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. Immerse Yourself

With Cornell College’s One Course At A Time curriculum, you dive in, focus intensely, and learn authentically in every course you take. On the Block Plan you don’t just learn about a subject, you live it. You can become a biologist, a psychologist, or an artist for 18 days.  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. By immersing yourself in the block plan you gain an incredible preparation for life after college.

Proof points

  • Cornell College is one of the select "Colleges That Change Lives," recognized for academic quality and exceptional opportunities
  • U.S. News ranks Cornell in the top 100 national liberal arts colleges
  • Cornell is one of only 283 U.S. colleges with a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honor society

2. Learn Without Boundaries

Liberated from the lecture format, One Course At A Time gives students the freedom to learn without boundaries. Your professors can take your entire class on field trips for a day or an entire block—in whatever venues best suit the subject. In-depth career exploration is possible through full-time internships, which provide valuable resume experience for life after college. The benefits are just as strong for on campus courses. Professors lead classroom simulations, engage you in in-depth classroom discussions, and lead time-sensitive labs where your class revolves around the needs of the experiments, rather than the experiments revolving around your course schedule. You have the option to take a block to focus intensely on research projects in partnership with faculty mentors, and the Cornell Summer Research Institute offers research opportunities in the sciences and humanities. 

Proof points

  • The Cornell Institute for Summer Research, funded by a $500,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, creates a summer living-learning community fostering research in the arts, humanities, and humanistic social sciences as well as the sciences.
  • 54% of the Class of 2015 studied off-campus
  • 73% of the Class of 2015 completed an internship or capstone project
  • 235 students studied off-campus in 2014-15. This includes those on Cornell courses abroad (most), students on domestic Cornell courses, and 15 students on semester-long programs run by third party providers.

3. One Professor. One Course.

While you only take one course, professors only teach one course. This intensive focus lays the foundation for your entire Cornell education: transformative intellectual partnerships that bring out the best in our ambitious students. You receive more continuity, more feedback, more practice, and more opportunity. With small classes, you get more facetime. The relationships formed are the difference between good graduate school recommendations or job references and great ones. Professors act as mentors, helping you succeed on an individual level. With the option to create your own individualized major, you can work closely with faculty members to tailor your education to your interests. One Course At A Time also creates room for professionals in the field to come in for a block to teach an entire course.

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)

4. Right Here, Right Now

Cornell is a residential campus that attracts ambitious students who actively define their community and bring vitality to campus. You will join a diverse, multi-talented, and engaged student body from across the nation and around the world. You’ll find that you quickly become involved in campus life, living in a common rhythm with other students due to the focused academic schedule that brings students closer together as a community on a socially, culturally, and politically engaged campus. As you pursue your passions in music, theater, athletics, service, leadership, or other co-curricular interests, you will build relationships and learning experiences throughout your college career. Inspiring performances by entertainers and speakers will energize you and unleash creativity. With a student body from 45 states and 18 foreign countries, and renowned faculty, speakers, and entertainers, Cornell lays the foundation for an ever-widening circle of interest that includes Mount Vernon, the greater metropolitan area of the Creative Corridor, Minneapolis and Chicago, and the entire world.

Proof points

  • Cornell has more than 1,000 students
  • 92% of students live on campus 
  • Cornell students come from 45 states, the District of Columbia, and 18 foreign countries
  • Cornell has a diverse student body: 27% are students of color 
  • Cornell has 70 student-led organizations—an impressive number given the size of the Cornell student population
  • Mount Vernon, Iowa, was chosen as one of the 10 coolest small towns in America by Frommer’s

5. Finish Strong

Cornell College is consistently classified as a “Best Buy” and is a smart investment. With fewer course scheduling conflicts and never needing to drop a course due to an overload, the block plan makes finishing in four years the norm. In a world where you will be employed in roles that don't yet exist, liberal arts learning emphasizes transferable skills, such as forming independent thought, articulating convincing arguments, and developing tools for lifelong learning. Research, study abroad, internships, and extensive academic opportunities will provide you the experience to enter the workforce or advanced study with confidence, thrive in fast-paced and rapidly changing environments, and lead a significant and productive life.

Proof points

  • 51% of the Class of 2015 graduated with a major and minor or a double major
  • 55% of Cornell graduates complete an advanced degree
  • Cornell’s 2009-2014 law school acceptance rate is 89% (national average is approximately 82.8%)
  • 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 select “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, 2015)
  • Cornell has been on Kiplinger’s list of the best values in private colleges every year since 2011