Cornell University Admission Essay Writing Guide


Cornell University Admission Essay Writing

For now, Cornell University is one of the best choices for students to be. The broad variety of academic colleges allows the applicants to choose not only their majors, but the specialization they want to dedicate their life to (or, at least a significant part of it). The majors are similar in general, but some of the subjects will be taught slightly differently, with more attention to different topics. For example, a major in biology may be a very different experience within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and College of Human Ecology. The range of professions suitable for bachelors will also differ. So, before making a decision and writing a cover letter, you should learn more about the Cornell academic colleges and understand the differences between them.

As for 2022-2023, there are eight academic colleges at Cornell University

  1. College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  2. College of Arts and Sciences
  3. College of Engineering
  4. Cornell SC Johnson College of Business
  5. College of Human Ecology
  6. College of Industrial and Labor Relations
  7. College of Art, Architecture and Planning

We recommend you to read more about each of them (or those you like the most) at the Cornell University site. You’ll get the spirit of each one and this understanding will help you a lot when you’ll write a Cornell essay for college you chose.

Types of entrance essays for Cornell university

To answer the question “How to write Cornel essay?” you need to ask another question: which one. Like many other universities, Cornell accepts admission via specialized portals, like Common admission. To avoid the situation in which an applicant sends their copied and pasted papers to all the universities available, these portals ask them to write a personalized essay for each one. So, the first text you need to write is the “Why Cornell” essay. Luckily, this site has plenty of Cornell essays that worked well for their authors. It’s better to do your own research and check if the information there is up-to-date, but if you are really in a rush (it’s the last day to send an introduction letter or something like that), you may use them as sources of both data and inspiration.

The second paper, the internal Cornell supplemental essay is the trickier one. The themes vary from one college to another (learn more about them before you start your preparations, remember?). For instance a Cornell engineering essay will drastically differ from an art one. To make everything more complicated, there is often only one essay theme for each college (with some exceptions, like the aforementioned engineering one), so you won’t have the degree of freedom that is offered by other universities. We will try to explain these differences later, in a nutshell.

Why Cornell motivation essays

The “Why” essays are always important for any university. They show that you didn’t just pick them randomly. The admission committee will appreciate your respect and the time you’ve spent to learn more about Cornell, read the lectures and books written by its members, and generally get to know it closer. For example, it may be important for professors in the admission committee to see their works mentioned in your essay.

Here are some hints for writing a great Cornell university supplemental essay:

  1. Don’t try to use all the 650 words limit. You may, but you don’t have to. Actually, lots of admission officers prefer laconic essays. You may use a simple trick to check if your paper is precise enough, and possibly make it shorter. Write your statement essay, let it cool down overnight, and then try to read it again. You’ll see all the things that can be improved, because your brain will perceive the text as a new one, not being biased by your opinion as a writer. Read each sentence and ask the questions: why is it here? Will the text become worse if I take it out? This exercise will help you understand your paper much more clearly.
  2. Use all the specific information you can gather. Don’t be shy about showing off your research. This essay is needed especially to let the admission committee know you deliberately learned a lot about Cornell. You may use unconventional sources, showing your creativity and determination. For example, you may get in touch with the alumni community or just ask some of the current students to help you. We don’t urge you to push too hard, but asking people politely is something you may try.
  3. The standard topics you may want to describe are curricular and extracurricular activities in Cornell that excite you the most. You may get some bonus points by describing your favorite faculty and the process of your choice. Showing that you have consciously chosen the right faculty for you is a great proof of your serious intentions and a very adult approach.
  4. If you don’t have any ideas yet, try to make a list of 10 points of why Cornell is great for you. Write down anything, even the points that might look a bit silly for you. It’s a brainstorming phase. Then take 3 to 5 best points that look the most reasonable and appealing to you and make them the backbone of the thesis for your admission essay.
  5. If you were present at Cornell’s activities for future students, write about your feedback. Showing that you were interested enough to physically attend the university’s events is a great way to prove your genuine desire to study at Cornell, not just in a random university.
  6. Remember that this paper will be combined with your application form. Try to omit the parts that are already present in that form like name, age, etc. It isn’t your personal statement, it’s more like a motivation letter you add to your CV while applying to a job.

Internal Cornell entrance essays

This part might be a bit long for a brief guide, so brace yourself. Or, if you did your research and chose your academic college, you may just skip everything else and read about your common Cornell essay prompts. You may also use any of the sample application essays presented at this site to create something unique and personal based on them. No need to remind, we hope, but still, please don’t take these sample essays as is. They were successful once, but from then on they were added to the anti-plagiarism database, so copying and pasting may get you banned from the Cornell admission list. If you have any troubles with admission letter writing, or just don’t have enough time, we recommend you to ask our skilled writers to create a paper for you. All you need is to provide us your personal information and some facts you want to be mentioned in the essay. The rest is our business.

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

It is the second-largest college in the university. Despite its specific name, you may find lots of majors there. For example, communications are only vaguely connected to the Life Sciences, but this major exists here, together with Botanics and Entomology.

Usually, the first part of this application essay is similar to the “Why Cornell” essay, just with another subject. You are expected to briefly describe why you are interested in this particular college, what specific areas draw your attention, and how you plan to use your new knowledge in your future life. It’s a great place to share some personal experience, maybe an event or background that shaped your love to Live Sciences, animals, plants, agriculture or something else related to your future diploma.

The second part demands a more practical approach. Here you set your goals and explain why Cornell is the best place to achieve them. Possibly, it has great field courses that will give you lots of precious practical experience. Maybe, there are courses that are directly related to the area you want to study further, possibly for masters degree. Or they are just connected to the facility you are going to work after your graduation, it’s also a completely legit reason to choose Cornell.

College of Arts and Sciences

The College of Arts and Sciences is the most academically diverse school. It mimics both the Medieval traditional way of education when students learned all the fine arts, and the modern Ezra Cornell’s principle of “any person, any study”. If you are most interested in creating interdisciplinary connections, this is the best academic college for you.

No matter what the prompt is, these essays are always about creativity and diversity. Try to describe what interdisciplinary project you want to finish together with Cornell. The College houses programs allow you to practically build your own major like LEGO, so you may connect anything and everything to get the perfect mix for you. Describe your passion, sell your idea to the admission officers, be sincere and creative, and you’ll create the perfect paper for Arts and Sciences.

Show off your practical side, too. Demonstrate the steps you have taken towards your goal. Maybe, you studied something particular, maybe, you had some school projects dedicated to your passion. Everything that is connected with your final goal may benefit you.

College of Engineering

Engineering is a broad area, so this academic college is famous for giving the students-to-be several prompts to choose from. That’s why the collection of Cornell engineering essay examples is the most diverse among the rest of the schools.

The prompts may vary from specific ones, for each area of study, to the broad questions like the definition of collaboration, its pros, and cons, to the philosophical problems. It’s hard to give you advice here, because of such a range of topics. But we’ll try our best.

It is an engineering college, so be precise, specific, and clear. Choose meaningful examples to illustrate your cases, the best ones are always the personal ones. If you are asked about your personal experience but you don’t have a relevant case, it’s fine to write about that in the first sentence and then write down your general thoughts. Even if you don’t know how it works in real life, your flow of thought may greatly illustrate your attitude, creativity, and ability to express yourself.

Don’t forget to add a Cornell-specific touch. Explain why this college is the best to achieve your goals, what it can give you and what you can bring your new alma mater in return.

Cornell SC Johnson College of Business

This college is actually two joint sub-schools: The Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, and the School of Hotel Administration. As you can conclude, these two follow different teaching styles and these two majors will be not very similar. Still, if you don’t have a particular school in mind, you may write about both of them freely. Surely, Hotel Administration may sound much more narrow than Applied Economics and Management, but, possibly, a specific area of study is what makes the application easier.

The Dyson school’s applicants compete intensely to get enrolled. So you may clearly define your goals to get the best chance. Think about selling your startup to potential investors, but the startup is you and your goals. Showing the economical side of your study may be a great development of a given prompt. It also may show your understanding of economics.

Remember that this major also may be interdisciplinary. So if you prefer a particular field of economics (except Hotel Administration, of course), you may choose to combine it with something else: Agriculture, Architecture, Art, Science or any other discipline that may have an economical aspect in it.

The School of Hotel Administration, on the contrary, demands a clear hotel-related interest. If you had a relevant experience, possibly, while working part-time or volunteering somewhere, make sure to write everything about it. Practical experience is always a great advantage when applying to a particular and discrete major. Also prepare for a personal interview, because you are going to work with people after graduation! The admission committee may present you with an imaginary non-standard situation you should solve or ask you about such an experience in your past.

College of Human Ecology

It’s all about us as a species and as individuals. Of course, the very nature of this college makes it interdisciplinary, but still connected to human thriving. If you are strongly connected with making people live happy and healthy, this is the best choice for you.

This academic college offers you the best opportunity to show off your extracurricular activities. Maybe, you are a fan of healthy eating, maybe you do some sports or study relaxation techniques. Everything that is connected to human experience and its improvement will be relevant here.

Be very specific while describing your plans. It is important to understand which part of human experience fascinates you from the very beginning. It may be everything, from fashion to nutrition to ecology, but, considering the interdisciplinarity of this school, you should show that you clearly know what you want.

College of Industrial and Labor Relations

This academic school studies everything connected to the types of work and human capital. It’s also strongly inclined towards public service, so you may try to use your volunteering experience and lessons learned from it to make your essay more relevant.

Anything considering your own working experience or the working experience of your family may be a good addition to this paper. We all work or have close people who work, so we are sure you’ll find an interesting case connected to working life. Maybe it’s a story of a worker with a disability, maybe, a success story of the startup — it doesn’t matter. Your task is to show the underlying mechanism that made this story happen in a way it did.

Another part of this paper should be about you and your future plans. You are expected to explain why this college is the best place for you: is this a personal reason or a practical one? Do you want to make the world better or get a job in your dream company, or both? Describe the program that will help you achieve your goal, the activities you want to attend, use all the information about this college you can gather to show that you mean business when applying.

College of Art, Architecture, and Planning

The smallest, but not the quietest academic college. Its learning program demands lots of practice, hard work (sometimes literal manual labor), and full dedication. Your essay also should be quite strong to show that you understand what you will go through and are really determined to get this diploma.

To narrow down the range of possible practice, try to describe your intended major project. What do you want it to be? An art piece, a building, or a blueprint? You don’t have to write a thesis for your graduation paper right now, just choose the way to go.

This college is notorious for its non-standard essay prompts, so we won’t give any further advice. We’d just wish you good luck and ask you to use all your creativity and create a stunning application essay!

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