The information is intended for First-Time Applicants to Cornell. If you are not a first-time applicant to Cornell or have a question not addressed by this page, please visit the Cornell Admissions website.
Follow these steps to apply to Cornell. You can then use our checklist for first-year applicants to make sure you have all of the required elements together before submitting your application.
1. Basic Requirements
Before you get started, be sure that you have completed all of the basic educational requirements outlined in the First-year Requirements.
You will also need to decide to apply for early or regular decision. If Cornell is your first choice, consider applying under the early decision plan. Early decision applications are reviewed in the fall, and you will be notified in mid-December of Cornell’s decision. Before applying early decision, know that:
- November 1 is the application deadline.
- Early decision is binding. If you’re admitted to Cornell, you are required to withdraw any applications you’ve sent to other schools and send your enrollment deposit to Cornell by early January.
- You can be admitted or denied during early decision as well as postponed to regular decision. Students whose applications are postponed to regular decision are no longer subject to the early decision binding commitment.
- While early decision acceptances to Cornell are binding, students may be eligible to be released from the early decision agreement if the financial aid award does not make a Cornell education affordable for applicants and their families (must have applied for financial aid).
Cornell University will honor any required commitment to matriculate, which has been made to another college under an Early Decision plan.
2. Choosing a College
You will apply to only one undergraduate college or school at Cornell. Explore each of our undergraduate colleges and schools at the links below and see which fits you best before filling out your application:
Applicants are not permitted to change the college to which they have applied after they have submitted the application. Requests to change colleges will not be honored.
Cornell uses the Common Application (CA), which can be completed and submitted online. Required application materials should be submitted using the Common Application.
4. Application Supporting Materials
In addition to the application, Cornell requires that you submit the following forms. These forms can be found and submitted online at www.commonapp.org:
- The School Report - Your counselor or designated school official should submit this form (or your school’s own report form) and your official transcript on your behalf.
- Counselor Recommendation - Cornell requires a written statement from your guidance counselor or college advisor.
- Teacher Evaluations - You are required to submit two teacher recommendations. Be sure to remind individuals writing letters for you to include your name and date of birth on all pages if they are sending them by mail.
- Midyear Report - Submit the Midyear Report as soon after the application deadline as possible. We strongly encourage guidance counselors to submit this online too, so we can process your application faster. We understand that some students with schools on trimesters may not have any new grade information to report at the time of submission, and therefore do not need to send a Midyear Report.
For Early Decision applicants, the Early Decision Agreement is incorporated into Cornell University’s application on the Common Application website. Look for the checkbox under Cornell University>Application>Questions>General. Applicants do not need to submit a separate agreement from their counselor.
5. Cornell University Supplemental Information
The Cornell Questions and Writing Supplement (CA) is required of all applicants, as it includes important Cornell-specific questions and required essays. This information helps us match your intellectual goals to the Cornell college or school to which you’re applying.
6. Official Transcript
We require you to submit your official secondary/high school transcript(s) before the application deadline. This should be sent by your school online or can be mailed.
7. Standardized Test Scores
Cornell has suspended the SAT/ACT testing requirement for fall 2023 and fall 2024 applicants.
8. Application Fee
Applications must be submitted with the $80 application fee in order to be considered. Submitting the application and the $80 online fee or fee waiver* begins the admission process and should be done as soon as possible to avoid delays.
* Fee Waiver
Cornell’s application fee is $80, and you are required to submit it with your Common Application. Please note that Cornell cannot process your application without the application fee or a fee waiver. Please follow the Common Application instructions. To apply for a fee waiver, please submit one of the following documents:
- The Common Application fee waiver request completed by your guidance counselor/college advisor as part of the school forms process (online submission available at www.commonapp.org);
- The College Board Request for Waiver of College Application Fee form (obtainable from your guidance counselor/college advisor if you used SAT fee waivers) or the ACT Fee Waiver Form (obtainable from your guidance counselor/college advisor if you used ACT fee waivers);
- The NACAC Application for Fee Waiver Form completed by your guidance counselor/college advisor;
- A letter from your guidance counselor/college advisor, or a representative from a social service or community agency, stating that the fee would cause financial hardship;
If you cannot apply for a fee waiver by one of these methods, please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office at 607-255-5241. Mail fee waiver documentation to: Undergraduate Admissions Office, 410 Thurston Avenue, Ithaca, NY 14850.
Students applying to the architecture program are required to participate in an interview as part of the admission process and applicants to the Department of Art or Urban and Regional Studies are encouraged, although not required, to have an interview. Beginning in August, students may visit the undergraduate Architecture page in College of Art, Architecture, and Planning website to schedule an interview.
For all other applicants, there is no interview process and we will not offer interviews for those who request them.
10. Additional Submissions
Some of our majors, like architecture and art, do require additional forms, portfolios, or design indexes. Review the First-year Admission Requirements page to make sure you have all the required items for your intended major.