Chasing the Clean Sweep: Cornell University

Having introduced two opposing views of the liberal arts, Columbia’s strict curriculum and Brown’s open curriculum, we pivot to Cornell, a league of its own within the Ivies. Cornell is sometimes referred to as a public-private university hybrid, being both an Ivy League institution with rigorous academics and a large land-grant institution with a more pre-professional focus. Applying to Cornell requires choosing a specific college, such as the renowned School for Hotel Administration, and most of the courses students take are within their chosen major/college. This is not to say Cornell is a pre-professional school, but rather, a place where students have the opportunity to apply a pre-professional focus to their liberal arts education. Cornell’s pre-professional outlook allows students the opportunity to truly immerse themselves in the select discipline(s) of their choice, and explore other disciplines in a less in-depth manner as they desire.

Also unique to Cornell is its location and size, being the largest Ivy in terms of both undergraduate population and campus acreage. Cornell is also the Ivy located farthest from an urban center, secluded in Upstate New York but in turn also surrounded by natural beauty. Students happily take advantage of their school’s location and large campus by utilizing more than 3,000 acres of woodlands, natural trails, streams, and gorges as spaces for physical exertion and contemplation. Cornell is not for those who desire an urban setting or the intimacy of a smaller school, yet it is ideal for those who want an Ivy League education with professional programs typically exclusive to public universities surrounded by an idyllic wilderness.

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