The Ivy Coach Daily

October 4, 2022

An Overview of the 2022-2023 Cornell University Essay Prompts

An Overview Of The 2022 2023 Cornell University Essay Prompts
It’s all about school fit at Cornell University. Admissions officers want to know that you’re right for the specific school within Cornell to which you’re applying (photo credit: Sach1tb).

If you’re applying to Cornell University’s Class of 2027, beyond the Common Application’s Personal Statement and optional Covid essay, students are asked a Cornell-specific essay prompt (or prompts depending on the specific school within the broader Cornell University to which you’re applying).

That’s right. Each of Cornell’s undergraduate schools — be it the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Architecture, Art and Planning, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Human Ecology, the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, or the Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy — has its own admissions essay prompts.

For each of these schools within Cornell, the essays are required for admission — with the exception of the College of Agriculture and Life Science. For CALS, two of the three essays are optional. Of course, applicants to elite universities like Cornell should never consider an optional essay actually optional. Rather, it’s a chance for students to make their case for admission. To not write an optional essay would be a missed opportunity to tell your story. So what exactly are the 2022-2023 Cornell admissions essays?

Cornell Essay Requirements at a Glance

For the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, there’s 1 x 650-word required essay. There are also 2 x 300-word optional essays.

For the College of Architecture, Art and Planning, there’s 1 x 650-word required essay.

For the College of Arts and Sciences, there’s 1 x 650-word required essay.

For the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, there’s 1 x 650-word required essay.

For the College of Engineering, there are 2 x 250 word required essays. For the second essay, applicants have the option of answering one of the two prompts.

For the College of Human Ecology, there’s 1 x 650-word required essay.

For the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, there’s 1 x 650-word required essay.

For the Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy, there’s 1 x 650-word required essay.

CollegeEssay PromptWord CountQuick Tips
College of Agriculture and Life SciencesWhy are you drawn to studying the major you have selected? Please discuss how your interests and related experiences have influenced your choice. Specifically, how will an education from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and Cornell University help you achieve your academic goals? The optional short-answer questions invite you to share additional information about your background, interests, and experiences as they relate to aspects of the Cornell CALS mission. Any responses submitted will be included in the holistic review of your application. Electing not to respond will not impact your application. 1. At Cornell CALS, we aim to leave the world better than we found it, so we seek out those who are not simply driven to master their discipline, but who are also passionate about doing so to serve the public good.  Please elaborate on an activity or experience you have had that made an impact on a community that is important to you. We encourage you to think about community broadly – this could include family, school, or local and global communities. 2. The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) is dedicated to the exploration of the agricultural, life, environmental, and social sciences and welcomes students with interests that span a wide variety of disciplines. Given our agricultural history and commitment to educating the next generation of agriculturalists, please share if you have a background in agriculture or are interested in pursuing a career in agriculture, regardless of your intended major.1 x 650 words (required) or fewer & 2 x 300-words (optional)For the required essay, treat it as an Arnold Palmer: half why major, half Why College. Offer a fun origin story into your interest in the field — as a high schooler rather than as a child. Maybe a high school activity sparked this interest. Then transition to the Why College component, which should be filled with specific after specific that apply only to CALS. That means no professor name drops. And no class name drops either. Rather, focus on programs, institutes, culture, traditions, activities — things that are enduring about an institution. Professors leave. Classes change. For the first optional essay, pick an activity that relates to your interest in agriculture of course. Were you a farmhand? Did you drive a tractor? Did you work to improve a farm’s irrigation system? Here’s your chance to tell that story. For the second optional essay, if you’ve worked on a farm, tell that story in a way that isn’t redundant to the previous essay answer. If you’ve never worked on a farm (you should have if you were applying to CALS!), focus on how you wish to change farming. How do you hope to make it more environmentally sustainable? How do you hope to improve the economics for America’s farmers?
College of Architecture, Art and PlanningEssay 1: How do your interests directly connect with Cornell Engineering? If you have an intended major, what draws you to that department at Cornell Engineering?  If you are unsure what specific engineering field you would like to study, describe how your general interest in engineering most directly connects with Cornell Engineering. It may be helpful to concentrate on one or two things that you are most excited about. 1 x 650 words (required)This is a hybrid: Why Major and Why College. For the first part, share your origin story as an adult for your interest in the field (don’t write about playing LEGOs as a kid!). And then cut to the specifics — programs, institutes, culture, traditions, activities, etc. — that are enduring about the school. If you read aloud one of your sentences and can replace Cornell with Harvard and the sentence still works, delete the sentence!
College of Arts and SciencesStudents in Arts and Sciences embrace the opportunity to delve into multifaceted academic interests, embodying in 21st century terms Ezra Cornell’s “any person…any study” founding vision. Tell us about the areas of study you are excited to explore, and specifically why you wish to pursue them in our College.1 x 650 words (required)This is a hybrid: Why Major and Why College. For the first part, share your origin story as an adult for your interest in the field. And then cut to the specifics — programs, institutes, culture, traditions, activities, etc. — that are enduring about the school. If you read aloud one of your sentences and can replace Cornell with Harvard and the sentence still works, delete the sentence! This is your chance to write a love letter to Cornell.
Cornell SC Johnson College of BusinessWhat kind of business student are you? Using your personal, academic, or volunteer/work experiences, describe the topics or issues that you care about and why they are important to you. Your response should convey how your interests align with the school to which you are applying within the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business (the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management or the Cornell Peter and Stephanie Nolan School of Hotel Administration).1 x 650 words (required)Tell the story of a business you founded. If it’s socks, write about socks. How did you try to change the sock game? And then cut to the Why College specifics — programs, institutes, culture, traditions, activities, etc. — that are enduring about the business school. If you read aloud one of your sentences and can replace Cornell with Harvard and the sentence still works, delete the sentence! This is your chance to write a love letter to Cornell and to demonstrate how you wish to change the field of business in a super specific way. And, no, don’t write about the stock market as that will only make you seem privileged. Entrepreneurship generally beats stocks, private equity, and venture capital in elite college admissions.
College of EngineeringAll Engineering applicants are required to write two supplemental essays. Essay 1 is required of all applicants. For Essay 2, you must choose between Question A and Question B. Essay 1:

How do your interests directly connect with Cornell Engineering? If you have an intended major, what draws you to that department at Cornell Engineering? If you are unsure what specific engineering field you would like to study, describe how your general interest in engineering most directly connects with Cornell Engineering. It may be helpful to concentrate on one or two things that you are most excited about.  Essay 2: Choose either Question A or Question B.  Question A: Describe an engineering problem that impacts your local community. This could be your school, neighborhood, town, region, or a group you identify with. Describe one to three things you might do as an engineer to solve the problem. (250 words). Question B: Diversity in all forms is intrinsic to excellence in engineering. Engineering the best solutions to complex problems is often achieved by drawing from the diverse ingenuity of people from different backgrounds, lived experiences, and identities. How do you see yourself contributing to the diversity and/or the inclusion of the Cornell Engineering community? What is the unique voice you would bring to the Cornell Engineering community?
2 x 250 words (required)For the required essay, treat it as an Arnold Palmer: half why major, half Why College. Offer a fun origin story into your interest in engineering — as a high schooler rather than as a child. Maybe a high school activity sparked this interest. Then transition to the Why College component, which should be filled with specific after specific that apply only to Cornell Engineering. That means no professor name drops. And no class name drops either. Rather, focus on programs, institutes, culture, traditions, activities — things that are enduring about an institution. Professors leave. Classes change. For the second essay’s first option, pick something within your community that showcases your ingenuity and creativity. It can absolutely be something mundane — as long as you apply your fun thinking to the issue. How are you going to address potholes? Or protect cyclists on the roads? For the second essay’s section option, keep in mind that colleges value all sorts of diversity — from sexual orientation to gender identity to geographic and so much more. Are you from a farming town? If so, how do you hope to use engineering to address the problems for your rural community? Are you from a major city? How has this shaped your interested in building smart, sustainable cities of the future?
College of Human EcologyHow has your decision to apply to the College of Human Ecology been influenced by your related experiences? How will your choice of major impact your goals and plans for the future?1 x 650 words (required)This is a hybrid: Why Major and Why College. For the first part, share your origin story as an adult for your interest in influences on human health and well-being. And then cut to the specifics — programs, institutes, culture, traditions, activities, etc. — that are enduring about the school. If you read aloud one of your sentences and can replace Cornell with Harvard and the sentence still works, delete the sentence! Finally, demonstrate how you will use all that you learn at the College of Human Ecology to change the world in a super focused, singular way.
School of Industrial and Labor RelationsUsing your personal, academic, or volunteer/work experiences, describe the topics or issues that you care about and why they are important to you. Your response should show us that your interests align with the ILR School.1 x 650 words (required)This is a hybrid: Why Major and Why College. For the first part, share your origin story as an adult for your interest in labor relations. Do you feel employers shouldn’t be able to text their employees at all hours? Has work from home gone too far? And then cut to the specifics — programs, institutes, culture, traditions, activities, etc. — that are enduring about the school. If you read aloud one of your sentences and can replace Cornell with Harvard and the sentence still works, delete the sentence!
Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public PolicyWhy are you drawn to studying public policy? Drawing on your experiences, tell us about why you are interested in your chosen major and how attending the Brooks School will help you achieve your life goals.1 x 650 words (required)This is a hybrid: Why Major and Why College. For the first part, share your origin story as an adult for your interest in the field. And then cut to the specifics — programs, institutes, culture, traditions, activities, etc. — that are enduring about the school. If you read aloud one of your sentences and can replace Cornell with Harvard and the sentence still works, delete the sentence!


College of Architecture, Art and PlanningEssay 1: How do your interests directly connect with Cornell Engineering? If you have an intended major, what draws you to that department at Cornell Engineering?  If you are unsure what specific engineering field you would like to study, describe how your general interest in engineering most directly connects with Cornell Engineering. It may be helpful to concentrate on one or two things that you are most excited about. 1 x 650 words (required)This is a hybrid: Why Major and Why College. For the first part, share your origin story as an adult for your interest in the field (don’t write about playing LEGOs as a kid!). And then cut to the specifics — programs, institutes, culture, traditions, activities, etc. — that are enduring about the school. If you read aloud one of your sentences and can replace Cornell with Harvard and the sentence still works, delete the sentence!College of Arts and SciencesStudents in Arts and Sciences embrace the opportunity to delve into multifaceted academic interests, embodying in 21st century terms Ezra Cornell’s “any person…any study” founding vision. Tell us about the areas of study you are excited to explore, and specifically why you wish to pursue them in our College.1 x 650 words (required)This is a hybrid: Why Major and Why College. For the first part, share your origin story as an adult for your interest in the field. And then cut to the specifics — programs, institutes, culture, traditions, activities, etc. — that are enduring about the school. If you read aloud one of your sentences and can replace Cornell with Harvard and the sentence still works, delete the sentence! This is your chance to write a love letter to Cornell.Cornell SC Johnson College of BusinessWhat kind of business student are you? Using your personal, academic, or volunteer/work experiences, describe the topics or issues that you care about and why they are important to you. Your response should convey how your interests align with the school to which you are applying within the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business (the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management or the Cornell Peter and Stephanie Nolan School of Hotel Administration).1 x 650 words (required)Tell the story of a business you founded. If it’s socks, write about socks. How did you try to change the sock game? And then cut to the Why College specifics — programs, institutes, culture, traditions, activities, etc. — that are enduring about the business school. If you read aloud one of your sentences and can replace Cornell with Harvard and the sentence still works, delete the sentence! This is your chance to write a love letter to Cornell and to demonstrate how you wish to change the field of business in a super specific way. And, no, don’t write about the stock market as that will only make you seem privileged. Entrepreneurship generally beats stocks, private equity, and venture capital in elite college admissions.College of EngineeringAll Engineering applicants are required to write two supplemental essays. Essay 1 is required of all applicants. For Essay 2, you must choose between Question A and Question B. Essay 1:

How do your interests directly connect with Cornell Engineering? If you have an intended major, what draws you to that department at Cornell Engineering? If you are unsure what specific engineering field you would like to study, describe how your general interest in engineering most directly connects with Cornell Engineering. It may be helpful to concentrate on one or two things that you are most excited about.  Essay 2: Choose either Question A or Question B.  Question A: Describe an engineering problem that impacts your local community. This could be your school, neighborhood, town, region, or a group you identify with. Describe one to three things you might do as an engineer to solve the problem. (250 words). Question B: Diversity in all forms is intrinsic to excellence in engineering. Engineering the best solutions to complex problems is often achieved by drawing from the diverse ingenuity of people from different backgrounds, lived experiences, and identities. How do you see yourself contributing to the diversity and/or the inclusion of the Cornell Engineering community? What is the unique voice you would bring to the Cornell Engineering community?2 x 250 words (required)For the required essay, treat it as an Arnold Palmer: half why major, half Why College. Offer a fun origin story into your interest in engineering — as a high schooler rather than as a child. Maybe a high school activity sparked this interest. Then transition to the Why College component, which should be filled with specific after specific that apply only to Cornell Engineering. That means no professor name drops. And no class name drops either. Rather, focus on programs, institutes, culture, traditions, activities — things that are enduring about an institution. Professors leave. Classes change. For the second essay’s first option, pick something within your community that showcases your ingenuity and creativity. It can absolutely be something mundane — as long as you apply your fun thinking to the issue. How are you going to address potholes? Or protect cyclists on the roads? For the second essay’s section option, keep in mind that colleges value all sorts of diversity — from sexual orientation to gender identity to geographic and so much more. Are you from a farming town? If so, how do you hope to use engineering to address the problems for your rural community? Are you from a major city? How has this shaped your interested in building smart, sustainable cities of the future?
College of Human EcologyHow has your decision to apply to the College of Human Ecology been influenced by your related experiences? How will your choice of major impact your goals and plans for the future?1 x 650 words (required)This is a hybrid: Why Major and Why College. For the first part, share your origin story as an adult for your interest in influences on human health and well-being. And then cut to the specifics — programs, institutes, culture, traditions, activities, etc. — that are enduring about the school. If you read aloud one of your sentences and can replace Cornell with Harvard and the sentence still works, delete the sentence! Finally, demonstrate how you will use all that you learn at the College of Human Ecology to change the world in a super focused, singular way.School of Industrial and Labor RelationsUsing your personal, academic, or volunteer/work experiences, describe the topics or issues that you care about and why they are important to you. Your response should show us that your interests align with the ILR School.1 x 650 words (required)This is a hybrid: Why Major and Why College. For the first part, share your origin story as an adult for your interest in labor relations. Do you feel employers shouldn’t be able to text their employees at all hours? Has work from home gone too far? And then cut to the specifics — programs, institutes, culture, traditions, activities, etc. — that are enduring about the school. If you read aloud one of your sentences and can replace Cornell with Harvard and the sentence still works, delete the sentence!Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public PolicyWhy are you drawn to studying public policy? Drawing on your experiences, tell us about why you are interested in your chosen major and how attending the Brooks School will help you achieve your life goals.1 x 650 words (required)This is a hybrid: Why Major and Why College. For the first part, share your origin story as an adult for your interest in the field. And then cut to the specifics — programs, institutes, culture, traditions, activities, etc. — that are enduring about the school. If you read aloud one of your sentences and can replace Cornell with Harvard and the sentence still works, delete the sentence!

The Governing Rule of Approaching Cornell University Essays

Before we do a deep dive into the specific prompt or prompts for each school within Cornell University, we have one key piece of advice to share that applies to your answer for any of the respective schools within the university: make sure your academics, your extracurricular activities, and your storytelling in all of your essays fit the specific school to which you’re applying. Yes, if there is one guiding principle at Cornell above all other principles, it’s that the student is applying to the right school within the university. At Cornell, school fit matters to its admissions officers.

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Why are you drawn to studying the major you have selected? Please discuss how your interests and related experiences have influenced your choice. Specifically, how will an education from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and Cornell University help you achieve your academic goals? (650 words or fewer)

This is, of course, a hybrid of a “Why Major” and a “Why College” essay. Some schools’ “Why College” essays might be two words (e.g., “Why Tufts?“). Others might be long-winded, like the second part of CALS’ essay prompt. But make no mistake: the schools are all essentially asking why a student wishes to attend. And they want genuine specifics. No professor name drops. No class names that students can cut and paste from one college to the next. Seriously. If a sentence in the “Why College” portion of the essay works for more than one school, it should be deleted from the record (so do play that game to check!). Of course, this particular essay prompt is a two-hander: (1) half should be devoted to the origin story of a student’s central academic interest (although as an adult rather than as a child!) and (2) half should be devoted to capturing specific after specific about the school within Cornell. And, yes, students should use all of the real estate available to them by penning close to — if not exactly — 650 words.

The optional short-answer questions invite you to share additional information about your background, interests, and experiences as they relate to aspects of the Cornell CALS mission. Any responses submitted will be included in the holistic review of your application. Electing not to respond will not impact your application.

Of course, our readers aren’t fooled by Cornell’s directions for CALS applicants. You see, highly selective universities like Cornell don’t want to discourage students from applying since the more students who apply, invariably the lower the school’s admission rate will be, and the higher the school will likely be ranked by US News & World Report. So when applicants read “electing not to respond will not impact your application,” they should take this guidance with many grains of salt and roll up their sleeves to begin on these two “optional” essays, which are as follows:

1. At Cornell CALS, we aim to leave the world better than we found it, so we seek out those who are not simply driven to master their discipline, but who are also passionate about doing so to serve the public good.  Please elaborate on an activity or experience you have had that made an impact on a community that is important to you. We encourage you to think about community broadly – this could include family, school, or local and global communities. (300 words or fewer)

While students can technically write about any sort of community service they’ve performed in high school, savvy applicants to the Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will ideally be writing about ways in which they’ve served their community that fit with the school’s overarching mission. Did an applicant work with farmers in high school? Did an applicant do environmental work related to solar panels or windmills? You get the drill. Except you’re against drilling — because you’re an environmentalist. This is a chance to tell that small story. Focus on the anecdotes rather than the achievements. After all, an applicant’s objective should be to be likable. Who likes a braggart? No one.

2. The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) is dedicated to the exploration of the agricultural, life, environmental, and social sciences and welcomes students with interests that span a wide variety of disciplines. Given our agricultural history and commitment to educating the next generation of agriculturalists, please share if you have a background in agriculture or are interested in pursuing a career in agriculture, regardless of your intended major. (300 words or fewer)

__ My family owns or operates a farm.

__ I have experience working in agriculture.

__ I have interest in pursuing a career in agriculture.

While CALS surely loves young people seeking to continue their family farming tradition, a student need not have ever worked on a farm to have an interest in agriculture. Of course, it’s not extremely hard to get work — even volunteer work — as a farmhand so if a student really was interested in agriculture, we would have recommended that student do so earlier on in high school. This is your chance to tell the story of the corn you husked, the tractor you drove, and why working the land was so existentially meaningful to you. But if you really didn’t have the opportunity to work on a farm but do love agriculture, let’s at least hear about how you hope to change the field — both literally and figuratively — in the course of your lifetime. How are you going to make farms more sustainable? How are you going to keep the farmer as a lynchpin of America’s economy? Or, if you’re an international student, how are you going to apply the lessons you learn in college here in the United States to your own country’s agricultural future?

College of Architecture, Art and Planning

What is your “thing”? What energizes you or engages you so deeply that you lose track of time? Everyone has different passions, obsessions, quirks, inspirations. What are yours? (650 words)

Pick one so you can tell a small story rather than appear all over the place. Make sure, no matter what “thing” you choose, that it’s intellectual. And make sure it’s not Legos! Do you know how many architecture applicants write about building Legos as children? Don’t do it! It’s a red flag in admissions. If it’s reading that you’re so passionate about, tell us about your book collection. If it’s designing smart cities of the future, tell us about your drawings in your leather-bound journal that you keep in your desk drawer. And, remember, don’t make yourself quirky for the sake of being quirky; you’ve got to showcase intellectual curiosity at every turn. That’s the whole point of the exercise.

College of Arts and Sciences

Students in Arts and Sciences embrace the opportunity to delve into multifaceted academic interests, embodying in 21st century terms Ezra Cornell’s “any person…any study” founding vision. Tell us about the areas of study you are excited to explore, and specifically why you wish to pursue them in our College. (650 words)

This is — you guessed it — a “Why College” essay that should be filled with specific after specific within the College of Arts and Sciences. Now, it’s ok to include activities and traditions within the broader Cornell community. But do make sure you include a thorough account of precisely how you hope to contribute your singular hook — rather than well-roundedness — to the College of Arts and Sciences. And don’t write about the beauty of studying the liberal arts because you can do that at every highly selective university in America. Even though it’s ok to venture out from your singular hook ever so slightly, do stay focused on how you’re specifically going to contribute to the school within a school at Cornell. You don’t want to present as the applicant who wants to study the Classics, astrophysics, psychology, history, and a little bit of anthropology on the side. It doesn’t mean some of these fields aren’t influenced by one another, but zero in on your passion area or you’ll risk coming across as someone who doesn’t know how they wish to change the world in a specific way.

Cornell SC Johnson College of Business

What kind of business student are you? Using your personal, academic, or volunteer/work experiences, describe the topics or issues that you care about and why they are important to you. Your response should convey how your interests align with the school to which you are applying within the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business (the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management or the Cornell Peter and Stephanie Nolan School of Hotel Administration). (650 words)

If you’re interested in business, hopefully you’ve got some real business experience as a high schooler. Did you start a socks business? Maybe you manufactured pet toys? Whatever it is, the start of this essay should be devoted to telling that small story. And, no, don’t talk about your lemonade stand as a child and how you then segued to buying stocks (that only flaunts wealth and renders you unlikable!) before starting a socks business. Just write about those socks! And then transition to the “Why College” portion of the essay in which you’re to write specific after specific on how you hope to contribute to the programs, institutes, culture, activities, traditions, etc. at either Dyson or Nolan (Dyson if socks…or other businesses of course, Nolan if hospitality).

College of Engineering

All Engineering applicants are required to write two supplemental essays. Each has a limit of 250 words. Essay 1 is required of all applicants. For Essay 2, you must choose between Question A and Question B.

Essay 1:
How do your interests directly connect with Cornell Engineering? If you have an intended major, what draws you to that department at Cornell Engineering?  If you are unsure what specific engineering field you would like to study, describe how your general interest in engineering most directly connects with Cornell Engineering. It may be helpful to concentrate on one or two things that you are most excited about. (250 words)

Since this is a short essay compared to Cornell’s other schools’ 650-word essay, you’ve got to cut straight to it. You don’t have the real estate to share a long origin story about your interest as a high schooler in the field of engineering. Instead, you’ve got a sentence or two before you transition to the meat of the essay — which is the “Why College” component. Since it’s a short essay, it is indeed ok to focus on two specifics within Cornell Engineering but don’t write fewer. And three is ok, too! They’re never going to not like you showcasing that you’ve done your homework on the school within the school. Just make sure you don’t list these specifics and move on. You’ve got to demonstrate how you’re going to contribute to these pursuits at Cornell — be it a research program, an activity, or a tradition.

Essay 2:

Choose either Question A or Question B. 

Question A: Describe an engineering problem that impacts your local community. This could be your school, neighborhood, town, region, or a group you identify with. Describe one to three things you might do as an engineer to solve the problem. (250 words).

William Kamkwamba, the co-author and subject of the New York Times bestseller The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, built a windmill made of spare bicycle parts, blue gum trees, and stuff he and his friends found in a scrapyard to power his village in Malawi. It’s why we at Ivy Coach consider him the greatest college applicant ever. While you don’t have to have written a book that’s been adapted into a major motion picture or built a windmill to provide electricity to your neighbors, think about what your version of a windmill is and how you hope it would help your community. You don’t have to have built something. You don’t have to have done any research. This is a thought experiment. Admissions officers want to see how you think. They want to gauge your analytical skills as well as your creativity.

Question B: Diversity in all forms is intrinsic to excellence in engineering. Engineering the best solutions to complex problems is often achieved by drawing from the diverse ingenuity of people from different backgrounds, lived experiences, and identities. How do you see yourself contributing to the diversity and/or the inclusion of the Cornell Engineering community? What is the unique voice you would bring to the Cornell Engineering community? (250 words)

You don’t have to be an underrepresented minority to answer this question just because the prompt is asking about the kind of diversity that you hope to bring to Cornell Engineering. Diversity runs the gamut — from diversity of thought to diversity of faith, sexuality, gender identity, geographic origin…you name it. Maybe you’re from a small farming town and you want to become an engineer to help local farmers in your community. Maybe you’re from a big city and you want to build safer tunnels. Zero in on what can make you interesting here with respect to diversity and only then should you start outlining your answer.

College of Human Ecology

How has your decision to apply to the College of Human Ecology been influenced by your related experiences? How will your choice of major impact your goals and plans for the future? (650 words)

The College of Human Ecology wants your origin story — as a high schooler rather than as a child — for your interest in influences on human health and well-being. Is it an interest in psychology? Nutrition? Wherever your specific interest lies, tell that small story. Once you’ve written that origin story, it’s time to dive into specific after specific — programs, institutes, the culture, activities, etc. — about the College of Human Ecology at Cornell to not only show you’ve done your homework on the school but to paint a portrait of you on Cornell’s campus so admissions officers can envision you there in their own minds.

School of Industrial and Labor Relations

Using your personal, academic, or volunteer/work experiences, describe the topics or issues that you care about and why they are important to you. Your response should show us that your interests align with the ILR School. (650 words)

While the prompt says “topics” in the plural form, really zero in on one topic so you can tell one small story. In one paragraph, you can — in short-form — expand to show other areas of interest that intersect with your initial interest, but the crux of the essay should focus on one issue that matters most to you. And, yes, this issue must fit perfectly with ILR. Does remote work lead employers to demand too much of their employees because they can call and email them at all hours of the day and night? What have you done to advocate for finite hours of the workday? Or for labor unions? Have you marched with your teachers in a strike for fairer pay? Tell us the small story that shines a lantern on your passion to be a change-maker in this field.

Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy

Why are you drawn to studying public policy? Drawing on your experiences, tell us about why you are interested in your chosen major and how attending the Brooks School will help you achieve your life goals. (650 words)

Hopefully you’ve got an activity or two to draw from when penning this essay as it’s an essay that must showcase your interest in public policy. If you’re from North Dakota, did you fight to reduce fracking? Or maybe you fought for fracking (that’s ok, too, from a college admissions standpoint since admissions officers at our nation’s elite universities like Cornell value a diversity of opinions so long as they always show respect for our fellow humankind). Or if you’re from New York City, maybe you advocated to make the subway trains run faster. Wherever you’re from, showcase the origin story of your interest in public policy — always as an adult rather than as a child. And once you’ve zeroed in on that origin story, it’s time to cut to the “Why College” component of the question. This section must, of course, be filled with genuine specific after specific about how you’re going to take advantage of the School of Public Policy’s resources to cultivate that passion to change fracking…or the subways.

Ivy Coach’s Assistance with Your Cornell Essays

If you need help with your applications, including your Cornell supplemental essays, reach out to Ivy Coach today to learn about our college counseling services. Don’t come to us after the essays are all already written as we’ll likely just want to scrap them as they are unlikely on the topics we’d want them to focus on in your storytelling. Instead, come to us before they’re written so we can brainstorm paragraph by paragraph direction and then revise these essays sentence by sentence.

You are permitted to use www.ivycoach.com (including the content of the Blog) for your personal, non-commercial use only. You must not copy, download, print, or otherwise distribute the content on our site without the prior written consent of Ivy Coach, Inc.

TOWARD THE CONQUEST OF ADMISSION

If you’re interested in Ivy Coach’s college counseling,
fill out our free consultation form and we’ll be in touch.

Get Started