Cornell interview questions for undergraduate applicants are similar to other Ivy League schools and interview formats. For instance, Princeton interview questions and Yale interview questions are quite similar to Cornell’s, and the interview process for all the Ivy League schools focuses on the informational rather than the evaluative. In this blog, we’ll look at how admissions interviews at held at Cornell, some sample Cornell interview questions and how to prepare for an interview at Cornell.
>>Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here.<<
Listen to the blog!
Cornell University Interview Questions: Does Cornell University Have Interviews?
Cornell, like many of the Ivy League schools, receives tens of thousands of undergraduate applications every admissions cycle. For this reason, interviews typically have a different purpose at Cornell and are conducted a bit differently from other colleges.
Cornell is considered one of the easiest Ivy League schools to get into, but getting accepted is still a challenge. Although the interview isn’t a critical part of admissions decisions, it’s still an important opportunity for you as an applicant.
Cornell has no formal admissions interviews, with a few exceptions for the College of Architecture, Art and Planning, and does not accept requests for interviews from applicants. Instead, students are offered an opportunity to have an informal, non-evaluative interview with a Cornell alumnus through the Cornell Alumni Admissions Ambassador Network (CAAAN).
This means while the college interview at Cornell doesn’t significantly affect your chances of getting in, Cornell is far from being one of the easiest colleges to get into, and college interview prep is still a good idea in this case. If you attend an interview at Cornell, it will be more informal and informative, but it’s still a good idea to make a strong and positive first impression and to practice your interviewing skills with Cornell interview questions.
Does Cornell alumni interview mean anything?
These interviews do NOT affect your chances of admissions, and they are purely for informational purposes. Like many of the Ivies, Cornell uses these alumni interviews to provide applicants an opportunity to ask questions about the school and the program they’re applying to. It’s also another way for the admissions committee to learn more about you than can be found in your application. Although your alumni interviewer will make a summary report to the admissions committee of your interview, it will not affect your overall admissions score.
These interviews are important for you, as an applicant, to ask questions and learn more about Cornell. So if you receive an invitation, accept it! These interviews are designed to help you, as an applicant, but it’s also an excellent opportunity to practice your interviewing skillset.
If you don’t receive an interview invitation, don’t worry, as it will not count against you. Interviews are set up based on availability of interviewers, location and time, so not every applicant will receive an interview opportunity.
Cornell University Interview Questions: College of Architecture, Art and Planning (AAP) Interviews at Cornell
1. Bachelor of Architecture
The Architecture program at Cornell is the only undergraduate program with a required interview, so this is where you must prepare for Cornell interview questions.
Applicants who are applying to the program can schedule an interview either virtually with a member of the department faculty or virtually with an alum of the department. The interviews conducted for the B.Arch programs are entirely separate from the alumni interviews extended to undergraduate applicants through the CAAAN.
The purpose of the B.Arch interview is to discover your interest in architecture and understand how you have developed and fostered that interest. It is an evaluative interview and carries a great deal of weight in admissions decisions.
You will be expected to bring some examples of your artwork to show in the interview. It’s advisable to bring the pieces you are thinking of including in your portfolio, so you can get some feedback and advice before submitting the final version of your portfolio to the admissions committee.
The deadline to request an interview for the B.Arch program at Cornell is:
- Early Decision applicants: Interview must be requested by October 20 and completed no later than November 1, 2022.
- Regular Decision applicants: Interview must be requested by December 9 and completed no later than January 2, 2023.
For a complete application to the B.Arch program, you will also need to submit a portfolio of your work. The deadlines to submit your portfolio are:
- November 1 (early decision first-year applicants)
- January 2 (regular decision first-year applicants)
- October 1 (spring transfer applicants)
- March 1 (fall transfer applicants)
Preparing for a college interview? Check out our top prep strategies to ace it:
2. Bachelor of Fine Arts
Applicants to Cornell’s Bachelor of Fine Arts program are required to submit a portfolio of their work in addition to the undergraduate admissions requirements. It is also strongly recommended that applicants participate in a portfolio interview. These interviews are conducted with either a member of the Art department faculty or an alum of the Art department at Cornell. The purpose of the interview is to go over an applicant’s portfolio and discuss their background in the arts and why they want to study art at an undergraduate level at Cornell.
The deadline for portfolio submissions and interview requests depend on the type of applicant and when you are applying, but they are the same deadlines for the B.Arch program.
3. Urban and Regional Studies Program
Applicants to the Urban and Regional Studies Program at Cornell can request and interview with an alumni member through the school’s website. These interviews are informational only and serve as a way for students to ask questions about the program and for the admissions committee to learn more about an applicant.
Interview requests should be made ahead of the deadline to ensure an interviewer can be made available. The deadlines for the Urban and Regional Studies Program interview requests are the same as they are for the B.Arch and BFA programs.
Cornell University Interview Questions for the AAP
Since the only required interview at Cornell is for the B.Arch program, the BFA and the Urban and Regional Planning programs at the College of Architecture, Art and Planning, we’ll cover some of the questions you can expect for this evaluative admissions interview.
- Why are you interested in architecture/art/urban planning?
- Why did you choose Cornell and specifically the AAP college?
- Who’s your favorite architect/artist?
- What’s your favorite city and why? (Urban and Regional Planning program)
Cornell University Interview Questions: Cornell AAP Interview Essay
If you’re not able to attend an interview for any of the AAP programs, you can request to submit a Cornell AAP interview essay instead. Note that you can only request to write an essay instead of attending an interview in certain circumstances. This essay has the same intent as the admissions interview, but must cover different topics that you wrote about in your college essays or elsewhere in your application.
Cornell asks you to “use this essay to identify your voice, the things you care about, the very personal reasons that you are passionate about architecture, and the specific experiences that have led you to apply to Cornell AAP.”
There is a two-page limit for your essay, or a word count limit of around 500 words.
The deadlines to submit your interview essay are:
- Early Decision: November 1
- Regular Decision: January 2
Questions to Ask Your Cornell Alumni Interviewer
Here are a few questions you can ask during your CAAAN interview to get a better understanding of life at Cornell and the student experience:
- Why did you choose Cornell?
- How did Cornell help you get into [X] field?
- What were your favorite courses or school events?
- What did you enjoy most about attending Cornell?
- What would you do differently or was there anything you missed out on?
- Tell me about campus life at Cornell.
- How has attending Cornell led you to where you are today?
- Are there any clubs or student programs you were involved with?
- What spots of interest are there around campus?
- Did you find it easy to get around/affordable?
Although Cornell interview questions won’t be much different than any of the other Ivy League interview questions, and you aren’t being actively evaluated, it’s still important to prepare for them ahead of time. Not only do you want to make a good impression on your interviewer and demonstrate maturity and professionalism, but it’s an easy and low-pressure way to practice interviewing. Bonus, it’s a way for you to ask questions of your interviewer and learn more about the school you hope to attend.
1. What are common Cornell University interview questions?
Cornell interview questions will be similar to the other Ivy League interview questions. For instance, you can expect the “tell me about yourself” college interview question, as well as questions about your background, why you chose to apply to Cornell, why you chose your major of study and so on.
2. Does Cornell require admissions interviews?
Cornell only requires an admissions interview for applicants to the Bachelor of Architecture program, although applicants to the Bachelor of Fine Arts and Urban and Regional Planning program can also request an evaluative interview.
3. What is the Cornell interview essay?
The Cornell interview essay is an option extended to some College of Architecture, Art and Planning applicants, for whom an admissions interview is mandatory. If you’re not able to attend the mandatory interview due to illness, family emergency or distance, you can opt to write the interview essay instead.
4. What questions should I ask my Cornell interviewer?
Ask questions about their experience at Cornell, their tips for first-year students, why they chose Cornell and what they enjoyed most about attending Cornell.
5. Do all Cornell applicants get an interview?
No, because Cornell receives so many applications and doesn’t have enough interviewers or time to interview everyone, only around 30% of applicants get an interview.
6. Is it good if I get an interview at Cornell?
Yes, getting an alumni interview at Cornell is a great opportunity to learn more about the school, ask questions of your interviewer and share a bit more about yourself. It’s also a good way to practice interviewing in a more relaxed situation.
7. What happens if I don’t get an interview at Cornell?
If you don’t receive an interview invitation when applying to Cornell, don’t worry. This won’t be counted against you in the admissions process. Because of the high volume of applicants and small number of interviewers, most students don’t get an interview.
8. How long will my interview be?
On average, your college interview will be between 20-45 minutes.
Like our blog? Write for us! >>
Have a question? Ask our admissions experts below and we'll answer your questions!