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The Requirements: one school-specific essay of 650 words
Supplemental Essay Type(s): Why
Hoo-boy! This sure looks like a long list of prompts from Cornell… psych! You may be shocked to learn that Cornell hopefuls are only required to write one (1!) supplemental essay. So, what’s with the list? Well, each of Cornell’s eight (8) undergraduate schools has its own unique prompt. Just kidding! It’s an optical illusion again. Each school actually asks essentially the same question, and it’s one of the most basic supplemental prompts out there: why here? We’ve written a whole separate guide on this common ask, so we won’t regurgitate all of our advice here. But we will remind you that research is your friend! So, dig into your specific school’s website and mine for information about your major and interests. You should also take note of the way Cornell phrases each any every one of these questions: how have your prior experiences and/or interests inspired you to apply to Cornell? So, your goal, no matter where you are applying, is to tell a story about your path: where has it led you thus far and why is Cornell the inevitable next step?
Let’s dig in!
With such a specific professional focus, the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences is asking for an equally specific commitment from you. Make sure you have real concrete reasons and practical experiences to back up your chosen course of study. Why couldn’t you just pursue your interests in a more general liberal arts environment?
Architects need to plan their projects pretty comprehensively and Cornell wants to make sure you’ll bring the same fastidious attention to detail to your life plans. You’ll need to tie past, present, and future into a neat (and aesthetically pleasing) bow to demonstrate that you have the intellectual verve to succeed at Cornell and beyond.
Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences is the most general of Cornell’s offerings, so take this opportunity to show your well-rounded worth. Why have you chosen not to pursue a more specific or professionally-oriented pathway at this point? What will you gain from having access to a diverse array of academic departments?
In other words, show Cornell you mean business about business! If you’re planning on pursuing such a professionally-oriented track straight out of high school, you’ve probably got a plan, so spell it out. Business doesn’t happen in a classroom environment, so it’s important to think about the practical training you’ll gain at Cornell and which specific opportunities will provide the kinds of experiences that will propel you down your chosen career path.
Cornell’s world-renowned School of Hotel Administration has a highly specific training program. If your personal interests and needs don’t match up, you won’t be a good fit for this school. So Cornell has zeroed in on a few key aspects of the industry that you need to address in your response. Unlike some of the other prompts, this one also solicits a reflection on your “personal qualities” because, well, hospitality. In other words, you have to prove to admission that you’re not only a fit for Cornell, but for the industry in general. So, make sure your response covers all the bases to paint a complete picture of you as a person.
Guess what, Cornell knows you want to be an engineer! Why else would you be applying to the College of Engineering? Unlike many of the other prompts, this one isn’t asking you to demonstrate your intellectual fit. Instead, you’ve been tasked with making the case for your mission fit. This why essay is also more future-oriented than the others, so think about the impact you hope to have on the world? Do you want to make it a better place? What problems do you most want to solve and how? If you get into Cornell, how will you use your powers for good?
Short, sweet, and to the point, this prompt secretly wants to make sure you know what human ecology is before you apply. Unlike many of Cornell’s specific schools, this one doesn’t necessarily flow directly into a particular career path so it’s important for you to demonstrate that you have a plan before committing to such a focused course of study.
Like so many of Cornell’s other specific schools, the School of Industrial and Labor Relations wants to make sure that you understand what kind of training it offers and confirm your commitment to the field. Drawing upon personal experience is key for this prompt, so mine for specific anecdotes that speak to the origins and motivations behind your interest in labor issues.