Why we like the no-test application

In our first year of test-optional applications, Cornell enrolled students who very likely would not have considered Cornell otherwise—and we’re thrilled they’re here. Now we’ve gone one step further and made the essay optional because we want to get to know our students in the ways they communicate best.

“They are outstanding students and I’m glad we’re not missing out on them,” says Director of Admission Marie Schofer.

The no-test option was intended to open a door to Cornell for students who felt their test scores weren’t representative of their potential. Now we are allowing students who provide test scores the option of submitting a writing sample in place of the personal essay. Our no-test applicants simply provide two short answer questions.

Schofer says the quality of applications and personal portfolios received has been outstanding.

Macaela Holmes-Fuller, Colorado regional admission representative, says the no-test option provides a new way for her to get to know her students so she can help them decide if Cornell College is the right fit. Personal portfolios reveal students’ personalities and character in compelling ways.

“In between hours of deciphering transcripts, glancing at test scores, and reading letters of recommendation,” she says, “queuing an application that includes a video of a student dancing ballet, photos of the youth gymnastics team they teach, and a Prezi on ending childhood hunger in America is a great way for me to actually get to know what the student thinks is most important about themselves. I wish more students would apply this way!”