Cornell University Engineering Essay Format

The College of Arts and Sciences (AS) is the largest of Cornell’s undergraduate colleges, and also contains the widest range of majors, from Africana Studies to Statistical Science to Philosophy to Astronomy. Unlike the other colleges at Cornell, there’s no common thread running through AS. For that reason, it’s especially important that your supplement be as detailed and specific as possible to the field of study you wish to pursue. Bring in examples of how your experiences throughout high school led you to your desired major.

 

For example, if you want to major in computer science, try writing the essay about the apps you’ve developed or the meticulous manner in which you organize sections of code. When explaining your interest in government, don’t try to connect your experiences in model congress to something completely unrelated, like art history — maximize your message by focusing specifically on what’s relevant to the field of study. If you aren’t yet positive about a major, take advantage of the opportunity to explain what you’re considering through your “intellectual interests.”

 

In transitioning between the two parts of the prompt, illustrate why specifically you chose the major you did. This provides a logical pathway from your interests to why you wish to study at Cornell. Try to isolate a specific moment in your life, or a series of moments, that made you absolutely certain that you wanted to devote your education and career to this particular course of study.

 

An uncommon example could be: You went on a trip to the Middle East, participated in an archeological dig, and discovered a piece of ancient Roman pottery that was determined to have been used by Constantine in the fourth century. Ever since, you’ve strived to pursue a career in archaeology, so you can continue making connections with lost civilizations. Don’t feel intimidated if you haven’t done anything “crazy,” either. As long as the experience is important to you — that’s all that matters. The ultimate goal is to humanize yourself in the eyes of the admissions staff.

 

The second part of the prompt asks, “Why Arts and Sciences?” Make sure to provide concrete examples of courses, concentrations, clubs, and/or research opportunities that have drawn you to AS. That being said, be careful not to appear as though you’re just quoting the website: elaborate on how each of the examples you provide will be meaningful to you and help you advance your academic interests and goals! Also, try to avoid dropping names of professors, unless you’ve had personal contact with them. Instead, refer to the course they teach or the research they’re doing.

The “Why Us” supplemental essay is one of the trickiest college application essays to write. Applying to Cornell? Here are 5 successful Why Cornell essay excerpts. 

Cornell University only requires one additional writing supplement—the “Why Cornell” supplemental essay. Applicants are asked to share why they are interested in studying at Cornell and are asked to respond to the specific essay prompt from the undergraduate college or school they are applying to. Cornell University has a total of 8 undergraduate colleges/schools: 

  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • College of Architecture, Art and Planning
  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • Cornell SC College of Business: Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management
  • Cornell SC College of Business: School of Hotel Administration 
  • School of Industrial and Labor Relations 

Each of the colleges/schools listed above have a unique supplemental essay prompt. Here are 5 examples for 4 of the schools listed above: 

Maxw2021

Cornell University ‘21

For the School of Industrial and Labor Relations:

Like the Strait, I’m a fluid connective body, but instead of serving as natural barrier or political divide, I seek to reconcile strained relations. Given my strong interests in cross-cultural mediation, inclination to manage disputes, coursework in interdisciplinary social sciences, and leadership and employment positions, I seek “to solve human problems [and] manage and resolve conflicts” within Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR). Read his full “Why Cornell” supplemental essay!

Echen98

Cornell University ‘20

For the College of Engineering:

I must have wanted to be an engineer long before I knew what the word meant. On almost every fork we own, the middle two prongs are pulled half an inch back, a homage to a time before I became strong enough to open a soda can and resorted to making a lever with a fork. I tore through thousands of plastic bags, searching for the perfect cut that would allow me to parachute off a self-made cliff of couch cushions and pillows. Unlock her full successful Cornell application file. 

Cornell2021

Cornell University ‘21

For the College of Engineering:

People in my community believe the only way to be successful is to pursue medicine or engineering and arts are looked down upon here.I have a science background but am also interested in the deeper questions of existence, such as one encounters in philosophy. I don’t want to let go of my passions. Instead, I want to study at Cornell, where, far from being looked down upon, interdisciplinary study that includes the liberal arts are treasured through its unique independent study option, independent major, and distributional requirement system which will give me freedom in designing my curriculum and will let me explore a wide range of fields, from philosophy to literature. Continue reading his Why Cornell supplemental essay. 

Bweintraub

Cornell University ‘21

For the School of Hotel Administration:

I am an anomaly among my peers. While many of them wrestle with the uncertainty of not knowing what they want to do or be in the future, I have always known. Even in elementary school, when the popular options were superhero or sports legend, I had altogether different aspirations. If you had asked me then, my answer would be the same as it is today: I want to work in the hospitality industry. Unlock his full successful Cornell application file. 

Paula2020

Cornell University ‘20

For the College of Arts and Sciences:

I am interested in working with the UN to give researchers in developing countries access to a uniform and politically acceptable set of translation and ethical guidelines. This ensures that work conducted in developing or recently industrialized countries will not be dismissed due to doubts about the way it was conducted or a language barrier. To accomplish my goals of bringing the international scientific community closer together, I will need to study my intellectual interests of biology, foreign languages, and international relations. I am confident that Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences will be the perfect place to pursue my goals.

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Interested in reading successful essay examples that got students accepted into the Cornell University? Unlock all of them in one go with our curated package.

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About The Author

Frances Wong

Frances was born in Hong Kong and received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. She loves super sad drama television, cooking, and reading. Her favorite person on Earth isn’t actually a member of the AdmitSee team - it’s her dog Cooper.




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