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Cornell University, Ithaca, New York


Cornell University is a private research university located in Ithaca, in the state of New York. Founded in 1865, the college is an Ivy League university, and rightly so – Cornell is, without doubt, one of the finest universities in the USA, if not the world. And since it’s one of the finest, it’s also one of the toughest universities to get into. You’ll find thousands of students applying to Cornell hopefully, only to see their applications being rejected. This doesn’t normally dishearten anyone, though – most people expect it, and those who don’t, well, aren’t terribly smart and definitely don’t deserve to get into Cornell anyway.



While Ithaca by itself is pretty much just a college town, Cornell does have the advantage of being somewhat strategically located. Toronto (Canda), New York City and Philadelphia are all within a 3-4 hour radius.


Infrastructure and Residing options:

The Cornell campus is really a sight to behold. Spread over a massive 745 acres, the university consists of over 250 buildings, all designed to perfection and with interiors to match. The campus is divided into the North, Central and West campuses, with most of the academic buildings located in the central campus, while the residential buildings occupying the others. Lecture halls and research centers have all possible facilities and amenities you could think up of, while the recreation centers would probably leave you spellbound. The campus is home to 20 (yes, twenty!) brilliant libraries, which together form the 11th largest academic library in the USA, holding over 8 million volumes. All in all, the campus is quite self-sufficient, with a theater, a number of bars, restaurants, cafes, and even a couple of bowling alleys.

Finding suitable accommodation to match your tastes and wallet shouldn’t really be an issue here. Almost all grad students live off campus, and there’s a plethora of options available, all having their own pros and cons. While the nearby apartments are extremely convenient (they’re an effortless walk away from campus), they’re pretty expensive, and get snatched up really quickly anyway. A smarter option would be to live slightly further away – it’ll not be as convenient but you’ll definitely end up getting more for less, which is something every Indian wants. Collegetown Plaze, Gun Hill Residences, Ravenwood Apartments and Eddygate Park Apartments are some of the sought-after spots, but there are loads more you can check out once you’re here.



Oh, the weather is quite awful. If the hot and humid summers aren’t enough to frustrate you, the cold, snowy winters will definitely make you very gloomy indeed. What’s more, there’s a lot of rainfall spread across the year to dampen your otherwise excellent college experience.


Courses Offered:

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Biological and Environmental Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
  • Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Engineering Management
  • Engineering Mechanics
  • Engineering Physics
  • Geological Sciences
  • Materials Science and Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Operations Research and Information Engineering
  • Systems Engineering


Faculty and Pedagogy:

Well you certainly can’t question the quality of professors at Cornell; amongst the faculty are a few Nobel laureates, Rhodes Scholars and Marshall Scholars. So, clearly, all professors are pioneers in their respective fields of study, but they may not exactly be pioneers when it comes to teaching. Although students are more than satisfied with most of their professors, they do complain that a few give more importance to their research than to teaching. That said, it’s up to you to take the initiative and try maintaining a good rapport with their professors; once that’s done, other things start falling into place too.



The tuition fee at Cornell is quite a handful, at $20,000 per semester.


Financial Aid:

Since Cornell is a private university, scholarships are few and far between. But you can always apply for part-time on- or off-campus jobs, or get yourself a Research Assistantship or Teaching Assistantship.


Eventual Placements:

Cornell has a rather handy Career Center, and you can rest assured that you’ll get yourself a quite mouth-watering job. Some of the most well-known companies in the world recruit directly from here, and Cornell being Cornell, you know you’re in for a fantastic job, and a payscale to match.


Crowd and Campus Life:

One thing that you can’t expect to see at Cornell is stupid people. Even the prettiest girl would probably be smarter than you are, so you’re going to have to be pretty innovative with your pick-up lines. Though it must be said that while all students are smart, they’re not at all nerdy. Well okay, a few are. But since it’s such a huge university, it’s impossible not to find people you can get along with.

Life at Cornell isn’t the insipid, monotonous, drudging existence that you might have imagined it to be. There are a number of pretty good bars in Ithaca, and although most shut by 1, there are a number of parties to crash afterwards. The drinking culture is highly prevalent, although it isn’t hard to find parties that believe in abstinence. Another thing you should know about Cornell is the fact that it’s a music-lover’s paradise – in the years gone by, the campus has hosted concerts by Incubus, Moby, Dave Matthews Band and Ludacris, to name a few. Woah!


Famous Alumni:

  • Padmasree Warrior - Chief Technical Officer of Cisco Systems
  • Irwin M. Jacobs - Co-founder and Chairman of Qualcomm
  • Willis Carrier - Inventor of Air-Conditioning (Now you know where your cooling comes from!) 



Well, it’s Cornell. If you aren’t too sensitive to bad climate, you should definitely go. Unless you have something better, of course, but that’s rather unlikely.




+16 #4 Shubham 2013-08-23 14:23
Cornell charges a tuition fee of around $24,000 per semester for MEngg. course. The course is for one year (2 semesters in a year).

For MS - the fee is around $16,000 per semester (3 to 4 semester depending on 1.5 or 2 year course you want to complete)
+2 #3 Cornell 2013-04-23 11:26
Cornell is the best IVY league school for Engineering. Upenn and Columbia joint second !!
+8 #2 [email protected] 2013-02-23 20:27
BITSians and IITians think twice before applying to ivy league schools!!!
If you are in core engineering fields like Mechanical, Electrical then apply to Ann Arbor, Toronto University, Urbana champ etc instead of an ivy league (except harvard of course). They are too much into Law, economics & financial stuff and unfortunately engineering dept gets over-shadowed!!
Purdue requires work experience too so work for few years and then apply to Purdue rather than wasting 40-50 lakhs in a single blow. And finally do not go just by ranking!!
+30 #1 Cornellian 2012-11-18 05:01
*Correction : If you are considering engineering related fields, tuition is $43,185 for a year!

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