Frequently Asked Questions
An interview is not a required component of the School of Hotel Administration (SHA)'s undergraduate admissions process, although applicants may request an optional interview. Applications to SHA are considered complete with or without the interview.
How is the selection process in the School of Hotel Administration different from the other schools/colleges at Cornell?
We hold the same high standards for academic excellence as the other admissions offices at Cornell. What makes our students unique is their demonstrated passion for pursuing a career in the hospitality industry.
We look for applicants who have leadership experience, a strong work ethic, and an appreciation for the challenges of running a business in the service industry, typically demonstrated through work experience in the field.
It is not required, but it is strongly recommended. In recent years, about 90 percent of our admitted students have had experience working in the hospitality industry. Work experience will give you a better understanding of the industry and provide you with background knowledge to bring into our program.
How can I participate in the collaborative degree program with the Culinary Institute of America (CIA)?
Students can complete an associate's degree in culinary arts or baking and pastry arts from the CIA while earning a bachelor's degree in hotel administration. If academically eligible, you can apply to the program during your second or third year.
Will I be taking courses only in the School of Hotel Administration?
About two-thirds of your courses will be within the School of Hotel Administration (core courses and hotel administration electives). You will also take elective courses outside of the school (distributive electives). Part of your curriculum (free electives) can be from any division of Cornell.
A concentration is a series of electives along a specific area of study, like a minor. Courses that fulfill concentrations are defined by the academic areas. It is optional—some students choose not to declare one.
How will I get internships to fulfill the Practice Credit requirement?
Our career management advisors assist current students in finding internship opportunities. Our alumni network of over 13,000 members across the world is one of the best resources students can use to find part-time or full-time positions. Many students choose to work in the Statler Hotel on campus.
Our alumni pursue careers in all areas of the hospitality industry around the world and often start businesses of their own.
I live outside the U.S.; how can I complete the optional admissions interview?
Applicants who are interested in interviewing, but are unable to visit campus, may request an off-campus interview offered by SHA alumni. These interviews are conducted virtually using Skype or similar web-based meeting platforms hosted by your interviewer.
Do all of my application materials need to be in English?
Yes. If your transcript or any other materials are not in English, please submit an original copy and an official, certified English translation.
In my country it's very hard for students to obtain work experience. Can I still apply without formal work experience?
Yes, but we encourage you to take every opportunity to learn more about the management of hospitality-related companies in your area. Some students choose to volunteer for a business where they can shadow employees and have informational interviews. Firsthand experience will give you a better understanding of the industry and will provide you with some background knowledge to bring into our program.
What is the deadline for transfer applications?
You may apply to enroll in either the fall or spring semester. Spring-semester transfer applications should be submitted by October 15, and fall-semester transfer applications should be submitted by March 15.
If you are an international transfer applicant applying for financial aid, you are eligible for fall admission only.
What courses should I be taking in my current college before I apply to transfer?
We expect you to have taken chemistry (one year in high school or one semester in college), foreign language (three years in high school or equivalent in college), and either precalculus or a college-level algebra course. Otherwise, we recommend that you take courses that would fulfill our distributive electives and free electives requirements. Please contact our office with any additional questions.
Can I transfer credit from my previous bachelor's degree toward another bachelor's degree here?
We do not admit students who have previously earned a bachelor's degree for a second undergraduate degree. If you have completed a bachelor's degree or the equivalent in any field (including, but not limited to, hospitality management), we encourage you to apply to our Master of Management in Hospitality (MMH) degree.
Am I required to have an admissions interview?
All applicants are invited to schedule an off-campus admissions interview through our Admissions Office. An interview is not a required component of the School of Hotel Administration (SHA)'s undergraduate admissions process, although applicants may request an optional interview. Applications to SHA are considered complete with or without the interview.
How and when will I receive my admission decision?
Admission decision letters are mailed to the mailing address listed on your application, and your completion status will be updated on your application self-service account through Cornell's Undergraduate Admissions Office website. Transfer applicants will be notified as decisions are made, on a rolling basis: spring applicants from mid-November to mid-December, and fall applicants from mid-April to mid-June.
If you have more questions, please email us at SHA_admissions@cornell.edu.