Tips for New Hotelies

Or, The Things We Wish We Knew Then

Sponsored by the Cornell Peter and Stephanie Nolan School of Hotel Administration Ambassadors

The following list has been compiled by Hotelies for Hotelies! Keep it by your side, as it will definitely come in handy.

Hotelie Culture

  • Take advantage of the small size of the school. Establish close relationships with the faculty and get to know your peers.
  • Plan! Create schedules. Manage your time. Set priorities. Set study hours and group meetings into your week but be flexible!
  • The jokes about Hotelies don’t go away, so develop a tolerance and learn to laugh.


  • HADM 1910: Distinguished Lectures in Hospitality Management is a one-credit course in which grading is based on attendance. The speakers are prominent industry leaders who are intriguing and insightful. Don’t be late, ask questions, and dress for success. Your college wardrobe should include at least one business suit and some professional shirts, skirts, and/or pants.
  • When taking HADM 1740: Business Computing, do not wait until the last minute to complete your projects. Always save your work on a regular basis and keep a backup.
  • Don’t be intimidated by the cooking labs in HADM 2360: Food Service Management, Theory and Practice. Non-Hotelies joke about it, but it is no joke. Study hard and pay attention in class. TA help is crucial to success.
  • Make sure to have black pants and a nice, plain white button-down shirt for the HADM 1350 and HADM 1360 practicums in the Statler Hotel, as well as professional-looking, comfortable black shoes—no stilettos or flip-flops!
  • The hospitality industry is becoming more and more global in scope, and Cornell offers a wide variety of language courses.
  • Get your distributive electives over ASAP. It will save you a lot of stress in the long run.
  • Group projects are a key part of the Cornell Nolan School experience. Be flexible and work together with your partners. Carry your weight!
  • Go to office hours! Do not be afraid of your TAs or professors; they’re all pretty cool and helpful. Your grades will thank you.
  • There are a lot of libraries at Cornell in addition to the Nestlé Library in Statler Hall. Uris Library is the most popular undergraduate library—make sure to check out the Fish Bowl and the Cocktail Lounge.

Internships, Working, and Career Management

  • Be aware of Practice Credit requirements. You will need 800 hours of work experience in the hospitality industry before your last semester at Cornell.
  • Start searching for summer jobs as early as possible. Trust us; you will not want to wait to start the internship hunt until the spring semester.
  • Networking is a must! When looking for a job, be sure to take advantage of the Nolan School’s extensive alumni network.
  • Get involved in Hotel Ezra Cornell (HEC). You can start as a banquet server or bartender and work your way up to a function manager or board member by your junior or senior year.

Taking Care of Yourself

  • Sleep! You will have 8:40 a.m. classes sometimes!
  • Talk with someone if you are feeling down! If you are having problems with school, friends, love, or yourself, there are lots of opportunities to unload, have someone listen, and if you like, get some friendly advice. Go seek the help of your RA, CAPSEARS, your advisor at the Office of Student Services, TAs, and professors.
  • Stay in touch with your family.
  • If you’re not from the northeast or places with similar climates, be aware that the region has four distinct seasons and inclement weather is a reality. Buy a nice, big, sturdy umbrella, a few thick turtlenecks, and a pair of hefty, waterproof boots. Minimize when possible. Especially for people going home at some point during the year, you can rotate clothes, jackets, shoes, etc. You won’t need everything all at once.

Dining and Downtime

  • Statler Hall has plenty of places to sit down and work. The student lounge, Mac’s, the Terrace, and the main room of the Nestlé Library are all awesome, but don’t expect to actually get anything done unless you’re in the Binenkorb Computer Lab or the library’s quiet room.
  • As a Hotelie, once you move off-campus you should have a greater proportion of Big Red Bucks (BRB) than traditional dining-hall meals because the Terrace Restaurant and Mac’s accept only BRB, credit cards, and cash. Try a meal plan with either ten or 14 traditional meals and $500 of BRB per semester.
  • Be sure to visit the Hot Truck (behind the residence halls on Stewart Ave. at the foot of West Campus) for late-night snacks.
  • Go to the Ithaca Farmers Market.
  • Fraternities and sororities play an active part in the social scene at Cornell. At the beginning of the spring semester, you will have the opportunity to participate in recruitment. This may not be for you, but either way is okay.

Community and Traditions

The Cornell and Ithaca communities are utterly amazing and have a lot to offer! Although four years seems like a long time, it passes really quickly, so take advantage and explore what is uniquely Cornell. Among the things you should do before you graduate are:

Campus Bucket List

Ithaca-Area Bucket List