Cornell University

August 16 2012

Meet ILR's New Students 

"Extensive leadership experience" characterizes freshmen and transfer students

The ILR School's new students come from across the country and around the world, but they have one thing in common – a demonstrated interest in leadership.

They are student government presidents, members of debate teams, peer mediators and varsity athletes.

Arriving on campus today, 162 first-year students and 112 transfer students will participate in orientation activities before beginning classes Wednesday.

First-year students hail from 25 states, Thailand and China, while transfer students come from 19 states, Canada, Great Britain and Germany.

Among freshmen, 44 percent are male and 56 percent are female. Those percentages are reversed for the transfer class, which is 56 percent male and 44 percent female.

Forty percent of first-year students are underrepresented minorities, the largest percentage ever.

"In addition to being distinguished by their extensive leadership experience, these students have paid work experience in a variety of settings and have been active in community service," said ILR Director of Undergraduate Admissions Cathleen Sheils.

"These are the types of experiences we look for – they give students the context to be able to apply the principles they learn in the classroom."

The relatively large number of transfer students is also by design. "As a land grant university, Cornell is committed to taking transfer students who may have completed their studies at two-year colleges or started at other four-year schools and are now seeking a more tailored program," Sheils says.

Freshman applications were up 14 percent over last year, while transfer applications were up 15 percent, she said.

Sheils attributes the growing interest in ILR to interest in its diverse career fields, the school's prominence in the media, and the growth in on-campus visits, which are up 65 percent. "When prospective students visit, the campus sells itself," Sheils says.

"In this economy, students and families are looking at college more and more as an investment,” she says.

"They're making decisions on where to apply and where to attend based not only on the curriculum, but also on the programs and services that surround it. In ILR's case, it's our career services, credit internship program and international experiences that set us apart, in addition to graduates' success in careers and post-graduate study."