Could someone please clarify the application process @ Cornell?

<p>I understand that Cornell has several colleges arranged by area of interest, but when applying to Cornell, does one apply to a specific college or to the university as a whole?</p>

<p>You apply to one or two specific college(s): a primary and an optional alternate. You will have to write a separate supplemental application for each college you apply to. They will send your application to your first choice college, and if they reject you will send it on to your alternate choice. I’m not sure if the alternate college knows they were your second choice. You would only ever be admitted to one college. Each college has its own specific requirements that you would have to meet (high school classes and standardized tests etc.)</p>

<p>Thank you, and do you know if there is anywhere I can find these stats for each individual college?</p>

<p>Just so you know, the process for switching colleges isn’t too bad. I applied to CAS for Chem but I recently (well, after I applied at least) learned about ChemE and want to instead major in that, so I’m switching to the Engineering school in the second semester of Freshman year.</p>

<p>I’m not sure if these are the “stats” you are looking for, but here are the basic application requirements for each college: <a href=“[/url]”>;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;

<p>Also, just to make it more complicated, in some schools you apply by major, e.g. CALS and AAP.
As noted above you can apply to a first choice and an alternate college, but the acceptance rate to the alternate is miniscule. So figure out which you really want.</p>

<p>Also, applying to an alternate college is optional. There are plenty of students who apply to only one college. It’s probably most useful for people who want to study, for example, bio, and can do that in either CAS or CALS.</p>

<p>As others have mentioned, you can generally change pretty easily once you’re there as well, so if you’re not sure, I’d make the primary the one that you “look like” a better candidate for.</p>

<p>Yes, you can change schools, but it is not without cost. You’ll have to take requirements for the first school, and then, after you transfer, start all over again with requirements for the second school, and that may leave you fewer opportunities to explore your interests and take some of the cool, offbeat courses that might interest you. I would advise you to apply to the school that truly interests you, and not try to game your admissions chance. Cornell admissions are sufficiently mysterious that it would be tough to do that, anyway. Check out the official acceptance thread and you’ll see it’s often tough to understand why one person got in and another didn’t.</p>

<p>Oh, I agree that you shouldn’t try to game the system, but if you really can’t decide between 2 schools, you may find that you look better “on paper” for one of them. </p>

<p>My S wanted to study Computer Science which is offered by both Engineering and Arts & Sciences. He was clear that he prefered Engineering from the start, but also it was clear to us that his HS preparation, SAT IIs and ECs etc. were a better fit for what Engineering was looking for than what CAS was looking for (senior year especially is very math/science heavy, with no history and no foreign language, for example). Sometimes it’s not clear, of course.</p>

<p>Thank you for clarifying that and the link was very helpful. Just one more question, can one take classes outside of his enrolled college?</p>

<p>Yes, you can take classes outside your college, but… typically your college and/or major will have requirements that fill up most of your classes (perhaps particularly early on) though even then they may not all be within the college (i.e. engineers take math and science classes from CAS, writing seminars from whoever it is that offers those, etc.) Your best chance of being able to take a wide variety of classes is if you come in with AP/IB or other transfer credit that covers some of your college/major’s base requirements.</p>

<p>When I was there a million years ago, I took courses in 5 of the 7 colleges. My son, who just graduated, took classes in 4 different colleges. It is one of the great assets of the Cornell experience.
Also, another thought if you are deciding between schools at Cornell. Check the distribution requirements for each school. That’s how DS1 decided on CALS rather than CAS–the required course areas were a better fit for him in CALS, though he could have pursued his interests (with a slightly different emphasis) in either school.</p>