What I Wish I Knew About Being A PreMed At Cornell
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Student Life

What I Wish I Knew About Being A PreMed At Cornell

A guide for underclassmen.


Cornell is stressful as it is; being premed adds even more stress. After four years, I’ve picked up a few tricks.     

Pick a major you are interested in (bonus points if it’s easy)

Medical schools have a decent number of requirements, but don’t try to pick a major that tailors to that. If you’re a biology major but hate biology, you’re going to have an awful time in your upper-level classes. Pick a major with a manageable number of requirements that you’re passionate about and fill the medical school courses in as electives.     

Have a backup plan 

Yes, medical school is the dream, but it’s very difficult to get in. Plus, you may get to senior year and realize you don’t love medicine and don’t want to spend the next four to twenty years studying it. Unless you are lucky enough to have a job lined up with family or friends, it’s a good idea to have a backup plan. Maybe get some professional experience outside the medical field or network with companies at career fair starting freshman year.

HCEC – It is real and it will ruin your winter break  Unless you start early. Moral of the story: start early. You are basically writing your medical school application in January instead of June. Also you have to register in November. Also you have to have your recommendations by March. Basically, there’s a nifty timeline Cornell provides here you should follow it.   
Go to office hours 

Sure you got an A in Organic Chemistry, but what is your professor going to write about you in a letter of recommendation? It would make a much better letter of recommendation if your professor could talk about your hopes and dreams, not just your killer test grades.    

Interfolio Credentials Service– Use it, it is your best friend 

Okay, so it costs a little bit of money, but it’s worth every penny. Say you took a class freshman year and you find yourself applying to medical school at the end of junior year. You bonded with the professor, did well in the class, he or she is the perfect person to write a letter of recommendation. When do you think they would write a better letter: freshman year or junior year?


Interfolio lets you ask for a letter freshman year and they save it (pretty much forever if you keep paying them) for when you need it. This is also great for those taking gap years.    

Consider a gap year 

Cornell burns you out. Why would you want to go to school for another four years right after? Think about doing research, working in clinical trials or gaining other experience that would strengthen your medical school application.    

Study for the MCAT as you go 

Studying for the MCAT all at once during your junior summer will make you wish you had never considered medical school in the first place. You have to remember everything you learned for the past three years and apply it to MCAT-style questions. Learning what topics are on the MCAT early on and forming outlines for yourself while you’re still in the classes will make studying a breeze. Think about adding some practice MCAT passages that apply to your biology chapter, too.     


Take up yoga. Learn to paint. Have something to do that isn’t studying, your lab or your medical internship. Not only will it help your stress level, it gives you something to talk to interviewers about other than that surgery you observed last summer. 

Remember: Cornell's medical school acceptance rate is not bad. May the odds be ever in your favor. 

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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