of life and have interests in just about anything. That being said, it IS an Ivy League school, so "different walks of life" generally means 50% upper to upper-middle class white kids, and 50% everyone else. However, of the Ivies, it definitely has the biggest breadth of academic diversity (7 different colleges, half public, half private) and the large size means that you'll be able to find your group of friends (and avoid anyone you can't stand). Greek life is big (about 1/3 of students when I was there), but there's no real pressure to join up. There really isn't a single "Cornell experience" - it's a choose-your-own-adventure book where you can have both frat bro electrical engineers and hardcore academic art students playing beer pong at the same party as B.N..
Cornell was an amazing place to study. I did a lot of hands-on work and had professors who were leaders in their fields. The campus is beautiful, and the town is really geared towards college students, so it is a truly welcoming place to study.
The school is very large, but is a great place for someone who knows exactly what they want to study. It is not for the faint of heart.
Cornell is a wonderful place, both academically and socially. Its diverse student body allows you to explore any interest you desire.
Unlike some other Ivy-league schools getting in to Cornell is not the hard part. You will get a fantastic education but you will work your A$$ off for it.
I had trouble learning to balance school work, paid work, and other activities, but I muddled through slightly above average in an engineering program while working two jobs and holding officer positions in multiple student groups. Yes, college is hard, but you can do it, and you could probably do it better than I did if you focus on the school work aspect.
Cornell University provides a great education in a variety of disciplines. The University has both endowed and state colleges- the latter allowing a Cornell education at reduced tuition for residents of New York State. Introductory classes are often large, which can make it a bit more difficult to form close relationships with your professors or many of your classmates. However, Cornell offers additional support resources, and as you proceed to higher level classes, there is often more personal interaction. You have to be proactive in taking advantage of what the school has to offer and in distinguishing yourself as one from many, but that's a good lesson for life after college.
I read the review from the student who graduated in 2014, and I will say that my experience 20 years prior was just about the same. "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times." I am a first generation college student from a rural area, and I felt completely ill-prepared for Cornell's academics. At times, I thought Cornell would break me - but I didn't allow that to happen! I muddled through and swore I would never darken the doorstep of another institution of higher education again! However, I went on to take a few classes at Harvard, one course at Boston University, and I received a master's degree from Case Western Reserve University. Cornell really prepared me for academics elsewhere - I didn't have a problem at all at any of those universities! I will begin my doctoral studies at Baylor University in June 2015, and I feel grateful to Cornell for teaching me how to study and how to love learning. Moreover, I left Cornell without owing a dime in student loans. If you have great financial need, don't let that stop you from applying. The school is very generous with grants and scholarships! Oh.. and Ithaca is awesome! Stay for the summer, and you will fall in love with the place just as much as I did!
As a recent Cornell graduate myself, I would not recommend this school unless you are ready to embrace some of the things Cornell would do to your life. Cornell University, just recently ranked #11 in the world and #9, is undoubtedly a high quality institution. You will be taught by world class professors, who have probably won some awards as high value as the nobel prize in their field of study--but even so, they are actually very humble, approachable, and are willing to help you succeed. Academically, Cornell really excels. However, there’s always a cost to studying at a well-ranked university, in that you also have to be ready to embrace more challenges. Here are some costs that people don't really tell you about studying at Cornell. First, everyone at Cornell studies all the time (weekend, after 2 am, libraries are always full!)--the most common excuse for any event is one of these: prelims/finals/papers. Cornell students adore busyness. Second, winter in Ithaca is so cold (it still snows in May!). Sun does not like to stay very long either. Third, the buildings are quite old. Classes are far away from each other. The campus is located on the hill, and you are expected to walk about at least a mile per day to reach to your class. Fourth, the city of ithaca does not offer many entertainments, and it is an hour away from a big city, and 5 hours from New York City. Fifth, the restaurants at collegetown are wayyyy over priced. The food they sell on campus is expensive as well. So, honestly, if you don’t get accepted, seriously, don’t feel down. Consider yourself lucky for not having to face these hardships. BUT if you do get accepted at Cornell and have your mind and heart set at Cornell, then be ready for these hard hard challenges! I can assure you, they are worth it! Because Cornell has opened my eyes on so many things about humanity and has shaped an integral part of who I am. Once you graduate, you will be proud of yourself for earning not just a degree, but life values, endurance, and character.