Key attributes

Cornell’s five key attributes are differentiating phrases that capture Cornell’s mission and character. They were developed from the Strategic Planning process and focused market research and provide the foundation for communicating Cornell’s brand identity and value.

1. Life-changing academic immersion

Cornell College’s One Course At A Time curriculum offers students life-changing immersion in a single academic subject each three-and-half-week block. This intensive focus lays the foundation for a student’s entire Cornell education: transformative intellectual partnerships that bring out the best in our ambitious students. Students dive in, focus intensely, and learn authentically in every course they take. Cornell is education at the speed of life, with no slow intros, far-off exams or papers, or gaps between class sessions.

Proof points

  • 96% of faculty hold a doctorate or terminal degree
  • Average class size is 16 (classes are capped at 25)
  • Faculty-student ratio is 1:12
  • Cornell is one of the 25 colleges with the best professors (Center for College Affordability and Productivity, February 2013)
  • U.S. News ranks Cornell in the top 100 of national liberal arts colleges

2. Dynamic learning community

At the heart of a Cornell College education is a residential campus with a curriculum that offers frequent opportunities for in-depth, hands-on learning. Faculty can take entire classes on field trips for a day or an entire block, just as our distinctive academic calendar immerses students in full-time internships, research, or other substantial participatory opportunities. And our pre-professional Centers provide experiences, resources, and professional development for career or graduate school entry.

Proof points

  • 92% of students live on campus
  • 46% of the Class of 2013 studied off-campus
  • 42% of the Class of 2013 completed an internship or Cornell Fellowship
  • 114 Cornell off-campus courses were offered in the past five years
  • Cornell Fellows placements range from the Field Museum in Chicago, to the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix, to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, to Navdanya, in New Delhi, India.

3. Global and engaged campus culture

Cornell’s student body arrives from across the nation and around the world, living in a common rhythm within their focused academic calendar. The campus is diverse on many levels, a place where students build relationships, explore new learning experiences and create their own distinct brand of fun. The flexible One Course calendar allows frequent off-campus study, and the world comes to campus via renowned speakers and entertainers. Who knew you could find the world from a hilltop in Iowa?

Proof points

  • Cornell students come from 47 states, 2 U.S. territories, and 17 foreign countries.
  • 25% are domestic students of color and 6% are international students
  • 92% live on campus
  • Cornell has more than 100 student-led organizations
  • Cornell was named one of the 18 best dining halls in the nation by Bestcolleges.com in 2013
  • Cornell’s 2013 Relay For Life ranked fourth in the nation in per-capita fundraising, with a total of nearly $44,000
  • Cornell ranked 5th among Breakaway Spring Break Chapters nationally in 2013 with 92 students participating in spring break service trips

4. Classic campus setting

Cornell College’s setting on a wooded hilltop in Mount Vernon, Iowa, offers a classic, beautiful and safe collegiate setting. A brick pedestrian mall along the ridge of the hilltop links modern facilities with numerous buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. But the campus is more than just a pretty place. It is a launching pad for student growth and success. Cornell’s location in Mount Vernon, Iowa,  provides students an idyllic small college town atmosphere, connects them to Iowa’s Creative Corridor, and locates them a few short hours from Chicago and other major Midwestern cities.

Proof points

  • Cornell is the first campus in the country listed entirely on the National Register of Historic Places
  • Mount Vernon features two additional National Historic Districts and a classic Main Street a short walk from campus
  • Mount Vernon was chosen as one of the 10 coolest small towns in America by Frommer’s (2009)
  • Fodor’s well-known travel guide ranked Mount Vernon as one of 5 Midwestern Small Towns to Visit Now in August 2013
  • Mount Vernon is part of the Creative Corridor, anchored by Cedar Rapids and Iowa City

5. Lifelong Success

A Cornell College education is a smart investment and Cornell is consistently described as a “Best Buy.” Cornell’s extensive academic opportunities and engaged campus community provide graduates the tools to enter the workforce or advanced study with confidence, thrive in fast-paced and rapidly changing environments, and lead significant and productive lives. The Cornell experience has been called “an education for life and friends for a lifetime,” and graduates are part of a supportive alumni network.

Proof points

  • 93% of Cornell graduates complete their degrees in 4 years or less
  • 58% of the Class of 2013 graduated with a major and minor or a double major (2013)
  • 55% of Cornell graduates complete an advanced degree
  • Cornell’s 2011-2013 law school acceptance rate is 100% (national average is approximately 84%)
  • Cornell’s 2006-2013 medical school acceptance rate is 77.6% (national average is 42%)
  • Since 1996 Cornell has been known as one of the 40 “Colleges that Change Lives,” based on the Loren Pope book now in its fourth edition.
  • Cornell has consistently been one of 20 private colleges recognized as a “Best Buy” in the “Fiske Guide to Colleges” (2010, 2011, 2012, 2014)
  • Cornell is one of 100 liberal arts colleges on Kiplinger’s list of the best values in private colleges for 2014