First-Year Applicants

Your adventure starts here.

Before you apply, please review the application instructions provided by the Undergraduate Admissions Office. We accept the Common Application. Keep in mind that you must select “Cornell SC Johnson College of Business–Hotel School” as the program of interest to apply to the Hotel School.

Learn more about the Hotel School’s admissions requirements and what we look for in a successful applicant. If you have questions, please contact

What we are looking for

The Hotel School admissions committee uses a holistic approach when reviewing applications. This means that all parts of your application are considered.

We look for students with high academic achievements in a rigorous curriculum. Our students have leadership and entrepreneurial qualities and take initiative. We also look for students who share our passion for hospitality.

Academic Achievement

Because we want to make sure you are ready to handle the academic workload at Cornell University, academic achievement is our primary selection criterion. Have you taken some of the most rigorous courses at your high school and done well? For transfer students, have you excelled in your previous college coursework? We want to see that you will thrive in Cornell’s rigorous academic environment, especially in quantitative and economics courses that you will take here in the Hotel School.

Leadership and Entrepreneurship

We are teaching our students to be engaged community members and leaders within the industry. Many of our students have learned to be leaders who are analytical and personable. We want to see that you are active outside of your academics; strong applicants indicate that they can manage their time and that they have interest in their communities, including school, local affairs, religious ventures, and many more.

Hospitality Exposure

We recommend that you become acquainted with some aspect of hospitality through service-related jobs, internships, shadow opportunities, or informational interviews prior to applying.

More than 50% of Hotel School freshman have some work experience. Many worked part-time or summers in restaurants, clubs, hotels, coffee shops, or grocery stores. Others are entrepreneurs and started their own business. And some logged countless hours working with their family business. It is important for Hotel School applicants to express an understanding of what it means to work in the service industry, as the coursework at the Hotel School teaches business through the lens of hospitality.

Program Interest

The Hotel School is a unique business program that looks at business through the lens of hospitality. We look for students that understand that mission and are passionate about careers in the thriving hospitality industry. Whether your passion is finance, real estate, food and beverage, or marketing, we like to see students who are excited to experience it all.

Interested in hearing from our students? Read about their perspectives and the student experience at the Hotel School.

Admission Requirements

First-Year Applicants

Secondary school subjects: 4 units of English, 4 of mathematics (including pre-calculus), 2 units of science (including chemistry), and 3 years or completion of the third level of a single foreign language for native English speakers. Additional units of higher-level math, particularly calculus, are recommended but not required.

Standardized tests:

  • SAT or the ACT
    • Score-free for 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 2022. As always, we will conduct 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 for more information.
  • English Language Proficiency Exam for international students and students whose English is not their first language. 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

Transfer Applicants

If you have graduated from high school and received 12 or more university credits at a different institution since graduation, please see the transfer applicants page for requirements and information specific to transfer applicants.

If you are a current Cornell student interested in transferring to the Hotel School, please review the internal transfer information page.

Office of Admissions

289 Statler Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
Phone: 607.254.4228