Cornell University in Ithaca, New York is the third Ivy League college to officially release its 2023-2024 supplemental essay prompts for first-year applicants. Dartmouth and Yale released their supplemental prompts earlier this month. As most high school seniors applying to Cornell do so through the Common Application, most Cornell applicants will also need to respond – and respond well – to one of the Common App’s main essay prompts in order to be considered for admission at Cornell.
This year’s supplemental prompts are a mix of new and old; some of the university’s colleges have kept their supplemental prompts the same as last year, while others have introduced new prompts.
To watch my detailed advice from last year regarding how to get into Cornell, which includes advice on last year’s supplemental essay prompts, some of which are used again this year, click here or watch it at the bottom of this article.
The admissions offices at most highly selective universities have been slower than usual in releasing their supplemental essay prompts for the 2023-2024 admissions cycle as a result of having to reassess their practices in a new post-affirmative action environment. University of Virginia earlier in July released a new supplemental essay prompt that seemed to be created specifically in response to affirmative action being ruled unlawful.
Without further ado, here are Cornell’s prompts for students applying for Fall 2024 entry.
Cornell University 2023-2024 Supplemental Essay Prompts
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Required: Why are you drawn to studying the major you have selected? Please discuss how your interests and related experiences have influenced your choice. How will an education from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at Cornell University specifically serve to support your learning, growth, and the pursuit of your goals? (650-word limit)
Instructions: The optional short-answer questions invite you to share additional information about your background, interests, and experiences as they relate to aspects of the Cornell CALS mission. The content of any responses submitted will be included in the holistic review of your application (which is also the case for any optional additional information submitted as part of your Common Application or uploaded through your Cornell Application Portal once you’ve applied).
Optional: At Cornell CALS, we aim to leave the world better than we found it, so we seek out those who are not simply driven to master their discipline, but who are also passionate about doing so to serve the public good. Please elaborate on an experience where you had a meaningful impact on people, a community, and/or an environment of importance to you. (200-word limit)
Optional: Cornell CALS is dedicated to purpose-driven study of the agricultural, life, environmental, and social sciences and welcomes students with interests that span a wide variety of disciplines. Given our agricultural history and commitment to educating the next generation of agriculturalists, please share if you have a background or interest in agriculture, regardless of your intended major. An “agricultural entity” for the purpose of this question is defined as cultivating soil, growing crops, and raising livestock (ex. farm, ranch, greenhouse, vineyard, etc.).
Select all that apply:
- A primary source of income for my parent/guardian(s) comes from ownership of or employment by an agricultural entity.
- My extended family owns or operates an agricultural entity.
- I have experience working in an agricultural entity.
- I have interest in pursuing a career in an agricultural entity.
Please feel free to share additional details (optional). (100-word limit)
College of Architecture, Art, and Planning
How do your interests directly connect with your intended major at the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning (AAP)? Why architecture (B.Arch), art (BFA), or urban and regional studies (URS)? B. Arch applicants, please provide an example of how a creative project or passion sparks your motivation to pursue a 5-year professional degree program. BFA applicants may want to to consider how they could integrate a range of interests and available resources at Cornell into a coherent art practice. URS students may want to emphasize their enthusiasm and depth of interest in the study of urban and regional issues.
College of Arts & Sciences
At the College of Arts and Sciences, curiosity will be your guide. Discuss how your passion for learning is shaping your academic journey, and what majors or areas excite you and why. Your response should convey how your interests align with the College, and how you would take advantage of the opportunities and curriculum in Arts and Sciences.
Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy
Why are you drawn to studying public policy? Drawing on your experiences, tell us about why you are interested in your chosen major and how attending the Brooks School will help you achieve your life goals.
Cornell SC Johnson College of Business
What kind of a business student are you? Using your personal, academic, or volunteer/work experiences, describe the topics or issues that you care about and why they are important to you. Your response should convey how your interests align with the school to which you are applying within the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business (Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management or the Peter and Stephanie Nolan School of Hotel Administration).
College of Engineering
Instructions: All applicants are required to write two supplemental essays. Each has a limit of 250 words. Essay 1 is required of all applicants. For Essay 2, you must choose between Question A and Question B.
Essay 1: Required response. (250-word limit)
How do your interests directly connect with Cornell Engineering? If you have an intended major, what draws you to that department at Cornell Engineering? If you are unsure what specific engineering field you would like to study, describe how your general interest in engineering most directly connects with Cornell Engineering. It may be helpful to concentrate on one or two things that you are most excited about.
Essay 2: Choose either Question A and Question B. (250-word limit)
Question A: Describe an engineering problem that impacts your local community. This could be your school, neighborhood, town, region, or a group you identify with. Describe one to three things you might do as an engineer to solve the problem.
Question B: Diversity in all forms is intrinsic to excellence in engineering. Engineering the best solutions to complex problems is often achieved by drawing from the diverse ingenuity of people from different backgrounds, lived experiences, and identities. How do you see yourself contributing to the diversity and/or the inclusion of the Cornell Engineering community? What is the unique voice you would bring to the Cornell Engineering community?
College of Human Ecology
How have your related experiences influenced your decision to apply to the College of Human Ecology (CHE)? How will your choice of major impact your goals and plans for the future? Your response should show us that your interests and aspirations align with CHE and your choice of major. (Refer to our essay application tips before you begin.)
School of Industrial and Labor Relations
Using your personal, academic, or volunteer/work experiences, describe the topics or issues that you care about and why they are important to you. Your response should show us that your interests align with the ILR School.
My “How to get into Cornell” video from 2022: