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Transfer FAQs

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Am I considered a transfer student?

A transfer student is a student who has graduated from high school AND has earned twelve or more credits at, or has matriculated at, a college or university.

High school students in dual-enrollment academies or "early college" programs are not considered to be transfer students because they have not yet officially graduated from high school. These students are considered first-year applicants and should apply as such.

When is the transfer application deadline, and when will I be notified of Cornell’s decision?

Due to the sequencing of the curriculum courses, the College of Engineering admits transfer students for matriculation into the fall semester only. The transfer application deadline is March 15 of each year. Applicants are notified of Cornell's decision on a rolling basis from the end of April through early July.  

Does it matter if I am transferring from a two- or four-year college?

No, the College of Engineering accepts transfer applicants from both two- and four-year schools. What is more important is the rigor of the engineering curriculum at the institution you are attending and how well your coursework corresponds to the required engineering courses at Cornell.

Does it matter to which engineering major I apply?

Yes. Transfer students are admitted directly into a particular major, with prerequisites varying somewhat by major. Final decisions are made by the relevant department faculty. Transfer students are highly encouraged to state their academic interests clearly; showing how it pertains to the major selected. Please note that transfer students are not permitted to apply as "undecided" nor can they apply to the Independent Major. Accepted students must remain in the selected major for at least one academic year.


Can I apply to more than one engineering major?

No. Transfer applicants to Cornell Engineering must select one major for consideration.

What is the transfer admissions review process?

The engineering transfer admissions process is highly selective. The process involves a two-tier system where applications are first screened by the Engineering Admissions Office. Viable applications are then delivered to academic departments for review by the faculty. Faculty determine final decisions on all transfer applicants.

What do the Engineering faculty members look for when reviewing transfer applications?

Although the faculty will consider many things when reviewing applications for their respective departments, they will focus primarily on the content and rigor of the college-level courses that a student has completed and how well the student performed academically. At a minimum, transfer applicants should be sure that they have taken college-level courses in calculus, chemistry, physics (calculus-based), computer programming, and writing and have a minimum GPA of 3.0 (although most accepted students tend to have GPAs in the 3.5+ range).

Are course descriptions required as part of the transfer application?

Yes, your transfer application must include complete course descriptions copied from your institution’s course catalog or syllabi for each college-level course you have taken, are in the process of taking, or for which you received AP, transfer, or college-examination credit. The descriptions should include a list of topics covered in the class and any prerequisite courses. A list of the textbooks used is also useful but not required. The faculty will use this information to compare your courses to those required by the Engineering College at Cornell. Please note that our faculty will not be able to review your application until this information is received. Transfer applications will be withdrawn if course descriptions are not received by the application deadline. For more details and the course description templates, please review the Course Description Submission page. All transfer applicants must use the templates for the course descriptions.

When will I find out how many of my credits will transfer to Cornell?

Transfer students typically receive their credit awards during fall orientation (August) when they arrive on campus and meet with their faculty advisor for the first time. However, if you are accepted and your circumstances require that you know the status of your credit before making a final decision, a tentative credit award is available during the spring or summer, by request.

Can I email you my courses and get them pre-approved for transfer?

No, Unfortunately, due to the volume of applications we receive, and the specific nature of each department's curriculum, we cannot pre-evaluate any coursework for transfer.

What if I am missing one (or more) of the prerequisite courses listed for transfer? 

Transfer applicants whose current curriculum is most closely aligned with what is taught at Cornell are typically the best-prepared for transfer, and are most likely to be admitted (if they have performed well in the coursework). Missing coursework is handled on a case-by-case basis.

Does the Engineering College require any standardized test scores of transfer applicants?

No, but we highly encourage transfer students to submit SATs, ACTs, SAT IIs, etc., with their application if they have taken them previously. Although not required, these scores may work in the students favor because faculty find them useful when reviewing applications.

If I receive AP, transfer, or credit by examination from my current institution, will that automatically transfer to Cornell?

No, the College of Engineering has specific AP standards that will be used to evaluate transfer credit. For complete information about AP standards in the College of Engineering, please see the AP and Transfer Credit page.

Are there any special requirements for international transfer applicants?

The College of Engineering requires international students to submit a TOEFL/IELTS exam score, if English is not their native language. 

TOEFL/IELTS is waived for: 

  • Applicants who score 670 or higher on the Critical Reading portion of the OLD SAT exam or a Reading Test score of 35 or higher on the NEW SAT exam.
  • Applicants who have studied for four or more years in a country where English is the first language (e.g., Australia, Canada, New Zealand, U.K.).

 If my transcript and/or course descriptions are not in English, what should I do?

If your application materials are not already in English, you must have them translated and certified by an official translation agency as accurate before sending them to Cornell.

 As a transfer student, where do I mail my supplemental application materials? 

Students are required to submit their Common or Universal Transfer Application electronically. Supporting materials should be sent electronically using this form to upload and submit supplemental information to their application.

What is the acceptance rate for transfer students?

The acceptance rate for transfer students ranges from about 5-8% in any given selection cycle.