Frequently Asked Questions
Formal interviews are not offered nor required.
Applicants may be contacted by an alumna or alumnus in their local area to schedule a time to talk about Cornell. This informal conversation with a member of our Cornell Alumni Admissions Ambassador Network (CAAAN) is not required, and is offered as an additional way for applicants to discover Cornell. Due to time, geographic, and volunteer constraints, not all applicants will be contacted; please be assured that applications are not adversely impacted if an applicant is not contacted or is unable to meet with a CAAAN member.
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.
When applying to the SC Johnson College of Business, students must choose to apply directly to either the Hotel School or the Dyson School. However, they also have the option to choose the other school as an alternate. Most students have a clear path and should apply to whichever school they believe is the right fit for them based on the curricular and extra-curricular offerings of the school. This alternate option should only be used by students who can clearly articulate their academic path in both schools, and they will need to fully explain those interests in their supplemental essay. Choosing both schools will not increase a student’s chances of admission, as application review remains highly selective for all academic programs at Cornell. Please note that during Early Decision application review, students will only be considered for admission to their primary choice.
The Cornell SC Johnson College of Business reviews applications holistically, meaning that we take into consideration all parts of your application. All of our applicants have superior academics and where they really stand out in their application is in their extracurriculars and their supplemental essays where they can highlight their experiences and passions that align with our program.
It is not required, but some kind of exposure to the hospitality industry is recommended. Exposure to hospitality industries will give you a better understanding of business, hospitality, and service that will provide you with background knowledge to bring into our program as well as help inform your decision to come to the Hotel School. Exposure to the hospitality industry can also be found in your service-based volunteer activities as well as in your school extracurriculars. We read applications holistically and will take into account all of your experiences in high school.
Yes. If your transcript or any other materials are not in English, please submit an original copy and an official, certified English translation.
Hotel School students are limited to a total of 15 test (AP, IB, GCE, A-level) credits toward SHA degree requirements.
With qualifying scores, Hotel School students may be awarded AP credit only in Free Electives, with the following exceptions:
- AP Microeconomics: a score of a 5 will fulfill HADM 1410: Microeconomics for the Service Industry
- IB Economics: a score of 6 or 7 will fulfill HADM 1410 and 3 free elective credits
- AP English Language and Composition or AP English Literature and Composition: a score of 5 will fulfill the First-Year Writing Seminar
Also note that Hotel School students who receive AP Statistics credit (score of 4 or 5) will have it awarded toward Free elective requirements only. They must still take HADM 2010, the HADM core Hospitality Quantitative Analysis course.
Score-free for fall 2021 and fall 2022: The COVID-19 pandemic emergency has led to many SAT and ACT administration cancellations. Due to this extraordinary circumstance, the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business will not use test results as a part of our admissions review for students seeking admission for fall 2021 and 2022. Instead, we will proceed with a holistic review of every application – excluding the use of SAT/ACT test results — with an increased emphasis on evidence of academic preparation, creative exploration, and potential in the other application materials. This will be true for both the Early Decision and Regular Decision rounds of review. Please see https://admissions.cornell.edu/standardized-testing-requirements for more information.
International freshman and transfer applicants for whom English is not the first language must submit an English Language Proficiency Exam score.
The examinations that meet this requirement include:
- TOEFL iBT, minimum score of 100
- IELTS, minimum score of 7.5
- DuoLingo, minimum score of 120
- iTEP, minimum score of 5.5
- PTE Academic, minimum score of 70
- C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency, minimum score of 192
You may be eligible for a 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.
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. You do not need to indicate your intention to apply to the CIA Collaborative Degree Program on your application to the Hotel School.
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.
No. Students will have ample time to complete their practice credit after matriculating to the Hotel School. Students usually satisfy the requirement with two summer internships but often graduate with above and beyond the required 800 hours.
Yes. Students currently studying at another institution are eligible to apply as a transfer student. The Hotel School accepts both spring and fall transfer students so students can apply after one or two semesters at another institution. We recommend waiting a whole year to apply so that you have a clear idea of the Hotel School and transferring is the right choice for you. If you are unsure of when to apply or would like to speak to a counselor please email us at email@example.com.
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. Otherwise, transfer students usually have a background in the liberal arts or have completed introductory business courses.
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.
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: