Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 6.26.10 PMChecklist:

  • Application
  • Application Fee
  • School Report
  • Teacher Evaluations
  • Midyear Report
  • Questions & Writing Supplement
  • Official Transcripts
  • Standardized Test Scores
  • Interview
  • Portfolio


You can then use our checklist for first-year applicants to make sure you have all of the required elements together before submitting your application. Download and print our Freshman Application Instructions for 2014.


ASHCAN STUDIO STUDENT WORK for Cornell University Fine ARt  Admissions

1. Basic Requirements

  • November 1 is the application deadline.
  • Early decision is binding. If you’re admitted to Cornell, you are required to withdraw any applications you’ve sent to other schools and send your enrollment deposit to Cornell by early January.
  • You can be admitted or denied during early decision as well as postponed to regular decision. Students whose applications are postponed to regular decision are no longer subject to the early decision binding commitment.
  • While early decision acceptances to Cornell are binding, students may be eligible to be released from the early decision agreement if the financial aid award does not make a Cornell education affordable for applicants and their families (must have applied for financial aid).

2. Choosing a College:

BFA Art or Architecture: Architecture, Art & Planning

BS Interior Design: College of Human Ecology 

3. Common Application

Cornell uses only the Common Application, which can be completed and submitted online

4. Common Application Supporting Materials

In addition to the Common Application, Cornell requires that you also submit the following forms with your application. These forms can be found and submitted online at

  • The School Report – Your counselor or designated school official should submit this form (or your school’s own report form) and your official transcript on your behalf.
  • Teacher Evaluations – You are required to submit two teacher recommendations. Be sure to remind individuals writing letters for you to include your name and date of birth on all pages if they are sending them by mail.
  • Midyear Report – Submit the Midyear Report as soon after the application deadline as possible. We strongly encourage guidance counselors to submit this online too, so we can process your application faster. We understand that some students with schools on trimesters may not have any new grade information to report at the time of submission, and therefore do not need to send a Midyear Report.

5. Cornell University Questions and Writing Supplement

Common App and College Interest Essays Common App

  1. Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  2. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?
  3. Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
  4. Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?
  5. Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

College Interest Essays

On a separate sheet of paper, please respond to the essay question below (maximum of 500 words) that corresponds to the undergraduate college(s) to which you are applying. Be sure to include your full legal name exactly as it appears on passports or other official documents and date of birth, and attach the page to the back of this form. If you are utilizing the Primary/Alternate admission option, you must complete an essay for both colleges; please complete the essays that correspond to your primary and alternate choice.

College of Architecture, Art, and Planning: How does the major you would like to study in the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning match your intellectual, academic, and career interests? Discuss any activities you have engaged in that are relevant to your chosen major.

6. Official Transcript

We require you to submit your official secondary/high school transcript(s) before the application deadline. This should be sent by your school online through or can bemailed.

7. Standardized Test Scores

You must submit your scores for either the SAT Reasoning Test or the ACT with Writing. Some of our undergraduate colleges/schools also have specific requirements for the SAT Subject Tests. Review the Freshman Admission Requirements Chart to see what’s required. It’s your responsibility to make sure that you have taken the right Subject Tests and have the scores officially reported to Cornell from the testing agency by our application deadline. Note that Cornell requires students to submit all scores from SAT tests taken and does not participate in the College Board’s Score Choice.

8. Application Fee

Applications must be submitted with the $75 application fee in order to be considered. Submitting the online Common Application and the $75 online fee or fee waiver* begins the admission process and should be done as soon as possible to avoid delays. You may only submit applications online at* Fee WaiverCornell’s application fee is $75, and you are required to submit it with your Common Application. Please note that Cornell cannot process your application without the application fee or a fee waiver. Please follow the Common Application instructions. To apply for a fee waiver, please submit one of the following documents:

  • The Common Application fee waiver request completed by your guidance counselor/college advisor as part of the school forms process (online submission available;
  • The College Board Request for Waiver of College Application Fee form (obtainable from your guidance counselor/college advisor if you used SAT Reasoning Test or Subject Test fee waivers) or the ACT Fee Waiver Form (obtainable from your guidance counselor/college advisor if you used ACT fee waivers);
  • The NACAC Application for Fee Waiver Form completed by your guidance counselor/college advisor and submitted online, if possible, at;
  • A letter from your guidance counselor/college advisor, or representative from a social service or community agency, stating that the fee would cause financial hardship;

If you cannot apply for a fee waiver by one of these methods, please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office at 607.255.5241. Mail fee waiver documentation to: Undergraduate Admissions Office, Application Processing Center, East Hill Plaza, 349 Pine Tree Road, Ithaca, NY 14850-2899.

9. Interviews

Students applying to the architecture program are required to participate in an interview as part of the admission process and applicants to the Department of Art are encouraged, although not required, to have an interview. Beginning in August, students may visit or call 607.255.4376 to schedule an interview. For all other applicants, there is no interview process and we will not offer interviews for those who request them.

10. Portfolio

In addition to the university’s general requirements, B.F.A. applicants are required to submit a portfolio, either online via Cornell AAP SlideRoom, or on a DVD-R disc formatted for both Mac and PC. A portfolio interview is strongly recommended but not required. The Department of Art considers the strongest applicants to be those who would like to study both fine arts and liberal arts in a university setting.

Fine Arts Portfolio Guidelines

Applicants may submit their portfolio one of two ways: online atCornell AAP SlideRoom or mailed in on a CD/DVD-R formatted for both Mac and PC platforms. The portfolio should consist of high quality images of 12–20 pieces of your best work, including at least four examples of freehand observational drawing. The portfolio should contain examples of work from three of our studio practice areas: drawing, digital media, painting, photography, print media, and sculpture. Choose the media that best reflects your highest level of skill and conceptual development. While there is no requirement that any particular subject or style of work be included in the portfolio, the faculty admissions committee would like to see a selection of work that has made been made both independently and in school or workshop settings.

Online Submission

If an applicant wishes to submit their portfolio online, they should go to Cornell AAP SlideRoom and follow the step-by-step instructions. We will accept image files (jpg, png, gif) and video files (mov, mwv, flv, mp4).

Mail Submission

The DVD must be labeled with the applicant’s name. Please send the DVD in a clear plastic case or sleeve.
Applicants submitting by mail must include an image list that provides:

  • Applicant name
  • B.F.A. program noted
  • Description of each work/image, indicating the materials used, dimensions, and completion date
  • Whether the work was completed independently or in response to a class assignment
  • A conceptual explanation of each work (optional but encouraged)

Please do not send videos, cassettes, slides, or notebooks of photos. Do not send original works of art by mail. In order to ensure the safe return of your materials, your portfolio should include a self-addressed, stamped envelope or mailing packet bearing sufficient postage.

Mailed portfolios should be sent directly to:

Office of Undergraduate Admissions 

College of Architecture, Art, and Planning

Cornell University235 Sibley Dome

Ithaca, NY 14853-6701

Portfolios will be added to all other admissions materials for review by the art department admissions committee.


ASHCAN STUDIO STUDENT WORK for Cornell University Fine Art Admissions by Jennifer

Architecture Portfolio Guidelines

A portfolio must be submitted for your application to be considered. Samples of freehand drawing are required. In addition to drawings, you may include a variety of work for your portfolio choosing from media such as painting, sculpture, graphics, art photography, woodworking, ceramics, or any other visual media that demonstrate your interest, experience, and aptitude in creative and graphic areas. Please do not include original work. Reproductions should be high-quality photographs (minimum 3 x 5 inches) or photocopies; not slides or a CD.

We suggest you include 15–20 items and present your material in a neat, well-organized manner.

Label each portfolio item with:

  • Information on the medium used
  • Whether the project was done on your own or in a class
  • The original size of the work

Please add a one- or two-sentence comment about each piece you submit. The first page of the portfolio must contain the following: “This portfolio contains the design work of [applicant’s name here].” If any project, drawing or model has been produced by several designers or if the design was produced in a professional setting, each drawing must be labeled, clearly stating the number of designers, which drawings were produced by the applicant, and a list of the names of all members of the group project. If the project was produced in an office, an office setting, or as an assistant to an author, then the office name, supervisor, and all members of the team must be identified.
Place your work in a flat binder no larger than 10 x 13 inches with your name clearly on the outside of the binder. You will be at a disadvantage in the admissions process if your portfolio does not meet the above specifications. Your portfolio will be returned at the end of the selection process if you include a stamped, self-addressed envelope or mailing packet.
Your portfolio should be mailed directly to:
Office of Undergraduate Admissions
College of Architecture, Art, and Planning

Cornell University

235 Sibley Dome
Ithaca, NY 14853-6701

Your portfolio will be placed in your admissions file for review by the architecture department admissions committee.



Submission of an Interior Design Index and a portfolio are required for all Interior Design freshman and transfer applicants. These materials add to your Cornell University Freshman or Transfer Supplement to the Common Application by providing a complete picture of your qualifications for admission.

Interior Design freshman applicants

Your Interior Design Index and portfolio, to be evaluated by interior design faculty, should be sent along with your Cornell University Freshman Supplement to the Common Application to the address below.

Interior Design transfer applicants

Your Interior Design Index and portfolio, to be evaluated by interior design faculty upon receipt of your official college transcript(s), should be sent along with your Cornell University Transfer Supplement to the Common Application to the address below. It is relevant to note that the transcript enables the faculty to view the work in your portfolio within the context of courses you have taken. Refer to the Interior Design Transfer Criteria for specific transcript requirements.

Portfolio Guidelines

Present your work from a variety of media including design projects, drawing, painting, ceramics, graphics, photography, woodworking, etc in a portfolio, not to exceed (12) one-sided or (6) two-sided pages (page count does not include Table of Contents). Please include high-quality scanned copies or printed photographic images, in color or black and white, of original work images. Do not include original actual work. Compile images in a binder or flat folio with photos and/or images, for example, in clear plastic sleeves. Present your material in a neat,well-organizedmanner,including a table of contents. We are flexible with the format of the material, however the maximum page size allowed is 8 1⁄2” x 11”. Portfolios with page size larger than 8 1⁄2” x 11” will not be reviewed, nor will portfolios submitted on CDs or by other electronic media.

Label each portfolio item with information on the medium used, the date it was produced, whether the project was done for a class or independently, as well as the original size of the work. Pre-application portfolio reviews are not conducted.

Portfolio Returns

Portfolios will be returned after the admissions cycle if you provide postage and a sturdy envelope/mailing packet. While we take every precaution to ensure proper care and handling, the College of Human Ecology cannot assume responsibility for lost or damaged portfolios.

Send portfolio and design index to:

Portfolio Review Committee
Office of Admissions, Student and Career Development College of Human Ecology
Cornell University
170 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall
Ithaca, New York 14853-4401


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s