Cornell’s five key attributes are differentiating phrases that capture Cornell’s mission and character. They were developed from the Strategic Planning process and focused market research and provide the foundation for communicating Cornell’s brand identity and value.

1. One Course

Cornell College’s One Course At A Time curriculum takes a distinctive approach to a liberal arts education by offering students life-changing immersion in a single academic subject per academic block. This intensive focus lays the foundation for a student’s entire Cornell education: transformative intellectual partnerships that bring out the best in our ambitious students. Within our curriculum, students dive in, focus intensely, and learn authentically in every course they take. Students give their full attention to each class because it is their only class. Cornell offers an education at the speed of life. There are no slow intros, far-off exams or papers, or gaps between class sessions. This approach mirrors the pace of working environments where employees are expected to handle tight deadlines and high expectations on every project, every day.

Proof points

  • 96% of faculty hold a doctorate or terminal degree
  • Average class size is 16 (classes are capped at 25)
  • Faculty-student ratio is 1:11
  • Cornell is one of the 25 colleges with the best professors (Center for College Affordability and Productivity, February 2013)
  • U.S. News ranks Cornell in the top tier of national liberal arts colleges
  • 95% of 2014 graduates completed their degrees within 4 years or less

2. Find Community

Cornell is a residential campus that attracts ambitious students who actively define their community. They represent a diverse, multi-talented, and engaged student body from across the nation and around the world. They become quickly involved in campus life, living in a common rhythm due to their focused academic calendar schedules that brings them closer together as a community on a socially, culturally, and politically engaged campus. As they pursue their passions in music, theater, athletics, service, leadership, and other co-curricular interests, they bring vitality to campus and build relationships and learning experiences throughout their college careers. With a student body from 45 states and 19 foreign countries, and renowned faculty, speakers, and entertainers, Cornell offers the world from its hilltop campus.

Proof points

  • Cornell students come from 45 states, 1 U.S. territory, the District of Columbia, and 19 foreign countries
  • 25% are domestic students of color and 6% are international students
  • 92% live on campus
  • Cornell has 81 student-led organizations
  • Cornell was named one of the 18 best dining halls in the nation by in 2013
  • Cornell’s 2014 Relay For Life ranked in the Top 10 nationwide in per-capita fundraising, with a total of more than $34,000
  • Cornell ranked 3rd among Breakaway Spring Break Chapters nationally in 2014 with more than 120 students participating in spring break service trips

3. Discover Yourself

The One Course curriculum offers flexibility on multiple levels. The fast pace of One Course At A Time makes it possible to change courses or majors quickly. Liberated from the lecture format, it ensures frequent opportunities for in-depth, hands-on learning. One Course also frees students to explore new ways to learn—faculty can take entire classes on field trips for a day or an entire block—in whatever venues best suit the subject of the class. Students can create their own individualized majors, and more than half of our students pursue multiple interests by double majoring. In-depth career exploration is possible through full-time internships, research, or other substantial participatory opportunities. Between classes, four-and-a-half-day block breaks are the perfect time to explore the wider world in person.

Proof points

  • 46% of the Class of 2013 studied off-campus
  • 42% of the Class of 2013 completed an internship or Cornell Fellowship
  • 114 Cornell off-campus courses were offered in the past six years
  • 59% of 2013 graduates completed undergraduate research
  • Cornell Fellows placements range from the Field Museum in Chicago, to the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix, to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, to Navdanya, in New Delhi, India.

4. Life-Changing

Cornell College is consistently classified as a “Best Buy” and is a smart investment. In a world where graduates will be employed in roles that don't yet exist, liberal arts learning is more practical than training in a specific skill that may become obsolete. A liberal arts education emphasizes forming independent thought, articulating convincing arguments, and developing tools for lifelong learning. Cornell provides hands-on experiences, resources, and professional development in healthcare, law, literary arts, economics, business and public policy. Its extensive academic opportunities and engaged campus community provide our graduates the tools to enter the workforce or advanced study with confidence, thrive in fast-paced and rapidly changing environments, and lead significant and productive lives.

Proof points

  • 49% of the Class of 2014 graduated with a major and minor or a double major
  • 55% of Cornell graduates complete an advanced degree
  • Cornell’s 2011-2014 law school acceptance rate is 94% (national average is approximately 84%)
  • Cornell’s 2008-2014 medical school acceptance rate is 79.2% (national average is 41.2%)
  • Since 1996 Cornell has been known as one of the 40 “Colleges that Change Lives,” based on the Loren Pope book now in its fourth edition.
  • Cornell has consistently been one of 20 private colleges recognized as a “Best Buy” in the “Fiske Guide to Colleges” (2010, 2011, 2012, 2014)
  • Cornell has been on Kiplinger’s list of the best values in private colleges every year since 2011

5. Belong Here

Cornell College’s setting on a wooded hilltop in Mount Vernon, Iowa, offers a classic, beautiful and safe collegiate setting. A brick pedestrian mall along the ridge of the hilltop links modern facilities with numerous buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. But the campus is more than just a pretty place. It is a launching pad for student growth and success. The campus is completing renovation in key areas such as the Thomas Commons and four first-year residence halls. Cornell’s location in Mount Vernon provides students an idyllic small college town atmosphere in an urban fringe community located in the heart of the Iowa’s Creative Corridor. In addition, Cornell is only four hours from Chicago and less than five hours from Minneapolis.

Proof points

  • The College has state-of-the-art theatre and art facilities, and a newly renovated Thomas Commons
  • The College is investing $10 million in 2014-15 to renovate and modernize Pauley, Rorem, Tarr, and Dows residence halls, which house more than 250 first-year students.
  • Cornell is the first campus in the country listed entirely on the National Register of Historic Places
  • Mount Vernon features two additional National Historic Districts and a classic Main Street a short walk from campus
  • Mount Vernon was chosen as one of the 10 coolest small towns in America by Frommer’s (2009)
  • Fodor’s well-known travel guide ranked Mount Vernon as one of 5 Midwestern Small Towns to Visit Now in August 2013
  • Mount Vernon is part of the Creative Corridor, anchored by Cedar Rapids and Iowa City