Admissions Process and Criteria
- Admissions Criteria
- Early Admission
- Early Action
- Evaluation Policy
- Special Talent Admission
- Alumni Admissions
All admissions applications are individually reviewed. Decisions are based on a variety of factors, however, primary consideration is given to course selection and performance. Results from the American College Test (ACT) or the Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT I), class rank, extracurricular activities, essays and recommendations also enter into the admission decision. Application for admission includes the following.
- Complete either the SUNY undergraduate application or the Common Application. The application will be forwarded to the SUNY Cortland Undergraduate Admissions Office.
- Provide official secondary school transcript or official results from the General Equivalency Diploma (GED). If you have prior military service, you must also provide a copy of your discharge papers (DD214).
- Forward official results from the ACT or SAT I examinations. It is recommended that you have scores sent directly from the testing agency.
- SAT I, ACT scores and academic information may also be submitted electronically using SOAR: SUNY Online Academic Record. If you wish to self-report using SOAR, you should request an unofficial copy of your transcript from your guidance counselor and go to the SUNY application website: https://www.suny.edu/gosuny/index.cfm
- Once we receive your application, an acknowledgement will be sent to you. At that time you should also complete the SUNY Supplemental Form (if you submitted the SUNY Application).
- Submit a 250 word (minimum) personal statement or essay. Note: The essay and/or personal statement can be submitted during completion of the online supplemental application. The essay written for the Common Application meets the requirement.
- Submit one teacher/counselor recommendation directly to the SUNY Cortland Undergraduate Admissions Office. Please use the following form: Teacher/Counselor Evaluation Form (PDF)
If additional information is needed, the Undergraduate Admissions Office will contact you. While there is no deadline for filing the application, it is recommended that you complete the application before March for the fall semester and before December for the spring semester.
Candidates for admission must graduate from a secondary school program or present a General Equivalency Diploma. As a freshmen candidate your preparation should include the following:
English: 4 units
Social Studies: 4 units
Mathematics: 3-4 units*
Science: 3-4 units*
Foreign Language: 3-4 units
* If less than three units are taken in one of the subjects, a minimum of four units will be required in one of the others.
All applicants are expected to be enrolled in a college preparatory track according to their state requirements (Regents level or higher in New York State.)
At SUNY Cortland we are committed to a strong liberal arts foundation in all of our academic programs. Therefore, admission to the college will be granted to those applicants who present the strongest academic programs in English, social studies, mathematics, science and foreign language regardless of the intended major. A challenging college preparatory program with significant achievements both in and out of the classroom will help ensure that your application is competitive.
Notification of fall semester admission decisions begins in early January and continues on a rolling basis (approximately 10 days after a final decision has been reached). Notification of Spring admission decisions occurs on a rolling basis.
An admissions deposit is required when you are accepted. The deposit secures a place in the entering class and a residence hall room for a specific semester.
If you are a fall semester applicant, the $200 deposit is due May 1. If offered admission after April 1, you will have 30 days from the date of the acceptance letter to submit the deposit. If you are accepted to the spring semester, you must submit your deposit within 30 days of the date on your acceptance letter. Deposits are not refundable beyond the deposit due date.
The early admission option combines the final year of secondary school with the first year of college. Courses are selected during the first year at Cortland that meet requirements for completion of a high school diploma while simultaneously making progress toward a bachelor’s degree.
If you are a highly motivated student interested in early admission, you may complete your junior year of secondary school and apply for admission as a college freshman. In addition to the other freshman admission requirements, you must submit a letter of recommendation from a school counselor, discussing your potential for success and outlining the courses needed to satisfy secondary school graduation requirements.
** Please note: Federal financial aid programs will not be available to you as an Early Admission candidate until graduation from secondary school is officially confirmed.
Freshman applicants for whom SUNY Cortland is a top choice should consider submitting an application under the non-binding Early Action option. To be considered for Early Action, applicants should select the "Early Action" option on the application and submit it with all application materials by Nov. 15.
Application materials include:
- a high school transcript
- SAT/ACT scores
- the supplemental application
- an essay
- a letter of recommendation
Early Action applicants will be reviewed utilizing the same criteria as regular admissions. Applicants will be notified by Jan 1. Through the Early Action program, applications to other institutions do not have to be withdrawn until May 1.
At the State University of New York at Cortland we seek a diverse and academically strong student body. While competitive in admission standards, you are welcome to apply with confidence that our admission policy and practice will not discriminate on the basis of age, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability, national origin or marital status.
We recognize that achievements outside of traditional academic areas require exceptional commitment and may indicate further potential for your success in college. Special talent admission provides consideration for exceptional abilities in performing or visual arts, athletics or writing.
If you are interested in being considered for special talent you should send evidence of your accomplishments to the appropriate academic department or coach at SUNY Cortland. Only applicants nominated by a Cortland faculty member will be considered in light of special talents. You must be nominated as a special talent candidate prior to an admission decision.
The College provides the opportunity for those who have enjoyed the benefit of a Cortland education to nominate applicants they believe would be successful here and contribute to the campus. Only four to five students will be offered admission to Cortland through this program each year.
SUNY Cortland does not participate in a legacy program; therefore, individuals providing recommendations must not be related to applicants. However, they should have a direct relationship to that applicant (ie. employer, teacher, coach, etc.). The alumni sponsor must complete the Alumni Admissions Program Nomination form (PDF) as well as a letter of recommendation on behalf of the applicant. For consideration, nominations and letters of recommendation must be received by the Undergraduate Admissions Office no later than Jan 15.
Applications of nominees ineligible for regular admission will be reviewed by an Alumni Association Committee, who will invite a select group of candidates to on-campus interviews in February.
The Alumni Admissions Program option is available only to fall semester Regular Admission freshman applicants (this excludes Early Action and Spring semester applicants, as well as Transfer and EOP applicants.) Applicants must be nominated as alumni admission candidates prior to an admission decision, and those denied admission cannot later be reconsidered in light of recommendations from alumni.