First-Year Experience

Making the leap from high school to college is exciting but can be challenging as well. At Cornell, we have first-year experience programs and services in place to ease your transition and help you to flourish, both socially and academically.

Getting Started

Your experience starts with a four-day new student orientation, where hundreds of student Orientation Leaders and Resident Advisors welcome you to our community. You have lots of opportunities to make new friends, meet faculty, explore academic and extracurricular offerings, and learn about academic resources and expectations.

Help and Support

In the New Student Orientation film “Real Students, Reel Stories,” you hear how upper-class students and alumni navigated the University, got connected, dealt with setbacks, found balance, and took advantage of the multitude of campus resources.

Ask Us Anything

The Carol Tatkon Center on North Campus connects the academic core of Cornell with the residential center of first-year student life. It promotes interactions with faculty outside of the classroom and will help you discover and explore new interests. The supportive student staff answer any and all questions, act as mentors to new students, and provide information, referrals, and guidance about all things Cornell.

Living-Learning Communities

As a first-year student, you will live with your classmates on North Campus, where the focus is on your transition to the Cornell living-learning community. Student support services, dining facilities, recreational opportunities, and fitness centers are all within walking distance of residential halls, with academic buildings just across the waterfall gorge. Together in one place, you and your fellow classmates will establish bonds right away. Faculty-in-Residence and Faculty Fellows are very involved in North Campus activities, helping you to create shared intellectual experiences outside of the classroom. Your learning experience will begin the summer before you arrive, with you and your classmates participating in the New Student Reading Project. As a first-year student, you will also participate in our First-Year Writing Seminars and have the option of taking one of the cross-disciplinary University Courses.