Cornell University has released its essay prompts for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle. These essays apply to applicants to the Cornell Class of 2026. Now, for those folks who check out the college essay prompts for all the highly selective universities year in and year out not because you have children applying each year but just out of curiosity, you might be less than surprised when you see this year’s Cornell prompts. Cornell, after all, has kept its essay prompts fairly consistent through the years. So what are the essay prompts for applicants to the Class of 2026? Wonder no more!
Depending on the college within Cornell to which the student is applying, one of the following prompts must be completed in about 650 words, as detailed by the Cornell undergraduate admissions office.
“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?
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?
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.
Cornell SC Johnson College of Business: What kind of a 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(s) to which you are applying within the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business (Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management and/or the School of Hotel Administration).
College of Engineering: Instructions: Applicants must write responses to two of the three essay options. They may choose which two prompts they write about—their choice. Each response is limited to a maximum of 200 words.
- Engineering is inherently collaborative. What does collaboration mean to you? What strengths do you bring to the collaborative process?
- For you, what makes Cornell Engineering special? Why do you want to attend Cornell Engineering?
- Diversity in all definitional forms is intrinsic to excellence in engineering. Indeed, devising the best engineered solutions to complex problems is often achieved by drawing from the diverse ingenuity of people from broadly different backgrounds, lived experiences, and identities. How do you see yourself contributing to the diversity and inclusion of the Cornell Engineering community? What is the unique voice you would bring to the Cornell Engineering community?
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?
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.”
What do our readers think of this year’s Cornell essay prompts? Wondering how to approach answering a Why College essay? Because that’s what Cornell is asking — why do you wish to attend Cornell? Remember, the game is specifics. Writing sentences that can apply to any school in America defeats the purpose of answering a Why College essay. And, no, you’re not convincing admissions officers that you want to go to Cornell because you like the cold and you hear they’ve got great food. While it’s true, it fails to demonstrate how you’re going to contribute to their community!
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