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First-Year Applicants

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At Cornell Engineering, we understand and celebrate the fundamentally creative nature of engineering. The world is facing many daunting problems and we believe technological knowledge will be at the heart of how we address these challenges. We know that real innovation comes from equal parts knowledge and imagination, and we nurture both here.

We hope you will consider applying to Cornell’s College of Engineering. Each year approximately 780 first-year students from the U.S. and abroad join our world-renowned program. We encourage you to review the information here to learn about the requirements for applying to the College of Engineering at Cornell University.

Application Requirements

Individuals interested in applying to Cornell Engineering as first-year students should use either the Common Application or the Universal College Application. Your application must include the following items (for a detailed list, please see the Application Checklist):

  • Two (2) high school teacher recommendations, at least one should be from a math or science teacher. Start thinking about which teachers you would like to ask for recommendations. Give your teachers at least one month to write your recommendation.
  • Supplemental essay for Cornell Engineering. This statement is immensely important and summarizes each candidate's interest in engineering and ties these interests directly into what is available at Cornell.
  • A Secondary School Report which your guidance or college counselor will provide.

Curriculum Requirements

Cornell Engineering requires the completion of the following math and sciences classes prior to high school graduation.

  • 4 units of Mathematics (including 1 of calculus)
  • 1 unit of Physics
  • 1 unit of Chemistry
  • 1 unit of Biology

Also recommended:

  • Computer Science

Test Requirements

All students

  • SAT or ACT (Cornell University will allow admission candidates for Fall 2018 to submit both old and new SAT test results. Starting with the admission candidates for Fall 2019, Cornell University will only accept new SAT test results).
    • Note that Cornell requires students to submit all scores from SAT tests taken and does not participate in the College Board’s Score Choice.
    • Cornell superscores all test results except for the ACT combined score (we use the highest ACT combined score for evaluation).
  • Two (2) SAT Subject Tests
    • 1 Math subject test, either Math 1 or Math 2
    • 1 Science subject test (preferably biology, chemistry, or physics)

International Students


Please note that all tests must be completed by the application deadline (November 1 for early decision and January 2 for regular decision).

Other Tips

Visit Cornell and attend an Engineering Information Session and Quad Tour! We feel visiting a prospective school is the best way to get a true sense of what life would be like as a student.