Combined with a strong liberal arts foundation, Cornell students prepare to succeed as global citizens with support and guidance from outstanding academic centers and enrichment programs. The Centers for Extraordinary Opportunities focus on the pre-professional interest areas of pre-health sciences, business, and law, as well as career preparation, high-level fellowships, and preparation for graduate or professional schools. The Academic Enrichment Programs provide off-campus study, faculty-student research, civic engagement, and other opportunities.
A variety of academic centers provide extraordinary opportunities for students that partner Cornell’s distinctive liberal arts curriculum with experiential learning. Serving as a link between the liberal arts and preparation for career or graduate school entry, the Centers provide Cornell students bridging opportunities into life, learning, and work beyond the baccalaureate degree.
The Berry Center provides distinctive academic enrichment programs for undergraduates in applied economics and public policy. Students extend theory into practice by learning how economic analysis is applied to decision-making in the business and public sectors. Experiential learning is central to the Berry Center’s mission. The Center supports internships, visiting speakers, the executive-in-residence program, undergraduate research, student conference participation, reading groups, GMAT preparation, and off-campus study. It is supported by a full-time coordinator and a faculty director.
The Center prepares students for the health professions using an integrated approach. Dimensions supports a wide range of opportunities in and beyond the classroom, including interdisciplinary courses, research opportunities, internships at leading institutions, workshops and seminars, MCAT and graduate school preparation, and more. The program emphasizes the cultural contexts of health care, scientific problem-solving, communication, individual initiative, and interdisciplinary collaboration. It is supported by a full-time coordinator and a faculty director.
Students interested in law receive guidance and advising designed to maximize their chances for success in law school. They also develop and refine professional skill sets that enable them to be successful in life after college. Co-curricular aspects of the program include a nationally competitive mock trial team, a chapter of Phi Alpha Delta international law fraternity, mentoring opportunities with attorneys, on-campus LSAT prep course, law-related speakers and workshops, and law school tours. It is supported by a coordinator and a faculty director.
Housed in Van Etten-Lacey House, the former home of two esteemed English professors, the center provides interdisciplinary opportunities in support of creative writing. Annual programs bring distinguished writers to campus to lead courses and conduct readings and workshops. An Emerging Writer-in-Residence assists with these efforts, as well as with the creation of Open Field and other student-led literary projects.
The Center helps students identify, prepare for, and land a career that suits their unique interests. Programming includes numerous experiential learning opportunities that allow students to build professional skills, expand their academic knowledge, and explore potential careers. The Center also enables students to take responsibility for their own success by being able to explore, articulate, and enact their skills and values in a socially responsible manner.
Within the Career Engagement Center is the Cornell Fellows Program, the college's premier opportunity for high-level internships and professional mentoring. Students chosen to participate in this highly selective program complete a substantive fellowship designed by a host site and a Cornell faculty member. Cornell Fellows are engaged in hands-on projects throughout the eight-week fellowship and receive a stipend to help cover expenses during their fellowships at prestigious organizations throughout the world. It is supported by a coordinator and a faculty director.
Academic enrichment programs
Cornell's One Course At A Time schedule opens many opportunities for field trips and extended learning experiences off campus. Each year numerous Cornell professors lead courses for a block or longer in locations ranging from the Boundary Waters to England to India. In addition, Cornell's McLennan Center in Chicago has opened up year-round opportunities to explore the city's research libraries, historic sites, and cultural attractions from the perspective of diverse academic disciplines. And students can also pursue independent studies or semester-long programs abroad.
Each year, many Cornell professors engage students as full partners in research as they work to improve solar cells, understand the mechanisms of various diseases, engage in historical library research, develop foreign language textbooks, etc. Students gain invaluable research skills while working in small teams, frequently leading to subsequent research opportunities at other institutions as undergraduates or as graduate students.
One of the premier events at Cornell, the Student Symposium is a way to spark intellectual conversation and growth on campus. Each year students present scholarly and creative work in a wide variety of disciplines. Recent presentation titles include “Mathematical Modeling of HIV,” “King Lear in the Era of Reagan,” and “Historic Preservation as a Means of Economic Development.”
The Center for Teaching and Learning in Cole Library is involved with students throughout their four years and with faculty as they design learning experiences for students. The Center brings together the Consulting Librarians, the Writing Studio, the Academic Media Studio, and Quantitative Reasoning Studio to support students’ development of information literacy and critical thinking in collaboration with faculty. The Center has as its goal to support attainment of high academic standards through innovation, collaboration, and commitment to excellence.