2020-21 Undergraduate Catalog 
    Jul 15, 2024  
2020-21 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Admissions: Freshman and Transfer Students

Students walking in front of the Miller Building and SUNY Cortland sign

Admissions Office
Miller Building, Room 113
Fax: 607-753-5998

Evaluation Policy

The State University of New York College at Cortland seeks a diverse and academically strong student body. While competitive in admission standards, the admission policy and practice will not discriminate on the basis of age, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability, national origin or marital status.

SUNY Cortland recognizes that the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, caused significant disruption in high schools and colleges during the 2019-20 academic year, resulting in the cancellation of many New York state exams and standardized tests. The university plans to consider these circumstances and make appropriate adjustments while striving to maintain the general admissions criteria outlined in the Undergraduate Catalog.

Freshman Application and Criteria

All applications are individually reviewed. Admission 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), class rank, extracurricular activities, essays and recommendations also enter into the admission decision. Completion of the application includes the following:

  1. SUNY Cortland accepts the Common Application and the SUNY Application.
  2. Official secondary school transcript or official results from the General Equivalency Diploma (GED) or Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC). Those with prior military service must also provide a copy of their discharge papers (DD214).
  3. Official results from the ACT or SAT examinations. It is recommended that scores be sent directly from the testing agency.
  4. The appropriate supplemental application or form, depending on which admissions application is completed — the SUNY Application or the Common Application — along with one letter of recommendation. If additional information is needed, the Admissions Office will correspond with students. While there is no deadline for filing the application, it is recommended that applications for the fall semester be completed before March and applications for the spring semester be completed before December.

Candidates for admission must graduate from a secondary school program or present a General High School Equivalency Diploma. Preparation for freshman candidates should include the following:

  • English: 4 units
  • Foreign Language: 3-4 units
  • Science: 3-4 units
  • Social Studies: 4 units
  • Mathematics:
    1) Completion of Regents Algebra II/Trigonometry (with exam) or
    2) 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). Candidates who attend a school in New York State that does not offer the Regents or who are from out-of-state will need three to four units. The number of units may vary due to the individual state's requirements.  

Students who apply to the Bachelor of Fine Arts or the Bachelor of Arts in Musical Theatre will need to audition for the faculty in the Performing Arts Department, and those applying to the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Studio will need to submit a portfolio to the Art and Art History Department for review. The academic criteria listed above and recommendation from the department are needed to be offered admission into these majors at SUNY Cortland. A general offer of admission to the college may be granted prior to this review process.

SUNY Cortland is committed to a strong liberal arts foundation in all of its academic programs. Therefore, admission to the university 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 an application that is competitive.


Fall semester admission decisions begin in mid-December for early action freshman applicants. Decisions continue on a rolling basis, approximately 10 days after a decision has been finalized. Notification of spring admission decisions occurs on a rolling basis.


A deposit is requested upon acceptance. Deposit fees are waived for Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) candidates. The deposit secures a place in the entering class and a residence hall room for a specific semester. For fall semester applicants, the $200 deposit is due on May 1. Fall applicants accepted after April 1 will have 30 days from the date of the acceptance letter to submit a deposit. Spring semester applicants must submit a deposit within 30 days of the date of the acceptance letter.

The deposit is not refundable beyond the deposit due date. No deposit will be refunded after the beginning of the semester.

Early Action

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 appropriate supplemental application or form, depending on which admissions application is completed — the SUNY Application or the Common Application
  • An essay
  • A letter of recommendation

Early action applications will be reviewed utilizing the same criteria as regular admissions. Final decisions will be mailed by Jan. 1. Through the early action program, applications to other institutions do not have to be withdrawn until May 1.

Early Admission

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.

Highly motivated students who will complete their junior year of secondary school may apply for admission as a college freshman. In addition to the other freshman admission requirements, early admission applicants must submit a letter of recommendation from a school counselor, discussing the applicant's potential for success and outlining the courses needed to satisfy secondary school graduation requirements.

Note: Federal financial aid programs will not be available to early admission candidates until graduation from secondary school is officially confirmed.

Special Admission Opportunities

Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)

This admission option is designed for motivated applicants from New York state who are ineligible for admission under the traditional admission standards due to academic performance, economic and historical disadvantage but demonstrate the potential for high success in completing a college-level program. EOP students are enrolled in the same degree-granting programs as the traditionally admitted student.

EOP students receive individualized support, including tutoring as well as academic, career and personal counseling, in order to ensure their academic success. In addition, EOP students receive financial aid to help with the cost of room, board, tuition, books and personal expenses.

Eligibility is based on guidelines established by the State University of New York and the State Education Department. Transferring to SUNY Cortland as an EOP student requires previous matriculation in an EOP, HEOP, College SEEK or Discovery program.

Further information is included in the SUNY Application Viewbook. Additional questions should be referred to the Educational Opportunity Program Office, Cornish Hall, Room D-132, 607-753-4808.

Special Talent Admission

SUNY Cortland recognizes that achievements outside of traditional academic areas require exceptional commitment and may indicate further potential for success in college. Special talent admission considers applicants who demonstrate excellence in areas such as performing or visual arts, athletics, or writing.

Those interested in being considered for special talent should send evidence of their accomplishments to the appropriate academic department or coach at SUNY Cortland. Only applicants nominated by a Cortland faculty member or coach will be considered in light of special talents. Students must be nominated as a special talent candidate prior to an admission decision.

Alumni Admissions Program

SUNY Cortland provides the opportunity for those who have enjoyed the benefit of a Cortland education to nominate applicants they believe would be successful and contribute to the campus. A limited number of applicants will be offered admission to Cortland through this program each year.

Alumni sponsors should have a direct relationship, through employment, teaching or coaching, with the applicant he or she is endorsing. Nominations from relatives are not accepted. The sponsor must complete the Alumni Admissions Program Nomination form, available on the Admissions Office Application Process webpage, as well as a letter of recommendation on behalf of the applicant. For consideration, nominations and letters of recommendation must be submitted to the Admissions Office post-marked by Jan. 15.

Applications of nominees ineligible for regular admission will be reviewed by an Alumni Association Committee, which 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 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.

More information is available on the Alumni Admissions Program webpage.

Transfer Application and Criteria

SUNY Cortland welcomes applications from students who have attended post-secondary institutions. Application decisions are based primarily on previous cumulative academic performance. To be considered for transfer admission, students must provide official transcripts from all previous colleges attended, whether they completed course work or withdrew. Failure to report all college-level work attempted may result in withdrawal of admission or dismissal from the university. Completion of the application includes the following:

  1. SUNY Cortland requires the submission of the Common Application or the SUNY Application. Submission of both is not necessary.
  2. Official college transcripts, sent from all post-secondary institutions attended, including for college course work completed while in high school. Those with prior military service must also provide a copy of their discharge papers (DD214).
  3. Official secondary school transcript or official results from the General Equivalency Diploma (GED) or Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC).

Candidates are encouraged to apply before March for the fall semester and before December for the spring semester.

Admissions Criteria

A cumulative grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale is required for admission; however, some programs are more competitive. SUNY Cortland gives preference to those who have or will complete an associate's degree.

Applicants with less than a 2.5 grade point average are reviewed and considered on a case by case basis.

See the Transfer Credit Policies and Evaluation  section in Academic Policies  or the Transfer Credit Services webpage for additional information.

International Student Admission

SUNY Cortland welcomes applications from foreign nationals seeking matriculation into undergraduate programs. All applications are individually reviewed. Admission decisions are based on a variety of factors; however, primary consideration is given to course selection and performance.

Applicants should review the following list and submit the required documents:

  1. Application for Undergraduate Admission from either the Common Application or the SUNY Application. Only one application method is required, but both require a $50 non-refundable application fee.
  2. Official transcripts of all secondary school work completed. English translation and original document required if original is not in English.
  3. Official college transcripts if applying as a transfer or if the applicant received college credit while enrolled in secondary school.
  4. Documentation of English proficiency if English is not the applicant's native language (acceptable tests and preferred scores: TOEFL, 79; IELTS, Band 6.5; EIKEN, Pre-1; Duolingo, 100; PTE Academic, 55)
  5. International Student Financial Statement and the required documents to verify financial support.
  6. A photocopy of the biographical page from the applicant's current passport.
  7. SUNY Cortland I-20 Request Form

Forms can be found on the SUNY Cortland International Admissions Web page.

Immigration form I-20, which the applicant will use to secure an F-1 visa, will be issued to the applicant once all required information has been received and the applicant has been accepted to SUNY Cortland.

Part-Time Study

Student Registration and Record Services
Miller Building, Room 223
Fax: 607-753-2959

Services for part-time undergraduate-degree students are provided by academic departments. Services for non-degree community residents are provided by Student Registration and Record Services, Miller Building, Room 223.

Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Part-time and Non-degree Status

Undergraduate students may enroll in courses on a part-time, non-degree basis by registering through Student Registration and Record Services.

Undergraduate non-degree students (UND) may not register for more than a total of 11.5 credit hours. Undergraduate students who have earned a total of 11.5 credit hours, must apply through the Admissions Office for matriculated status or discontinue work at Cortland. If accepted, such students will register with other matriculated students in accord with the registration schedule available on the Web.

Qualified high school juniors and seniors are eligible to enroll in college-level courses at Cortland as part-time, non-degree students with a letter of recommendation from their school guidance counselors. They may be enrolled in freshman or sophomore-level courses upon the approval of their school guidance counselors.

All students who have been academically dismissed are ineligible for non-matriculated status. Students should consult this catalog to be certain that all prerequisites for courses in which they may enroll have been fulfilled. Registration for non-degree students opens the first day of the semester on a course availability basis, after degree students have been advised and registered.

Identification Cards

All students who register for courses at the university are required to have a SUNY Card. For more information, refer to the Student Resources  section of this catalog.

Registration (Non-degree Students)

All non-degree undergraduate students register for courses through Student Registration and Record Services. The full course schedule and all pertinent registration information including important dates and deadlines are available at cortland.edu/srrs.

Eligible students may enroll and pay at the time of registration the day classes begin on a course availability basis.

Students who do not pay their tuition bill for the courses for which they have registered by the payment deadline will be de-registered.

Summer and Winter Session

Extended Learning Office
Miller Building, Room 230
Fax: 607-753-2959

SUNY Cortland offers courses during the winter and summer breaks. These courses allow current SUNY Cortland students to catch up or get ahead on their course work. They also allow non-SUNY Cortland students to earn credits and experience SUNY Cortland.

Winter Session

Students may take up to five credit hours of course work during Winter Session. Nearly all Winter Session courses are online at the undergraduate level.

The Winter Session preliminary course schedule is posted online early in the fall semester. Registration begins mid-fall, typically around the time that students register for their spring semester courses. Registration remains open until the first day of the session.

Winter Session tuition and fees are paid on a per credit hour basis. Financial aid is typically not available for Winter Session courses.

Visit the Winter Session website for more information.

Summer Session

Summer Session features multiple terms, including a ten-week session, two five-week sessions and four two-week sessions. Most courses fall into the five-week sessions. Students may take up to a total of 14 credit hours during Summer Session, with credit-hour limits during each individual term.

Most Summer Session undergraduate courses are online, with a few exceptions. Summer is also a popular time to complete internships and independent studies. Students should work with their academic departments to finalize the details for these opportunities.

The Summer Session preliminary course schedule is posted online by late January. Registration begins in mid-spring, typically around the time that students register for their fall semester courses. Registration remains open until the first day of each individual session.

Summer Session tuition and fees are paid on a per credit hour basis. Students should consult with the Financial Aid Office to determine if and how aid can be used for Summer Session course work.

Visit the Summer Session website for more information.