Cornell University

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#9, overall score 75.33/100

Fun Fact:

Cornell researchers are developing a robot that can make coffee, called Robobarista.

Why should Jewish students attend Cornell? Cornell has an active and involved Jewish community and there’s always something happening at Chabad. Our weekly Shabbat dinners (no charge) have become a staple of Jewish life on campus and the highlight of the week for many students. We offer meals and prayer services for Jewish holidays, inspiring shabbaton trips, classes for all levels, trips to Israel and many more dynamic, social and religious programs. We are happy and free to meet one-on-one with students for a chat, counseling or a personal class. Our student board members are involved and committed and help make Chabad an exciting place to meet with friends and experience our Jewish heritage. - Rabbi Dovid Birk, program director, Roitman Chabad Center at Cornell

Jewish life at Cornell is thriving. With over 3,000 Jewish undergraduates and over 1,600 of them engaged in Jewish life, Cornell offers a plethora of programs, events, and learning opportunities, an extremely active and supportive Hillel, as well as a strong Chabad presence on campus. There are three active minyanim, five Jewish-oriented social Greek organizations, as well as over 20 religious, cultural, and Israel-related clubs to choose from! And the Center for Jewish Living provides the opportunity to live dorm style in a Jewish setting, right across from the kosher dining hall! Jewish life at Cornell has options for everyone—whether you’re looking looking for anything from leadership opportunities to service trips to baking challah. Come visit, were sure you won’t want to apply anywhere else! - Rabbi Ari Weiss, executive director, Cornell Hillel


  • Location: Ithaca, N.Y.
  • Region: Mid-Atlantic
  • Campus type: College town
  • Public/Private: Private
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 14,566
  • Jewish undergraduate enrollment: 3,000
  • Jewish population share: 21%
  • Student origin: 41% in-state / 59% out-of-state
  • Student newspaper: The Cornell Daily Sun
  • NCAA Division: I
  • NCAA team: Big Red
  • Ultimate Frisbee teams: Buds / Wild Roses

What Students Say:

“Since Cornell is fairly large, it has the potential to be overwhelming. However, we are small enough that everyone is capable of finding their place within the campus community.”

COST & AID Score: 12.5/15

  • Score: 12.5/15
  • Tuition: $52,853
  • Room & board costs: $14,380
  • Average annual scholarship/grant package: $47,860
  • Average loan debt: $25,542
  • Starting median salary: $65,600
  • Scholarship for Jewish students: None

ACADEMICS Score: 16.67/20

  • Score: 16.67/20
  • Acceptance rate: 13%
  • Student/faculty ratio: 9.1:1
  • Median SAT range: 1390-1550
  • Jewish Studies program: Yes
  • Jewish Studies major: Minor
  • Hebrew major: No

What Students Say:

“The workload is tough, but there is a lot of support.”…“The stress culture could be improved with an increased understanding and learning about mental health.”

ISRAEL Score: 15/20

  • Score: 15/20
  • Size of Birthright trip: 150
  • School-approved study abroad program in Israel: Yes
  • Israel Studies center: No
  • Israel-related clubs: Cornellians for Israel,Insight: Cornell Hillel’s Educational Program for Leadership and Public Diplomacy for Israel, TAMID
  • Jewish Agency for Israel fellow: Yes
  • BDS vote in last four years: Never introduced

SAFETY Score: 2.67/11

  • Score: 2.67/11
  • Anti-Semitic incidents in 2017: 2
  • Campus crime rate: 2.78/1,000 students (medium low)
  • City crime rate: 31.22/1,000 people (medium low)
  • LGBT center: Yes

JEWISH LIFE Score: 28.5/34

  • Score: 28.5/34
  • Hillel: Cornell Hillel
  • Chabad: Roitman Chabad Center at Cornell
  • OU-JLIC: Yes
  • Other Jewish outreach group: Cornell Center for Jewish Living
  • Jewish fraternities: AEPi, ΣAM, ZBT
  • Jewish sororities: AEPhi, SDT
  • Jewish dorm: Cornell Center for Jewish Living
  • Jewish a capella group: The Chai Notes
  • Can you get kosher food on the school meal plan? Yes
  • Chicken soup hotline: Yes
  • Active Hillel clubs: 25
  • Hillel Friday night services: 3
  • Average Shabbat attendance – Chabad: 60
  • Synagogues within 10 miles: 3(1 Orthodox, 1 Conservative, 1 Reform)
  • Eruv: Yes
  • Most famous Jewish alum: Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  • Most unique/noteworthy club: Hillel’s Major Speaker Series, where they bring influential Jewish celebrities and intellectuals to entertain, educate, and inspire Cornell students.
  • Where do Jewish students come from? Mainly the Tri-State area, but also many from Maryland and Florida.
  • Kosher food details: The kosher dining hall is very accessible during the school year, not only for a variety of meat and dairy sit-down and Shabbat meals, but take-out options are also available. While it is the only kosher dining hall on campus, pre-packaged kosher options are also available across campus, and the kosher station at North Star is extremely convenient for freshmen.

What Students Say:

“We have a very diverse Jewish community in that the community ranges from cultural Jews with virtually no religious background to Modern Orthodox Jews who studied in Israel and went to day school their whole lives. This provides a unique Jewish community and many opportunities to learn and engage with those who you share such an integral part of your life but in a very different capacity.”

Do you attend this school? Do you want to tell us more about what life there is like? Take our survey here, and your feedback could be featured in next year’s guide! And if you’re a student or campus professional, join our online community Jewish Campus Confidential, and apply to become a Forward Campus Ambassador.

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