Best of Both Campuses
Students in the cross-registration program gain from each school's strengths.
When Candace Lazarovits '00 got dressed on the morning of her first microbiology class, she hesitated to put on her favorite IC baseball cap. An exercise science major, Lazarovits was taking the class at Cornell. She wore the hat, but when she walked into Morrison Hall that morning she still decided to choose a seat in the far corner. "I wasn't sure how the [Cornell] students would accept or feel towards me," she says.
Lazarovits is one of 37 Ithaca College students who took classes at Cornell this past spring semester. As she headed to East Hill she probably passed by at least one of the 18 Cornell students traveling in the opposite direction to attend class at IC. The CU-IC exchange program, which allows students to take up to 12 credits at the neighboring school, gives these undergrads a taste of campus life at two very different institutions. Ithaca College tends to draws Cornellians for its music, heath sciences, and communications courses, while Cornell especially attracts IC students interested in its engineering school and broad language offerings.
For these transcampus students, the academic differences between the two schools tend to be revealed by numbers. Junior Cornell nutrition major Michael Spadafino earned his minor in exercise science at IC's School of Health Sciences and Human Performance. "The classes are a lot smaller at IC," says Spadafino. "The ones at Cornell usually have 100-plus students."
Lazarovits notes that her Cornell classes are often too large for professors to know their students' names. "But at Ithaca," she says, "I'm on a first-name basis with my professors and know a lot about their families and lives."
While Spadafino admits that the Ivy Leaguers do seem more competitive for grades, he notes, "As far as differences are concerned, there aren't many, because the IC students are there to take classes just like you." Lazarovits, who excelled in her microbiology class, agrees. "I was a little nervous about taking a class at Cornell because of the [stereotype] that they're superior," she says. "However, I did well in the class."
These exchange students also get involved in both schools' social scenes, which otherwise seem a bit geographically divided. While Cornellians tend to stick to Collegetown, IC students are more likely to be found hanging out downtown on the Commons.
IC politics major Melanie Ashworth '05, who took a Cornell Thai language class this past spring, has had little trouble forging educational and social ties to both campuses. "Cornell has a sprawling, lovely campus," she says. "It was nice to have a change." She knows her Cornell classmates well, and she met her boyfriend, a Cornell graduate, in Collegetown last year. Plenty of such ties -- both academic and romantic -- have come before, and that tradition seems likely to thrive along with the cross-registration program.
-- Megs DiDario, CU '07