College Intel

Cornell University Admissions

A bridge sits between yellow and green-leaved trees at Cornell University.

Cornell University is a private Ivy League university that bridges the liberal arts college experience with the resources and state-support of a major research university. Its main upstate New York campus consists of seven undergraduate schools with roughly 16,000 students, and seven graduate schools. Cornell’s academic offerings are as varied as they are renowned. 62 Nobel Laureates have been affiliated with Cornell in some capacity. Faculty have included novelist Vladimir Nabokov, philosopher John Rawls, and Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman. Notable Cornelian alumni include late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Bill Nye (the science guy!), and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison (who has recently been commemorated on campus with Toni Morrison Hall).

The undergraduate division of the university includes the privately-endowed College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Engineering, the College of Architecture, Art and Planning, and the College of Hotel Administration. Cornell also operates undergraduate and graduate schools specializing in business, biomedical research, law, computer and informational science, public policy, and continuing education. Prospective applicants should take note: the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Human Ecology, the School of Industrial and Labor relations, and the College of Veterinary Science are termed “contract colleges” because they are essentially state-funded and Cornell-run. Each school and college maintains autonomy in admissions, financial aid, and academics from the rest of the university.

Founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White, Cornell has been a trailblazer in American higher education for generations. Its admissions have been co-educational and nonsectarian since its inception, serving as a model for similar policies at Stanford University, which was referred to as the “Cornell of the West” during its founding in 1891. Throughout the twentieth century, Cornell was known as a research powerhouse in space exploration, car safety, and physics. Cornell faculty played pivotal roles in the Manhattan Project, early missions to Mars, and early advancements in computer science.

While there are several secondary campuses in NYC and Qatar, the main Cornell campus is located in Ithaca, NY, a small college town resting on the waterfront of scenic Cayuga Lake. Considering Cornell houses the top architectural school in the country, it should come as no surprise that its campus is consistently ranked as one of the prettiest in the nation. The Ithaca campus is known for its architectural diversity and physical beauty, housing Collegiate Gothic, Neoclassical, Modernist, and Victorian styles against the verdant backdrop of New York’s Finger Lakes Region.

The undergraduate community is home to over 1,000 student organizations, including the Cornell University Glee Club, founded in 1868, which is the oldest student group on campus. Roughly ⅓ of the student body participates in Greek Life.  Those who seek alternative residential housing may choose between a wide selection of cooperative, affinity-based, and off-campus housing arrangements. Cornell undergraduates are an active bunch, with athletics and outdoor education playing a major role in student life. Annual traditions include Dragon Day, in which the first-year architecture students create a giant dragon float that is paraded around campus, and Slope Day, an end-of-year music festival.

Across the many undergraduate schools, admission is very competitive. For admission to the Class of 2026, Cornell received 71,064 applications (the highest application pool in the Ivy League), and admitted 4,908, for a record-low acceptance rate of 6.9%. While the applicant pool data was not released for the Class of 2027, given the 4,994 admits and recent trends in Ivy League admissions, we would imagine there was a similarly low acceptance rate. In order to get into Cornell, it is important to demonstrate your commitment to innovation, research, and academic excellence on the application. Here at Ivy Coach, we are committed to helping you show your commitment!

Cornell University Admissions Statistics

Cornell University Overall Accept. Rate Regular Decision Accept. Rate Regular Decision Apps Accepted Regular Decision Apps Received Early Decision / Action Accept. Rate Percent of Class Filled by Early Apps Early Decision / Action Apps Received Early Decision / Action Apps Accepted Expected Number of Students to Enroll Total Apps Received Total Apps Accepted
2027 NYP NYP 3,324 NYP NYP NYP NYP 1,670 NYP NYP 4,994
2026 6.9% 5.0% 3,077 61,609 19.2% 51.8% 9,555 1,831 3,533 71,064 4,908
2025 8.7% 6.7% 3,922 58,363 21.4% 51.3% 9,017 1,930 3,765 67,380 5,836
2024 10.7% 8.7% 3,920 44,870 24.0% 29.9% 6,630 1,594 3,296 51,500 5,514
2023 10.6% 8.8% 3,788 42,959 22.6% 43.9% 6,159 1,395 3,175 49,118 5,183
2022 10.3% 8.3% 3,755 45,009 24.3% 46.8% 6,319 1,533 3,275 51,328 5,288
2021 12.9% 10.8% 4,511 41,654 25.6% 42.1% 5,384 1,378 3,275 47,038 5,889
2020 14.1% 12.5% 4,997 40,083 27.4% 40.9% 4,882 1,340 3,275 44,965 6,337
2019 15.1% 13.7% 5,119 37,340 26.2% 37.5% 4,560 1,196 3,190 41,900 6,315
2018 14.0% 12.3% 4,689 38,266 27.7% 41.5% 4,775 1,325 3,190 43,041 6,014
2017 15.2% 13.9% 4,825 35,813 29.5% 38.9% 4,193 1,237 3,182 40,006 6,062
2016 16.2% 14.5% 4,943 32,203 32.7% 37.1% 3,609 1,180 3,182 37,812 6,123
2015 18% 16.1% 5,306 32,936 35.5% 39% 3,456 1,228 3,150 36,392 6,534
2014 18.4% 16.8% 5,498 32,744 32.7% 37.3% 3,594 1,175 3,150 36,338 6,673
2013 17.4% 15.5% 5,318 34,381 36.7% 39.7% 3,405 1,249 3,150 37,786 6,567
2012 20.4% 18.7% 5,591 29,916 36.8% 37.3% 3,095 1,139 3,050 33,011 6,730
2011 20.5% 18.7% 5,126 27,365 36.6% 36.2% 3,017 1,103 3,050 30,382 6,229
2010 24.7% 23% 5,817 25,248 39% 36.4% 2,849 1,110 3,050 28,097 6,927
2009 26.1% 24.3% 5,312 21,872 41.7% 35.1% 2,572 1,072 3,050 24,444 6,384
2008 28.7% 26.6% 4,856 18,270 43.9% 36% 2,550 1,119 3,105 20,820 5,975
2007 30.9% 29.4% 5,213 17,713 40.7% 37% 2,729 1,110 3,000 20,442 6,323

NYP = not yet published

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