Premedical Committee Support
Premedical Committee Support
Most medical schools expect applicants will have the support of the institution where they completed their premedical preparation. At GS, support is provided by the Premedical Committee made up of the advising deans of the Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program.
Beyond the minimum academic eligibility, the Committee's support is determined by evidence of the student's superior academic preparation, fitness for a career in medicine, fulfillment of the clinical experience requirement, and recommendations provided by Columbia faculty members, instructors at previous schools, and employers and volunteer supervisors.
Students seeking support should heed the advice of the Premedical Committee, including that of their assigned advisor, about how best to prepare and strengthen their records.
The Premedical Committee provides individualized institutional letters of support (committee letters) recommending students who are applying for studies at medical, dental, and veterinary schools. To be eligible for a committee letter, students must meet the following standards:*
- Enrollment within the School of General Studies for a minimum of two semesters.
- Completion of a minimum of 15 points of mathematics and science coursework within the prescribed curriculum.
- A minimum 2.75 cumulative grade point average in math and science courses as part of the GS premedical sciences curriculum by the end of spring semester prior to the application year.
- Satisfaction of all curriculuar requirements with grades of at least C.
- Completion of a minimum of 120 hours of volunteer or paid clinical healthcare work, with a letter verifying these hours.
- Submission of all materials required for committee evaluation and support by the specified deadlines, including a minimum of four letters of recommendation, at least two of which must be from Columbia science faculty.
- An interview with the Premedical Committee.
- Completion of premedical coursework while enrolled at Columbia's School of General Studies. Students who start their premedical coursework at GS but complete it elsewhere are ineligible for committee support.
- Completion of the program in good standing.
*GS undergraduate premeds are expected to satisfy these criteria also; however, their committee support is not contingent upon a 2.75 g.p.a. in math and science at Columbia nor are they required to complete at least 120 of work in health care settings.
Note: A student who applies to medical school with the support of the Premedical Committee, but is not admitted normally retains that support for up to two reapplications (i.e., a total of three application cycles—or four, if the student had initially applied via linkage).
Each student preparing to apply to medical, dental, or veterinary school with the support of the Premedical Committee is required to undergo a committee interview sometime in the months before applying. For more information, students should consult the Guide to Committee Interviews.
With the exception of letters for linkage candidates (which are composed and submitted during the spring semester), letters are prepared in the summer after the student has submitted the common application and other internal application materials. Students whose applications to the Committee are not complete, or who have not met the eligibility requirements by the stated deadline, may apply for a letter in the next application cycle, if they are eligible for support.
For students who defer their application to medical school beyond their last year in the program, the Committee will write a letter of support within three years of completion of the program, provided that all other eligibility requirements have been met and the internal deadlines for a committee letter are observed. Students who postpone application to medical school after completing the Postbac Premed Program are advised to keep active in a health care-related field in order to be considered serious candidates for medical school.
An unsuccessful applicant must decide whether or not to reapply in the immediately succeeding application cycle. This decision should be made in consultation with the advisor. In some cases, it may be advisable to sit a cycle out to address weaknesses in the application before reapplying. Please note, however, that postponing a reapplication for more than three years will result in loss of committee support, unless there has been regular communication with the advisor about one's plans.
GS premeds are eligible for support for up to two reapplications, i.e., support in three aplication cycles (or, four, if the first application was as a linkage candidate).