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University Cornell Acceptance rate and Admission Requirements

Mar 2, 2022

Cornell University Quick Facts 

Type of UniversityPrivate 
Founding Year1865
Total undergraduate enrolment (Fall 2020)15,182
Campus size2300 acres
Cornell University’s ranking#17 (National ranking)
Cornell Acceptance Rate (2021)8.7%
Average tuition and fees$59,282

Cornell University is located in Ithaca, New York. Ithaca is a small town located four hours away from the bustling New York City. It is known for its splendid location, surrounded by lakes, gorges, waterfalls, and lots of greenery. 

Cornell is the youngest Ivy league school. Students at Cornell enjoy the rare chance to study directly under a world-class faculty that includes Pulitzer Prize winners, MacArthur Fellows, and Nobel Laureates. Cornell also provides a diverse range of academic options, including 80 majors and 120 minors, making it far more likely that you’ll discover exactly what you’re looking for. It offers an ocean of opportunities in seven undergraduate schools. 

  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Architecture, Art, and Planning
  • College of Human Ecology
  • School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR)
  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • Cornell SC Johnson College of Business

So, is it your dream to study at Cornell? Well, then you’ve come to the right place. This article will discuss admission requirements and tips to get into Cornell. Keep reading to find out!

Cornell Acceptance Rate

There were 67,380 applicants for the Cornell Class of 2025. This was the largest number of applicants in Cornell history. But, the acceptance rate was 8.7% – a new historic low. As is the case with all Ivy League, Cornell is a very selective school. The Cornell acceptance rate keeps dropping year on year.


Looking at Cornell’s acceptance rate can be scary! You must meet the university’s requirements to get accepted. This means tailoring your application to meet their expectations.

Cornell University GPA Requirements

Let us talk about your high school grade point average or GPA. Before applying, you must consider Cornell University’s GPA requirements. This is to avoid getting your application rejected right away.


You can estimate Cornell University’s GPA requirements by looking at the average GPA of Cornell’s students. Most students admitted to Cornell have an unweighted GPA of 4.07 or above. You might think to yourself, “How can students have a GPA greater than 4.0?” Certain high schools score advanced courses like APs differently, using a 5.0 scale instead of a 4.0 scale.

Let’s talk about the average Cornell GPA. Most top schools in the U.S. do not disclose the exact GPA of admitted students. However, most students place in the top 10% of their high schools. It is better to maintain an average GPA of 4.0 in all your classes. To meet Cornell’s GPA requirements, you’ll have to score primarily A’s on your high school courses.


Cornell also looks at other data in your transcript, such as awards, certificates, and AP classes.  Finally, it is essential to meet Cornell University’s GPA requirements while taking the most challenging courses your high school offers.

Cornell’s Average SAT Scores

It is common to wonder, “What is Cornell’s average SAT Score?” This is an important question as all universities in the U.S. require standardized test scores. Students can submit either SAT or ACT results. There is no preference between the two, so choose the one that’s best for you. Successful applicants to Cornell score between 1490 and 1530 on the SAT. Your SAT scores can be divided into percentiles. Cornell’s 25th percentile SAT score is 1490, and the 75th percentile is 1530.


Cornell’s average SAT scores fall in the middle at 1510. Ensure that your SAT score is higher than the average Cornell SAT score to improve your chances.

Cornell university super scores the SAT. This means that Cornell will consider your top section scores across all of your SAT dates. They will combine your best section scores to get the highest possible composite score. For example, a student takes the SAT exam twice, and his composite score on the first attempt is 1540 (780 Math, 780 EBRW). He obtained a composite SAT score of 1540 again (760 Math, 780 EBRW).


Since Cornell follows the policy of considering the highest section score, they will assess your Maths score of 780 and your EBRW score of 780. It assists the student since his score increased by 20 points, to 1560. The average ACT score of Cornell accepted students is between 32 and 35. The mean score of candidates falls at 34. Superscoring is not available for the ACT

Note: Standardized examinations are no longer required for admission to Cornell, starting with the Class of 2025. This decision is a response to COVID-19 and test administration issues. The omission may be temporary, but no plans to reintroduce standardized tests have been announced. 


What is Cornell Looking for in Applicants?

The admission process at Cornell varies from candidate to candidate. The admissions office spends time deciding whether you’ll be a good fit for Cornell’s values. Cornell describes the ideal candidate as someone who pushes himself academically, with a passion for learning. Qualities such as honesty and empathy are important and should be reflected in your essays. 

Applicants can mention project work and ideas that reflect their intelligence and ability to give back to the community. You can apply during the Early Action period to maximize your chances. This shows how serious you are about attending Cornell.

Admissions Tips to get into Cornell

With a 2021 acceptance rate of 8.7%, Cornell is difficult to get into but not impossible. To be considered, you must put effort into your application. Here are some suggestions to consider while working on your Cornell application.

Make an effort to achieve brilliant grades

To be admitted to Cornell, you must have excellent grades. The Cornell average GPA is 4.07. If you’re still a freshman, sophomore, or junior in high school, consider enrolling in some advanced courses to boost your GPA. You will need to have straight As on your report card for a shot at admission. Ivy league applicants may take up to 12 AP classes to strengthen their average GPA. To compete with other Cornell candidates, you’ll need to be disciplined and work hard.

Score big on the SAT or ACT

To be admitted to Cornell, you must have excellent standardized exam results. The average SAT score of Cornell applicants is 1510. Aim for the 75th percentile of SAT and ACT scores. Although Cornell is currently test-optional, submitting test scores increases your chances of getting in. It is best to take the SAT/ACT at least two to three times. Be careful of maxing out the number of times you can take the tests. Taking it more than six times can start to look suspicious.

Write Essays That Stand Out

The key to writing an exceptional essay is to write about something important to you. The admissions office looks for authenticity in essays. They do not want applicants to recycle the same old themes. 

Cornell requires its applicants to answer a prompt given to them. This prompt depends on the undergraduate school you apply to. There is a word limit of 650 words. Use this space wisely to show why and how you would be a good fit for the school.

Obtain Outstanding Recommendations

Cornell places a high value on teacher references, so make sure you obtain some great ones! Give your professors at least a month to finish your letters before the deadline. The sooner you inquire, the better. During the summer, many instructors like writing recommendations.

Choose professors familiar to you who have seen your greatest work. But, don’t restrict yourself to professors in classes you excelled. If you’re applying under the early decision or early action plans, you’ll need to request recommendations before the beginning of your senior year. Keep in mind that some professors will be writing many letters, which will take time. 

At first sight, Cornell admissions may appear scary. As Cornell is an Ivy League college, you need a great academic track record to get in. But don’t give up! If you want to attend Cornell, make sure you have a strong application and do well on your SATs!



cornell acceptance rate


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