What are your chances of acceptance?

Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
Duke University
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

How to Write Cornell’s College of Engineering Essay

This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Vinay Bhaskara and Mariana Goldlust in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.


What’s Covered:



If you are applying to Cornell’s College of Engineering, you will be required to respond to the following prompt:


How do your interests directly connect with Cornell Engineering? If you have an intended major, what draws you to that department at Cornell Engineering? If you are unsure what specific engineering field you would like to study, describe how your general interest in engineering most directly connects with Cornell Engineering. It may be helpful to concentrate on one or two things that you are most excited about. (250 words)


In this article, we will discuss the prompt as well as different topics that you can cover in your response. If you are applying to a different college at Cornell, check out this article for guidance on the other prompts.


How to Approach the Prompt


Cornell’s College of Engineering has a really strong reputation. It’s one of the strongest engineering programs in the country. This question Cornell is asking is a mix of why have you chosen the college of engineering and why have you chosen your major. 


You want to think about not only those academic goals you have and your background, but also delve into your career interests as well. Research carefully to show that you’ve done your homework on Cornell and what the engineering department offers. That is where you can elaborate on your connection to the school and its values. 


There are also so many different opportunities within the engineering school. Cornell engineering has team projects, co-ops, and more. As you do your research into these areas to learn a bit about them try to find ways, if you’re interested in engineering, to communicate that interest and connect it to Cornell’s opportunities. 


Various Topics to Consider


Solving a Problem In Your Community


One topic you may choose to write about is how an engineering background and your interest in engineering will impact your community. You could write about whichever community you choose, but make sure to cover what you might do as an engineer to solve a problem your community is facing. 


If you’re trying to write a winning essay, you want to show how you are a unique problem solver and might think critically about any sort of problem. Regardless of whether the problem is related to engineering or not, the ability to think critically will help any student majoring in engineering.


If you choose to write about a problem in your community you wish to solve, it might be easier to focus on one solution rather than multiple. Diving into those solutions and why you believe they will work is important and will show your ability to think critically. However, it isn’t necessarily the quality of the solution that is important, but more the quality of your analysis. 


The Diversity Issue


Another topic to write about could be the diversity problem. Answering this kind of essay could get into how you interact with people from different backgrounds and therefore bring a different perspective. Ask yourself what kind of leader you could be and how you would prioritize inclusivity. At Cornell’s Engineering school, you’ll work with groups from every background, so you must be an inclusive thinker and problem solver. 


A great essay would focus on how you can be an inclusive leader and therefore an inclusive student at Cornell. Regardless of whether you come from a diverse background, everyone must support inclusivity, especially in STEM environments. Cornell takes pride in holistically thinking about diversity and bringing in people from all different backgrounds. The school wants to make sure that the people in these backgrounds will work well together. 


Women In STEM


Similarly to the diversity issue, writing about the lack of women in engineering could be a great response to this prompt. Think critically about why this is and what steps you would take as a leader to solve this issue. No matter your gender, everyone can address this topic as it will be prevalent throughout every engineer’s career. If this topic is something you’re passionate about, definitely consider writing about this when thinking about your essay.