Weill Cornell Medical College’s Dean of Admissions, Dr. Allison Smith, came to speak to Queens College students about what it takes to get into the renowned Ivy League medical school. She touched on a variety of things that are important to the profile of an applicant, ranging from the intensity of medical school to what makes the ideal applicant, among other important questions for pre-med students to ponder. The first question asked was: “can you do it?”
Dr. Smith went on to discuss how the rigor of the curriculum, like most graduate schools, is very intense. There are several factors that the admissions committee examines when looking at applications to see if students demonstrate the capability to succeed in medical school. “A question you should ask yourself is, should you do it, and should you do it here, at our school?” Dr. Smith detailed.
The next question Dr. Smith posed was, “Will you do it?” Elaborating on this, she continued, “I don’t often ask students at interviews why they chose to pursue medicine. Usually the application says it all. If I have to ask, it means I haven’t seen enough of a medicine-oriented, or community service-oriented background.” Dr. Smith went on to say that she wants to see applicants who have a passion for medicine, in addition to a history of engaging in similar activities. “Here at Weill Cornell, we are extremely passionate about being service oriented,” Dr. Smith added while discussing what kind of extracurricular activities she wants to see from applicants.
Aside from grades, a key quality Dr. Smith emphasized all applications should have is the ability to work and thrive in a team. This was particularly relevant to the new curriculum program implemented at Weill Cornell, which is oriented around problem-based learning. The institute states,“The new curriculum consists of a series of “Learning Units,” beginning Aug. of Year 1 and extending through Year 4. In addition, three themes are incorporated throughout the four years: the scientific basis of medicine, patient care, and “physicianship” – the special skill set needed by physicians, such as communication, medical ethics and professionalism.”
Events like this one, which was hosted by the Future Healers of America club, are absolutely crucial. They make a huge difference when it comes to providing direction for applicants who may not be fully aware of what it takes to gain acceptance into medical schools such as these. Senior psychology major Adira Teitelbaum agreed, stating: “Future Healers certainly does its part on behalf of the pre-health student body here at QC. It’s an excellent place for students to interact face-to-face with advisors and academic deans.” While asked how this event benefited him, freshman psychology major Michael Tacuri stated: “Being a freshman pre-health student, it’s extremely helpful to know what schools like these are looking for, so I can plan ahead right when I’m starting the pre-health pathway.”
Lastly, Dr. Smith noted that the average GPA of applicants is 3.85, the average age is 23, and it was stressed that if an applicant needs to take a gap year to further themselves, they most certainly should.