Cornell University is a peculiar university in that it is considered a private university, yet happens to be comprised of seven undergraduate colleges, some of which are land grant/state funded colleges. Some will argue that those colleges are SUNY institutions, some will argue that those colleges are public, and some will argue that Cornell is just plain weird. I’ll raise my glass to the latter argument.
As a New Yorker, a student has the ability to receive reduced tuition (roughly $15,000 cheaper) if he is accepted into, and chooses to enroll in, one of the land grant colleges. Some of these colleges include, the School of Industrial and Labor Relations and the College of Human Ecology.
For future Cornellians, there are a few things to keep in mind, especially if you’re planning on pursuing a certain career or research route:
- Biology students have three options: The biology major is present in three of the seven undergraduate colleges—the College of Human Ecology, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The three majors are essentially the same, with students enrolled following the same curriculum, taking the same classes and labs, doing research with the same advisors and professors, etc. The only differences include tuition fees for in-state students (New Yorkers) and the college-specific graduation requirements. Unofficially, there is also the specific college’s reputation—some students have an incorrect, stereotypical understanding that the College of Arts and Sciences happens to hold a better reputation than most of the other colleges, and enroll accordingly. Be incredibly cautious about your particular reasons for enrolling into a specific college.
- Any person, any study…if you are in the right college: Cornell’s condensed motto is “Any person, any study.” Yet, that isn’t necessarily true. As stated before, there are seven undergraduate colleges within Cornell University. Each college has a specific set of majors that a student can declare within that college. If you plan on pursuing a major in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, for example, you should only apply to the College of Arts and Sciences. However, if you are an in-state student and want reduced tuition, I would recommend applying for one of the land grant colleges and simply minoring in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. You can minor in any field within any college. I’ve seen New Yorkers switch into non-land grant colleges simply for the majors offered, and if the price were too much of a burden, I wouldn’t recommend following that line of action.
- Screw the public school label: As mentioned before, there are elitists who will mock anyone enrolled in the land grant colleges. Such people will state things such as, “You’re not a true Ivy Leaguer,” or, “That’s not a legitimate college within Cornell University.” At the end of the day, such people are simply elitists. Students in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations are brilliant students whose minds work perfectly with the labor relations’ curriculum. Students in the College of Human Ecology are genius researchers who will make amazing discoveries throughout their time in college and post-graduation. Cornell is an Ivy League, regardless of which college you are in. You are a scholar simply because you are here.