Chance me for Cornell Engineering

Hi! My name is Aimee (Asian American) and I really, really want to go to Cornell College of Engineering early decision. However, my GPA is really bad. I think it is a 3.5 UW and 3.97 W. However, it is has a very large spike.
Freshman - 3.16
Sophomore - 3.94
Junior - 4.82
I had an eating disorder for the first year and a half of high school (no means an excuse) so my grades suffered a bit because my focus was off and I was just very unhealthy mentally and physically. I will mention it in the extra info section of the common app.

My SAT score is 1520 - 770 R/ 750 M. I think I’m going to take it once more, though before the early decision deadline because people have told me the math score is low for an engineering student.

I took AP Physics, AP world, AP language and composition, and AP Environmental science junior year with A in physics and A - in the other three. My AP scores might be bad, though except for AP lang and enviro. I am taking AP literature, physics 2, music theory, and psychology senior year. My school would not let me take the accelerated path in math because I averaged a B+ in freshman year for Algebra. I am taking a calculus course over the summer at my local college since I was only able to enroll in Precalc honors for senior year.

I am in orchestra honors senior year and junior year, but orchestra all 4 years. I participated in a TCNJ orchestra with violin, may have gotten into another symphony with viola, and was in the Tri - M music society junior year year and might be in a leadership position senior year.

I did future doctors of America for three years with being fundraising officer junior year and possibly president or Vice President senior year.

I am in varsity debate and have been in it since junior year. I have been in the debate club itself since sophomore year.

I tutored at Kumon for a year when I was a freshman and sophomore, worked at HomeGoods for a year, and tutored SAT English and some math for really cheap for people who were not able to afford the big name tutoring academies in my town that charge a couple thousand.

I know I am not the most impressive, but if I somehow get volunteering hours (it’s hard in my specific county with covid) or some type of internship and right good essays, would I get in early decision? Thanks so much for any help :slight_smile:

If you absolutely had to choose one path, would it be engineering or med school?

How are you under pressure? as in, take the heaviest & hardest work load you have ever had, and double that?

Fwiw, volunteering hours this summer are not going to be what tips the needle. Do something this summer (besides a single math class), but it can be anything that shows what your own drive is like.

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what do you mean? I think I’m going to pursue med school after biomedical engineering as an undergrad, but that has nothing to do with cornell admissions, right?
Do you think an internship would be good over the summer?

Right- but it might have something to do with your med school admissions. Med school admissions are driven by GPA (#1) and MCAT (#2). Engineering is famously hard on GPAs and Cornell engineering is considered to be at the high end of intense engineering programs. Med schools do not give much - if any- of a break on GPA to engineering / BME students.

It is true that a lot of BME students go on to med school, and if you can get the GPA that med schools want (think 3.7) while doing a BME degree- super. But the numbers I hear for Cornell engineering (GradSchoolKid2 TA’s some of the physics classes in the engineering school) suggest that typical GPAs are more like 3.0/3.2.

Hence my question: I don’t want to underestimate you at all! just trying to help you consider both short and long term possibilities.

If you are in the northern hemisphere getting a meaningful internship for this summer is probably not going to happen this late in the summer. AOs look at how you spend your summers as a way to know something about what is important to you (in the context of what your options are). A Princeton admissions dean once said to one of the Collegekids “we don’t care what you do with your summer- we care that you do something with it and that you can tell us what you took from the experience and how you are using it going forward”


I don’t think you’ll get into Cornell - but so what. Med School cares about GPA and MCAT. If you look at top schools, yes many come from top schools - but many also go to medical school from Boise State and University of TN and name your school.

I see Cornell beyond a reach for you - but i’m an amateur admissions counselor.

I would not say you are not impressive - not true - but Cornell is a reach to people with perfect records and you had a speed bump.

Check out your state flagship and then schools like Miami, Wake, Rochester, Case Western - they’ll still be a stretch but are possible. Schools like Syracuse, Pitt, Maryland, Ohio State, etc. will be targets and a school like Elon, Denver, Miami of Ohio, and most of your flagships will be safeties.

good luck.


You have very impressive academic records. The extracurricular activities and other voluntary work are good enough to impress any top engineering college. Is there any specific reason for choosing Engineering and Cornell University? Unless you would like to pursue an engineering profession, a degree in engineering is as good as a degree in economics. I come across many Asian Americans, who consider that an engineering degree has a higher weightage in the job interviews. It is not true. Think about what you enjoying doing the most and the type of career that matches with your passion. Good luck!


Honestly, when I was a sophomore in high school and at my lowest point mentally, I started building and tinkering with this button I had to make for patients with arthritis. They had to be able to operate it as opposed to a normal button that they might not be able to because of their condition. Somehow, through a lot of trial and error, I built some type of squishy, light up contraption that worked and would potentially allow patients to call for their nurse if needed. I really enjoyed that type of work and I always knew I liked medicine. Doing BME, would allow me to enjoy that same problem solving atmosphere while also giving me the flexibility of going into a career of engineering or medical school.

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Why Cornell? Why engineering if you are aiming for med school? I am concerned that your eating disorder may be a sign of anxiety and stress, in which case a path of less resistance may be a better way to pursue your pre-med ambitions.

Of course, you can apply for Cornell ED. It will be a reach, because it’s a reach for everyone. In addition, you will be finishing with precalc when many applicants in your demographic would have had Calc BC and perhaps beyond. (I am a math prof - AP Calc BC is much more rigorous than a summer calculus class at a CC). It seems you’re an NJ resident. Your overall GPA is barely enough to get you into Rutgers Engineering . I suggest you make a list that includes universities where you’re likely to thrive. If you’re in NJ , consider TCNJ for pre-med. They also have an engineering program ,although it’s small. There’s BME at NJIT as well. It’s their toughest program.

There seem to be a lot Cornell ED threads lately, with some sort of implicit assumption that it’s an “easy Ivy” to get into. Our college counselor has told us that it’s a high reach for my DS2, and his stats are quite competitive.

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I don’t know about that, Rutgers posts weighted GPA in their profile and engineering is 3.7 to 4.2 and OP’s is right in the middle. The SAT 25-75 1340-1500, the OP is above that. Rutgers acceptance rate for women is 60% and that includes OOS, so Rutgers is an admission safety for the OP, as it should be for a strong in-state student.

It would be easier to get into Cornell by applying to another major in Arts and Science, or Ag and Life Sci or Human Ecology than engineering. However a BME could be more useful if med school didn’t work out.

Are you a doctor? Psychologist? Psychiatrist? If the OP got over it, then I don’t think that should be a factor here.

The OP is right in the middle of the admissions pool for Rutgers Engineering and probably much higher considering they’re in state. The SAT score is also much higher.

I was looking at the students UW GPA of 3.5 . But I think the weighted GPA is the right one to use. So Rutgers would be a match.

I cannot edit my original comment to delete the part about the anxiety. My older child did have some mental health issues in high school and finding a relatively low stress environment was important when looking for a college . So that part was from my experience as a parent.

But, of course, not everyone is the same, and I am sorry for jumping to conclusions.

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Coming back to the ‘why Cornell’ in particular question. I don’t know how much you know about engineering programs in general, but it’s worth spending some time getting to know more about the nature of different programs and different sub-fields.

For example, your experience of hands-on building brought to mind engineering schools such as Clarkson, WPI, Colorado School of Mines, and Olin, all of which are known for their hands-on, project based approach to engineering.

And, how much have you looked at the differences between BME and Mech E? the button you created would sit in Mech E as much as BME.

I would encourage you to look at the four year plan of study at Cornell and every other school on your list. Cornell has more out of college requirements than most and is stingy with AP credit. Be sure you have room in the schedule for all your BME courses, graduation requirements out of college, and your premed courses.

Cornell engineering is intense. I’m not sure that would be the school I’d choose if the end goal is med school.

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Hold your chin up. You’ve got a lot to be proud of, especially battling a mental health condition. Glad to see you’ve gotten better. That should be of primary importance.

I agree with the posters above. Getting into Cornell engineering sounds like it will be an uphill battle. Also getting into medical school with an engineering degree is very very difficult. It can be done, but most people do a post-bacc program to boost their GPAs.

There are ways to get into Cornell for students like you. But they usually involve transferring in from another college. Cornell has a lot of articulation programs with nearby 2 year community colleges. They also have a guaranteed transfer option which are given to HS seniors, with the stipulation that they attend another college for one year. They also have spring admission offers. But as pointed out above, the engineering program at Cornell is very rigorous, and has been known to stress people out. That combined with pre-med is a sure fire recipe for disaster IMHO.

Good luck where ever you end up!


Extremely impressed with your passion as demonstrated in innovating something that could lead to a major product development route. I would suggest that you look for universities where undergraduate research work is an established part of grooming tomorrow’s innovators. Would you like to consider Johns Hopkins University?

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