Transfer trying to decide on whether or not to attend. Please help.
hey everyone. i just found out yesterday that I was accepted to CALS as a biology and society major, and i now have to decide if Cornell is the place for me. I have already sent in a admissions deposit to SUNY Binghamton, which obviously, is not nearly as good as Cornell. I wasn't a very good HS student, but I attended a community college for two years and turned myself around. I am, however, very intimidated by the academic rigor at Cornell, which is starting to worry me. I know that I would have to work very hard to do well at Cornell, but I have this vision of having no social life, and being overwhelmed and stressed all the time. At the same time, I keep telling myself that since I was accepted, the admissions people must have some faith in my abilities :-) I know that going to Cornell would provide me with amazing opportunities down the road, and Binghamton is nothing compared to Cornell (not that it's a bad school.) I was also thinking that if I went to Cornell for a semester and hated it or wasn't doing well, I could always just transfer over to Binghamton ??
Any input/advice would be appreciated but please, no snide remarks about how "it's Cornell, of course it's gonna be hard, if you're lazy don't go" because i'm not lazy, and I feel like my worries are reasonable.
My high school senior daughter just went through a similar dilema as you. Her perception of Cornell being so academically stressful was based on classes she observed, the Fiske guide, the Cornell website, this chat room, campus tours (2) and student phone conversations. What every student said was that Cornell was really hard or demanding, but that it was worth it. But that wasn't enough to give her confidence.
What swayed her decision most was not what students said, as much what students didn't say. No one said that it was fun, or that they were really happy or that they felt really comfortable. Now some may argue that college isn't supposed to be about that as much as academics. But this is your life. And no one is going to be in the library with you at 1 am or take your tests and do the homework for you. She agonizingly came to the conclusion that she was in love of the idea of owning a Cornell diploma, but could not embrace the effort it would take to get it.
I am sure that you are able to do the work required at Cornell. But at what cost? Is it worth it to have the Cornell diploma if you feel that intimidated, and stressed? And if you decide to attend, how are you going to ease your anxiety? Do you have nearby family or friends already at Cornell? My son transferred from Penn State to Vanderbilt, and there was anxiety to be a new sophomore. But Vanderbilt only has 6,000 students and they wholeheartedly welcomed him, had orientation only with transfers for example, special parent sessions. Maybe they held our hands too much, but that was okay given his trepidation. Does Cornell make any special arrangements for you as a transfer?
My guess is that the hesitation you are feeling is a true reflection of your 'gut.' Good luck, and let us know your decsion.
I'm so sorry that someone considering Cornell never heard that Cornell was fun or that the students there are happy and comfortable. I, along with every single person I've ever met who went to Cornell, loved it there. If attendance at reunions is any measure of love for Cornell, check out the statistics on the high percentage of people attending their reunions (a great weekend up in Ithaca), the numbers of alumni who are involved with their local alumni associations and the numbers of alumni who volunteer to interview college seniors who have applied to Cornell (through a group called CAAAN). You don't find that everywhere.
Do the students at Cornell work hard? Absolutely. But the students there are also involved with intramural athletics (inner tube water polo comes to mind), fraternities and sororities (for those students who like those kinds of things), throwing frisbees around the quad, swimming in the on campus gorges and spending an inordinate amount of time socializing, among other things. Is the week or so leading up to prelims (midterms) and finals stressful? Yes. Are those times stressful at most universities? They sure were for everyone I know in the world who went to college. Moreover, I think that if you are the kind of person who stressed out about everything in high school and community college, you will stress out whereever you finish your bachelor's degree.
I can say from experience that Cornell is what you make of it. If you want to party and socialize all of the time, can you do that? Sure, but your grades might suffer (though I expect that is true everywhere). Are the students in your classes bright and motivated? Yes. Is the workload tougher than at other schools? Maybe. I think that it depends upon your major, your courseload and your own level of intensity and self-inflicted stress. If you want to do well, you will certainly work hard when you have work to do. I personally never found it to be overwhelming, nor did my friends at Cornell, though there was a week here and there that were definitely challenging. For most of the semester, you will definitely find Cornell students in the library or other study area in the afternoons or early evenings during the week. I personally went out with friends almost every night after studing after or inbetween classes each day. I never missed a day going to the gym or running, which I enjoyed. No, I didn't watch too many soap operas. On the weekends, I don't remember too many people missing football games (or tailgating) for school work.
Overall, the discipline that I learned at Cornell has served me well throughout law school and my career as an attorney.
There are also a tremendous number of resources available at Cornell to help you through the process, if you choose. I had an academic advisor, who was a professor in my department, who was terrific. I also had a student advisor in my major who was there when I needed her and knew better than to be all over me when I didn't. If you seek them out, there are free tutoring services and other academic and emotional guidance available, if you need it. I suspect that most of the students do just fine without it.
Cornell also has many special programs for transfer students, including a transfer student orientation (I was a transfer student orientation counselor when I was there) and a specific dorm specifically for transfer students.
Good luck with your decision and congratulations on getting in to Cornell!
I don't think you can go wrong at Cornell. SUNY Binghamton is a great school, but I think that Cornell has a lot more to offer. Just take a look at the course catalogs to see the breadth of classes offered at Cornell!
Her major of interest is management or accounting (her uncle works for Pricewaterhousecoopers). At Cornel, her major would have been AEM. She ended up choosing Bucknell for the fit and that her gut was as anxious as yours. She is an introvert and just couldn't imagine the assertion it would have taken for her to be successful at Cornell.
She worked very hard this senior year at high school, 4 AP's, at the sacrifice of her social life and that played a big impact in the decision. In addition, her brother who transferred to Vandy, works about 50 hours a week, although he does have a 4.0 gpa. She doesn't want to have to work that hard at Cornell. And she knows from the same classes the 2 of them took in high school, that he reads more quickly, has usually learned faster and scored better than her. And he never worked as hard as her in high school, so it's not like she wasn't trying.
Certainly, there are some who loved their time at Cornell. And while my daughter certainly picked a less prestigious school, she is also looking to have a more intimate atmosphere. Maybe you thrive in a larger environment, or you love to challenge yourself. There are some Cornellians who are transferring out, or already did leave Cornell for various reasons. Maybe you should scour the CC site to read from a number of different Cornell students. You are smart to get information, feel free to PM me.
No, we did not give up AEM. My daughter would have had to do an internal transfer at Cornell. Based on many of the responses from current Cornell students on the CC site, an internal transfer is ultra competitive, and was not a guarantee at all.
Her major will be accounting, and with her ties to pricewaterhousecoopers, a job at that firm would not be a long shot. Basically, she could get a job there even if she had a degree from Penn State, but she doesn't want a college of that size.
@snajean: Ahhh, OK. yeah, if the endgame was a job at PWC, then I guess it didn't really matter where she went to school. One more question about her Cornell acceptance... if she had to do an internal transfer to CALS:AEM, what did get accepted as? A CAS major?