Fall 2017 New Students

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When is my mandatory Communication-specific orientation?

General Cornell New Student Orientation will be August 18-21, 2017. Details about our Department of Communication specific orientation meeting will be provided soon. 

ALL Communication Freshman and Transfers
Date: TBA – Mandatory Communication Orientation Meeting
This session is MANDATORY and is offered at a time that there should not be other meetings. If you feel you do have a conflict please let me know ASAP. During this meeting you will learn more about the Department of Communication and meet with your faculty advisor. You are expected to attend the full 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Date: TBA  - Communication Student Connection Opportunity
After a few days of class, you will have more questions and this will be a great time to get those questions answered by current students. Some of our current students will talk about their experiences, how to get involved in groups like the Sun, Slope Media, The Thread and other organizations on campus. We will also talk about how to get involved in COMM research and connect with Alums. This is also a great time to chat and meet new people in the department. There will be snacks! Your attendance is expected.

Cornell offers an extensive orientation for new students to become acquainted with the University, our resources, and our major. You should have received information about campus-wide orientation already. As part of the Cornell orientation events, you will attend the Department of Communication orientation on Sunday and Monday. You will receive more information soon with the details. This is your initial opportunity to connect with your major, learn about what the Department has to offer, and have your questions answered. A panel discussion with current Communication students will kick off our orientation program, followed by an introduction to the major. You will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with your faculty advisor during this orientation.

Current CALS students (COMM majors) and CALS Student Services Staff talk about their pre-enrollment stories and advice. 

Below are short video clips of advice and tips from both current CALS students (all COMM) and the CALS Student Services Staff. These are quick videos created to help you better understand the pre-enrollment process and to reassure you that things will work out. Check them out!


When do I pre-enroll for fall 2017 courses?

Step-by-Step Add Instructions for Student Center

It is important to take advantage of your opportunity to pre-enroll in courses in July. You will have time to adjust your courses and schedule during orientation and for the first couple of weeks in the fall, but we encourage you to have you schedule finalized during July if possible.

Pre-enrollment Starts: July 10th starting at 9am (EST)
Pre-enrollment Ends: July 18th at 4:30pm (EST)
To find the times that courses are offered, go to the  Course and Time Roster.
To enter your course selections you will use Student Center 
Cornell has a new tool to help you visualize your schedule named scheduler. 
Review your credits completed in Chatter/DUST
CALS Distribution Requirement Search Engine

How many credits should I enroll in for fall?

To graduate on schedule, you will need to take required courses during your first few semesters on campus. We strongly recommend that incoming students enroll in a maximum of 13-14 credits for their first semester at Cornell to help ensure a successful transition to your new environment. Students need to focus on completing 30 credits of coursework in an academic year (including summer) to remain on track to graduate in four years. 

What will my first semester schedule include?

Download the COMM first-year worksheet here.

1. All entering Communication majors will be pre-enrolled in our introductory course: COMM 1101: Cases in Communication. When you log on to Student Center during your pre-enrollment time, you should see COMM 1101 already on your schedule.  You will not need to do anything additional if the course is listed for you.

2. The CALS Distribution Requirements require that you to take a range of Physical and Life Sciences courses. In DUST, you can use the drop down menu to choose either Physical & Life Sciences or Introductory Life Sciences/Biology depending on which requirement you are trying to fulfill. You should focus on the ones highlighted in green because those are non-science major science courses.  Some examples for Non-Majors Physical and Life Sciences: 

  • BIOEE 1560 or EAS 1560 - Intro to Oceanography with Lab (must have a lab to count as Intro to Biology)
  • BIOEE 2070 – Evolution
  • ENTOM 2020 - Invasions
  • CHEM 1150  - Language of Chemistry
  • AEM 2100 – Intro to Statistics

·         ** This is not a complete list and it is possible that you will not be able to find a science course for fall.

3. The Department of Communication builds on the ideas that come from the fields of psychology and sociology. We recommend taking either Psychology (PSYCH) 1101 or Sociology (SOC) 1101. 

4. In addition, you should select a First Year Writing Seminar from the John S. Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines for an additional 3 credits. These courses are selected through a system of ballots (selections through their system not Student Center), unlike other courses. You will find more information on how the balloting works and the 2017 list of course options at the following website.  You will not be made aware of which Seminar you get until the beginning of August.

In addition to these courses, you may want to enroll in a Physical Education (PE) course to begin completing your Physical Education requirements. (PE courses, although required, do not factor into the 120 credit hours needed for graduation.  Transfers do not need PE coursework).

Sample First Semester Schedule (freshman):

1.      COMM 1101                                       3 credits            MW     9:00-9:05    
2.      Introductory Science Course             3/4 credits
3.      PSYCH, SOC, or DSOC 1101            3 credits
4.      First Year Writing Seminar                  3 credits
         (all COMM Freshman unless you already have credits for two writing courses)
5.      Physical Education                             1 credit
6.      Elective of Student's Choice*              3 credit

Sample First Semester Schedule (transfer only): 

COMM 1101                                                   3 credits            MW     9:00-9:05    
COMM 2820                                                   3 credits          
COMM 2450 or 2200                                     3 credits
Introductory Science or Statistics  Course     3/4 credits (if not completed by transfer credit)
PSYCH, SOC, or DSOC 1101                        3 credits (if not completed by transfer credit)
Written Expression Course                            3 credits (if you do not already have 6 credits of writing coursework already)
Elective of Student's Choice                          3 credit

All entering Communication majors will be pre-enrolled in our introductory course: COMM 1101: Cases in Communication and COMM 2820: Research Methods in Communication. When you log on to Student Center during your pre-enrollment time, you should see COMM 1101 already on your schedule. You will not need to do anything additional if the course is listed for you.  

If you have taken any Communication specific courses that you would like to have evaluated, you must email the syllabus to communication@cornell.edu.

Keep in mind that you will have the opportunity to make changes to your course schedule prior to start of classes.  Some courses will have more seats open during the week leading up to the first day classes.  Do not register for a course that sounds like a course that you may have from AP or transfer. You just have to be patient...things will work out.

Step-by-Step to Register

To find the times that courses are offered, go to the Course and Time Roster.  Always make sure you are on the 2017 Fall schedules.
Note: As you look up possible options, it is important to write down the course ID number (see below), not the course number for the course that you are interested in adding.  The course ID number is the number that is linked to a specific time, location and professor.

Once you have a good idea of the courses and ID numbers that you are interested in you can go to Student Center to add the courses. 
After adding each course it is important that you click “Checkout or Submit” instead of adding to the shopping cart.

Advanced placement credit & transfer credits

Visit the AP credit chart to see how your AP coursework will count within CALS.  If you have any questions, email CALS Student Services at cals-studentservices@cornell.edu.  CALS Students services also deals with the approval of any transfer credits. If you think you may receive AP credit for a course, avoid enrolling in that type of course for fall 2015.


CALS Parent's Reception - TBA

This year's CALS Parent's Welcome Reception will be held in the Department of Communication.  This is a wonderful opportunity to parents and family to see the place that you will call home! We are very excited to be hosting and look forward to meeting the families of all of our new students. Join us in 450 Mann Library Building. More information to come. 

Being involved on campus

It is never too early to start looking at being involved on campus, although we do encourage you to limit your involvement until you feel you can truly handle your academics and extracurricular activities successfully.  Click here to learn more about some of the student groups that our Communication students are involved in around campus. 

Research Opportunities in Communication

Even as a freshman and transfer student there are many opportunities to become involved in the research that is happening in the Department of Communication.  

What is FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects all student's information while on campus.  What does this mean?  It means that students should be advocating for themselves.  It is only in rare circumstances that parents or guardians should be involved in speaking with a professor or advisor.  With that being said, if at any point a parent or guardian has a concern regarding their student, we encourage them to call the CALS Student Services Office (607-255-2257) immediately.  Please read through the complete information regarding FERPA here.  You can also speak with the CALS Student Services Staff if you have questions regarding FERPA.

Are you following us on social media?

If you are not following us on social media yet, you are missing out. Make sure to check us out on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (search CornellUCOMM or Cornell Department of Communication).