Reddit hosted an AMA, or Ask Me Anything, last summer that featured former Cornell admissions officer Nelson Ureña answering questions about the admissions process at the Ivy League school.
Ureña, now a cofounder of college-mentor application company Mentorverse, provided one response that was truly surprising about what to include on your application to give you a boost compared to other applicants.
Here’s the inside scoop Ureña provided (emphasis added):
I’ll share another example of experiences that connect students to Cornell. Cornell University was founded as a farm. The first students at Cornell were farmers and literally worked on the University’s farm grounds. At the time the university was producing a lot of research to add value to farm operations around the country/world.
The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (home to Cornell’s undergraduate business, Biology, Communication, and Information Science programs) is what remains of Cornell’s early days. The college has expanded beyond agriculture related fields but it holds on proudly to the legacy of hard working farm students who made up Cornell’s first few classes.
Thus the college really likes to admit students who come from farming backgrounds, so if your family owns a farm, or you have worked on a farm, or are in any other way connected to a farm, and you happen to mention this in your application, this gives you several bonus points on the application.
So students who have good grades/scores, have worked on a farm, and have applied to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell are at a huge advantage because they are a great FIT with the mission, vision, and values of that particular college.