The Ivy Coach Daily

March 12, 2024

Cornell University Internal Transfer Process & Essay Prompts

The A.D. White Reading Room is featured at Cornell's Uris Library.
Some students at Cornell choose to internally transfer (photo credit: Eflon).

Previously Published on November 28, 2019:

Some students who earn admission to Cornell University and subsequently enroll in one of its seven undergraduate colleges realize in time that while Cornell is for them, the undergraduate college within Cornell is not for them. And while Cornell’s administration has historically made a big fuss about how difficult it is to transfer within colleges at Cornell, if a student approaches the process correctly, rest assured, it can be done. In fact, over the years, we at Ivy Coach have helped many students transfer undergraduate colleges within Cornell. So, what exactly does the process of internally transferring at Cornell entail?

How to Transfer Within Colleges at Cornell University

Cornell’s Internal Transfer Process Varies by College

As Winny Sun reported a few years back for The Cornell Daily Sun in a piece about Cornell’s internal transfer process, “The process for transferring to each college can vary considerably. While all students looking to transfer must fill out the same internal transfer application, which asks applicants for a 600-word essay on why their ’academic or career goals have led’ them to ’pursue an internal transfer,’ some colleges have more requirements than others.”

Sun went on, “For instance, while the College of Arts and Sciences requires that potential transfers have at least a 2.7 G.P.A., AEM notes that most of its successful applicants have ’at least a 3.3,’ in addition to also asking for a resume and supplemental transfer application. Acceptance rates for internal transfer vary by college and program and depend on the unique applicant pool each semester, explained Florencia Ardon, program manager and advisor at the Office of Internal Transfer and Concurrent Degrees.”

Internal Transfer Essay Requirements by College

Below is a breakdown of the internal transfer essay requirements by college within Cornell for the 2024 academic year:

College within CornellInternal Transfer Essay Prompt
The College of Agriculture & Life SciencesThe College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) community is committed to tackling the complex challenges of our times through purpose-driven science. Please describe how your interests and goals (both academic and professional), as well as any related experiences, have led you to apply for internal transfer to the major you have selected within CALS. How will joining this major and CALS enable you to pursue the opportunities and experiences you are seeking at Cornell?
The College of Architecture, Art, and PlanningIn one essay, please discuss: How your interest in a given major and college has developed, and how you have explored it. Explain clearly and in a well-thought-out manner how your intended major and college could provide you with the tools and instruction you desire to achieve at Cornell, and why other options (double major, minors, etc.) are not useful. Describe the professional goals/interests you are considering. How will your target college help you to attain your goals? If you do not satisfy all the requirements for transfer to your intended college, state the reasons for this, and how you intend to fulfill those requirements. You can also talk about the activities that you have been involved in at Cornell and the community (work/volunteer experiences, clubs, research) and how they have shaped you. Is there anything else your target college should know about you (e.g. personal/family situations, independent study…) that you consider could further clarify your interest?
The College of Arts & SciencesIn one essay, please discuss:  How your interest in a given major and college has developed, and how you have explored it. Explain clearly and in a well-thought-out manner how your intended major and college could provide you with the tools and instruction you desire to achieve at Cornell, and why other options (double major, minors, etc.) are not useful. Describe the professional goals/interests you are considering. How will your target college help you to attain your goals? If you do not satisfy all the requirements for transfer to your intended college, state the reasons for this, and how you intend to fulfill those requirements. You can also talk about the activities that you have been involved in at Cornell and the community (work/volunteer experiences, clubs, research) and how they have shaped you. Is there anything else your target college should know about you (e.g. personal/family situations, independent study…) that you consider could further clarify your interest?
The Jeb E. Brooks School of Public PolicyIn your application please discuss how your past academic and/or work experience has influenced your choice of major and how transferring to Cornell Brooks would further your academic interests.
The College of EngineeringIn one essay, please discuss: How your interest in a given major and college has developed, and how you have explored it. Explain clearly and in a well-thought-out manner how your intended major and college could provide you with the tools and instruction you desire to achieve at Cornell, and why other options (double major, minors, etc.) are not useful. Describe the professional goals/interests you are considering. How will your target college help you to attain your goals? If you do not satisfy all the requirements for transfer to your intended college, state the reasons for this, and how you intend to fulfill those requirements. You can also talk about the activities that you have been involved in at Cornell and the community (work/volunteer experiences, clubs, research) and how they have shaped you. Is there anything else your target college should know about you (e.g. personal/family situations, independent study…) that you consider could further clarify your interest?
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.
The Cornell SC Johnson College of BusinessIn one essay, please discuss: How your interest in a given major and college has developed, and how you have explored it. Explain clearly and in a well-thought-out manner how your intended major and college could provide you with the tools and instruction you desire to achieve at Cornell, and why other options (double major, minors, etc.) are not useful. Describe the professional goals/interests you are considering. How will your target college help you to attain your goals? If you do not satisfy all the requirements for transfer to your intended college, state the reasons for this, and how you intend to fulfill those requirements. You can also talk about the activities that you have been involved in at Cornell and the community (work/volunteer experiences, clubs, research) and how they have shaped you. Is there anything else your target college should know about you (e.g. personal/family situations, independent study…) that you consider could further clarify your interest?

The Correct Approach to Cornell’s Internal Transfer Process Leads to Success

Students should focus their Cornell internal transfer applications not on why their current undergraduate college isn’t right for them but instead on why their academic and career ambitions inspire them to wish to attend the undergraduate college to which they hope to earn admission as internal transfers. After all, admissions officers evaluating the applications of internal transfers understand that students’ interests and dreams can change since they applied to Cornell out of high school.

And while the internal transfer process isn’t easy, keep in mind that Cornell would much prefer students transfer internally within the school than transfer to another university entirely, as external transfers hurt the Ivy League school’s rankings. So, as difficult as the administration may make it seem to internally transfer, know that if one approaches the process correctly by meeting with the right advisors, earning strong grades, submitting a wow essay, and getting involved in the right Cornell extracurriculars, it’s absolutely in the cards.

Ivy Coach’s Assistance with Cornell Internal Transfer

Internal transfer applications, the requirements for which vary by college within Cornell, became available on March 1, 2024. The application deadline for all internal transfer applications is May 1, 2024, with final decisions released in mid-June 2024.

If you’re interested in optimizing your case for internal transfer at Cornell, fill out Ivy Coach’s complimentary consultation form, and we’ll be in touch to outline our internal transfer service.

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