The college selection process is an exciting time. You pour over copious amounts of daily mail, surf the Web for hours, visit campuses close to home and far away, all in the quest to find the place where you will spend the next phase of your life. Everyone has their own take on the process. My favorite comment: “You’ll just know when you set foot on campus. It will just feel right!” And therein lies the challenge of the college search process: How do you know what will feel right? How do you know what is the right fit?
“Fit” is a word my colleagues in admissions and I use a lot. What is “fit”? It’s really a two-way street. It’s what Cornell looks for in our students and what you should be looking for in a university. “Fit” is knowing what excites you academically and finding a school that shares your intellectual enthusiasm. It’s being able to envision yourself thriving, both academically and socially, in the university community. And it’s finding a way to convey this in your application.
The Cornell selection committee will consider all aspects of your application when they think about your fit. What will you bring to the community of scholars that we are building through the selection process? What will you take advantage of outside of the classroom? Keep in mind, though, that you get to do the selecting before a committee ever gets the chance to see your application. What do you need to know about Cornell before you decide to apply?
I think you need to know that the Cornell experience is more than academic. You will be living and learning here, so search more than 800 student organizations. Explore our majors. Discover what it’s like to live on campus. Research undergraduate research opportunities (it’s ok to laugh, that’s just a little Cornell humor!).
What I’m trying to tell you is that fit is something that happens naturally. You can’t force it. Part of searching for the right college is figuring out what it is you’re looking for and making sure we offer it. College admission doesn’t just rest on the shoulders of the institution. Take ownership of your process.