Freshman Year: My First Weeks at Cornell University

September 03, 2018

As many of your are settling into your first weeks at college, we thought we’d ask our College Admits how their first weeks at college were. Here’s a reflection from JerBear, a Cornell student: 

Although excited about independence and freedom going into college, I was initially very anxious about meeting new people and was worried about adjusting to the new life. However, orientation week made the transition much smoother and easier. Orientation lasted about a week and a half before classes started and freshmen students were divided into small groups, and each group was led by an upperclassman. From helping us meet new people and leading us on campus tours to holding fun events like carnivals and performances, orientation made me feel right at home. You will find yourself spending a lot of your earlier days with these friends that you make, going to events and meals with them. The dining halls are also a great way to meet new people as your friends introduce their friends to you, and the circle just grows from there. Cornell’s dining halls are also frequently ranked among the top 5 in campus food. Good food, good company- what more can you ask for?

See more: Interested in applying to Cornell? See real successful Cornell applications.

All freshman residence halls are located in the north campus, and there are two dining halls, a gym and swimming pool, as well as Bear Necessities, where you can grab late night snacks, toiletry items, etc. The residence halls also include townhouses, and program houses that offer you the chance to immerse yourself in ethnic or cultural interests, such as Just About Music. I lived in Jameson Hall, which was divided into suites of 5-6 students that shared a bathroom, and each floor shared a lounge. Some other residence halls have no suites and have communal bathrooms for the whole floor. Before heading to Cornell, you get to select your top 3 picks for where you want to live, and you can request a roommate(s) if you have someone you know who you want to dorm with.  

Another thing that I was worried about at first was what college classes are like compared to high school classes. I was scared of the competition and the difficulty of my classes coming in; as you may be the top of your high school, but so is everyone else at Cornell! However, you quickly learn that as long as you put in the effort to stay on top of your work, you will do fine. Most of the classes you will take as a freshman will tend to be big lectures with hundreds of students, but as you specialize more in your field and take harder classes, the class size decreases accordingly. Every student also must take two Freshman Writing Seminars; there are tons of choices in different disciplines and these classes are usually very small with about 10-20 students.

One thing that surprised me was how much time and freedom I had as a freshman, as there will be gaps in your schedule unlike in high school, and there are no curfews. There are always events going on and it’s easy to meet new friends. One of the must-attend events is the Club Fair that is held every semester, where you can find hundreds of clubs and organizations to satisfy your interests. Just make sure you don’t get carried away by the excitement of starting college: work hard, play hard!

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About The Author

AdmitSee Staff
AdmitSee Staff

​We remember our frustration with applying to college and the lack of information surrounding it. So we created AdmitSee to bring much-needed transparency to the application process! Read more about the team here.




Browse Successful Application Files

spencercornell
Cornell ‘22


Accepted to Cornell, Oberlin, Oberlin, Yale, UChicago, USC, Case, Grinnell, UCLA, Pomona, Colby, Carleton, Brown, Dartmouth, Amherst

Little queer brown boy from Arizona who wants to change lives.
Paula2020
Cornell ‘20


Accepted to Cornell, Macalester, UC Berkeley, Holyoke, Stony Brook, UC Merced, UCSB, UCSC

I'm a future MD/PhD student who will start attending Cornell University as a Freshman in the fall. I love dancing, and hope to make Cornell's cheer squad next year. I also like helping my community, and I'm basically addicted to tea.
helena32
Cornell ‘17


Accepted to Cornell, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UCSD, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCSB, UCSC

Junior majoring in Econ and minoring in Information Science.
andrew.b
Cornell ‘18


Accepted to Cornell, BC, RPI, Pitt, Miami, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Stanford, Oxford, Columbia

Current student at Cornell University's Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management (transfer from University of Miami)

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