Incoming Students

New Students: Welcome to the ILR School

ILR faculty and staff are actively preparing for your arrival in August, and we are all excited about working with you in your upcoming years with us. Whether you are a first-year or transfer student there is a wealth of available information to make your orientation to ILR and Cornell University as easy as possible.

There are some things you will need to take action on in the coming weeks. We encourage you to pay close attention to the information on the rest of this page, explore the links provided, and become acquainted with the information available to you on the ILR Office of Student Services (OSS) website. Following the suggested procedures will ensure that you are well prepared for your academic transition in the fall. You will also receive a postal mailing and email from the ILR Office of Student Services in mid-June, which will provide school specific orientation activities you will need to plan on attending upon your arrival in August.

First-Year Students

Activate your Cornell NetID

The Campus & Community Engagement and New Student Programs websites are a good place to start looking at things you need to accomplish before your arrival on campus. Cornell will get your NetID and activation code to you after receiving your response to admission coupon and deposit. You are expected to activate your NetID immediately. For more information, visit NetID & E-mail.

You will need your NetID to login for course enrollment, First-Year Writing Seminar balloting, swim test sign-up, and course add/drop. These things are important, so get your NetID activated and memorized as soon as you can!

Become Familiar with the ILR Curriculum Requirements

Your ILR program of study is very unique. All freshmen will have the opportunity to request some courses during the fall semester pre-enrollment period — July 10-18. However, the ILR Registrar will automatically "block- schedule" you for some of the required courses that need to be taken in the first semester of study-freshman year. Most first-year students will be scheduled for ILRID 1500, Economics 1110, ILRLR 1100 or ILROB 1200. Half of the first-year class will take either OB or LR in the fall semester, and take the other in the spring semester. The complete ILR undergraduate curriculum is available at the curriculum website.

AP and IB courses may be able to satisfy some curriculum requirements, depending on your score. You can see specifics on qualifying scores at Cornell's Courses of Study web site. Official AP and IB scores and final transcripts should be sent to the Undergraduate Admissions Processing Center, if you have not already done so. A maximum of 12 credits of Advanced Placement work may be used for Cornell credit. Any additional AP course work can only be used for course placement purposes. Advanced Placement credit may not be used to accelerate graduation.

Keep in mind that the ILR School has a residency requirement. The ILR Faculty believe that full-time study for a defined period best promotes intellectual development and best prepares students for citizenship and careers. Consequently, undergraduates must complete eight semesters of full-time study, which can include work done while on an approved credit internship or study abroad program, in order to meet your degree requirements.

You will not be able to drop any of the block-scheduled courses without approval of an advisor in OSS. Some of you may have some space in your schedule that will allow you to add a distribution course (Western Intellectual Tradition, Science and Technology, or Cultural Perspectives) or a free elective. You will be able to add a course through Student Center by following the steps on the Creating Your Schedule web page.

Again, you can check out what your options may be at the ILR curriculum link above.

First-Year Writing Seminars

Cornell students are required to complete at least 6 credits (2 courses) of written expression in the first two semesters at the University. The First-Year Writing Seminar course enrollment is through an electronic ballot process. You should refer to the Knight Writing Institute website for more information on First-Year Writing Seminar enrollment. ILR Faculty policy allows students to meet one of the required first-year writing courses with AP credit for English Language or Literature with a score of 4 or 5. An IB English Literature score of 7 or above can also serve to meet one of the first-year writing courses. Those scores should be submitted directly to the Admissions Processing Center.

Physical Education Requirements

Cornell requires students to complete two semesters of Physical Education and a Swim Test. If you can swim, you will complete the test during Orientation week and may enroll in any physical education course. If you cannot swim, or do not feel confident about your swimming skills, enroll in Beginning Swim (PE 1100) during your course enrollment period. More information can be found at the Physical Education website.

Check your Course Enrollment

August 15: Sign in to Student Essentials to view your schedule and verify your registration status.

You will be able to view your First-Year Writing Seminar enrollment and other courses. You will also be able to verify that you have no holds that prevent your University registration.

Transfer Students Only

You will need to follow the procedures listed above regarding activation of your NetID and familiarizing yourself with the ILR curriculum requirements, but in most cases, you will not be facing the need to register for a first-year writing seminar or PE courses. Transfer students are not required to take a swim test at Cornell.

Course Registration

The courses you take in the fall semester and in the coming semesters depend to a great extent upon an evaluation of your final transcript from the school(s) that you have attended. Most of your first semester courses will be required and you will be automatically "block-enrolled" by the ILR Registrar in these classes. If you have space available for elective courses, you will be able to register for them in the regular registration period in August. You will not be able to drop any of the "blocked" courses without discussion and approval from one of the advisors in the Office of Student Services.

The ILR School residency requirement stipulates that those who enter the school as transfer students will be required to complete four to six semesters of full-time study. A maximum of 12 credits of Advanced Placement work may be used for Cornell credit. Any additional AP course work can only be used for course placement purposes. Advanced Placement credit may not be used to accelerate graduation.

Official AP or IB test scores and final transcripts should be sent to the Undergraduate Admissions Processing Center if you have not already done so. Submitted transcripts will be evaluated to determine which courses you need not take here because you have already had their content, and to indicate those that must still be taken. If you wish to substitute additional courses for ILR requirements, we will need official information regarding the content of those courses. Please email course descriptions to

Transfer to a new school can be tumultuous, and we recognize that reality. We will do everything we can to make the transition as easy as possible for you.

All New Students

Your academic advisors are those of us in the ILR Office of Student Services. We are Kevin Harris, Jenn Weidner and Cornell Woodson. Faculty advisors and peer mentors who have experience working with first-year and transfer students will be assigned to you as well. You will hear from your peer mentor over the summer. Once the semester begins, you may meet with your faculty advisor and peer mentor in group and individual gatherings. You are about to embark on a tremendous academic journey at an institution that offers you limitless opportunities for intellectual, social, recreational, and personal development. We are dedicated to helping you achieve goals you may want to reach in each of those areas. Please don't hesitate to contact any one of us in the ILR Office of Student Services if you have questions over the summer. We can be reached at (607) 255-2223, or

We can't wait to meet you!