All admissions applications are individually reviewed. Decisions are based on criteria such as academic performance in the classroom, class rank, extracurricular activities, personal statements and recommendations.

Application materials include the following:

  1. The Common Application or the SUNY Application
  2. Official transcript or results from the General Equivalency Diploma (GED). If you have prior military service, discharge papers (DD214) should be provided
  3. SUNY Supplemental Form (if you submitted the SUNY Application)
  4. Personal statement or essay (at least 250 words)
  5. At least one recommendation from a teacher or college counselor using the Teacher/Counselor Evaluation Form (PDF).

* Update: SUNY Cortland is test-optional for prospective students, meaning standardized test scores are not required in the admissions process.

If additional information is needed, the Admissions Office will contact you.

While there is no deadline for filing the application other than the Nov. 15 early action deadline, applicants should plan to apply as soon as possible because SUNY Cortland follows a rolling admissions process for both first-year and transfer students.

First-year applications may close once the maximum number of admission offers has been extended. Transfer students are encouraged to apply by March 1 for the fall semester and by Dec. 1 for the spring semester. 

Candidates for admission must graduate from a secondary school program or present a General Equivalency Diploma. As a first-year candidate, preparation should include the following: 

English: 4 units
Foreign Language: 3-4 units
Mathematics: 3-4 units *
Science: 3-4 units *
Social Studies: 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.

The university reviews first-year applicants based on their academic performance and the rigor of their coursework in main content areas such as English, foreign language, mathematics, science and social studies. Consideration is given to classes that are designated college level, Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) or College Level Examination Program (CLEP).


Notification of admission decisions for students starting in the fall semester begins in early January and continues on a rolling basis (approximately 10 days after a final decision has been made). Notification of spring semester admission decisions occurs on a rolling basis.


An admissions deposit is required after students are accepted. The deposit secures a place in the entering class and a residence hall room for the incoming semester. 

If you are accepted for the fall semester, the $200 deposit is due June 1. If you are admitted after May 1, you have 30 days from the date of the acceptance letter to submit a deposit. If you are accepted for 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.

Early Admission

The early admission option combines the final year of high school with the first year of college. Courses are selected during the first year at SUNY Cortland that meet requirements for completion of a high school diploma and progress toward a bachelor’s degree.

If you are a highly motivated student interested in early admission, you may complete your junior year of high school and apply for admission as a first-year student. In addition to the other admission requirements, you must submit a letter of recommendation from a college counselor discussing your potential for success and outlining the courses needed to satisfy high school graduation requirements.

** Note: Federal financial aid programs will not be available to you as an early admission candidate until graduation from high school is confirmed.

Early Action

First-year students who consider SUNY Cortland as a top choice should consider submitting an application through the non-binding early action option. To be considered for early action, applicants should select the Early Action option on the application and submit all application materials by Nov. 15.

Application materials include:

  • The Common Application or SUNY Application
  • High school transcript
  • Personal statement or essay
  • Letter of recommendation

Early action applicants are reviewed using the same criteria as regular admissions applicants. Early action applicants will be mailed an update on their admission decision by Jan. 1. Students are encouraged to submit a deposit to SUNY Cortland as soon as possible before May 1.

Evaluation Policy

SUNY Cortland seeks to enroll diverse and academically strong students. The university reviews applications based on academic merit, potential and other talents and interests. More importantly, SUNY Cortland does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or marital status.

Alumni Admissions

SUNY Cortland provides the opportunity for alumni to nominate applicants they believe will be successful here and contribute to the campus. This process is selective, and nomination does not guarantee acceptance.

Alumni should not be related the applicants who are being nominated. However, alumni should have a direct relationship to the applicant (i.e. teacher, coach, mentor, employer, etc.). Alumni nominators must complete the nomination form, which can be found on the Alumni Admissions Program webpage. Nomination forms must be received by Jan. 15 for consideration.

Some nominees may be accepted through SUNY Cortland’s regular admissions process; applications of nominees who are not admitted through regular admission will be reviewed by an Alumni Association Committee. This committee will invite a select group of candidates for campus or virtual interviews in February.

The Alumni Admissions Program option is available for first-year applicants in SUNY Cortland’s regular admissions process who are starting in the fall semester. This excludes early action and spring semester applicants as well as transfer and EOP applicants. Applicants must be nominated as an alumni admission candidates prior to an admission decision; students who are not offered admission cannot be reconsidered based on alumni recommendations.

Special Talent Admissions

Special talent admission provides consideration for students with strong abilities in performance or studio art, athletics or writing. Students should excel in one of these areas and show potential in college, in addition to being academically capable students.

Students who are interested in being considered for special talent admission should contact the appropriate academic department or athletics coach at SUNY Cortland. Learn more about the audition process for the B.F.A. in musical theatre or the portfolio guidelines for the B.F.A. in studio art. Only applicants nominated by a SUNY Cortland faculty or staff member will be considered for special talent admission. Applicants must be nominated before an admission decision is made.

Contact us

Undergraduate Admissions
Miller Building, First Floor
P.O. Box 2000
Cortland, NY 13045

Phone: 607-753-4711