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/school 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. Reflect on how the college/school's mission resonates with your values; how the family of majors, which informs the perspective of the academics, will complement your primary academic interests; and how the coursework requirements parallel and expand your interests.  

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 about those experiences and how you might grow through further exploration and academic pursuits.

DO: Get to know the College of Human Ecology well. This will help you better understand how your interests might fit with our offerings and learning environment.

DO: Watch our recorded College of Human Ecology information session. You can also join us for one of our CHE Live (online) Events. Faculty appointments 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. 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: Reflect on the experiences – academic, research, extracurricular, work, and volunteer – in which you have participated and that make CHE a compelling and meaningful choice. This can inform how you approach and write the supplemental essay. 

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 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, which must be submitted when you submit your application, are critically evaluated by department faculty. Carefully review deadlines, guidelines, and instructions. Applications to those majors without the required supplement will not be reviewed.

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. We understand that coursework offerings at your school might have been impacted by COVID-19. Please check with your Guidance or College Counseling Office about how those impacts will be communicated to admissions committees. 

DO: Complete advanced level (i.e. Advanced Placement; International Baccalaureate, etc.) calculus; and biology and chemistry or physics if they are available, regardless of your intended major. 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 most interest to the Admissions Committee. 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. Consider how those reflections might inform your approach to the supplemental essay. 

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.

DO: Use your best manners to request a letter of recommendation and to thank the letter writer afterwards. 

Please Meet Ezra for more FAQs.