The College of Human Ecology (CHE) Undergraduate Admissions Staff offers our First‐Year Application Tips to help you thoughtfully approach the application process and present an application that reflects you as a person, an academic, and a community citizen. Be sure to also review our Freshman Admissions Requirements.

Freshman Application Tips

Choosing a college and major requires that you understand your interests, consider your academic strengths, and are well-informed about your options. This is especially true for the College of Human Ecology.

Families, we hope that you will support your student as their interests develop, deepen, and evolve.

DO: Make this your own college search and exploration of Cornell University, even if you have family, friends, or others in your community who attended or are familiar with Cornell University.

DO: Test your pre-professional interests through volunteer and work experiences. Consider what you enjoyed/valued and how you might grow through further exploration and academic pursuits.

DO: Carefully review the College of Human Ecology's admissions publications and website. These will help you better understand how your interests might fit with our offerings and learning environment.

DO: Attend an on-campus College of Human Ecology information session if possible. The unique, interactive format is designed to help you learn more about the college and its programs through your expressed interests. Faculty appointments do not replace this experience, do not impact the admissions process, and are discouraged unless you are interested in our design-based majors.

A thoughtful and college-specific approach to the essays and application makes for a more compelling candidacy.

DO: Read our College of Human Ecology supplemental admissions essay carefully and respond directly. Knowing what motivates your interest in, and connection to, the college and your chosen major helps us better understand your candidacy and your academic and career goals. If applying as “Undecided” be sure to identify the CHE majors you are considering and how they will help you explore your intellectual interests.

DO: Draw on the experiences – academic, research, extracurricular, work, and volunteer – that make CHE a compelling and meaningful choice. 

DON’T: Use the “Additional Information” section to include a second personal essay. This option is best used to contextualize your academic record, address a particular circumstance that might have impacted your performance, or clarify a specific aspect of your application.

Design supplements are required for Design and Environmental Analysis, Fashion Design, and Fashion Design Management applicants. These materials are critically evaluated by department faculty. Carefully review deadlines, guidelines, and instructions

The admissions committee considers your academic rigor, preparation, persistence, trending, and growth  when reviewing your transcript. Competitive candidates, regardless of major choice, pursue the highest level of coursework available, particularly in math and science, and earn very strong grades.

DO: Know that regardless of major, the Human Ecology Admissions Committee prefers that applicants complete advanced level (i.e. Advanced Placement; International Baccalaureate, etc.) calculus; and biology and chemistry or physics if they are available. Elective science courses in lieu of core sciences are not compelling.

DO: Apply yourself to your schoolwork throughout your senior year. The required senior mid-term grades and the final grade reports for accepted students are of critical importance. Accepted students who do not maintain the academic momentum presented at the time of application will be contacted by the Admissions Committee.

DO: Consult with the Human Ecology Admissions Committee before making changes to your senior course load if you are an accepted student.

The Admissions Committee is interested in how you use your time in your school and greater communities, what engages, informs, and tests your academic interests, and how those pursuits are connected to the college. 

DO: Thoughtfully prioritize your extracurricular activities. Your deepest and most relevant extras are of interest. Multiple page lists of activities/résumés are not helpful. 

DO: Reflect on what you learned about communities, institutions, people, and organizations as a result of your activities.

Letters of recommendation help the Admissions Committee understand your maturity, self-motivation, initiative, character, and role in the classroom and community.

An additional letter or two from coaches, supervisors, members of the community, etc. are valued, but not required. Be thoughtful about the number of letters you submit.

DO: Ask a science or math teacher to submit a letter on your behalf if you apply to one of our natural science based majors.

Please Meet Ezra for more FAQs.