First-Year Applicants

Your adventure starts here.

Before you apply, please review the application instructions provided by the Undergraduate Admissions Office. We accept either the Common Application or the Universal College Application. Keep in mind that on either application, 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 sha_admissions@cornell.edu.


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 the most rigorous courses at your high school and done well? For transfer students, have you excelled in your previous college coursework? Standardized test scores are important as well, but they are not the only path to success. 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 80 percent of Hotel School freshman have some hospitality work experience or can connect their experiences to hospitality. Some worked part-time or summers in restaurants, clubs, hotels, coffee shops, or grocery stores. Others worked as tour guides, helped in a hospitality-related business, catered events, or had the opportunity to observe—through shadowing—a service-oriented job. It is important for Hotel School applicants to articulate in their statement of interest an appreciation of what it means to work in the service industry, as the coursework at the Hotel School sees business through the lens of hospitality.

Demonstrated 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. Additional units of higher-level math are recommended but not required.

Standardized tests:

  • SAT or the ACT
  • International Students: TOEFL (score of 100 or better) or IELTS (score of 7)

Resume: The Hotel School is a pre-professional program that gives students the tools to be successful in a career. We don't expect your resume to be perfect, but rather to serve as another facet of your application—as a glimpse into how you present yourself professionally, and what factors you deem inseparable from an application to any organization.

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.