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.
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.
A resume is a required part of the School of Hotel Administration application. To submit a resume, please upload it with the Common Application or Universal College Application. If you forget to upload it with your application, or submit the application without attaching a resume, you may upload your resume via your online application status account. To access your online application status account, please view the Undergraduate Admissions Office website here.
Hotel School students are limited to a total of 15 test (AP, IB, GCE, A-level) credits toward degree requirements.
With qualifying scores, Hotel School students may be awarded AP credit only in Free Electives, with two exceptions:
For information on how international credential credits may transfer to Cornell, please review the guidelines outlined on the university Courses of Study website.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 program.
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.
Admission decision letters are mailed to the mailing address listed on your application, and your completion status will be updated in 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.
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.
Yes. If your transcript or any other materials are not in English, please submit an original copy and an official, certified English translation.
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.
International freshman and transfer applicants for whom English is not the first language must submit a TOEFL or IELTS score. You may be eligible for a TOEFL or IELTS waiver if you meet certain criteria. For more detailed information on application instructions for international students, please visit the International Students page on the Cornell Undergraduate Admissions Office website.
The deadlines for applying to SHA as a guest student are October 1 for a spring semester start and March 1 for a fall semester start.
Guest students are not eligible for financial aid from Cornell University. Talk with your home institution about financial aid options, or investigate scholarship opportunities that may be offered by your home country.
Cornell’s Office of Global Learning provides services related to obtaining visas, student life, the international community, and even helpful tips for packing appropriately for the cold winter weather.
Guest students are admitted to SHA at the undergraduate level and are required to take all courses from SHA, with the exception of physical education classes. Once accepted, you will work with the Office of Student Services to create a customized academic plan. Course selections must be pre-approved by your home institution.
Since courses are not offered every semester, students must be flexible and willing to select alternate courses if their first choice is unavailable. After the start of each semester, students have three weeks to add classes and seven weeks to drop classes.
A minimum course load of 12 credits (not including physical education) is required to participate as a guest student, although the recommended course load is 15 credits. Guest students who successfully complete 12 credits will qualify for affiliate membership in the Cornell Hotel Society.
For more information about course content and availability, please explore the following resources: