Little Cornell Makes a Big Splash
by Savannah Graziano
When most students hear the name “Cornell College”, their initial thought is of the Ivy League school in Ithaca, New York. With big city thoughts, the small, liberal arts college located in Mount Vernon, Iowa is often wrongly forgotten. With a widely diverse student population of about 1,000 and majors ranging from Biochemistry to Theater & Dance, Cornell College rivals its Ivy League counterpart.
Full of pride and bustling with activity, Cornell College offers opportunities from the start. Students are able to choose from several unique dorms that feature amenities such as aerobic areas, performance stages, and ping-pong and pool tables. At the Berry Career Institute, students are able to meet with a career coach who assists them in finding a path to their dream job. The institute can be used to help students explore their interests, gain experience in fields of work, and obtain leadership skills. The extra resources provided by the Berry Career Institute give hard-working students an edge on their competition when seeking jobs in the future.
Cornell, like most colleges, has a wide variety of intercollegiate sports for students to participate in and spectate. With 19 sports including football, wrestling, and a new lacrosse program, there are many opportunities to be part of a NCAA Division III sports team. Cornell also offers many intramural and club sports for those that prefer a less competitive environment.
The community and students on campus tend to be full of school spirit. Students are often found sporting purple, white, and/or Rams gear, especially when playing their rival school, Coe College. The competitive rivalry has spanned over 127 games, forming the oldest athletic rivalry west of the Mississippi. With Coe just 30 minutes away, students often pile into cars for a short road trip to watch away football games and support their team.
Once a student has acclimated to life at Cornell, they may turn to Greek Life. The Greek system at Cornell is meant to emphasize community service, leadership development and relationship building. Cornell College offers a combined total of 15 fraternities and sororities, but none are associated with their national counterparts. For first year students (with a GPA of 2.0 or higher), fraternities and sororities can only be joined after the end of Block 4. This creates the image of Greek life being a privilege rather than a right. Students can use the opportunities given to them by these organizations to their advantage and personal betterment.
To get a sense of when “the end of Block 4” occurs, one must first understand the unique “One Course at a Time” schedule. At Cornell College, students take each class (or “block”) for 18 days Monday-Friday. Within this time, three to four hours of each day is dedicated to a single class. This allows greater involvement within class, focus on the subject and more one-on-one time with professors, each of whom teach only one class per block.
The unique class schedule also provides great versatility. If a student is interested in volunteer work or an internship, they can take a block or utilize the four day break between blocks to do so. With this system, students can work or explore opportunities without the added pressure of their normal workload. This type of scheduling allows students to become both ambitious and dedicated, and eliminates procrastination. By encouraging effective time management and giving professors more time to focus on a class, students have a better chance to succeed. The flexibility of a block schedule also offers professors the opportunity to make their classes more dynamic and interactive by providing time for classes to travel as a group to a foreign country, different state or other unique off-campus location.
Although tuition is set at $40,655, residence at $4,200, dining at $4,910 and $225 in fees for a total of $49,990 in costs for the 2017-18 school year, Cornell offers various methods of financial support and scholarships. Applications to Cornell College are similar to those of other colleges. Anna Kate Hartel, Cornell’s representative, advises interested students to research the school and schedule a tour of the campus. Cornell’s test-optional application process allows students to choose between submitting a portfolio and two short-answer questions, or their ACT or SAT score. This flexibility, combined with the school’s utilization of the Common Application, allows students to put their best foot forward.
While Cornell College may not be the best choice for everyone, this small liberal arts college in Iowa should not be overlooked. Sweet and full of spirit, with a flexible schedule and great access to professors, Cornell is definitely a school worth a long look!