Okay, speaking as a 20 year old male who attended Ithaca directly from High School with a 3.2 GPA (I'm only stating this so you guys get a sense for the type of student I am.. basically the lazy kid in HS who relied on my brains instead of studying). Im not going to talk about academics because that shit's pretty much the same at any school in this price range.. so im sticking to student life.
ANYWAYS- The school itself kick ass. There is a solid amount of diversity (aside from most of the student body being at least slightly wealthy).
The hippy/ drug scene can be found extremely easily if one is looking for that.
the scene is apart of Ithaca student life, and the college itself is extremely lenient about it (you can walk through campus after dark smoking a joint without worrying at, and people do).
However, if it's not you're thing, you can TOTALLY avoid it without even trying. Nobody pressures anyone into doing anything there. If you dont smoke or you feel uncomfortable around it you will still feel right at home in Ithaca, but you will smell weed in the air on occasion. The student body as a whole is super laid back. Of course there are still the stuck up mean girl clicky girls here and there, but once the beer starts flowing everyone is a friend. which brings me to..
there is no greek life aka no frats at Ithaca. The closest thing you'll get is the sports houses of campus. You WILL have jacked ass legs by the end of your first semester because Ithaca is on top of a mountain and ALL the parties are located down the hill (but every off campus party will be within a 10 minute walk, which really is not bad at all. Cornell is literally less than a 15 minute walk/ 2 minute cab ride away, so if you get bored of house parties just go over there.
I'll let this one stay a surprise.. :) muahaha
3 dining halls, all mediocre at best, however The terrace dining hall (located in the terrace housing area of campus) has the best food
STUFF TO DO
If you like outdoorsy things like me (hiking cliff jumping, running, biking, photography, etc..) THIS IS THE PLACE FOR YOU. it's gosh darn b e a utiful here, every day, 24/7. (it might get cold, but the scenery is always epic).
there is also a extreme lively town right down the hill. Ithaca is known for its great food and great shops (clothing, odds and ends, more awesome food, hippie stuff). you can meet all kinds down there, plus make some friends with kids from Cornell while you're at it.
the reason I no longer go to Ithaca. It's overpriced as shit. 54k a year? wtf man .. like seriously though, shits crazy. If you can find a way to afford it this place is awesome as hell, if not? you're missing out on some fun times.