See what students say:


Cornell College, a small liberal arts school in Iowa, employs a unique one-course-at-a-time program, allowing students to focus on just one course (or “block”) each month, providing an “intense, thorough, and complete immersion.” Though students agree that this “doesn’t give you any time to think about anything but the class you’re in right then,” it allows for personalized curricula design, and areas like the humanities “work perfectly with the block plan.” Students also “always know when to find people,” which makes it easy to get together. Some classes may not be the most challenging, but “upper-level courses are very engaging and fulfilling.” It’s very varied, according to one student: “You could have hours and hours of homework one block and practically none the next.” The block plan makes it very easy to gain off-campus field experience or do international study, and it’s “easier to try off-campus opportunities.” Administration is generally “excellent at taking a personal interest in each student,” though some note, “There is not much transparency at the administrative level,” which can be “out of touch” at times. On the classroom side, professors “know how to motivate and encourage their students,” and though “you may get a bad apple maybe once a year,” they’re “not only knowledgeable but dedicated.” As one student puts it, “The personal attention you can receive from any given professor, if you seek them out, is especially rewarding.” All in all, students love the block structure and the sense of community it creates, as “no matter what it is you may want to do, you can find someone to do it with you.” One student claims he “cannot imagine learning any other way.”

Student Body

There’s “a great diversity of interests” in people who attend Cornell, and the “super busy” students have a hard time defining a more common characteristic than the fact that almost all are driven and involved. Some division into typical groups does occur—“the cafeteria design and Greek life are very conducive to this problem”—but “even group to group there is always mingling because you never know who will be in your next class.” Since the classes are so small and “you see the same people four hours a day for three and a half weeks,” people are generally accepting, and “you have to be really, really strange here to stick out.” As one freshman says, “The only intolerance I’ve seen is toward the consistently indolent.”

Campus Life

Since Cornell is very campus-focused, the school makes sure there’s a large variety of campus organizations and “many events going on almost every weekend.” Though there’s definitely a “small-town quiet,” Cedar Rapids and Iowa City are both only a twentyminute drive away, and “ice climbing, rock-climbing, paddling, and hiking” are popular outdoor pastimes. It’s also “fairly easy to start up a new club or group.” In addition, the school provides fall, winter, and spring breaks as well as “block breaks,” which last four and a half days and give students the opportunity to travel, go skiing or camping, and so on. The cold weather can cause problems here, in both a locked-in feel and the possibility for accidents, and students are encouraged to “bring snow boots!” Many here tend to have a love-hate relationship with sports; while athletics are a huge boon, “the athletes and the non-athletes are seldom friends.” Much like the curriculum, lunchtimes are pretty unique, and students all eat in a common cafeteria, naturally falling into a somewhat “high school” habit of eating at the same tables every day. Most people stay on campus for entertainment and socializing, “creating a cohesive community.” Parties do take place on weekends, and “drinking is popular on campus but never forced,” but in general, “people are more interested in just having a good conversation with their peers.”

Contact & Visit

Campus Visits Contact

Admissions Office
600 First St. SW
Mount Vernon, IA 52314



Experience College Life

Most Popular Places On Campus
Thomas Commons - Orange Carpet - student center
Cole Library
Russell Science Center
Kimmel Theatre - state of the art theatre
McWethy Hall
Most prodominant features on campus are our beautiful King Chapel. A newly renovated Armstrong Hall of Fine Arts. A new pedestrian mall [with outdoor ampitheatre]that connects the entire campus.

Most Popular Places Off Campus
Cedar Rapids
Iowa City
Palisades State Park
Uptown Mount Vernon
Amana Colonies
Beautiful Mount Vernon has a wide variety of shops including many antique shops and eating establishments.

Campus Tours

Campus Visiting Center
Monday-Friday & Saturday AM Sept.-May
8am-4:30pm and by appoinment

Campus Tours
Appointment Required: Yes
Dates: Year-round
Times: Varies
Average Length: Varies

On Campus Interview

Campus Interviews

Information Sessions

multiple preview days throughout the year

Faculty and Coach Visits

Dates/Times Available
Academic Year

Contact Admissions Office

Advance Notice
2 weeks

Contact Email Address for Visit

Class Visits

Dates/Times Available
Academic Year

Contact Admissions Office

Overnight Dorm Stays

Overnight Dorm Stays

Contact Admissions Office

Must be at least high school senior. Available Sunday through Thursdays only.


Types of Transportation Available to Campus
The Eastern Iowa Airport is 17 miles (a 20-minute drive) from campus. If you need transportation to campus, a shuttle for a reasonable fee is provided by the airport. The Greyhound and Jefferson Bus lines do connect in Cedar Rapids. Nearest Amtrack Station is 70 miles south in Mount Pleasant.

Driving Instructions to Campus
From I-80 at Iowa City, take exit 246 North onto Iowa Highway 1 for 20 miles; the college is at the intersection of Highway 1 and U.S. 30. From I-380 at Cedar Rapids, go east on U.S. 30 for 20 miles, take exit ramp to Mt. Vernon.

Local Accommodations
The College Guesthouse, Brackett House, circa 1877 is an antique-filled stately home that provides modern comfort and convenience at a moderate price (418 Second St. W.; 319-895-4425). There are also other Bed and Breakfast and hotel accomadations in Mount Vernon. Accomodations nearby: city of Cedar Rapids is only 20 minutes from the school while Iowa City is only 25.


Applicants: 3,057
Acceptance Rate: 79%
Average HS GPA: 3.56



Tuition & Aid

Student Body

Campus Life

Articles & Advice