How to Write the Cornell CALS and Cornell Engineering College Interest Essays for 2019-2020

Cornell’s supplemental essay prompts for 2019-2020 are a mild reboot of the prompts they have been using for years. The topics are the same, but there is a bit of a shift in nuance via new wording in some prompts that suggests some fine-tuning in order to create a successful supplemental essay.

At Cornell, you write one supplemental essay aimed specifically at your chosen field of study, relating it to yourself. But this one essay incorporates two topics you need to cover–yourself and Cornell.

How to Start a Successful Cornell College Interest Essay

The place to start your supplement is with some time on a search engine.   That’s Google, to most of you, though Ecosia and DuckDuckGo are options as well (nudge, nudge). But rather than relying on external searches, it is your internal searching on the web site of Cornell and on anybody of interest attached to Cornell that will give you the best material for your supplement.

You need to click and read on through school pages, the departments within each school, associated labs that seem interesting, research pages. then research projects, then on again into what is posted by individual professors via personal profiles, blogs, and let’s not forget, “News” and press releases.

You also want to look at some of my other posts on this blog, in which I talk about researching majors and talking about why you want to go to a particular college, starting with this one, which includes some very detailed Cornell-specific information: Writing the Why University X Essay.

Some Research Links to Help You Start Your CALS Cornell Supplemental

College of Agriculture and Life SciencesClick on the link, and I suggest scrolling down to check CALS in the News at the bottom of the pageit’s press–release-type of stuff, but it starts introducing you to some of the research: be sure to click on more CALS in the News to open a full page of what’s new and sexy at CALS.

If it looks interesting, read on and find our more. It may only amount to a sentence or two, but this game is all about the margins, folks. Once you’ve discussed yourself a bit, you need to connect with Cornell and show you know something about it and have a sense of direction. Just keep in mind that this essay is not a contract that you have to abide by. It’s an elevator pitch designed to get you into Cornell.

CALS Schools Departments and Majors–Here is where you define your specific goals, through a major that defines your field of study. The emphasis and scope of majors varies by university, so be sure to select one that fits you, rather than some generic major. Try to add to your demonstrated interest in your essay by showing specific knowledge of your target school.

Links to Help You Start a Successful Cornell Engineering Essay

As we move on, I’d just like to point out that there are a number of disciplines in CALS that overlap with engineering.

Speaking of which: Cornell School of Engineeringscroll down to check out the Spotlights links, doing some reading there, then continue on down the page to The Latest News and Events and check out both.

Then check out Cornell Engineering’s 14 Majors and 20 minors. Find the one that calls to you today, particularly if you have experience and background information that fits it. As I noted above, this is an application essay, not a contract. You can change your mind. So run with what looks good now, and that should include using what you can fit in your essay and match to a Cornell Engineering major.

Finally, and still important–have a look at Research going on at Cornell; see if anything new and interesting pops up.

If you are not sure what to do with all this research, I would suggest that you go back to that Why Go to University X link and read the whole post. Yes, it’s a long and not SEO-friendly post, but a lot of what is useful and good doesn’t fit the current paradigm. Food for thought.

And if you are not one of my current clients don’t forget to Contact Me if you need help with essay development and editing.

Leave a Reply