Pros:a school with a great reputation, well-known and respected professors
Cons:curved classes and demanding, rigid grading scales
I am a "hotelie" here at Cornell and I wanted to make a few observations about the school. It is a high quality school. Those who choose to come here will be paying quite a bit of money and will be offered many opportunities to succeed. There are classes available in seven different colleges which are open to students in the other colleges. For example, as a hotel student I took some science courses in the arts school and I might be taking a statistics course through the ILR school eventually.
Did I mention that the classes at Cornell are HARD? A lot of the professors are stingy and have very detailed expectations for their classes. It is not like high school where the smart students basically get A's without trying. Here seemingly everything is based on rigid curves that only allow a certain percentage of the class to get an A. When you take a test, you are always worried about what the mean and standard deviation was, and much less so on the content. In order to do well, you have to get way above the mean which is most easily done by doing extremely well on material that is very difficult and that most others do very poorly on. Some tests I've taken have had averages in the 40's, 50's, and quite a few in the 60's. One of my friends is in an introductory biology course where a 77% raw score gets you an A-. That shows you how difficult Cornell is.
I am not trying to discourage people from coming to Cornell. If you are confident in your ability to do challenging work and commit the time needed to study and do other academic work, you will do OK. But the system is not in your favor and you will have to sacrifice quite a bit of fun (or sleep) if you want to pull off the highest grades
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