Cornell University

Ithaca, NY: One of the first things that I noticed about Cornell was that finding a parking space is quite difficult. I attribute this to the fact that Cornell University is so immense. The university has approximately 18,000 students; 12,000 of whom are undergraduates. These students are divided into the seven colleges: : College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; College of Architecture, Art, and Planning; College of Arts and Sciences; College of Engineering; School of Hotel Administration; College of Human Ecology; School of Industrial and Labor Relations. According to The Fiske Guide To Colleges, 1992, Cornell University is a five-star college, five being the highest rating.

Prior to the campus tour, I participated in a group interview with two other prospective students and their parents. We discussed application procedures and possible courses of study. In this session I learned that while a pre-enrollment system helps freshmen to get courses they desire, they are often unable to take the courses during the desired time slots. According to the interviewer, a student’s high school record serves as the most valuable part of the application, with the essay the second most important. Housing at Cornell is guaranteed for four years.

I then went on a tour of the enormous campus, and I don’t mind admitting that I was rather tired after all the walking. The skyscrapers, sidewalks, and buses make the campus look like a miniature city. Despite the city atmosphere, there are lovely green hills, along with ivy and flowers scattered about. There is really no dominant form of architecture at Cornell; instead, there is a blend of Gothic, modern, and in-between buildings. My tour guide led the group into a large classroom which wasn’t much smaller than my high school auditorium. We spent most of our time outside while the tour guide pointed out various buildings and gave us some information about life at Cornell. She said meal plans are easy to change, and students are required to swim 75 yards for gym class. Speaking of sports, I noticed several tennis courts. We didn’t have the opportunity to sit in on a class or to meet any professors.

Although Cornell University has an excellent reputation, I feel that it is a bit too large and seemed a little impersonal for my taste, since I go to a high school with fewer than 800 students. However, I would recommend it for a student who thrives on city life and is looking for a good education in just about any field. n

Reviewed in 1993