Cornell is an Ivy league with a broad range of courses all highly ranked - from the business school to architecture - you cannot go wrong with Cornell!
Here is an essay I wrote a few years back to receive admissions from Cornell:
From childhood to high school, I have been engaged in activities relevant to Urban Studies: developing a Star Wars model empire, enrolling in International Baccalaureate (IB) Higher Level Geography, and travelling all over the globe.
As a young boy, I created the Star Wars universe in my room by building numerous Lego empires, allocating spaces in my room to the multitudes of Star Wars planets -- Dagobah, Tatooine, and Hoth, to name a few. My favorite part of this pastime was planning the creation of the distinct planet environments by using realistic ornaments to complement the rectangular Lego blocks. I bought Japanese bonsais to imitate the forest setting of Dagobah; I designed Tatooine using sand, pipes, and other metal scrap. I also used flattened cotton balls and instant snow powder to create the distinct icy terrain of Hoth. My passion for city design extends to school as well.
When it was time to select my IB courses, I chose Higher Level Geography to further my understanding of interactions between people and their environment, despite continuous protests by family elders that geography was a "useless" subject. Here, I particularly enjoyed learning about integrating renewable energy and plant diversity into the urban setting, as there are increased worldly concerns about environmental sustainability and global warming. The class exposed me to new eco-friendly innovations such as alternative energy sources (e.g. biofuels, wind and solar power, etc.), ideas that I may be able to apply in our highly polluted hometown of Manila or other eco-friendly pursuits.
Aside from my fondness for Geography, our family loves to travel. Exposure to the diverse cultures, landscapes, and people of the 25 countries and over 200 cities (in Asia, Europe, North America, and Oceania) we visited have intensified my love for the city landscape. I have been to a whole range of cities -- from Taipei to Melbourne to Paris. In each of them (besides visiting historical landmarks and enjoying the local cuisines), I took the time to observe their societal and infrastructural problems. For example, having recently been to Bangkok for a school badminton competition, I experienced first-hand its notorious traffic congestions: a result of private vehicle usage outstripping infrastructure development. Having explored a myriad of cities, my perspectives on city life have been vastly broadened; I can use this enlightened knowledge in the future -- designing villages, shopping centers, and other social structures.
Having enthusiasm for city planning, I was drawn to the exceptional Urban Studies program offered by Cornell's College of Architecture, Art, and Planning (AAP). What do I find appealing about AAP? Its top-tier education is molded by a vibrant student body, and experienced world-class researchers and teachers. However, what attracts me the most is its unique setting in Ithaca (with close proximity to New York City, the gateway to culture, arts, business, and sports) and its Summer programs (like its proposed 2011 Tales of Three Cities: Tokyo, Seoul, and Beijing).
Studying in the rich and intellectual environment of Ithaca and ancient cities abroad will be the quintessential experience in learning classic and modern urban landscapes in different cultural capitals. It will equip me with the exposure needed to help transform our cities into aesthetically pleasing, environmentally sustainable, and efficient communities. It is this world-class education that will propel me towards my goal: turning the world's dreams and fantasies into reality.