The Application Process
Students who wish to enter medical school in the fall following graduation from college will complete the application process in the summer between junior and senior years. Detailed instructions about the timetable and procedures are available for each new class in the fall of junior year, and there will be general meetings for all prospective applicants to review the entire process.
Working with your advisers
First-years and sophomores who intend to apply to health professional school should work with their academic advisers in CSA to set forth a course of premedical studies. Upon declaring a major or concentraiton during the spring of sophomore, year, students will be assigned faculty advisors. Students will consult their faculty advisors with concerns about major requirements. In addition to their faculty advisors, prospective health professional school applicants willconsult their academic advisor about premedical issues. The academic advisors in CSA work closely with the Office of Preprofessional Advising to guide students through their prehealth years.
When students declare their intention to apply to a health professional school they will register with the Office of Preprofessional Advising. Students are not assigned a specific premedical advisor until they have submitted their Premedical Advisory Committee Application. The assigned premedical advisor will work closely with the student throughout the application period and write their Premedical Advisory Committee Letter of Evaluation. For more information on this process, the Premedical Handbook offers a comprehensive discussion of curricula, activities, and application procedures for the health professions.
Many students choose to apply to medical school after they have graduated from college. This may be because they started premed courses later in their college careers, because they had poor grades initially and want to improve their records before applying, because they are not yet quite sure that they want to enter the medical profession and need more time to explore, or because they want to spend some time achieving other goals before starting medical school. Whatever the reason, it is always better to wait to go to medical school until you are absolutely sure you are ready. It is too pressured and too expensive to embark upon casually. Medical schools have absolutely no bias against older applicants, and many students will present a much more impressive profile if they wait a bit. Columbia will, of course, continue to assist you in the application process whenever you choose to apply. In fact, approximately 65% of the applicants to medical school from Columbia have already graduated from college and take at least one year between college and medical school.
Medicine is a profession which waxes and wanes in popularity. Over the past decade we have experienced an enormous increase nationally in the number of applicants to medical school, and these numbers remain extremely high. Whatever the case may be, Columbia regularly sees a very high percentage of its applicants accepted to medical school. Broadly educated students, who have been involved in life as well as books, do extremely well in the competition. The key seems to be to see yourself first as a Columbia student, and second, as a premed.
For additional information about applicant trends, please refer to the charts produced by the American Association of Medical Colleges.