Columbia medical school is one of the most prestigious medical schools in New York, and one of the Ivy League medical schools. Situated in Manhattan, Columbia Medical school is one of the most competitive medical schools in the world. In this blog, you will learn all about Columbia's admission statistics, available programs, selection factors, application timelines, and more!


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Article Contents
5 min read

Mission Statement Available Programs Academic Curriculum Application Timeline Admission Statistics Recommended Courses Tuition & Debt Funding Opportunities Selection Factors Interview Format Acceptance & Waitlist Information Contact Information FAQs

Mission Statement

"Our mission is to provide continuing medical education to Columbia faculty, professional trainees, and to the larger community of physicians and other healthcare professionals in the New York area and beyond. Our primary goal is to serve their educational needs by:

  • Presentation of contemporary, relevant clinical knowledge using best practices for adult learning.
  • Translation of research into medical knowledge; and
  • Improved health outcomes through application of knowledge of disease prevention and treatment."

Available Programs

There are five medical programs offered at Columbia medical school:

Are you looking to get into an Ivy League medical school? Check out our tips for how to get accepted:

Application Timeline

Columbia clearly states that they do not use rolling admissions. Instead, all decisions are made at the end of the interview season, and all decision letters are sent out in early March.

You must submit both an AMCAS application and a secondary application when applying to Columbia. The fee for the secondary application is $110 USD.

Columbia’s application timeline follows the cycle below:

Admissions Statistics

Admission to Columbia Vagelos College is highly competitive. Here are some recent statistics:

  • Overall success rate: 1.91%
  • In-state success rate: 2.22%  
  • Out-of-state success rate: 2.00%
  • Median GPA: 3.95
  • Median MCAT: 522

Columbia medical school overall success rate:

Recommended Courses

You must meet the following criteria to apply to Columbia:     

  • Three full academic years completed at an accredited college in the United States or Canada.
  • Your degree must be complete prior to your matriculation at Columbia.

The mandatory medical school prerequisites are:     

  • 1 year of Biology (with labs)     
  • 1 year of Physics (with labs)     
  • 1 year of Chemistry (with labs)     
  • 1 year of Organic Chemistry (with labs)     
  • 1 year of English/writing intensive course

You must obtained at least a “C” grade on all prerequisites and they must have been completed within 10 years of your application, with Biology “preferred” within 5 years of your application. AP credits in Chemistry, Physics, Biology, or English require an additional year at the collegiate level. Online courses are not accepted.

Additionally, courses in biochemistry, statistics, and biostatistics are highly recommended.

Tuition and Debt

Medical school tuition fees are $73,501 USD per year for both in-state and out-of-state students. Including other mandatory fees, the total per year is $108,499 USD.

The amount of average graduate indebtedness is $95,578 USD with 89% of students receiving financial aid.

Funding Opportunities

Columbia is proud of its Vagelos Scholarship Program, which meets 100% of demonstrated financial need for eligible students. Currently, about 84% of medical students at Columbia receive some form of financial aid. Students who complete the Financial Aid application are automatically considered for the Vagelos Scholarship. You will be asked to provide information about family and personal income, and any assets you or your family may have.

For more information on financial aid and scholarships visit the Columbia financial aid website.

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Selection Factors

Applicant Profile

  • Columbia will assess your suitability based on the following criteria:     
  • Academic achievement     
  • Evidence of excellence and leadership potential in medicine     
  • Integrity     
  • Ability to relate to others and concern for their welfare     
  • Letters of recommendation     
  • Extracurricular activities/interests     

It can be difficult to determine how a school like Columbia will assess you on each of these criteria, but it is important to emphasize they are looking for “well-rounded” candidates overall. This means that stellar scores, while important, won’t guarantee you’re accepted. 

GPA & MCAT

The median GPA for matriculants to Columbia is 3.95. There is no minimum GPA to be considered for admission to Columbia, but because of the highly competitive selection process we recommend aiming for the average or higher.

The median MCAT score of matriculants is 522. Your MCAT score is valid only if taken up to four years prior to your application cycle. If you took the MCAT more than once, your highest overall score will be used by the Admissions Committee. Your MCAT score will be an important component of your application, so learn more about what is a good MCAT score and how to create the best MCAT study schedule before you begin.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation should be submitted on official letterhead and include your AMCAS ID. The following criteria applies:     

  • A minimum of 3 letters of recommendation is required, but you may submit up to 7     
  • 1 letter must be from a science faculty member, teacher, or research mentor     
  • Letters are accepted from individuals and premedical advisory groups     
  • Your writers should be from those who know you very well and can speak with knowledge of your experiences and abilities.

Make sure your letter writers can speak to Columbia’s suitability criteria above. Your writers should showcase you as a well-rounded promising physician. It is especially important for them to speak to areas such as leadership, integrity, and personality as these can be traits that are more difficult to show in other areas of the application.



Extracurriculars and Experiences

Your extracurriculars will be an important part of the AMCAS Work and Activities component of your med school application, so learn more about which extracurriculars for medical school you should pursue, and how many volunteer hours for medical school you need to prepare yourself.

Shadowing

Although shadowing experience is not required, it is strongly recommended. 89% of matriculants in recent years had prior experience shadowing a physician at the time of entry to the program. If you still need shadowing experience, learn how to ask to shadow a doctor to get started.

Clinical Experience

Recent data shows that 90% of matriculants had experience volunteering in a medical or clinical setting. Furthermore, 48% of matriculants had paid employment experience in a medical or clinical setting.

Research

The vast majority of matriculants (99%) had prior research or lab experience at the time of entry, the most of any category so make sure you have research experience before you apply to Columbia.

Interview Format

Columbia uses the Personal Interview format. Interviews are scheduled from August-January via email. To prepare for your interview, you should familiarize yourself with common medical school interview questions such as “why do you want to be a doctor?” and “tell me about yourself”. You can also review these Columbia medical school interview questions the admissions committee might ask.

Get ready for your medical school interview with our sample questions and answers:

Acceptance and Waitlist Information

The waitlist is not ranked. The Admissions Committee reviews waitlist applicants from May until August each admissions cycle. The waitlist closes when classes begin in mid-August. Offers are made to waitlist applicants as spots become available.

If you are offered admission, you must mark your status as “Plan to Enroll” on April 15 and withdraw your applications from all other medical schools. By June 1 you must “Commit to Enroll.” No deposit is required to reserve your spot. 

Contact information

Email: [email protected]

Website: https://www.ps.columbia.edu/education/academic-programs/md-program/admissions

FAQs

1. HOW HARD IS IT TO GET INTO COLUMBIA VAGELOS COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS AND SURGEONS?

The competition for entry is quite high. Approximately 8,000 people apply per year for 138 spots, with an overall success rate of 1.91%.

2. IS THE MCAT REQUIRED?

The MCAT is required, and must be taken within four years prior to your application to be considered valid. If you take the MCAT more than once, your highest overall score will be used.

3. IS CASPER REQUIRED?

Columbia is not one of the medical schools that require CASPer .

4. WHAT ARE THE COURSEWORK PREREQUISITES?

1 year of Biology with labs, 1 year of Physics with labs, 2 years of Chemistry (1 year of Organic Chemistry) with labs, and 1 year of English or an equivalent writing-intensive course. Biochemistry, Statistics, and Biostatistics are all highly recommended.

5. HOW MANY LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION DO I NEED TO SUBMIT?

Applicants must submit at least three letters of recommendation, although up to seven are accepted.

6. WHAT ARE THE IMPORTANT DATES IN THE ADMISSIONS CYCLE?

The AMCAS application opens in May, and secondary applications are sent to all applicants in July-October. October 15 is the AMCAS deadline, and October 22 is the secondary application deadline. Interviews are conducted August-January. All admission decision letters are sent in March.

7. DOES COLUMBIA ACCEPT TRANSFER STUDENTS?

No, Columbia does not accept transfer students.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

Disclaimer: BeMo does not endorse or affiliate with any universities, colleges, or official test administrators. The content has been developed based on the most recent publicly available data provided from the official university website. However, you should always check the statistics/requirements with the official school website for the most up to date information. You are responsible for your own results. 


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