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Catrina Coffey

Cornell ACT Scores

Good day, Magooshers! Today, let’s talk about going to Cornell.


Okay, with the weather joke out of the way, we can begin. Here is a link that may be useful for all of you who would like to go to Cornell; it’s the profile of the Class of 2018. Some interesting points that you may want to keep in mind:

  • Of the students who submitted class rank, 87% of this year’s freshmen were in the top 10% of their class in high school.
  • 99% of this year’s freshmen were in the top 50% of their class.
  • The middle 50% of the class of 2018 received between a 32 and a 34 on their ACT.
  • The average ACT score of the class of 2018 was a 32.

Interesting data, yes? So the numbers are clear: Cornell is looking for (you guessed it) top grades and top standardized test scores. And really, could you expect anything less? Top-level schools mean top-level enrollees.

But as the Cornell website says:

there’s no magic formula that guarantees you will (or won’t) get into Cornell. Yes, it’s true what you may have heard: Admission to Cornell is highly selective, with less than 16% of applicants admitted each year. […]

Our admission process is highly individualized, and we spend lots of time evaluating whether you’ll be a good fit for the culture and philosophy of our university. The result is an incredibly rich mix of students, which is one of the best things about Cornell.

So, again, they’re looking for something beyond just good grades and test scores. Like the other Ivy League schools, they’re looking for character. Cornell is building a culture that is important to them, and their enrollees are part of that.

Among the things they’re looking for are character traits like honesty, empathy, initiative, and open-mindedness. They want to see leadership skills, along with those lovely academic ones you’ve been polishing as well.


So my dear Magooshers, what does this mean for you? It means that, if you’re the sort of person who would do well with Cornell’s culture, you should apply. If you visit the school and love it, apply. If you’ve got great grades and test scores, but are lukewarm about Cornell, or you don’t think it would be the right place for you, but you want a brand-name college, don’t apply. While Cornell is selective (like the other Ivy League schools), they’re looking for a particular type of student; they want more than a GPA with legs. (Which, try as I might, I could not find a picture of, so here’s something else to make up for it.)


Best of luck to you all in your college search and application process!


About Catrina Coffey

Catrina graduated from Rider University with a B.A. in English. She’s been helping students prepare for standardized tests since 2011. In her spare time, you can find her reading anything within arms’ reach, playing video games, correcting grammar, or studying word derivations. (Did you know that procrastinate comes from the Latin word cras, which means “tomorrow”?)

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