First-Year Spring Admission

What is the First-Year Spring Admission program?

Over the past decade, Cornell University has experienced a more than 100% increase in first-year admissions applications. For this year’s class, Cornell reviewed over 51,000 applications for a class of 3,274 new first-year students. In order to allow more students to benefit from a Cornell education, the university has developed an exciting option. In January 2021, Cornell University will welcome approximately 50 freshmen to begin their Cornell experience starting in the spring semester.

Two of Cornell’s undergraduate colleges and schools will enroll “January Freshmen.”

School of Hotel Administration

College of Arts and Sciences

    How are students selected for the Program?

    Students selected for spring semester enrollment are exceptional candidates whom we are unable to admit for fall because of on-campus space constraints. Students with a record of academic achievement and who exhibit the important qualities of leadership and initiative have been selected for this special program.

    How does this option work?

    Students offered the opportunity to enroll in January will be asked to submit an enrollment deposit to confirm their place. During the summer, we will contact you to confirm your plans for the fall semester (e.g. taking classes, traveling abroad, participating in public service, or working). Cornell will then contact you in September to confirm that you are indeed planning to enroll in January. Once confirmed, we will work with you to pre-register for courses for the spring semester and have you start other processes (such as applying for housing and dining options). You will participate in an orientation program when you arrive in January (a few days before classes begin) to ensure that you are ready for success.

    Throughout the process, the undergraduate college or school to which you have been admitted will be available to answer your questions!

    As a first-year student enrolling in January, you will likely have many general questions. We encourage you to review our general FAQ and the college and school pdfs linked above as a first step in the process.


    First-Year Spring Admission FAQ

    Am I expected to attend another college in the fall?

    No. You will have ample time to take all the courses you need to graduate from Cornell. All spring semester freshmen are entitled to attend Cornell for four full years (8 semesters) and, if eligible, receive financial aid for 8 semesters. We want you to have the same education as any student who begins in the fall semester.

    If I take courses elsewhere in the fall, will I be able to graduate from Cornell a semester early (i.e., in May)? If I do not attend college elsewhere in the fall, or if I do and take fewer than 12 credits, can I still accelerate and graduate in May?

    The undergraduate college you are admitted to will advise you regarding your graduation plans. We encourage you to review the FAQs above for your undergraduate college.

    Can I enroll in Cornell as an Extramural student through Cornell’s Continuing Education program in the fall?

    No. We do not believe that starting your Cornell experience as a non‐matriculated student is in your best interest. You would not be eligible for on‐campus housing, financial aid, an academic advisor, and many other benefits that matriculated students enjoy.

    If I do decide to take courses in the fall, do you have any suggestions about the ones I might take?

    We encourage you to review the FAQs for your undergraduate college or school advising office to further discuss options for the fall.

    Will I be at any disadvantage when it comes to registering for my spring semester courses at Cornell?

    Absolutely not! You will pre‐enroll at the same time as fall semester freshmen. We will send you enrollment information with complete instructions at the start of the pre-enrollment period. In addition, your college advising office will be available to answer any questions you might have about procedures and course selection. You will also review your academic program with your faculty advisor when you arrive on campus in January. Adjustments to your schedule, if needed, are easily made at that time. The process works very smoothly.

    Is it advisable to visit the campus before I enroll in January?

    Though certainly not mandatory, a visit to the campus during the summer or fall generally serves several purposes. First, you will become acquainted with the physical layout of the university. Second, you can speak with our staff and college representatives about your program for the spring.

    Is it possible to enroll with my classmates who will begin in August?

    No. Unfortunately, no spaces are available for the fall. If you are unable to enroll in January, we encourage you to reapply for admission for a future date.

    Can I defer my admission to the following fall or January?

    No. This is a special program for students to enroll at mid‐year. If you are unable to enroll in January, we encourage you to reapply for admission for a future date.

    If I have received a waitlist decision, how do I let Cornell know that I want to be considered for First-Year Spring Admission?

    Students who are offered a place on Cornell’s wait list for the College of Business: Hotel Administration or College of Arts and Sciences must complete the Wait List Reply form and answer “yes, I would like to be considered for First-Year Spring Admission” when prompted. Priority consideration will be given to students who reply by April 10.

    Is financial aid available for students enrolling in January? How will arriving in January impact my award?

    Yes, financial aid is available for enrolling students who are U.S. citizens, permanent residents, refugees and asylees. If you applied for aid by the February 15 deadline, you will receive a financial aid package at the time that you are admitted (April or May 2020). The financial aid package will reflect your enrollment plans for January and will represent one semester of aid.

    Will I still be able to study abroad as part of my academic program if I enter in January?

    Each of Cornell's undergraduate colleges and schools has a designated Study Abroad Advisor who will work with you to plan your academic program, including study abroad options.

    When will I graduate as a January student?

    It will depend on your plans for the fall semester. We encourage you to review your undergraduate college or school FAQs.

    Will I be able to join a fraternity or sorority during my first semester on campus?

    No. Cornell’s fraternity and sorority community follows a deferred recruitment schedule. We think it is best for new students to wait until their second semester at Cornell allowing them time to successfully transition, to be eligible to join. For FYSA students interested in Greek Life, we will offer an orientation session in January so that you will have the chance to learn more about future opportunities for engaging with this community.

    Where will I live on campus as a FYSA student?

    As a first-year undergraduate student, whether enrolling in the fall or the spring, you'll be part of a community of nearly 3,300 first-year Cornellians living in residence halls and Program Houses on north campus.

    When will I be able to register for courses?

    You will be able to pre-enroll for spring semester courses online through our Student Center in mid-November. You will be able to change your class schedule, if needed, during add/drop at the start of the semester (after going through Orientation). Registration for the semester is slated for a week in mid-January. You will need to pay your tuition, room, and board for the semester prior to registration.

    When will I receive my NetID?

    You will receive your NetID in early October. You will receive a text message with instructions at that time. If you did not provide a text enabled cell phone number, you will receive instructions in the mail. It is very important to activate your NetID promptly. Your NetID will allow you to access your New Student To Do List which will become active in mid-October.