Kessler Scholars Program
The Kessler Scholars Program supports a diverse community of first-generation college students at Cornell University.
"Having a support group where we all have this in common has been truly enriching to my experience as a college student, as I’m a lot more in touch with my own identity, and I understand the power of my own identity."
- Alejandra Gonzalez '23
The Kessler Scholars Program at Cornell University provides four years of support to exceptional Cornell students who are among the first in their family to attend college and are low-income. The Kessler Scholarship is renewable for four years (eight semesters) and provides students with the opportunity to become actively engaged members of the Cornell community as students and future alumni.
A National Network
The Kessler Scholars Program at Cornell is part of the national Kessler Scholars Collaborative along with 15 other institutions. Together, these schools are transforming the undergraduate experience for first-generation college students. Students who join the Kessler Scholars Program are part of a powerful network of first generation leaders, connected across multiple institutions throughout their undergraduate college experience and beyond.
In spring 2022, we gained 10 new campus partners in the Kessler Scholars Collaborative, a diverse group of Ivy League, liberal arts, and public flagship institutions in the American Talent Initiative. Now a network of 16 institutions, we will work together over the next five years to solidify a blueprint for first-generation student success that can work at campuses nationwide.
Learn more about the Kessler Scholars Program
What do Kessler Scholars at Cornell receive as part of the program?
A transformative cohort-based community focused on academic, professional and social support. A scholarship that covers the cost of Cornell University’s summer expectation. Peer and professional mentorships and service opportunities to help you grow and thrive.
Is Cornell the only university that offers the Kessler Scholars Program?
How do you become a Kessler Scholar?
How are Kessler Scholars selected?
- All Kessler Scholars are selected based upon their demonstrated academic accomplishments, sustained community engagement, financial need, and status as a first-generation college student. Staff from the Centers of Student Equity, Empowerment, and Belonging and select campus partners, review your admissions applications and records of achievement, specifically seeking:
- High academic and personal accomplishments
- Sustained community engagement and leadership skills
- The ability to overcome adversity and barriers
- Potential to contribute to and benefit from the diverse Kessler Scholars community
What is required one in the program?
Kessler Scholars must:
- Maintain full-time enrollment of at least 12 credit hours in fall and spring terms
- Maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA
- Participate in community service opportunities each academic year
- Attend monthly Kessler Scholars workshops to foster academic and professional growth
- After the first-year, contribute to the program as a mentor, become a member of the advisory board or participate in student Collaborative leadership opportunities.
- Participate in transformative experiences through an internship, travel abroad, employment, or research experiences over the summer.
All students selected for the Kessler Presidential Scholarship will be notified between June- July prior to the start of their first year and will be advised of next steps to accept the award.