[MUSIC PLAYING] RYAN KOKELL: If you're a veteran and you're looking into coming to Cornell, you're already on the right path. We're trying to get veterans to understand that they can get here. You can get here. You can do it. You should definitely try to do it. That's what I did. It was a shot in the dark for me. I got here. I'm happy I'm here.
LUKE OPYD: I decided to come to Cornell because it's one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the country, and they really helped me with my needs as a veteran.
DAVID OUTLAW: Cornell was founded on military history. During World War I, they put more service members into the war than any other military academy combined. So I just knew that, not only from an academic standpoint, but also from just being a veteran coming to Cornell, I knew that it was the perfect fit for me.
So right now we're at a pivotal moment in history. And a lot of elite institutions in the United States have had challenges reaching out to veterans and letting them know that, hey, we want you, and you can succeed. Cornell is really leading the charge on that to let veterans know that they're welcome, and they will succeed, and that we want them.
We've been working with the administration to make positive changes, and those changes have been successful. And we're working to kind of pay it forward to those veterans out there, to let them know, you belong at Cornell, and Cornell wants you. So the administration is working to actively recruit veterans and let them know that Cornell is a great community. It's a welcoming community, and that we know veterans can succeed and they will succeed.
RYAN KOKELL: There are people in the military who could run circles around my mind, and they're not here. And they're not at a school that's equally as good, and I think that that's wrong. You deserve to be here. Don't ever think that you don't. You know, if you have the grades, you have the determination, you have the aptitude, come on. Come on in. See what you can make of yourself.
DAVID OUTLAW: Not only will you succeed, but the alumni network that you have here is by far one of the best in the world. And after you graduate, you're going to have that family. You're going to have that Cornell family that will always be there. It's not a four-year education, you come in, you leave, you're done. You have that family that you can always tap into those resources, and those resources will be there for life.
As I get ready to graduate, I look back, and I realize that a lot of the skills that I learned in the military I applied at Cornell. And it helped me to succeed, and it's helped a lot of other veterans succeed. So what I would say to veterans who are thinking, should I go to the Ivy League? Should I consider it? Absolutely.
If you're on the fence about applying to Cornell, don't be. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and you will succeed.
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Members of the Cornell Undergraduate Veterans Association (CUVA) talk about their experiences at Cornell.