Feb 14, 2019
644
570
41
Debt free does not mean that they changed the underlying statistics of their student body. It just means that they've reduced some of the burden on the matriculates.
Reducing that burden is a way that medical schools can help promote socioeconomic diversity - by making going to medical school seem like a possible plan for a student from a lower income family. Even though physicians are usually able to pay back their school loans, imagine that you had a lot of debt from undergrad and now you are looking at schools that have a total COA approaching 350-400k total. That's pretty intimidating. Columbia's financial aid program doesn't automatically make everyone have an equal chance to do pre-med internships and get a good gpa and MCAT classes, but it does help reduce a perceived burden so med school may feel like an option for more people. Columbia also offers programs for low income students to help them get paid clinical experiences. They are still trying to recruit a competitive class and they may believe that the answer is not to lower their admissions standards.
 
Oct 24, 2018
7
19
11
Sometimes it just be like that... :)
Sorry, I couldn't resist. Puns about usernames aside, it really does feel random sometimes. Almost no one is going to get in everywhere.
Lol I guess I was asking for this response with my user name! It’s not so much about not getting in but getting rejected instead of waitlisted, since it seems like I’d have to do something particularly atrocious on interview day to get straight up rejected (at least according to other SDN forums).
 
May 2, 2018
340
561
41
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Debt free does not mean that they changed the underlying statistics of their student body. It just means that they've reduced some of the burden on the matriculates.
This is not true. About 20% of their students are not paying anything in tuition, and that's based on financial need. That means at least 20% of their class likely came from a low SES. I would trust that statistic more than the number of students at your interview that had air pods or were sporting Canada goose (whatever that is). Yes, it could be better, but I think that Columbia in particular is doing more than most schools to increase the SES diversity of their class.
 
  • Like
Reactions: weakmadestrong
Mar 4, 2019
5
12
1
Ah, so it seems like they do plan on rejecting post-interview - I know some schools only reject in special circumstances (like if you really mess up in the interview or demonstrate really poor personality traits throughout the interview day). This makes me feel better! Can I ask where you got that info from?
There's an excel sheet circulating around SDN with the exact numbers. I'll try to find it and post it here at some point. Maybe someone else has seen it too and can post it.
 
Feb 14, 2019
644
570
41
This is not true. About 20% of their students are not paying anything in tuition, and that's based on financial need. That means at least 20% of their class likely came from a low SES. I would trust that statistic more than the number of students at your interview that had air pods or were sporting Canada goose (whatever that is). Yes, it could be better, but I think that Columbia in particular is doing more than most schools to increase the SES diversity of their class.
Can someone explain the debt free initiative a little more? I don't understand how the other 80% are paying tuition debt free. Yes some people have their parents paying but I don't believe that 80% are in that situation
 
Mar 4, 2019
5
12
1
This is not true. About 20% of their students are not paying anything in tuition, and that's based on financial need. That means at least 20% of their class likely came from a low SES. I would trust that statistic more than the number of students at your interview that had air pods or were sporting Canada goose (whatever that is). Yes, it could be better, but I think that Columbia in particular is doing more than most schools to increase the SES diversity of their class.
Look at the stats on pubmed and etc. 20% roughly matches the national medical school average for people in the bottom 3 quintiles. No **** that they qualify for full financial aid. Yes its great that they are offering financial aid and yes that's better than most schools, but the fact still remains that wealthy people have an extraordinary advantage in this system

I had to pay (despite being broke)
$1000 for MCAT prep
Opportunity cost of missing work for 1 month (est. $2500)
$4000 on applications
$2000 on flights and hotel

Not to mention having to do work study in undergrad, inability to do volunteering, and etc.

Get real dude. Financial aid doesn't magically make up for everything wrong with this system and the people in the waiting room with you at P&S reflects that
 
Feb 14, 2019
644
570
41
Look at the stats on pubmed and etc. 20% roughly matches the national medical school average for people in the bottom 3 quintiles. No **** that they qualify for full financial aid. Yes its great that they are offering financial aid and yes that's better than most schools, but the fact still remains that wealthy people have an extraordinary advantage in this system

I had to pay (despite being broke)
$1000 for MCAT prep
Opportunity cost of missing work for 1 month (est. $2500)
$4000 on applications
$2000 on flights and hotel

Not to mention having to do work study in undergrad, inability to do volunteering, and etc.

Get real dude. Financial aid doesn't magically make up for everything wrong with this system and the people in the waiting room with you at P&S reflects that
What do you think P&S specifically should do about that? Clearly the system isn't right and some people are more privileged than others, but we are talking about P&S and what they should be doing
 
May 2, 2018
340
561
41
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Look at the stats on pubmed and etc. 20% roughly matches the national medical school average for people in the bottom 3 quintiles. No **** that they qualify for full financial aid. Yes its great that they are offering financial aid and yes that's better than most schools, but the fact still remains that wealthy people have an extraordinary advantage in this system

I had to pay (despite being broke)
$1000 for MCAT prep
Opportunity cost of missing work for 1 month (est. $2500)
$4000 on applications
$2000 on flights and hotel

Not to mention having to do work study in undergrad, inability to do volunteering, and etc.

Get real dude. Financial aid doesn't magically make up for everything wrong with this system and the people in the waiting room with you at P&S reflects that
And what realistic solution do you think there is to this problem? For Columbia to pay for your MCAT prep, 1 month of work-leave, your application fees (which, by the way, are significantly reduced if you truly are low SES with FAP), and your flight? (They give you student housing for free, remember?) They're doing what's arguably the most that can be done now. In fact, 10 years ago, I bet if you told someone that there'd be a debt-free school in the future, they'd call you crazy.

If you want to change the "system," we can go before the medical school application, starting with undergrad. Nothing practical will come out of that discussion and will likely lead to vague, idealistic statements, i.e. "med schools need to make a greater effort to have more socioeconomic diversity."

And no, it isn't "no ****" that people in the bottom 3 quintiles qualify for full financial aid, because guess what? At most medical schools, they still have to take out full loans. Not at Columbia though. So if there's any school you're going to criticize about not making a greater effort for more socioeconomic diversity, I don't think Columbia is the one.
 
May 2, 2018
340
561
41
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Can someone explain the debt free initiative a little more? I don't understand how the other 80% are paying tuition debt free. Yes some people have their parents paying but I don't believe that 80% are in that situation
So it's 20% that are full, but the rest that qualify for aid are likely still receiving something from Columbia. Debt-free means that whatever total COA - EFC is will be paid with scholarships and not loans. A lot of other top-tier schools (like Harvard) have a unit loan of minimum 30k+ that you must take, even if your EFC is 0.
 
Mar 4, 2019
4
18
11
Status
Pre-Medical
If you are a school that costs 80k per year (sticker price), then the no loans policy roughly means that people in the bottom 3 quintiles (by default) have insufficient funds to pay.

I think the point that Aussie was making is that Columbia may have implemented a no-loans policy, but that doesn’t mean that they’ve suddenly begun accepting more low income students. The 20% full tution students (and their SES) is roughly equivalent to the national average for medical school. I agree that they shouldn’t “lower standards” and that it’s a good first step but let’s point out some problem with the system that can be remedied

1. Volunteering is much more easily undertaken by students that don’t have to pay bills. Clinical experiences (paid and unpaid should be treated equally)
2. AMCAS needs to make practice tests and resources more easily available. Test prep companies price gouge students because they know that 50% are from the top quintile and are willing to pay whatever it takes. This prices out low income students.
3. I do not honestly believe that schools like Columbia are seriously considering all 1000 students that they invite to interview. Honestly kinder to have a smaller pool.
4. A significant number of students (at all schools) are admitted due to legacy status. Legacy is cancer for both undergrad and med school
 
May 2, 2018
340
561
41
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
If you are a school that costs 80k per year (sticker price), then the no loans policy roughly means that people in the bottom 3 quintiles (by default) have insufficient funds to pay.

I think the point that Aussie was making is that Columbia may have implemented a no-loans policy, but that doesn’t mean that they’ve suddenly begun accepting more low income students. The 20% full tution students (and their SES) is roughly equivalent to the national average for medical school. I agree that they shouldn’t “lower standards” and that it’s a good first step but let’s point out some problem with the system that can be remedied

1. Volunteering is much more easily undertaken by students that don’t have to pay bills. Clinical experiences (paid and unpaid should be treated equally)
2. AMCAS needs to make practice tests and resources more easily available. Test prep companies price gouge students because they know that 50% are from the top quintile and are willing to pay whatever it takes. This prices out low income students.
3. I do not honestly believe that schools like Columbia are seriously considering all 1000 students that they invite to interview. Honestly kinder to have a smaller pool.
4. A significant number of students (at all schools) are admitted due to legacy status. Legacy is cancer for both undergrad and med school
Yeah that's probably true about them not suddenly accepting more low SES students, but at least more low SES students can matriculate at Columbia, which encourages more of them to apply.

1. I agree, volunteering is bogus. If anything, paid clinical experiences give better exposure to medicine than volunteering.
2. Well, Khan Academy was supposedly reviewed under the direction of the AAMC, and it's free. I agree that the official practice exams shouldn't be as pricey as they are, and test prep companies will be test prep companies (and to be honest, I don't think they offer much more benefit over Khan Academy).
3. I don't have the knowledge to comment on this.
4. I saw your post earlier and yes, I agree that this is unfair.
 
Aug 13, 2018
50
101
41
As a perpetual ranter about the silliness of the admissions process and in particular how tone-deaf most administrators are w/ regards to the struggles of low SES students, I feel the frustration. I've had the opportunity to have many talks with admins from a top 10ish medical school and while I'm sorry about your experience a lot of medical schools are really doing their best considering the situation. I'm addressing each one of your main points below.
1. Volunteering is much more easily undertaken by students that don’t have to pay bills. Clinical experiences (paid and unpaid should be treated equally)
This is true, but from my experience talking to admins they are treated equally, with many schools (at least the ones I know of) preferring paid vs unpaid. I personally don't believe that the type of activities considered clinical experiences (doing anything as long as it's close enough to smell patients) are relevant for the admissions process. Volunteering in a hospital does not shown selflessness, just the fact that you have free time. Actually working with patients, whether that's by taking up a CNA, scribe or EMT position is much more relevant exposure to the medical field and again most adcoms see right through the BS.

2. AMCAS needs to make practice tests and resources more easily available. Test prep companies price gouge students because they know that 50% are from the top quintile and are willing to pay whatever it takes. This prices out low income students.
The FAP gives you access to a wide range of prep resources and the AMCAS-Khan Academy partnership is a step in the right direction. Sure, not everyone qualifies for FAP, but you really don't need a prep course that costs 1000s of dollars to do well on the MCAT. You could argue for expanding FAP, but knowing the amount of effort it takes to write quality test questions (plus testing them, ensuring test security etc.) the fee is decently fair and the cutoff for FAP is quite generous. But screw test prep companies. They're scumbags.
3. I do not honestly believe that schools like Columbia are seriously considering all 1000 students that they invite to interview. Honestly kinder to have a smaller pool.
I think it was LizzyM that talked about the ladder concept, but yeah. Columbia probably did not seriously consider all 1000 students. The tiered post-II communication is indicative of that, but I personally know someone who despite being relatively mediocre in their application, nailed the interview and got in. N=1, though. Having a smaller pool would be predominantly detrimental to low SES students that don't have the resources to build a stellar application.
4. A significant number of students (at all schools) are admitted due to legacy status. Legacy is cancer for both undergrad and med school
Wouldn't really call it significant, unless you describe legacy status very broadly, but otherwise agree with you. Back-door dealing is despicable, but an argument can be made for a school accepting students from their own alma mater or relatives of their alumni as they are much more likely to enroll.

Again, I'm really sorry about your experience in the process and I don't think anything I'm saying will bring any comfort. I'm sure you'll end up being super successful wherever you end up going; but the current admissions system is miles ahead compared to almost everything in the world as far as ensuring fairness. Could we do better? Sure. And we're moving more towards that. But universities have a high degree of institutional inertia and any changes take ages to propagate even if everyone is incredibly well meaning.
 
Dec 20, 2018
341
632
41
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
I'm not going to lie... I am pretty upset about my post-II rejection.

However... I am even more upset that my classmate was accepted into Vagelos despite having mediocre grades and cheating on her permanent record.... her father is an instructor at Vagelos.... there was never any doubt that she would be accepted.

This process disproportionately rewards people with money and privilege.
Ngl this is a pretty gross and unacceptable case of nepotism from Columbia (as is expected from an Ivy unfortunately), but in terms of fixing the application process and medical education in general, I’m placing a lot of the blame on governing bodies such as the NBME, AAMC, and others. They’re the ones who make Step 1 and Step 2 cost $600 and $1200, ramp out extraordinarily high costs for ERAS and AMCAS apps, refuse to encourage more transparency in the application process (such as pre screening before sending secondaries to allow unqualified applicants to save money), and probably dozens more sins. Unless the actual government steps in, I don’t see how this changes, as there’s no competition to encourage lower prices and better practices.
 
Feb 14, 2019
644
570
41
So it's 20% that are full, but the rest that qualify for aid are likely still receiving something from Columbia. Debt-free means that whatever total COA - EFC is will be paid with scholarships and not loans. A lot of other top-tier schools (like Harvard) have a unit loan of minimum 30k+ that you must take, even if your EFC is 0.
On MSAR and other sources of average indebtedness Columbia's avg indebtedness is listed at around 100-130k, so I guess that's where my confusion comes from. Maybe it's that if a family has a 100k income, for example, then maybe Columbia lists an EFC of 15k (a guess) but in reality the parents aren't going to pay that so then that leads to loans being taken out?
 
  • Like
Reactions: weakmadestrong

freedoctor17

2+ Year Member
Sep 7, 2016
2,264
2,276
81
Status
Pre-Medical, Medical Student (Accepted)
On MSAR and other sources of average indebtedness Columbia's avg indebtedness is listed at around 100-130k, so I guess that's where my confusion comes from. Maybe it's that if a family has a 100k income, for example, then maybe Columbia lists an EFC of 15k (a guess) but in reality the parents aren't going to pay that so then that leads to loans being taken out?
Pretty much
 
May 2, 2018
340
561
41
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
On MSAR and other sources of average indebtedness Columbia's avg indebtedness is listed at around 100-130k, so I guess that's where my confusion comes from. Maybe it's that if a family has a 100k income, for example, then maybe Columbia lists an EFC of 15k (a guess) but in reality the parents aren't going to pay that so then that leads to loans being taken out?
Yeah, they would have to take out loans, but also the indebtedness shown on MSAR is before the debt-free initiative. In the next few years it should drop significantly.
 
Jan 2, 2019
20
26
21
Status
Pre-Medical
I'm not going to lie... I am pretty upset about my post-II rejection.

However... I am even more upset that my classmate was accepted into Vagelos despite having mediocre grades and cheating on her permanent record.... her father is an instructor at Vagelos.... there was never any doubt that she would be accepted.

This process disproportionately rewards people with money and privilege.
4. A significant number of students (at all schools) are admitted due to legacy status. Legacy is cancer for both undergrad and med school
The immense irony of the entire medical school application process is that it promotes integrity while simultaneously eroding it, as seen here and in many other ways. Having been in this position in the past, it gives one pause to consider whether it is even worth playing such a game. I encourage you to maintain your integrity even though those who do not will likely never see consequences. In the end, you have the sole claim to your self-regard.
 
Jun 29, 2018
134
146
41
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Ngl this is a pretty gross and unacceptable case of nepotism from Columbia (as is expected from an Ivy unfortunately), but in terms of fixing the application process and medical education in general, I’m placing a lot of the blame on governing bodies such as the NBME, AAMC, and others. They’re the ones who make Step 1 and Step 2 cost $600 and $1200, ramp out extraordinarily high costs for ERAS and AMCAS apps, refuse to encourage more transparency in the application process (such as pre screening before sending secondaries to allow unqualified applicants to save money), and probably dozens more sins. Unless the actual government steps in, I don’t see how this changes, as there’s no competition to encourage lower prices and better practices.
I think I recall seeing an article in which the president of the NBME responded to questions about the high cost of Step 1 with something along the lines of "It's only a small fraction of the total cost of med school. You should be grateful for the fact that a test deciding so much of your life only costs $1000."

If anyone has the official link, please do tell, because I'm having trouble finding it.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: StanleyYelnats
Mar 6, 2018
964
1,207
41
Status
Pre-Medical
I'm not going to lie... I am pretty upset about my post-II rejection.

However... I am even more upset that my classmate was accepted into Vagelos despite having mediocre grades and cheating on her permanent record.... her father is an instructor at Vagelos.... there was never any doubt that she would be accepted.

This process disproportionately rewards people with money and privilege.


Ngl this is a pretty gross and unacceptable case of nepotism from Columbia (as is expected from an Ivy unfortunately), but in terms of fixing the application process and medical education in general, I’m placing a lot of the blame on governing bodies such as the NBME, AAMC, and others. They’re the ones who make Step 1 and Step 2 cost $600 and $1200, ramp out extraordinarily high costs for ERAS and AMCAS apps, refuse to encourage more transparency in the application process (such as pre screening before sending secondaries to allow unqualified applicants to save money), and probably dozens more sins. Unless the actual government steps in, I don’t see how this changes, as there’s no competition to encourage lower prices and better practices.
I wouldn't go so far as to call it an "unacceptable case of nepotism" without knowing more details first. All Theta said was mediocre grades and cheating on permanent record. How mediocre we talking? What kind/extent of cheating? Did Columbia know about the cheating? Maybe @ThetaCC can offer some more info while still preserving anonymity. I think we would all love to hear more
 
Mar 4, 2019
4
18
11
Status
Pre-Medical
I wouldn't go so far as to call it an "unacceptable case of nepotism" without knowing more details first. All Theta said was mediocre grades and cheating on permanent record. How mediocre we talking? What kind/extent of cheating? Did Columbia know about the cheating? Maybe @ThetaCC can offer some more info while still preserving anonymity. I think we would all love to hear more

Mediocre Grades:
Mix of low A’s and B’s in premed courses at Ivy League school. Low course load (~15 credits per semester). Non-premed classes were not particularly demanding (mostly psych). Not terrible obviously, but not outstanding or particularly impressive

Cheating:
I don’t know the exact details of the case, but I do know the following... caught cheating on a lab report (copying or something). Placed on permanent record. Absolutely had to report it on AMCAS so yes Columbia knew. Students with similar cases (relatively common) coming from my school were denied Interviews at most if not all MD schools
 
Aug 25, 2018
111
152
41
Honestly, the nepotism thing happens at all levels of education and work starting from high school. There are people who get accepted to my undergrad's affiliated Top 5 med school every year who are related to X big name professor or dean. Personally, that bothers me less than people who get into top-tier schools despite actively sabotaging other students's work/academic record, taking Adderall (nothing against those that really need it), or engaging in ~ethically dubious methods~ to snag club leadership spots. I just can't think about it too much or I'd never have worked up the motivation to apply. The system isn't fair but we're not in the position where we can do anything about it; the most we can do is blow off some steam here and go back to focusing on our own paths. Of course, it's worth keeping in mind that the med school app process is incredibly performative and for a lot of Top 20s, what they're screening for isn't necessarily just how good/ethical of a doctor they think you'll be, but how much glory/shine you'll add to their reputation in the future.
 
Mar 6, 2018
964
1,207
41
Status
Pre-Medical
Mediocre Grades:
Mix of low A’s and B’s in premed courses at Ivy League school. Low course load (~15 credits per semester). Non-premed classes were not particularly demanding (mostly psych). Not terrible obviously, but not outstanding or particularly impressive
This is meh. Grades can be made up for by a variety of factors.

Cheating:
I don’t know the exact details of the case, but I do know the following... caught cheating on a lab report (copying or something). Placed on permanent record. Absolutely had to report it on AMCAS so yes Columbia knew. Students with similar cases (relatively common) coming from my school were denied Interviews at most if not all MD schools
This is a big deal. Most adcoms on here say that for cheating like this applicants need multiple years of basically full-time service after ungrad with proven integrity before they can even think of applying and maybe being accepted to a DO school of their app is strong. I imagine your friend didn't have this which makes it a very disappointing story. Shame Columbia admissions
 
Jan 2, 2019
20
26
21
Status
Pre-Medical
Of course, it's worth keeping in mind that the med school app process is incredibly performative and for a lot of Top 20s, what they're screening for isn't necessarily just how good/ethical of a doctor they think you'll be, but how much glory/shine you'll add to their reputation in the future.
Fantastic point. Much of our frustration comes from the desire to believe that this process is meritocratic in the first place. Since that ideal is part of a collective cultural myth way deeper than any individual, everyone involved in the process perpetuates it, while, as you say, the element of theater is in fact non-negligible.

Most adcoms on here say that for cheating like this applicants need multiple years of basically full-time service after ungrad with proven integrity before they can even think of applying and maybe being accepted to a DO school of their app is strong.
As I said - the process, or rather, the people in it with authority, since the process itself is inanimate, promote ideals of integrity while simultaneously eroding them. Here we see reports of disingenuous behavior by Columbia adcoms who, I think we can all agree, would in person emphatically eschew any semblance of applicant dishonesty.
 

weakmadestrong

5+ Year Member
2+ Year Member
May 2, 2014
21
48
111
I just wanted to say how great it is that these conversations are happening here. Seeing this level of honesty with other applicants is refreshing. After experiencing the "performative" pressure throughout the entire application cycle (and even before), I was super exhausted at the end of it all. And I agree that during undergrad, seeing students with privilege get a leg up in time, opportunities, less stress, etc. was frustrating too. Had to suck it up and do the best I could while fitting in work (and knowing that I'm already incredibly lucky to realistically pursue medicine), but there's a certain air of defeat in having to play the game or comply with the system before you can even think about changing the system.
 
Jan 2, 2019
20
26
21
Status
Pre-Medical
I just wanted to say how great it is that these conversations are happening here. Seeing this level of honesty with other applicants is refreshing. After experiencing the "performative" pressure throughout the entire application cycle (and even before), I was super exhausted at the end of it all. And I agree that during undergrad, seeing students with privilege get a leg up in time, opportunities, less stress, etc. was frustrating too. Had to suck it up and do the best I could while fitting in work (and knowing that I'm already incredibly lucky to realistically pursue medicine), but there's a certain air of defeat in having to play the game or comply with the system before you can even think about changing the system.
The air of defeat, as you say, is very real, and I can reassure you that many of us share the feeling, as well as that of appreciation for our many opportunities. I'm reminded of when the jurist-scholar Mawdudi rebuked the likes of Taymiyya by saying that an idealistic and morally grounded legal system cannot be justly instituted until society has progressed to being able to provide for all citizens, thus removing want and motivation for crimes in the first place.

The point I'm trying to make is that we are going to have to lead by example - we need to hold ourselves accountable to ethical standards, and ask to be held accountable by our peers - only then do we have the grounds to hold unethical colleagues accountable. Progress in these dimensions is cultural and as such tends to be generational, it cannot be forced before its time is due. So, let's keep our spirits high and never compromise our integrity. People are great at intuitively detecting duplicity versus integrity and will gravitate toward genuine leaders.
 

br2pi5

5+ Year Member
Aug 8, 2013
305
284
131
Status
Pre-Medical
I got the sheet protector too. Was pretty excited but then I saw it was info we got on our portals anyway, and then I thought about how plastic isn't biodegradable, and then I got stressed oops
bring that environmental justice thinking into medicine, weakmadestrong!
 

twirl16

2+ Year Member
Oct 30, 2016
13
9
51
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Anyone know when the Facebook group will be made?
 
May 2, 2018
340
561
41
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Does anyone know the dates for the California/San Francisco second look/revisit?
 
Aug 14, 2018
34
79
31
Status
Pre-Medical
Does anyone know the dates for the California/San Francisco second look/revisit?
I'm also interested in knowing this! It said in the letter there was info online ? I didn't see anything about it. Do you suspect it would be during the same weekend?
 
May 2, 2018
340
561
41
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I'm also interested in knowing this! It said in the letter there was info online ? I didn't see anything about it. Do you suspect it would be during the same weekend?
I would hope not lol, I can't make it for the 4th/5th!
 

freedoctor17

2+ Year Member
Sep 7, 2016
2,264
2,276
81
Status
Pre-Medical, Medical Student (Accepted)
Got a rejection letter in the mail from them today and it wasn’t laminated... guess I’m not hanging it up on my wall :meh:
Woah, do they actually send rejection letters in the mail :confused:

I'd rather just see an email or the portal update and forget about it...
 
  • Like
Reactions: StanleyYelnats
Jul 20, 2018
129
257
41
Can someone explain how Columbia’s financial aid system works?
Using the application material you provide (CSS Profile, parent’s tax returns, your tax returns, etc...), Columbia determines your expected family contribution (EFC). They then subtract that from the total cost of attendance. The resulting number is paid for by the Vagelos Scholarship.

Theoretically, no one should graduate with debt. However, if your parents make a healthy living and are not contributing to your medical education, you likely will not benefit at all from Columbia’s financial aid system and will need to take out federal loans for the entire cost of attendance (edit: as with most schools)

Also notable: If your parents are separated/divorced, you still must provide fincancial info for your non-custodial parent—even if they aren’t contributing a dime to support you. This is not the case for some other schools (ex: Yale only asks for custodial parent info)
 
  • Like
Reactions: twirl16
Jun 20, 2017
34
56
31
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Is there an accepted student's facebook group?
 
Mar 6, 2018
964
1,207
41
Status
Pre-Medical
Using the application material you provide (CSS Profile, parent’s tax returns, your tax returns, etc...), Columbia determines your expected family contribution (EFC). They then subtract that from the total cost of attendance. The resulting number is paid for by the Vagelos Scholarship.

Theoretically, no one should graduate with debt. However, if your parents make a healthy living and are not contributing to your medical education, you likely will not benefit at all from Columbia’s financial aid system and will need to take out federal loans for the entire cost of attendance (edit: as with most schools)

Also notable: If your parents are separated/divorced, you still must provide fincancial info for your non-custodial parent—even if they aren’t contributing a dime to support you. This is not the case for some other schools (ex: Yale only asks for custodial parent info)
I don't think healthy living is the right phrasing. You or your parents likely need to be very wealthy for you to have to pay full COA
 
  • Like
Reactions: weakmadestrong
Mar 17, 2018
825
1,242
41
www.mdapplicants.com
Status
Medical Student
I don't think healthy living is the right phrasing. You or your parents likely need to be very wealthy for you to have to pay full COA
lol yeah to pay full COA at Columbia your parents would have to be making like 300k if your only child and even more if you've got siblings lol. EFC would have to be 90kish I think
 
Aug 7, 2018
6
2
1
lol yeah to pay full COA at Columbia your parents would have to be making like 300k if your only child and even more if you've got siblings lol. EFC would have to be 90kish I think
I'm probably not far from that number considering I have "3 parents" even though I haven't received a dime from my dad and stepmom in 15 years. It's pretty unfair that I have to count income from essentially a different family as contributing to me :(
 
  • Like
Reactions: StanleyYelnats
Oct 17, 2018
458
835
41
New England
Status
Attending Physician
Sometimes it just be like that... :)
Sorry, I couldn't resist. Puns about usernames aside, it really does feel random sometimes. Almost no one is going to get in everywhere.
One of my advisees got into UCSF, UCLA, VANDY, YALE, HARVARD, UMASS (CA resident!), BU. Did not even get an interview at Columbia, Cornell, Sinai or Penn. So even very accomplished students do not get in everywhere. (And it was not like person bombed the interview here bc did not even get an interview!) Got in everywhere they interviewed - except Mayo - got a "very interested" letter and then waitlisted. Of note, this person had LizzyM 75, from T10 UG, and URIM, and very disadvantaged.