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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions


Frequently asked questions

Q: How easy is it to get from dorm to class?

A: The beautiful Thurston Avenue Bridge provides an easy stroll to class, and buses run regularly.

Q: How would you describe the seminars and workshops? Dense and heavy or light and airy?

A: Classes, seminars and workshops are designed for bright, interested people who may not have backgrounds in the subjects. The substance is rich and deeply informative, the mood lively and informal. The teaching is superb.

Q: I haven't lived in a dorm for years. What should I expect?

A: Dorms are dorms—fun, convenient, and clean, but not luxurious.

  • Court/Kay is the heart of CAU's living quarters and home to the message center. The comfy adult lounge there provides a computer to check your e-mail, coffee and tea for early birds, and wine, soft drinks, and snacks from 4:00 to 10:00 p.m. daily. Families with children in the Youth Program, ages 3–12, are housed in comfortable accommodations elsewhere on North Campus, near Court/Kay and Robert Purcell Dining. Children can be supervised by counselors after dinner until bedtime.
  • Hilton Homewood Suites is an off-campus housing option. They offer a pool, hot tub, flat-screen TVs, high-speed internet, and a full kitchen. It also provides airport pickup and an hourly shuttle to your destination.

Q: How much free time do adults bringing youngsters have?

A: If you're staying with children 12 and under on campus, you'll have breakfast and dinner with them in Robert Purcell, but you're free of child care all day—and every evening a full program of youth activities supervised by counselors is available from 6:30 p.m. until bedtime. Those who don't bring children will be amazed by the quiet smoothness with which the adult and youth ships pass en route to their activities.

Q: I am single. How comfortable will I feel at CAU?

A: Half or more adults attending CAU are here without youngsters, and about one-third are single. In classes and informal gatherings, you'll meet a great number of delightful and inclusive people.

Q: Who attends CAU?

A: Approximately 100 adults take part each week. The largest contingent has recently been made up of those who graduated in the 1970s, followed (in order) by the classes of the 1960s, 1980s, 1950s, 1940s, and 1990s. About 75 percent are Cornellians or Cornell spouses; our other smart folk learned about CAU from magazine articles, travel/study guides, or their Cornell relatives or friends.

Q: How much free time will I have, and what happens after class?

A: Classes meet each morning and adjourn each afternoon at 3:30. (No classes Wednesday afternoons.) CAU provides great extracurricular choices and warm, friendly folk with whom to enjoy them:

  • You can hike Cornell's "gorgeous gorges," jog in the Cornell Botanic Gardens, golf on Cornell's Robert Trent Jones course, swim at Helen Newman Pool, see exhibits at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art and the Kroch Library, shop at the Cornell Store, and enjoy first-rate productions at one of Ithaca's two theater companies.
  • You can attend evening lectures and free concerts, sip espresso at an outdoor café in Collegetown, view the planets at Fuertes Observatory, explore Cornell's fabulous Lab of Ornithology, swim or hike at Buttermilk Falls or Taughannock Park, or rent a kayak on Cayuga Lake.
  • The week will speed by. And every day you'll enjoy good conversation and drinks at the CAU lounge, eat reasonably good college food, and meet the very nicest people.
  • See our Visiting page for even more options.

Who teaches the morning courses for children and teens?

These are developed and taught by college and university students, not by Cornell faculty. They emphasize hands-on activities and projects and are intended to provide exposure to issues in a particular field of study. Lesson plans are developed shortly before the start of camp, in consultation with the CAU Youth Program director.

Can my child or teen participate for more than one week?

Yes! CAU's Summer Youth Program is a one-week immersion experience, combining camp activities with morning education electives. The afternoon and evening recreational and social activities repeat from one week to the next within one age group, but morning courses vary from week to week. Young children (ages 3-8) can take a total of two weeks without repeated morning programming and older children (9-15) can spend several weeks at CAU without repeating a course: they select one academic program each week from a choice of eight different topics.

Who supervises teens staying on over a weekend, and what activities are available?

Teens who stay over in the dorm are supervised by a small group of residential counselors. On Saturday, they eat lunch together in the dining hall at noon, go on field trips to various recreational sites or libraries on campus, usually go to a late matinee movie at the mall, and enjoy a special take-out supper afterwards, which they bring back to campus. Then they might engage in small group discussions, play card or board games with counselors, or go for a hike around Beebe Lake. On Sunday mornings, after brunch in the dining hall, they either play sports with counselors or complete an art and craft project.

Is financial aid available for children or teens attending the Summer Youth Program?

Because the CAU Summer Youth Program is an educational camp and not an academic program, Cornell University provides no financial aid or scholarship assistance.