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Top 15 Cornell Interview Questions and Answers

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Cornell is one of the most prestigious universities in the United States, and the admissions process is highly competitive. Getting accepted to Cornell is a major achievement, and the key to success is to be well-prepared for the interview process. In this blog, we’ll provide a detailed overview of the common interview questions asked by Cornell and provide advice on how to answer them.

The goal of an interview is to get a better understanding of an applicant’s background, qualifications, and potential fit for the school. But the right answers are highly dependent on the specific interviewer, their style and their expectations. With that in mind, it’s important to research the school and prepare thoughtful answers in advance.

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Cornell interviews typically last about 30 minutes, and cover a range of topics, from your academic background to your extracurricular activities, career goals, and motivations for attending the school. To ensure you’re prepared for the interview, we’ll provide in-depth guidance on how to answer the most common questions.

We’ll also provide specific tips for each question, such as how to draw attention to your strengths and highlight your best qualities. Additionally, we’ll provide a list of potential questions to help you practice and prepare for your interview. With the right preparation, you can ace your Cornell interview and increase your chances of being accepted.


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Overview of Cornell Interview Process

The interview process at Cornell University is a critical component of the school’s admissions process. All candidates must complete an on- campus or Skype interview before they can be considered for admission. The purpose of the interview is to get to know the candidate better, and to assess their skills and abilities.

The interview process begins with the applicant submitting an online application, which includes information about academic and extracurricular accomplishments. Applicants will then receive an invitation to schedule an interview. Interviews are scheduled for one- hour time blocks and are conducted by alumni, administrators, or faculty.

During the interview, the interviewer will ask the applicant questions that will help them evaluate their strengths, weaknesses, and potential. Questions can cover a variety of topics, such as the applicant’s academic and extracurricular interests and achievements, personality traits, and potential contributions to the Cornell community. The applicant should be prepared to answer all questions in a thoughtful and articulate manner, and should also be prepared to ask questions of their own.

After the interview, the applicant should send a thank you letter to their interviewer. This is a great way to make a lasting impression and show that the applicant is genuinely interested in the school. After the interview, all candidates are evaluated by the admissions committee. The committee considers a variety of factors, such as the applicant’s academic performance, extracurricular accomplishments, and interview performance, in order to make an admission decision.

The interview process at Cornell University is an important component of the admissions process. It’s important for applicants to prepare for the interview by researching the school, practicing their answers, and being aware of the school’s expectations. By taking the time to properly prepare for their interview, applicants can make a positive impression and increase their chances of gaining admission to Cornell.

Top 15 Cornell Interview Questions and Answers

1. What have you done that has prepared you to attend Cornell?

I have dedicated my time to becoming an exemplary student. I’ve taken challenging classes, participated in extracurricular activities, and volunteered in my community. I have been an active member of the National Honor Society and other academic organizations, where I have held leadership positions. I’ve also been a tutor for my peers, helping them understand challenging concepts and build confidence in their own abilities. I understand that Cornell has a highly competitive admissions process and my activities and achievements demonstrate my commitment to my education and provide a good foundation for success.

2. How will you contribute to the Cornell community?

I believe I can contribute a lot to the Cornell community. I am an excellent communicator and I am eager to form relationships with the other students. I am open to different ideas and perspectives, and I always strive to learn more. I am passionate about problem solving and am always looking for ways to initiate positive change. I am an active listener and I am confident in my ability to collaborate with others. I also have significant experience in organizing and leading events, which could be a great benefit to the university.

3. What do you think are the key traits you possess that will make you successful at Cornell?

I believe the key traits I possess that will make me successful at Cornell are my dedication, my organizational skills, and my ability to think critically. I am highly motivated and driven to succeed and I am confident in my ability to stay organized and manage my time efficiently. I am also highly analytical and an excellent problem solver. I like to approach tasks with an open-minded attitude and I am eager to learn new information and develop my skills.

4. What do you know about the Cornell curriculum?

I am aware that Cornell has a liberal arts education model. This means that students have the opportunity to explore different fields of study while completing their core courses. Through this model, students are able to develop new knowledge and skills that can be applied to a variety of career paths. Additionally, Cornell offers a variety of extracurricular activities, internships, and other opportunities for students to explore their interests.

5. What research experiences have you had?

I recently participated in a summer research program focused on the application of computer science to medical technologies. I worked with a team of graduate students to develop a program that would enable physicians to access patient medical records more efficiently. I developed my understanding of programming languages and computer science principles, as well as my skills in problem solving and critical thinking. Additionally, I had the opportunity to learn from mentors who had extensive experience in the field.

6. What do you think sets Cornell apart from other universities?

I believe what sets Cornell apart from other universities is its commitment to excellence. Cornell offers a variety of academic opportunities, such as its strong research programs and its international collaborations. Additionally, Cornell has a diverse student body, which allows students to gain a wide range of perspectives. Furthermore, Cornell has a strong alumni network and provides its students with a wide range of resources and support. All of these factors come together to create an environment where students can reach their full potential.

7. What challenges have you faced in your academic career and how did you overcome them?

I have faced a variety of challenges in my academic career. When I first entered college, I found it difficult to adjust to the new environment and workload. I had to learn how to effectively manage my time and set goals for myself. Additionally, I struggled to develop relationships with my professors and peers. I overcame these obstacles by actively reaching out to my professors and peers and asking for help when I needed it. I also set a schedule for myself and regularly reviewed my assignments and goals to ensure that I was making progress.

8. How do you think you’d benefit from a Cornell education?

I believe I would benefit from a Cornell education in many ways. I would be provided with an excellent academic environment, with numerous opportunities to learn and grow. I would also be able to take advantage of the resources available at Cornell, such as its strong alumni network, research opportunities, and access to internships. A Cornell education would also challenge me to develop my skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and communication.

9. What do you think is the most important lesson you have learned in your studies so far?

I believe the most important lesson I have learned in my studies so far is that it is important to take risks. I have learned that in order to truly learn and grow, I have to take risks and put myself out there. I have also learned that it is ok to make mistakes, as long as I use those mistakes as learning experiences. Taking risks and learning from my mistakes has allowed me to develop my skills and expand my knowledge.

10. What are your career goals and how will attending Cornell help you achieve them?

My career goals are to become a software engineer and eventually pursue a role in leadership. Attending Cornell would provide me with the necessary resources to pursue and achieve these goals. I would benefit from Cornell’s excellent academic environment, allowing me to develop my technical skills and gain a strong understanding of computer science principles. Additionally, I would have access to a strong alumni network, which I could use to find potential job or internship opportunities. Finally, I would be able to take advantage of the wide array of resources available at Cornell, such as research opportunities, internships, and international collaborations.

11. What motivated you to apply for Cornell?

My passion for learning and personal growth motivated me to apply for Cornell. I have always been a curious person and I have a strong aspiration to explore the vast opportunities available in the world. I knew that Cornell was one of the top universities in the world and its diverse curriculum, top-notch faculty, and ample research opportunities would provide me with the perfect platform to further my knowledge and hone my skills. I am looking forward to utilizing the Cornell experience to its fullest potential, and I am confident that I can make a positive impact on the university and its student body.

12. What do you think you will contribute to the Cornell community?

I believe that I bring a unique set of skills and experiences to the Cornell community. As a student, I am passionate about learning, and I am confident that I can contribute to the advancement of knowledge at Cornell by actively participating in classroom discussions, working on research projects, and contributing to the academic discourse. Additionally, I plan to get involved in extracurricular activities and student organizations, helping to create a vibrant and dynamic community for my peers. I believe my presence will be an asset to the Cornell community and I am confident that I can make a positive contribution.

13. What sets you apart from other applicants?

I believe that my diverse set of skills and experiences set me apart from other applicants. I have had the opportunity to work in a variety of different settings, from medical research to software engineering, and I am confident that I can bring this knowledge to Cornell. Additionally, I possess strong communication and leadership skills, as evidenced by my positions in various organizations and my involvement in various extracurricular activities. I believe that my unique background and approaches to problem solving will be a valuable asset to the Cornell community.

14. What challenges have you faced in your life, and how have you overcome them?

I have faced a variety of challenges in my life, including overcoming language barriers and adapting to different cultural environments. Growing up in a culturally diverse setting, I had to learn to understand and appreciate different cultures and customs. I was also forced to learn a second language, which was difficult at first but I eventually persevered and was able to become fluent. Additionally, I have had to adjust to different academic environments, as I have attended both public and private schools throughout my education. I believe that my experiences have helped me become a more open-minded and resilient individual, and I am confident that I have the necessary skills to overcome any challenges that I may face in the future.

15. How do you think you will benefit from a Cornell education?

I believe that I will benefit greatly from a Cornell education. I am looking forward to taking advantage of the university’s vast resources, such as its cutting-edge research facilities and world-renowned faculty. Additionally, I am eager to get involved in various student organizations and extracurricular activities, as I believe that I can learn and grow through the collaborative environment at Cornell. Lastly, I am looking forward to taking advantage of the career and internship opportunities available at Cornell, which will help me develop my career and gain valuable experience. All in all, I believe that Cornell will provide me with a unique opportunity to expand my knowledge and develop my skills in a way that is not available anywhere else.

Tips on Preparing for a Cornell Interview

  1. Research the university: Make sure you understand the history, programs, and culture of Cornell University before the interview.
  2. Practice interview questions: Make sure you review common interview questions and practice answering them out loud.
  3. Prepare a list of questions: Have several questions prepared to ask the interviewer about the program, school, and any specific topics you are interested in learning more about.
  4. Dress professionally: Make sure to wear appropriate clothing for a professional interview.
  5. Arrive on time: Give yourself plenty of time to get to the interview location, preferably 10- 15 minutes early.
  6. Stand out: Think about ways to stand out from other interviewees and make a good impression.
  7. Focus on your accomplishments: Make sure you emphasize your successes, qualifications, and achievements.
  8. Show your enthusiasm: Make sure to express your excitement and enthusiasm for the school and its programs.
  9. Follow- up: After the interview, write a thank- you note to the interviewer expressing your appreciation for their time.
  10. Stay positive: Make sure to stay positive and upbeat throughout the entire interview process.


In conclusion, Cornell University interviews can be challenging but also rewarding. By being prepared with the right answers, you can make a great impression and get accepted into the university. Knowing which questions to expect and how to answer them can make all the difference in getting accepted. By doing some research and practice, you can be ready to ace the Cornell interview.