Cornell School of Hotel Administration Undergraduate Admissions Requirements

At the School of Hotel Administration (SHA), our admissions procedures and requirements differ slightly by the type of student: first-years, transfers from other Cornell schools, transfers from colleges and universities outside Cornell, international students, and military veteran applicants. Be sure to read through the admissions requirements relevant to you and become familiar with the application process before you begin. If you have any questions along the way, we’re happy to provide you with more information.

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SHA Hotelies are intellectually curious and enjoy challenging themselves. They’re energetic, collaborative, passionate; they get involved in the community, demonstrate entrepreneurship and leadership, and have an interest in hospitality. If you identify with these qualities, you may be a future Hotelie. We invite hard-working, well-rounded, lifelong learners who believe in self-improvement to apply to SHA.

First-Year Applicants

We take a holistic look at your application to see whether you’re a high academic achiever with leadership and entrepreneurial qualities and a passion for hospitality. Whether you’re interested in finance, real estate, food and beverage, sales and marketing, or data analytics, let us know you’re excited to experience it all.

Apply by: January 2

International Applicants

Students from outside the US follow an application process similar to that of our domestic first-year or transfer students. You must complete our application materials without paid agents or credentialing services. If you are not a native English speaker, you must demonstrate proficiency in the English language through standardized test scores.

Apply by: First-year or transfer application deadline as applicable.

Military Veteran Applicants

Cornell is a strong supporter of our military students and participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which provides financial aid to veterans and their qualified dependents. Please note that you will be applying to SHA through Cornell Admissions, not SHA Admissions.

Apply by: First-year or transfer application deadline as applicable

Transfer Applicants

We welcome motivated, bright transfer applicants who are intellectually curious and continuously challenge themselves. Please consult the appropriate applicant section below, whether you’re coming from inside or outside of Cornell, as the criteria differ slightly.

Apply by: October 15 for fall semester and March 15 for spring semester


First-Year Applicant Admission Requirements

We welcome freshmen who are intellectually curious and challenge themselves to try harder. At SHA, we value honest, collaborative, open-minded, and passionate applicants. We also seek students who get involved with their community, demonstrate entrepreneurship and leadership, and have an interest in hospitality—about half of our first-year students have relevant work experience. It is important for SHA applicants to express an understanding of what it means to work in the service industry, as the coursework at the School of Hotel Administration teaches business through the lens of hospitality. We accept the Common App and expect to see a rigorous high school curriculum with outstanding academic achievement.

Frequently Asked Questions For First-Year Applicants

If you’re applying to SHA as a first-year student, we’ve collected answers to common questions from first-year applicants below.


Transfer Applicant Admission Requirements

If you wish to transfer to SHA, either from a non-Cornell university or college or from another school at Cornell, you must fulfill most of the same admissions standards as a first-year applicant. You must have a strong academic record and demonstrate leadership qualities and a passion for hospitality. 

For external transfers, we consider first-year and rising sophomore applicants who have earned at least 12 credits from another accredited college or university or are currently enrolled full-time at another institution.

Internal transfers must be a current full-time (12-credit minimum) freshman or sophomore at Cornell University with a strong academic record (2.9 minimum GPA, although successful applicants usually have a 3.0 GPA or higher) and have completed ECON 1110 or an equivalent microeconomics course. Internal transfers should also have few, if any, S/U-graded courses. It is also recommended that internal transfer students take at least one HADM course prior to applying to transfer.

Frequently Asked Questions for Transfer Applicants

If you’re a bright, motivated student who wishes to transfer to SHA from another Cornell school or an institution outside of Cornell, we welcome your application. Please familiarize yourself with our transfer application requirements.


International Applicant Admission Requirements 

We welcome international students from outside the US. International students follow the same application process as our first-year or transfer students. Cornell considers applicants’ and their families’ ability to pay for education but expects applicants to apply for financial aid when applying for admission. You must complete our application materials without paid agents or credentialing services. If you are not a native English speaker, you must demonstrate proficiency in the English language with acceptable English language proficiency test scores. Peruse our frequently asked questions for more international applicant specifics.

Frequently Asked Questions for International Student Applicants

Cornell accepts academic credentials from institutions outside the US. Please familiarize yourself with our various international application requirements, including English language proficiency for non-native English speakers.


Military Veteran Applicant Admission Requirements

At SHA, we welcome former and current service member applicants, who enrich our Hotelie community with their motivation, innovation, discipline, and experience. More than 200 military veterans are enrolled at Cornell, of whom about 70 are undergraduate students. We are proud to say that our enrolled veteran ranks are increasing. We are opening a house specifically dedicated to student veterans this fall, we continue to partner with the Warrior-Scholar Project, and this past fall Cornell’s incoming cohort of 33 undergraduate veterans was the largest in more than 40 years.


Frequently Asked Questions for Military Veteran Student Applicants

Cornell is a Yellow Ribbon Program participant and collaborates with the Veterans Administration to ensure that our military veteran applicants receive all available financial benefits to help fund their education. We also have an enviable array of representatives and experts to help answer any questions you might have about applying to SHA.

Ready to Start Your Application?

Our How to Apply page featuring relevant deadlines, a list of required application materials, and other useful tips for the admissions process. Get to know our admissions team and access our application checklist and acceptance criteria for maximizing the success of you as an applicant.


Statler Building

Contact Us

Have a question about our application process and requirements? Want to know more about admissions at SHA? Don’t hesitate to reach out to our admissions team for more information. 

Office of Admissions

289 Statler Hall Ithaca, NY 14853

Phone: 607.254.4228


Apply Now 

Get your SHA application started with the Common Application.