Universal College Application (UCA) FAQs

Cornell University first-year and transfer applicants will now be able to apply using the Universal College Application (UCA). Here are the answers to your questions about the UCA:

Do students receive an advantage if they use the UCA or the Common Application?

Do I need to submit the Common Application AND the UCA?

How do I pay my application fee?

Can I use a fee waiver for the UCA?

What should I write about in my UCA essay for Cornell?

Does Cornell require a Supplement to the UCA?

Does Cornell accept the UCA Arts or Athletic Supplement forms?

Does Cornell require a Mid-Term Report for transfer applicants using the UCA?

Am I required to update Cornell on any changes in my application (including disciplinary status) after I have submitted the UCA?

How do I input my scores on the UCA Application?

Do students receive an advantage if they use the UCA or the Common Application?

No. Although there are slight differences in the applications, it is important to recognize that both applications provide us with the critical information that our selection committees will need to make thoughtful admissions decisions and they will be viewed equally.

Do I need to submit the Common Application AND the UCA?

No. Students will choose one format to submit all required application materials. Please do not mix-and-match or duplicate CA and UCA submitted application forms.

How do I pay my application fee?

The UCA online payment system accepts all major credit cards as well as electronic checks. We ask that students DO NOT mail checks if the application is submitted electronically. If you must submit a hard-copy application, please email admissions@cornell.edu (before mailing) for payment instructions. Students who have submitted an application without payment need to log back into the UCA and submit their payment.

Can I use a fee waiver for the UCA?

Yes. To use a fee waiver on the UCA, check the “fee waiver” box and submit one of the following documents:  

  • The College Board Request for Waiver of College Application Fee form (obtainable from your guidance counselor/college advisor if you used SAT Reasoning Test or Subject Test fee waivers) or the ACT Fee Waiver Form (obtainable from your guidance counselor/college advisor if you used ACT fee waivers);
  • The NACAC Application for Fee Waiver Form completed by your guidance counselor/college advisor;
  • A letter from your guidance counselor/college advisor, or representative from a social service or community agency, stating that the fee would cause financial hardship;
  • If you cannot apply for a fee waiver by one of these methods, please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office at 607.255.5241. Mail fee waiver documentation to: Undergraduate Admissions Office, Application Processing Center, East Hill Plaza, 349 Pine Tree Road, Ithaca, NY 14850-2899.

Transfers: To use a fee waiver on the UCA, check the “fee waiver” box and submit a letter from a transfer advisor, the financial aid office at your current college/university, or a representative of a social service/community agency stating that the fee would cause financial hardship. Should you have questions, please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office at transfer@cornell.edu.

What should I write about in my UCA essay for Cornell?

You are welcome to use any prompt or question of your choice when preparing your essay. You are even welcome to use an essay you have prepared for other college applications.

Does Cornell require a Supplement to the UCA?

Yes. Cornell requires the Universal College Application (UCA) for First-Year Admission Cornell University Supplement for freshman applicants and the Universal College Application (UCA) for Transfer Admission Cornell University Supplement for transfer applicants.

Does Cornell accept the UCA Arts or Athletic Supplement forms?

No. Cornell does not accept the UCA Arts or Athletic Supplement forms.

Does Cornell require a Mid-Term Report for transfer applicants using the UCA?

Yes. Cornell does require a Mid-Term Report for transfer applicants submitting the UCA.

Am I required to update Cornell on any changes in my application (including disciplinary status) after I have submitted the UCA?

Yes. Applicants are expected to immediately notify Cornell University should there be any changes to the information requested in the application, including disciplinary history. When you sign your UCA, you are agreeing to the same terms as you would on the CA:

I certify that all information submitted in the admission process—including the application, the personal essay, any supplements, and any other supporting materials—is my own work, factually true, and honestly presented, and that these documents will become the property of the institutions to which I am applying and will not be returned to me. I understand that I may be subject to a range of possible disciplinary actions, including admission revocation, expulsion, or revocation of course credit, grades, and degree, should the information I have certified be false.

I acknowledge that I have reviewed the application instructions for each college receiving this application. I understand that all offers of admission are conditional, pending receipt of final transcripts showing work comparable in quality to that upon which the offer was based, as well as honorable dismissal from the school.

I affirm that I will send an enrollment deposit (or equivalent) to only one institution; sending multiple deposits (or equivalent) may result in the withdrawal of my admission offers from all institutions. [Note: Students may send an enrollment deposit (or equivalent) to a second institution where they have been admitted from the waitlist, provided that they inform the first institution that they will no longer be enrolling.]

How do I input my scores on the UCA Application?

When you access your UCA application, you will see fields for Verbal, Math, and Writing. If the test score listed is March 2016 or after, the Verbal Score is the Evidence Based Reading and Writing Score. The Math Score remains the same, and the Writing Score will be the Essay Score which is now out of 24 points.