Cornell College application options

Cornell’s application process is strengths-based, and who knows your strengths better than you? Each application is test-optional, so whichever path you take you can choose to submit the materials that show us why you’re a great fit for Cornell.

Cornell Application
With the online Cornell Application, you submit:
Common Application

With the Common Application, you will submit:

  • ACT/SAT*, or for a no-test score application, you may submit a portfolio
  • Have your high school counselor submit your official high school transcript
  • Personal essay
  • 2 short answer questions for no-test applicants
  • Teacher recommendations (optional)

*Your composite ACT or SAT score, which may be listed on your transcript. If not, you'll need to request an official copy from the testing agency.

For fall term 2020 Cornell is now also accepting applications through the Coalition Application. Visit our page to start a new Coalition application, or add Cornell to your current Coalition application.

Apply with Coalition Application


Cornell College ACT code: 1296

Cornell College SAT code: 6119

Test scores or no test score?

Standardized tests (ACT/SAT) can help us get a feel for how well you’re likely to perform at Cornell, but for some students they’re not the best way to tell us how you’ll fit in our community and learning environment, so Cornell has made our application process test-optional. Learn what to expect if you choose the no test score option.

If you elect to apply without test scores we will be evaluating your application around the same criteria as those who enter test scores, we’ll just expect you to complete two extra questions and submit a portfolio for us to review. Our counselors pay special attention to your GPA, the coursework you’ve taken, and what your extra answers and portfolio can tell us about your personal sense of motivation and how well you’d fit with Cornell’s values.

Why portfolios?

Whether you apply using the Cornell Application or the Common Application, you have the option to submit a portfolio instead of test scores or in addition to your test scores to showcase your skills, talents, and why you’ll flourish here. Use the portfolio to show us what you do to excel—maybe it’s a photo journal of a community project you led, a portfolio of your paintings or drawings, a recording of you performing on stage, or something so creative we don’t even know it exists.

Getting started

Whichever options you choose, you have our official permission to have fun and get creative. You can upload portfolio materials to your student application portal or create an online portfolio and share a link with us.

Scholarship consideration starts now

When you submit your application for admission to Cornell, you will automatically be considered for academic merit scholarships. Upon receiving your acceptance letter, we will also inform you of your academic scholarship.

Unless otherwise notified, Cornell will wait to receive your Free Application for Federal Student Aid to prepare your financial assistance package in March.  Please file the FAFSA as soon after January 1 as possible—our  FAFSA code is 001856. If your family does not plan to file the FAFSA, let us know and we’ll prepare your financial assistance package immediately.

Application deadlines and notification

After you have submitted all of your application materials, expect to hear from us within two weeks with a decision. 

Apply by Deposit by
Early Action Nov. 1 May 1
Regular Decision
Feb. 1 May 1
Regular Decision—Space Available After Feb. 1 May 1 or two weeks after receiving your admission decision.

Early Action

If you would like to learn of your admission status as early as possible but are still considering other colleges, you must submit your application by Nov. 1 to be considered as an Early Action applicant. By applying Early Action, you will receive priority admission and scholarship consideration. If you apply Early Action and are admitted to the college, your $300 deposit is due by May 1.

Regular Decision

Regular Decision applicants will be notified of their admission status no later than April 1. If you apply Regular Decision and are admitted to the college,your $300 deposit is due by May 1.

Regular Decision—Space Available

We will continue to accept applications on a space-available basis after the stated application deadlines. To determine if we're accepting applications after Feb. 1, contact your admission counselor for more information.