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How to write the 2020-2021 Cornell supplemental essays

by Rebecca Acree, on Sep 23, 2020 10:04:31 AM

If you’re applying to Cornell, you’re in luck! While some of its Ivy peers require upwards of 10 supplemental essays, Cornell requires just one, with a maximum of 650 words. This word count is on the longer side, so make sure to take advantage of it — the more detail you offer, the more readers will be able to learn about who you are as a person.

Jump ahead to:

Read on for our guide to answering the Cornell supplemental prompt! 

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Essay

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: Why are you drawn to studying the major you have selected? Please discuss how your interests and related experiences have influenced your choice. Specifically, how will an education from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and Cornell University help you achieve your academic goals?  

This is a “classic why this major?” question, and it’s designed to help readers understand how you engage with your academic interests and passions. Don’t worry about choosing the “right” major or the one that you’re most likely to actually pursue. Choose the area that interests you the most right now, and demonstrate your interest in it with real examples from your life. They don’t necessarily need to be academic in nature; just let your passion shine through!

College of Architecture, Art, and Planning Essay

College of Architecture, Art, and Planning: What is your “thing”? What energizes you or engages you so deeply that you lose track of time? Everyone has different passions, obsessions, quirks, inspirations. What are yours? 

The “thing” you choose doesn’t necessarily have to be related to your interest in the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, nor does it have to be strictly academic. However, if you do have a “thing” that will help readers understand why you’re interested in this particular school — as opposed to any other, at Cornell or elsewhere — then all the better! Describe the “thing” using real details from your life. For example, what was the first time you discovered it? Or what does it look like when you engage with it? Show readers how much it interests and inspires you, instead of just telling them. 

College of Arts and Sciences Essay

College of Arts and Sciences: Students in Arts and Sciences embrace the opportunity to delve into multifaceted academic interest, embodying in 21st century terms Ezra Cornell’s “any person…any study” founding vision. Tell us about the areas of study you are excited to explore, and specifically why you wish to pursue them in our College. 

Again, you don’t need to be 100% committed to the areas of study you discuss; you simply need to be interested in and excited about pursuing them at Cornell! This is a great chance to show that you’ve done your research and are familiar with Cornell’s academic offerings. What specific, unique things about Cornell make you want to spend the next four years studying there, and why do they appeal to you? 

Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management Essay

Cornell SC Johnson College of Business: Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management: The Dyson School is unique by design. What motivates you to apply to Dyson and where do you plan to go from here? 

Cornell admissions readers want to know that you’re forward-thinking and have a plan to put your degree to good use. So what will you do with a degree from the Dyson School? Why did you choose this school over Cornell’s other offerings? What excites you about applied economics and management/ Be as specific, personal, and detailed as possible! 

School of Hotel Administration (SHA) Essay

Cornell SC Johnson College of Business: School of Hotel Administration (SHA): How have your interests and experiences influenced your decision to apply to the School of Hotel Administration? How does this decision relate to your future plans and aspirations? 

This is a great opportunity to use a real moment from your life to demonstrate your interest in hotel administration! How was your interest in hotel administration sparked? What real moment from your life best exemplifies why it’s the right fit for you? And what do you plan to do with a degree from Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration? Show admissions readers your commitment to this area of study, and that you’re a forward-thinking student with ambitious plans for the future.

College of Engineering Essay

College of Engineering: Tell us about your interest in engineering or what you hope to achieve with a degree in engineering. Describe what appeals to you about Cornell Engineering and how it specifically relates to your engineering interest or aspirations. 

Admissions readers at Cornell want to know that you’re interested in Cornell specifically, over any other school where you could earn a degree in engineering. This is your chance to show that you’ve done your research and are familiar with Cornell’s program! In describing what you hope to do with your engineering degree, show how specific details about the College of Engineering will help you meet those goals. 

College of Human Ecology Essay

College of Human Ecology: How has your decision to apply to the College of Human Ecology been influenced by your related experiences? How will your choice of major impact your goals and plans for the future? 

This is another great opportunity to use a real moment from your life to demonstrate your interest in human ecology. How was your interest in human ecology first sparked? How do you know it’s the right fit for you? Tell a story to help readers understand your background in human ecology, as well as your future. What do you plan to do with a degree from the College of Human Ecology? Show admissions readers that you have a specific, ambitious plan for what you will do with this degree.

School of Industrial and Labor Relations

School of Industrial and Labor Relations: Tell us about your intellectual interests, how they sprung from your course, service, work or life experiences, and what makes them exciting to you. Describe how ILR is the right school for you to pursue these interests.

What specific moments from your life made you interested in industrial and labor relations? Why does this matter to you now, and how will you use a degree from Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations in the future? Be as specific, detailed, and personal as possible! 

Ready to perfect your personal statement next? For tips on crafting a great personal statement and examples of what that looks like, check out our guide to personal statements



Topics:college admissions

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