Ranked one of the top research-focused medical schools in the country by “U.S. News & World Report,” Cornell University’s Weill Cornell Medical College is out to attract the most eclectic, brilliant and curious minds in the country. The New York City-based school offers funding for students to travel and work abroad after their first year of medical school, and the admissions office strongly emphasizes the values of diversity and intellectual passion in its applicants. Weill does not accept online college work for any of its core requirements.
Core Pre-Med Courses
Like most medical schools, Weill expects all of its applicants to have completed an academic year of college-level general biology with lab, as well as a year of general chemistry with lab and a year of general physics with lab. Applicants who have actually worked in a laboratory may substitute that experience for lab coursework. In some cases, advanced science courses may also substitute for the general core requirements. Though a full academic year of organic chemistry is preferred, a course in advanced biology or chemistry, such as biochemistry, physical chemistry, or molecular genetics, will be accepted as a supplement to the first organic chemistry course.
Diversity of Learning
Given that doctors must understand the motivations and psyches of human beings as well as their bodies in order to help them achieve optimal health, broad knowledge of the social sciences and humanities is considered valuable in a medical school applicant. Though fewer humanities majors apply to medical school, they are accepted at a slightly higher rate than biology majors, according to the American Association of Medical Colleges. Though Weill does not advocate a particular major for pre-med students, it stresses the value of a strong general education. Applicants who have committed to study in a diversity of disciplines in their undergraduate general education will be viewed favorably.
The Weill admissions department also notes that many of its students have taken time off between college and medical school, and that a good number of them have had interesting and extraordinary life experiences, including volunteering, overseas work, and impressive professional accomplishments.
Depth of Learning
While broadness is important, the ability to think deeply in an academic discipline using its accepted body of knowledge and methods of analysis is also critical. This is precisely what doctors do on a daily basis using their medical knowledge. Therefore, Weill prefers applicants who elected to major in a specific subject and to pursue it at a rigorous and advanced level as undergraduates, rather than students who have simply opted for a general liberal arts curriculum. Applicants will have an edge if they can demonstrate meaningful experience related to their majors on their resumes and transcripts.
Naturally, in addition to the educational background, Weill requires the traditional medical school application materials. Applicants should submit their primary application to Weill through the American Medical College Application Service. They should additionally e-mail Weill in order to obtain its Supplementary Application Form which should be sent to the school along with letters of evaluation and MCAT scores by November 1st of the year prior to which the applicant will begin school. Letters of evaluation should include a letter from the applicant's college's pre-professional committee, or, in lieu of that, two professors with whom they have worked and who know their abilities well. If applicants have done serious laboratory work, had a career or spent time in a clinical work setting, they should also include letters from their supervisors in those situations. Finally, while Weill does not ask for a specific MCAT score, according to the American Association of Medical Colleges, applicants typically need a score of 30 to be accepted at any school.
- Weill Cornell Medical College Education: Requirements
- Northwestern University Academic Advising Center: Pre-Med Coursework
- American Association of Medical Colleges: Table 18- MCAT and GPAs for Applicants and Matriculants to U.S. Medical Schools by Primary Undergraduate Major, 2011
- Weill Cornell Medical College: How to Apply
- Johns Hopkins University: Medical Statistics and Trends
Laura Holland Fletcher has graduate level training in ESL, linguistics and the teaching of writing. She taught ESL and college writing for more than 10 years in both the US and Asia. She also writes for local and national magazines that cover legal, educational and social justice issues.