Cornell College
Mount Vernon, IA, USA

Reviews

Cornell College
4.01 Average Rating

Yolanda from Portland, OR

a current student here
1 person found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
I really enjoy my time in class and the small campus has given me a chance to make a network of friends quickly. The courses are incredibly rigorous and intellectually stimulating, and most of my professors have been reasonable human beings who I can talk to if need be.
Tips for prospective students
Think about what your priorities are on a college campus, particularly concerning non academic priorities since those have an unexpected effect on your college success.
Academic Rigor
The courses are difficult. I have worked so hard this past year. You tend to have what you may consider to be around three nights worth of homework in one night. Often lengthy essays are expected to be written in a relatively short amount of time. The professors have high expectations for any kind of work, but they don't tend to baby you. It's up to you to take care of all your work and communicate with your professor if you think that's going to be a problem.
Dorm Life
The facilities themselves for first years are not the most glamourous but being on a floor of random freshman girls I was able to find a good group of friends, and the community within the particular coed building where I live is great.
Food and Dining
The food has greatly improved since the time I visited last year. My main problem is that at times Bon Apetit seems to try too hard, I think it would be better if they stuck to more basics and gave the option of variety to the students.
What to do for fun
There are a number of organizations you can be part of. PAAC puts on different events, such as comedians and musicians, throughout the year, usually including one bigger name group. There's also an adorable downtown for a bit of shopping, and there's a disc golf course on campus. There's usually one or two parties each weekend as well which can be fun depending on who's hosting.
Bang for the buck
This institution does give a good overall value. The classes are set up for you to learn, and the unique calendar works well for a number of students. There are also a number of opportunities on and off campus. The one draw back for me is that I wish there were more dance opportunities.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Ink pond isn't incredibly unusual but it's pretty and there's a hammock and a (swinging?) bench by it.
Great for these types of students
You have to be willing to work your butt off. You have to know how to prioritize your time. Lots of people try to say it's for the student who doesn't procrastinate but I don't know a human being who doesn't procrastinate. You just have to manage your time, that includes your procrastination, well enough that it doesn't bite you in the butt, and it will do that a lot faster on the OCAAT.
Clubs and Activities
I'm involved with the Mock Trial program, which is highly competitive. I also dabble in some theater, mostly with costuming. Overall there are a lot of things one can participate in, and I don't think it's hard to find at least one activity you like.
Greek Life
I have a number of friends involved with Greek life here at Cornell. Our system here is somewhat different than other schools since none of our Greek groups are affiliated with the national system. This means it's considerably less expensive, and because we're such a small school the group sizes range from about seven people up to nearly 60. (And even if you don't pledge, pre-pledge season is a great time to meet new people)
Campus Safety
Coming from the city I don't advise human beings to go out alone after dark, ever. Except here, in the miniature city of Mount Vernon, where I feel incredibly safe. That doesn't mean that stupid colleges students don't make stupid decisions and don't do the wrong thing some time but overall campus is a pretty safe place.
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Lucee from Pleasanton, TX

a current student here
10 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
I love the atmosphere of learning here. There is always something academic going on, from the many guest lecturers and visiting professors to class field trips. I can focus fully on one subject at a time and not have to worry about having two papers due on the same day for different classes!
Am enjoying being here
The Greater Mt. Vernon area is very vibrant. Cedar Rapids is literally a 10 to 15 minute drive and it has a ton of activities, from museums and shopping to art galleries and fun places to volunteer. If you're looking for a big city atmosphere, Iowa City is just half an hour away, it's a true College town being home to U of Iowa! There are tons of parties and stuff to go to down there, as well as a giant mall!
Bang for the buck
It's true that Cornell is a bit on the expensive side, but they are definitely not stingy with scholarships and grants. Talk to your admissions counselors if you're worried about the money aspect, they will do almost anything to get you up to the hilltop!
Tips for prospective students
Make really good friends with your admissions counselor! He or she can be your best friend when applying and visiting Cornell, or any school. If your school offers a facebook group for prospective students, MAKE sure to join and participate, that way you'll already have friends and maybe even a roommate before you arrive in the fall!
Great for these types of students
This school is definitely great for people who procrastinate (LIKE ME!), it seriously knocks that habit right out of you. It's really good for people who come from a close knit-community because you definitely feel it on the campus. This college is great for people who want to do a ton of things! There are literally groups for EVERYTHING, from Capoiera to Chess and Games and the Knitting Club! N3rds will have super epic fun here too!
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Ann from Houston, TX

a current student here
6 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
The learning environment here is rigorous but the small class sizes allow the instructor to pay more attention to you as an individaul. I've found that the professors here are always more than willing to help you out if your finding a course difficult. However, learning on the block plan can be challenging for procrastinators and, due to the time constraint, some professors aren't able to go over all of the material needed, but learning here is definitely a unique experience. Besides learning in the classroom, there's always guest speakers, educational films, and other educational events that go on every week!
Am enjoying being here
Since Cornell is a small college, you get to know people fairly quick and eventually there won't be a face that's unrecognizable. Plus, there are so many different activities to choose, from our outstanding Colleges Against Cancer group to our awesome capoeira club. There's just so many different groups and clubs to pick from that you'll have trouble narrowing your list down.
Bang for the buck
Although the price can seem overwhelming, the education and experience you'll get to have here are worth it! Cornell is usually quite generous with it's financial aid packages and the financial aid office is always more than willing to help students discover other options to pay for school and with providing information on outside scholarships.
Tips for prospective students
During the admissions process, your admissions counselor is your most important asset, USE THEM WELL! They're always happy to answer any questions you have and can help relive the stress of applying to colleges. Also, do your research on the college and, if possible, visit the college(s) you're thinking of going to so you can get a feel for the campus.
Great for these types of students
Cornell is great for the type of student that likes to be involved inside and outside the classroom. It's also great for those who like to be part of a tight-knit community and who want to have a unique college experience.
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Maria from Albuquerque, NM

a current student here
4 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Cornell is great! Everyone here is very friendly, upperclassmen are happy to help you. Plus all the staff are eager to assist you in anyway they can.
Tips for prospective students
Apply early and keep in contact with the regional admissions director for your area. The admissions staff really are happy to help you.
Academic Rigor
One Course at a Time (OCAAT) can be hard! You're doing what you would normally do in a semester in three and a half weeks. Be prepared for long nights. But, it pays off. Plus, you get a four day break in between each class!
Dorm Life
Freshman, I promise the dorms get better as you move up in the ranks! But regardless of the condition of the dorms there are always floor activities going on and all of the RA's are really helpful. Dorm like can be a big adjustment (Especially with some dorms having co-ed bathrooms) but it's really fun! 95% of the student population lives on campus!
Food and Dining
This was the first year (2012-2013) for a new catering company called Bon Appetit. The caterer used in the past, Sodexo, was horrible. Remember that when you're reading old reviews! The new system is delicious! They have a great selection that is constantly changing. They even have a vegetarian and vegan area. Everyday there is a main serving area with pastas, meat, vegetables dishes and even an in house carvery. But there are also global food, sandwich and salad stations in the cafeteria. Oh, and the desserts are to DIE for.
What to do for fun
Mount Vernon, the town around Cornell, doesn't have a lot to do. There are three bars that have dancing on Friday and Saturday nights. But there is always something going on on campus that you don't even need to go to town. Movie viewings, dance parties, comedians, plays. anything you can think of! Plus, if you have a group of friends you shouldn't get too bored.
Bang for the buck
Cornell is pricey. But it's worth every penny. The professors here ONLY teach Undergrads. They aren't doing it as a chore that just gets in the way of their research projects. CC professors and staff are all hardworking and what to give you the best education possible.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Our biggest rival is Coe College. At our first home basketball game against Coe we all throw a roll of toilet paper onto the court after our first point!
Great for these types of students
CC caters to all types of students. We have great athletic teams but are also very academically inclined. Just know that this is NOT a goof off school. People here are serious about their education. Here on the one class at a time schedule missing two classes can cause you to fail a class.
Clubs and Activities
I always tell my family that I could have my schedule filled 24/7 without taking a single class. There are SO many clubs for everything you can think of! We even have a Zombie Survival group that meets regularly. IF you're into something, chances are there's a group for that!
Campus Safety
All the safety staff are very friendly and very sympathetic. The number for their office is stamped on the back of everyone's ID card, they're just a call away and they're happy to help!
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Brandon from Gilbert, IA

a current student here
4 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Cornell is a small community with excellent academic opportunities. They offer fairly good financial aid and are willing to accommodate to suit a student's needs. If you are looking for an exciting social scene however, Cornell is not the school for you.
Tips for prospective students
Make sure you have the right mentality to work on the OCAAT (One Course At A Time) schedule, it can be very stressful and demanding. If you want an intellectually challenging school I would give the school a call and ask about the programs offered to see if your interests are included.
Academic Rigor
The OCAAT schedule is very demanding and very rewarding at the same time. You will learn a lot in the course of a month. If you love the class you can become completely immersed in it, if you hate it, you are done in three and a half weeks.
Dorm Life
Everyone is very friendly; however, nothing really exciting happens. The rooms are okay but the older dorms are built a lot like prisons.
Food and Dining
It is hard to give an exact rating on this as the food service provider will be changing for next year. It was originally Sodexo; however, Bon Apetite will be providing the food. I have heard good things about the incoming food providers.
What to do for fun
We have intramural sports and student organizations, if you aren't satisfied with that we also have special interest groups such as a Zombie Survival club, Fencing, Capoeira, and a Musical Theatre Interest Group. The town life isn't that exciting, but you are usually fairly busy if you are involved so you often won't really notice that there is nothing going on.
Bang for the buck
It is quite expensive; however, you will always have a class with a tenured professor never a teacher's assistant. You will get a unique experience with plenty of opportunities for off campus studies and research with a professor. There are plenty of campus resources to help you find a good internship as well.
Great for these types of students
If you are academically driven and enjoy a challenge, or you do exceptionally while only focusing on one thing Cornell is the right place for you. Everyone at Cornell is a little eccentric as well so it helps to have a good sense of humor.
Greek Life
Very poor, almost none existent. Cornell features no nationally recognized groups and the Greek groups do not have many members.
Campus Safety
Extremely safe environment, the campus security is very friendly and understanding as well.
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Kahn from Washington, DC

a current student here
3 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
One of the most beautiful schools out there. The school is an amazing place for anyone who wants a different, and even Hogwarts-esque experience. From the professors to the students, Cornell College is absolutely fantastic.
Tips for prospective students
Get in contact with the admissions officers. Most of the people who work at the school are alumni and can give first hand accounts of the school and how the classes are.
Academic Rigor
The professors here are some of the greatest in the field. There's a good chance before you leave Cornell (or in my case, within my first year) that one of your professors will be using a book they either wrote or help write. The professors know the work very well, and are very down to earth, so be prepared for lots of discussion.
Dorm Life
The dormitories are rather nice, nothing different from a run of the mill dormitory you'd find at another school. It's the people within the dorms that make it great, and the people are indeed great. From random party nights to collective study and reading sessions, the students in the dorms are all about having a good time and getting work done.
Food and Dining
The food company, Bon Appetite, is unrealistic. The food is literally too good. All of the food is extremely fresh, brought in by farmers from the area and prepared fresh.
What to do for fun
Cornell is situated in the most beautiful little town of Mount Vernon. Everyone here is extremely pleasant and friendly, and there are plenty of cool shops to visit. Undoubtedly the want to party will strike, and there is always something going on around campus that will peak someones interest.
Bang for the buck
Cornell College gives out so many scholarships and grants to students for talent and achievement. Students all throughout the school come from varying economic situations, and the Financial Aid Office makes sure everyone who wants to go can go to Cornell.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Whenever the Cornell football team, the Cornell Rams wins a game, the bell in Ash Park (the football field) is rung. At the first home basketball game against Coe College, Cornell's rival, when Cornell scores, everyone throws out toilet paper rolls. Finally, the joking motto of Cornell and Coe, its rival is if you cant go to college, go to Coe.
Great for these types of students
Students who like small schools, or small classrooms, which Cornell is nothing but. Students who want to have a connection with the professors they will be taught by, because by the end of the block the professors know you very well. Finally, student who don't want to take four or five classes at a time, but one course at a time.
Clubs and Activities
Cornell College's Mock Trial team is legendary. They have knocked out the best of the best in the nation: UCLA, Harvard, Yale, Drake, among others. There are many other clubs, like Global Zero, an anti nuclear proliferation group, College Dems, Theatre, Fencing, and so many others that appeal to whomever.
Greek Life
The Fraternities and Sororities at Cornell College are not national organizations. Instead they are local, centered only at Cornell College, with rich histories that stretch back farther than any fraternities or sororities this side of the Mississippi.
Campus Safety
Cornell takes great pride in being one of the safest schools. This school has enjoyed not only its own safety, but the safety of one of the safest towns in one of the safest schools in the Union. If any issue arises, there is no question campus security is immediately there to rectify things.
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Elizabeth

a current student here
3 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
Not only are the professors really great about helping you with material, but there are many amazing opportunities to attend lectures from visiting professors, researchers, graduates, and other impressive visitors. There are a lot of clubs, academic, volunteering or just for fun, that help you learn about so many different things.
Am enjoying being here
I love the small town community feel, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy the malls and big cities only a half hour away. There are also great experiences to be had right here on campus: professional comedians, hypnotists, magicians, bands, outdoor movies on big screens, dances, and more make campus really fun!
Bang for the buck
Cornell is financially amazing. They do a lot of fund raising that keeps tuition much lower than similar schools, and then they offer amazing financial aid and scholarships on top of that. Don't get scared off by the starting price tag, many students never come close to paying full tuition, room and board.
Tips for prospective students
Apply as early as you can. You'll find out soonest if you applying Early Decision (binding) or Action. Definitely visit campus if you can. Everyone is really friendly and that way you can get a rough idea about whether you think One-Course-At-A-Time is right for you and if you like the dorms and other buildings. After all, you're trying to decide where to live, study, and have fun for the next four years, so you might as well go take a look!
Great for these types of students
Any kind of student! Campus is amazingly diverse in many ways. There are students for a whole bunch of backgrounds, from all over the country and the world. With so many different types of people, social groups and clubs to get involved with, it's hard to feel left out!
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Chandra

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Cornell College is a small, liberal arts school that focuses not only on academics, but also on personal relationships. Cornell College offers a myriad of opportunities for students to get involved on campus, in addition to resources, such as internships and study abroad programs. Overall, Cornell College is an academically rigorous, socially accepting, relationship-driven school that strives to help all students achieve their goals.
Tips for prospective students
I encourage students to visit campus and talk with current students to foster a better understanding of what Cornell is like. I also encourage students to sit in on a class to observe how classes are taught at Cornell, and also to talk to a professor regarding Cornell.
Academic Rigor
Classes at Cornell are rigorous; Cornell operates on the block plan, meaning that students take only one course for 3.5 weeks, thus allowing students to only focus on one class. This type of schedule fosters students' critical thinking abilities, in addition to their in-depth knowledge of the material (quality v. quantity), which contributes to the academic rigor.
Dorm Life
First-year students usually live in certain halls with a roommate. For sophomores, juniors, and seniors, there are more housing options available, such as living in a suite-style dorm with more than one roommate.
Food and Dining
Cornell has a great dining hall with a variety of food options. Cornell works to minimize food restrictions; there are vegetarian and vegan options available, in addition to the healthy salad bar, classics/grill option, and global foods option.
Bang for the buck
Cornell gives out financial aid and generous scholarships to students. These scholarships range from science to performing arts to merit-based.
Clubs and Activities
Cornell offers a plethora of clubs and activities on campus, ranging from social justice clubs to leadership clubs. A few of them include Student Government, Mock Trial, Enactus Entrepreneurship Organization, and more. Because of the wide variety of options, all students will be able to find and join something that interests them!
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Anonymous

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Cornell is located in a small town, living here will mean creating your own fun or searching for activities through clubs, athletics, or greek life. People here are different in different senses of the word; we have our share of the different colors of the rainbow. The teachers are really helpful and invested, just like the students are helpful and friendly.
Tips for prospective students
The weather is important so know that if you are from a warm place you are in for a surprise in the winter, bring gear to keep warm. The writing studio and quantitative reasoning studio are there to help and can make a big difference. Learn not to procrastinate because it is easy to fall behind when a block is less than a month long.
Academic Rigor
Classes are fast and can be difficult if you are not willing to put in the time and effort.
Dorm Life
Dorms have quiet hours, but depending on where you are... makes a big difference, each dorm has a reputation or general type of people who live there like the first year athlete dorm. Nothing too bad happens in the dorms, R.A.s are usually on top of things.
Food and Dining
Food has gotten better with the new dining service.
What to do for fun
In town, there is a strip of stores to shop in. There are plenty of social events hosted by clubs and banners posted everywhere, dances, games, and activities. There are malls if you have a car, drinking at the bars if you are old enough, or even the movie theater in town.
Great for these types of students
People who are open to hearing all types of opinions, people who don't mind bipolar weather, and people who can thrive in a fast pace learning environment, Cornell is for you.
Clubs and Activities
There are sooo many clubs, Judo Club, Dancing (Slick shoes), Animal Health Care, languages, UNICEF, Environmental Club, Sewing Club (Knot Just for Grannies), Zombie Apocalypse Club, the list goes on and on.
Greek Life
We are a small school but greek life is a way to meet more people and belong to a group of tightly knit friends.
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Justin from CENTENNIAL, CO

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Cornell College is a fantastic, small, friendly community. The One Course At A Time model truly allows me to focus my intellectual capacities on my subject in a unique manner. At Cornell, the professors emanate a majestic aura of knowledge, wisdom, love, and passion.
Tips for prospective students
Spend the night. Have fun. Study well, and work hard. College can be a great experience if you are dedicated to your studies.
Academic Rigor
Each course is on a rigorous track due to a three and a half week sprint for each class. However, this allows students to focus on each class.
Dorm Life
Great people.
Food and Dining
I LOVE FOOD.
What to do for fun
Read.
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