How To Get Into Cornell University As An Indian Student? [2024]

If you are thinking “how to get into Cornell University from India?”, this article is for you.

Ranked 13th in the world by QS World University Rankings 2024, Cornell University is a private research university based in Ithaca, New York, USA. A member of the prestigious Ivy League universities of the United States that includes universities like Yale, Brown, Columbia, Harvard and Princeton University (to name a few), Cornell has a reputation of academic superiority, excellence in research and worldwide recognition.

Cornell University: All you need to know


Established in: 1865
World Rank: 16, member of the Ivy League
Number of students: About 26,000
Acceptance rate: 8-9%
Campuses: Ithaca, New York City, Qatar
Research budget: Over 1 billion USD
Employability Rate: 96 – 98%

Constituent Schools of Cornell

Undergraduate Schools and Colleges

  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • College of Architecture, Art and Planning
  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • Cornell SC Johnson College of Business
  • Peter and Stephanie Nolan School of Hotel Administration
  • Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management
  • Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Human Ecology
  • Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy

Graduate and Professional Schools

  • Cornell SC Johnson College of Business
  • Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management
  • Cornell Tech (New York City)
  • Cornell Law School
  • College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Graduate School
  • Weill Cornell Medicine (New York City)
  • Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (Doha, Qatar)
  • Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences (New York City)
  • School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions

Mission and Vision


Cornell’s mission is to “discover, preserve and disseminate knowledge, to educate the next generation of global citizens, and to promote a culture of broad inquiry throughout and beyond the Cornell community. Cornell also aims, through public service, to enhance the lives and livelihoods of students, the people of New York and others around the world.”


As for it’s vision, “Cornell aspires to be the exemplary comprehensive research university for the 21st century. Faculty, staff and students thrive at Cornell because of its unparalleled combination of quality and breadth; its open, collaborative and innovative culture; its founding commitment to diversity and inclusion; its vibrant rural and urban campuses; and its land-grant legacy of public engagement.”


Notable Cornell Alumni

  • Nobel Laureates: Eric Betzig, Joachim Frank, William Moerner, Arthur Ashkin, Sheldon Glashow, Russel Hulse, John M Kosterlitz, Douglas Osheroff, Isidor Isaac Rabi, David Thouless, Steven Weinberg, Pearl S Buck, Toni Morrison, Robert Engle, Robert Fogle, George Wells Beadle, Robert Holley, Barbara McClintock, Hermann Joseph Muller, Jack Szostak
  • USA Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg
  • Jamshid Amouzegar, Former PM of Iran
  • Václav Klaus, Former PM of Czech Republic
  • Tsai Ing-wen President of the Republic of China (Taiwan)

Why study at Cornell University as an Indian Student?

Some of the most popular courses at Cornell include Information and Computer Science, Engineering, Biomedical Sciences, Business Management, Veterinary Science, Architecture, Law and Social Sciences. What makes Cornell stand apart from other universities, especially the other Ivy Leagues? Why should you choose Cornell as an Indian Student? Let us take a look.

  • Ezra Cornell’s Vision: the founding principle that guides the growth of the university can be traced back to Ezra Cornell’s words said during the inauguration. “I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study.” The university was one of the first institutions in the country to admit students regardless of gender, religion, race, or nationality.
  • Academic Excellence and Flexibility: 4,000 classes, 100+ academic departments, and 80+ majors constitute the core of our “any study” motto. Ranked 16th in the world, the university is built on the research and teaching of pioneers in their respective fields. Just look at the list Nobel laureates from Cornell mentioned earlier. The huge number of courses also give you an academic flexibility to have an interdisciplinary educational experience. You also have the option of combining two majors and gaining a dual degree in 5 years from Cornell.The 5-year MBA programme offered in combination with the ​​Johnson Graduate School of Management is particularly popular among international students. You can complete any bachelor’s degree and an MBA in the five years you will be spending at Cornell.
  • Emphasis on Research: A research mindset is central to Cornell pedagogy right from the undergraduate level. The university has a research budget of over $1 billion, allowing its students to break barriers.
  • Global reputation: With its worldwide ranking and its place in the Ivy League group of institutions, a degree from Cornell is recognised and welcomed across the globe. It also creates a global, multicultural network of alumni, expanding your professional opportunities. The infrastructure is also world-class.
  • Balancing Academics and Extracurriculars: In addition to providing top quality education, the university is also known for all the extracurricular activities it supports. The university is home to 37 varsity teams, numerous club sports, and over a thousand student organisations across disciplines and interests. Cornell’s department of music also regularly hosts events for the students. The department’s Midday Music Series is particularly popular among both faculty and students. You can also access the on-campus theatre called Cornell Cinema. With the wide variety of extracurricular activities made available, campus life in Cornell is one filled with passion and excitement.

Disclaimer: This video reflects details and rankings from 2023

How much does it cost to Study at Cornell University for Indian Students?

Being one of the top universities in the world, the fees at Cornell cannot be categorised as affordable. That said, what you should be looking for and calculating while doing your financial planning is the return on investment that comes from the Cornell experience.

Besides, the university has a number of scholarship options, if you are looking for financial aid. The next section will cover the scholarships for Indian students in detail. Here is a ballpark figure of the university’s tuition fees for international students, based on 2023-24 figures. Please note that they are susceptible to change at any point. The table shows ballpark figures to aid financial planning and need not necessarily be exact amounts.

Course College Duration Annual Tuition Fees
Undergraduate Degrees All colleges 4 years $65,204
Postgraduate Degrees
  • College of Architecture Art and Planning
  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • College of Engineering
  • SC Johnson Hotel School
  • Johnson Graduate School of Management
  • Cornell Law School
2-5 years $29,500
Postgraduate Degrees
  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • College of Human Ecology
  • School of Industrial and Labour Relations
  • College of Veterinary Medicine
2-5 years $20,800
MBA Johnson Graduate School of Management 2 years $76,690
AMBA Johnson Graduate School of Management 1 year $118,758
LLM/ JD Cornell Law School 1-3 years $74,098
MEng/ MArch School of Engineering 1-2 years $62456
MMH (Master of Management in Hospitality) SC Johnson College of Business 2 years (3 semesters + internship) $62,456
MILR School of Industrial and Labour Relations 2 years $40,888

In addition to the cost of tuition, you must also take into account the cost of living. The university website suggests that your annual living expenses can be between $25,038 and $37,165. This includes accommodation, health insurance, books and supplies, and other activities.

What are the available Cornell University University scholarships for Indian Students?

While the numbers may appear staggering, there are a number of scholarship opportunities provided by Cornell to aid their students, especially those in need. For international students, particularly those applying from India, this is an immense benefit to manage tuition and cost of living, considering the current exchange rates.

Compared to other Ivy League universities or colleges Cornell has a very different approach to scholarships. The university does not disburse aid based on academic merit, other interests/ skills or athletics. All Cornell grants are awarded entirely based on family financial need. You must submit a separate application to be considered for these grants.

Types of Financial Aid given by Cornell university

  • 1. Cornell Grants: As the name suggests, this is a gist-aid awarded by the institution with no clause for repayment. There is no specified amount and is decided based on financial need, on an individual-case basis.
  • 2. Work-Study: Based on your application to receive financial aid, you might also be permitted to work part-time. The compensation from this work can be used for educational expenses. If granted, you can typically work 9-`2 hours a week.
  • 3. Loans: The university might also grant you a loan that needs to be repaid, with interest, after graduation.

Payment Plan

After factoring the aid disbursed and the salary from the work-study, the remaining amount is the cost borne by you and your family for your Cornell experience. The university apportions this sum into two parts called student contribution and parent contribution. This division is also made on a case-by-case basis, looking at parental income, assets, size of the family and the number of graduates in the family. The student contribution comes from your own employment during the course of study and your savings.

External Scholarships

Besides the need-based aid given by the university, you can also consider scholarships offered by external organisations or the state government, federal government or your home country. While the American state and federal government grants are open primarily to domestic students, your research should be focussed on external organisations that support international students. Some of the scholarships to look into are:

  • Tata Scholarship: From an endowment of $25 million, every year, 20 students from India receive this aid in support of their undergraduate studies at Cornell.
  • Fulbright Scholarship
  • JN Tata Endowment Scholarship (Scholarships at the graduate and doctoral level)
  • Aga Khan Foundation Scholarship: An external scholarship, it is meant for Indian students pursuing their master’s degree in any reputed international university.
  • KC Mahindra Trust Scholarship (Interest free loans for Indian students studying abroad)

This is, in no means, an exhaustive list. While doing your research it is also essential to look for scholarships that are tailored for your course/ department/ school/ area of research as well. The number of external benefactors offering funding for graduate and research level programmes is phenomenally higher when compared to bachelor’s degree courses. You can find them on your own research or ask the experts at TC Global to help you.

Application for scholarships is a separate procedure with its own sets of documentation. All requests for financial aid at Cornell require a separate application. While the external organisations have a separate operating procedure, all aid from the university must be applied for at the time of admission. You will not be considered after being enrolled as an undergraduate student at the university. It is a lot of research and even more paperwork but it is a worthwhile effort to ease the financial burden of global education.

If you are considering applying for scholarships, you will have to rework your timeline. Scholarship agencies and offices are particular about deadlines and carefully filled out application forms. Considering the stress of application that you might be going through, it is easier to have an international education consultant who is far more experienced in the planning and documentation side of things.

What are the Eligibility Criteria?

From a purely statistics standpoint, Cornell University is considered to be the “easiest Ivy to get into”. Their acceptance rate hovers around 8 – 9%, which is almost double the rate of Columbia or Harvard University. So, the general hope is that you have twice the chance of experiencing the reputation and the education system of an ivy league institution. While this can be heartening, do not forget to take a look at the absolute figures. The bottomline is that only about 8% of the applicants do get to call themselves Cornell students.

Does it make it impossible? Not in the least. All it takes is planning and the drive to ensure your application not just meets the eligibility criteria but also stands apart from the thousands of other profiles.
That said, here are the basic admission requirements to get into Cornell.

Academic Requirements for an Undergraduate Degree

High School Credits:Academic records required include 16 units, requiring at least 4 units of English and advanced mathematics equivalent. If your school certificates are in a different language, they must be translated into English by a school official or by a recognised translating service. Each course also has its unique set of course requirements involving specific subjects that you must have taken in your high school.

While there are no specific marks cut off mentioned outright, the university does expect a rigorous high school curriculum and a proven record of academic excellence.

Standardized Testing: Since the pandemic, Cornell has suspended standardized testing requirements such as SAT or ACT. This also applies for 2024 applicants. The following schools/ colleges or Cornell are completely score free:

  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • College of Architecture, Art, and Planning
  • Cornell SC Johnson College of Business – Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management
  • Cornell SC Johnson College of Business – Peter and Stephanie Nolan School of Hotel Administration

These schools are test optional, wherein the test scores are not mandatory but will be considered, if submitted along with the application.

  • College of Arts & Sciences
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Human Ecology
  • Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy
  • School of Industrial and Labor Relations

English Language Proficiency: The following are the minimum score requirements for international students to be considered most competitive in the review process of the admissions committee.

  • 100 and above on the TOEFL iBT and TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition
  • 5.5 and above on the iTEP
  • 120 and above on the Duolingo English Test
  • 7.5 and above on the IELTS Academic
  • 70 and above on the PTE Academic
  • 191 and above on the Cambridge English Scale

Academic Requirements for a Postgraduate Degree

Bachelor’s Degree: You must have a relevant bachelor’s degree from a recognised university with a minimum GPA of 3.5 out of 4. Applicants to doctoral and research master’s degree programs must have at least a four-year undergraduate degree, or a three-year degree plus a post-graduate diploma.

Applicants to professional master’s degree programs are eligible to apply with a 3-year bachelor’s degree IF your school is accredited by the NAAC and has a grade of A, and if your class rank is Division I or II.

Standardised Testing: GRE/ GMAT scores are required based on your choice of program, however, your GPA is the foundational criteria for your admission.

English language Requirements: At the graduate level, the university only considers IELTS Academic or TOEFL iBT. A minimum IELTS score of 7.0 or TOEFL score of 85 is required.

Other admission requirements

If you are thinking how your applications will be assessed, especially at the bachelor’s level without standardised testing, the answer is in the essays.

  • Personal essays/ SOP/ Letter of Intent: This is what sets your profile apart from the other applicants. For bachelor’s applications, there are some questions you answer and a writing supplement that assesses your interest in the course, your plans and justifies your choice of Cornell. At the postgraduate level, there are two writing samples – a professional statement of purpose that looks at your involvement in your field and plans for the future and a personal essay that highlights your individuality.
  • Letters of Recommendation (LOR): Another important requirement are the LoRs (typically 2 or 3) from authorised and relevant sources such as a previous academic advisor or a maths teacher.
  • CV: Your resume is also significant in setting you apart. In addition to excellent academic merit, you must build your CV dynamically to show initiative, leadership, problem solving and community interaction. Some professional courses at the graduate level might also require proof of work experience.
  • Passport and Financial Statements: Documents required for immigration and student visa.

How to get into Cornell University from India?

Cornell University admissions are not easy. To get in, you must work towards being in the top percentile of your school and build your CV carefully and consciously to help you reach your goal. Your resume should show your budding interests in your field of study, the motivation to learn and explore and extracurricular activities to show your depth as an individual.

The admission process can be long and arduous. It needs a lot of planning and a great deal of diligence to ensure all the ‘i’s are dotted and all the ‘t’s crossed. Each step carries a specific deadline.

The typical application deadline for an undergraduate course is November 1 (Early decision – Students whose first choice is Cornell can choose Early Decision. If selected, this decision is binding and a student is expected to withdraw other college applications.) or January 2 (for regular application). The application is completed and submitted through CommonApp with no discrepancy between the details entered and any of the supporting documents. In addition, if you are in need of financial aid, those applications must also be submitted at the time of applying.

Here is an example for an admissions checklist:

  • Common Application
  • SOP
  • Guidance Counsellor recommendation
  • Teacher evaluations/ recommendations
  • Mid-year report, once grades are available
  • GRE/ GMAT test scores (for master’s degree courses)
  • Official high school/ degree transcript
  • $80 as application fee.

If selected, applicants must pay the enrollment deposit by early January for Early decision applicants and by 2 May for regular applicants.The process can get a little overwhelming.

You can choose the easier path and get onboard with TC Global where all your application needs can be taken care of at one go. From counselling sessions to choose your course and test prep all the way to getting help with your visa (and even after you reach your destination),  TC Global stands with you every step of the way.

Here’s how to apply through TC Global.

Step 1: Choose the right course

The first step is to know what you want to do. With the number of interdisciplinary options available, you delve deep into the different programs or even disciplines and see what combinations will work the best for you. It is also a good idea to reach out to current or past students and get a more realistic view of how things work.

You can also reach out to us at and schedule a counselling session or aptitude test to figure out which course would be the right fit for you.

Step 2: Log in to the TC Global Student Portal

Once you have an idea about what you want to study, visit and “Get Started”.

Step 3: Update your Profile

Once you have logged in, update your profile, especially your Education and Work background and your Study Plans. This will help us tailor-fit our recommendations for you.

Step 4: Choose Cornell University and the Course

This page provides all the information you need, collated logically, in one page. You don’t need to go hunting under each department page of the university website. The list of all the courses will appear here. You can even use our filters to narrow down on what you are searching.

Step 5: Read up and Shortlist

The website will give you the top options, keeping in mind your profile and your preferences. Click on any of the courses or search for them and get an overview in one go. All of these are accessible to anyone, for free. All you need to do is sign up.

Step 6: Read more on Insights

Want the latest updates about a country or an industry? Are you looking for in-depth reviews about top universities? TCG Insights has it. Plus, it comes with an easy search option for you to specifically look for our research on any of the countries or courses. Check out our insights, here

It is important for you to look into each of the courses, in addition to just knowing the specialisation. You must keep yourself updated on the scope, employment opportunities, and transferable skills. Insights might just be the place that will give you insights into how each of the universities designs their courses.

Step 7: Schedule a Session and Apply

Once you have all the information that you need and have shortlisted all the courses, you begin the application process. You can schedule a meeting with one of our Relationship Members through There are no hidden costs. From here on in, an experienced member of our team will guide you through the process of applying to all your shortlisted universities.

Your TC Global Student portal will help you with deadlines, checklists, tests, and a one-shot platform to monitor all your applications’ progress. Besides, our RM will be with you every step of the way. Now that you know the process on how to get into Cornell as an Indian student, you can try to apply by giving it your best shot.

Keep an eye out for the dates when they open applications, and begin to gear yourself a year in advance, with TC Global.

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