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Cornell College - IowaSchools.net

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Cornell College

Cornell College is a private liberal arts school located in rural Mount Vernon, Iowa. It was founded in 1853 as the Iowa Conference Seminary by Reverend Samuel M Fellows, but changed its name to Cornell College in 1857. The school is one of very few post-secondary facilities that use the block plan to organize its semesters. Students take one class for three and a half weeks (ending with a four day break to make it an even four weeks). Starting in the 2012-13 school year, Cornell College will be switching to an 8-block calendar.

The school is often confused with Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. However, the schools are barely related. Cornell College is named after an iron tycoon named William Wesley Cornell. He was a distant relative of Ezra Cornell who founded Cornell University.

Educational Programs

Cornell College is committed to helping student pursue their dreams. The school offers a wide variety of majors, minors, and pre-professional programs spread out amongst 21 departments that students can enter in pursuit of their personal and professional goals. Here is a sample of the programs you can complete at Cornell College:


  • Archaeology
  • Biochemistry
  • Classical Studies
  • Economics and Business
  • Elementary and Secondary Education
  • French
  • Geology
  • International Relations
  • Kinesology
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • Theatre
  • Women’s Studies


  • Anthropology
  • Art History
  • Biology
  • Civic Engagement
  • Environmental Studies
  • German
  • Latin American Studies
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Sociology

Pre-Professional Programs

  • Architecture
  • Dentistry
  • Engineering
  • Forestry and Environmental Management
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Human Services
  • Theology
  • Veterinary Medicine

Cornell also provides opportunities for students to earn class credit off campus through their Academic Enrichment Programs. For example, their Off-Campus Studies programs allows students to spend a month in different locations all over the world like Chicago, England, and India to study at leading research libraries, art galleries, and other well-known facilities. Other programs include the Faculty/Student Research, Student Symposium, and the Center for Teaching and Learning.

Admissions Guidelines

First-year students looking to enter Cornell College must submit an application with an essay, teacher recommendations, ACT or SAT scores, transcripts, a secondary school report, and the Cornell Supplement Form. The school takes a holistic approach when evaluating students for entry, so there are no specific minimum criteria applicants must meet. In general, the school looks at how well-prepared the student is, their academic ability and potential, personal character, and extracurricular activities.

Cornell accepts transfer and international students. International students must submit scores gauging their ability to speak and understand the English language. The minimum scores are:

  • TOEFL: 550 paper, 213 computer, or 79 internet
  • IELTS: 6.0
  • STEP: Grade 1

International students must also submit documentation proving they have money to pay tuition and fees. All students must submit a $300 deposit upon acceptance. The deposit will be applied to tuition.


Tuition and fees at Cornell College are as follows:

  • Tuition: $32,720 per year
  • Housing: $3,630 to $4,500 depending on single or double occupancy
  • Fees: $225 per year
  • Books: $800 per year

Students can find several financial assistance programs at Cornell to help them pay for their education including scholarships, need-blind and need-based grants, work-study jobs, and private, institutional, and federal loans. Cornell also participates in the tuition exchange program.

Campus Life

Approximately 90 percent of students live on campus. The school has nine residence halls offering a number of different room options including singles, doubles, suites, and apartments. Special-interest housing, such as substance-free and learning communities, is also available. Off-campus housing is available to students that meet one or more of the exceptions:

  • Living with parents who have a permanent residence in or near the city
  • Aged 24 or older
  • Married
  • Have children
  • Have special dietary or medical needs that are verified by a doctor
  • Have completed 8 semesters while residing at Cornell

The school has active athletic programs. Male and female students can participate in baseball or softball, basketball, cross country, football, soccer, tennis, track and field, wrestling, and volleyball. There are also over 100 student organizations such as the Animal Welfare Coalition, Sustained Dialogue, Art Interest Group, and the Badminton Club that allow people to meet others with the same interests and passions. The school has an onsite chaplain and various faith organizations for students interested in participating in religious activities.


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