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Cornell vs Tufts vs CMU premed

johny1

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So I got into Cornell, Tufts and CMU.

Which is the best undergrad for successful acceptance into a good medical school?

Cornell - has a very difficult curriculum with very low GPAs and has a 67% premed acceptance into a medical school

Tufts- 75%

CMU- 85%


yes cornell has the lowest percentage but it also has prestige, resources, connections, and people. (I cant figure out why it has such a low acceptance rate or why the college itself allows for that low of a rate. all they need to do is make their school easier and not super difficult and ridiculous)

Thanks! - make sure to post ur reason for which one!
 

rrxr

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The thing with these acceptance rates is that they really depend on people who WANT to go to med school but don't apply for whatever reason... For example, if the premed advisor at the school is mean/intimidating and frightens people on the lower end away from applying, then obviously the acceptance rate will be higher, without actually being any "better" for you.

So you really have to look at the breakdown: http://www.career.cornell.edu/downloads/HCEC/AaChart2011.pdf

I don't know anything about Tufts and CMU, but I am a freshman at Cornell and I can tell you its reputation as impossible grades-wise is exaggerated... Yes, we have less grade inflation than some places, but I would be surprised if it was much more than a .1-.2ish difference in the final GPA. Our real deflation is in the rate of people graduating with honors (I think this is like 8%... as opposed to Harvard's 91% lol), which as a premed you probably don't care about that much.

I have no idea if we have more work than other places but I would guess that we do. (This is hard to put a number to, so I won't comment more.)

In the end, go to the college that you like the best when you visit, and take $$ into account. You can go to med school from anywhere.
 

johny1

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to make matters even more difficult I was accepted into Cornell's college of engineering so I'm not sure how much harder that will be. So if those statistics are skewed a little bit I understand but I'm sure Cornell screens too.

I've looked at that chart a lot what bothers me is that kids with mcats of 30-35 are rejected by med schools because they have low gpas at cornell. The acceptance rate starts to fall for those kids as their gpas go down and down. The fact that they got 30-35 mcat scores shows they are smart but were unfortunate enough to have gone through cornell curriculum. Makes me wonder if Cornell is really the right place.
 

Connell MD

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While you can get into any med school from any undergrad, the med schools do in fact look at the difficulty of the curriculum of the undergrad. So don't think that med schools don't think about how hard your coursework was.
 

rrxr

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I don't know firsthand if Cornell screens, I haven't gotten that far! (Plus I'm probably too good of a student to be screened out...lol) They make a point of saying that they don't, though, and I would take that at face value.

I really can't tell you about how hard engineering is, since I'm CAS. But like any school there are easy majors and hard majors. Physics in general at Cornell (physics for physics majors/engineers at least, 2213/2214 and such... not the premed 1101/2207 type) is hard, I can tell you that. All the physics/math double majors in my honors math class say it's killer, and these are smart kids.

I hear that the average GPA at Cornell is 3.4, which is not low at all imo. So those kids who got rejected are below the median. I honestly don't think Cornell is that "difficult"; though I definitely find it challenging, I'm getting good grades. There will be people flunking out everywhere. You have to keep in mind that for some people getting a high score on a test is not the same thing as showing up to lecture/doing homework. I'm sure you know people with amazing SAT scores and mediocre GPAs in HS. It's the same thing.

If you're curious about grades at Cornell check this out: http://registrar.sas.cornell.edu/Student/mediangradesA.html

The typical premed courses are CHEM 2070(2090 for engineers)-2080, CHEM 3570-80 + 2510, general biology of some sort (eg BIOG 1105-6, BIOG 1440, etc... they're all curved to a B), physics of some sort (again a lot of options), and math.
 

johny1

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yeah I looked at those median grades for all the premed courses and a lot of engineering courses and they get curved to like Bs and B-s and some even higher. But what I'm scared of is that if median grades are Bs and b-s and If I'm an average cornell student (very hard to judge. I had decent SAT and a high gpa at some small school) won't I just be getting average grades? Its very difficult to judge and I guess that is what is making me very uncomfortable about choosing Cornell.

You said you are doing well and I wonder if you were an overqualified applicant.

Also If I transfer from Engineering to CAS how do the premed requirements work?

Like I know that premeds take:

Chem 2070 (207) + 2080 (208)

or Chem 2150 (215) +2160 (216)* For students with strong chemistry
backgrounds (Honors) (Will fulfill
Engineering requirements)

or Chem 2090 (209) + 2080 (208) Required sequence for Engineering

Now say I take Chem 2090(engineers) and then I switch into CAS my second semester instead of taking 2080(engineers) what would the next chem class I take ? 2080? And If So will it be a problem if I lose coverage of MCAT topics due to these irregular switches. Same for physics.

And what exactly is the advantage of taking honors classes? You said your in Honors math is that just a more difficult class or does it cover more topics?

is Honors advantageous to premeds?

Thanks!
 

rrxr

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The 2nd semester chem for BOTH CAS and Engineering is 2080. The usual Engineering chem sequence is 2090-2080.... I think this is b/c most engineers only need one semester of chem, so they didn't bother making 2 separate classes. 2090 is almost exactly like 2070, it's just that there are already 800+ people in 2080 and they can't fit the ~300 people taking 2090 into the lecture hall lol.

I was a salutatorian, SAT 2350. I suppose I might be a tiny bit overqualified, as I was never interested in playing the EC game and that probably hurt me admissions wise (I didn't get in anywhere "better"). I don't really consider myself that smart though, it's definitely mostly about how hard you work, and I'm willing to work hard. If you got into Engineering you're definitely smart enough to do well if you get good habits/put in the time.

I agree that it's hard to tell. I had some big worries about Cornell, too! I really just suggest visiting everywhere and going where you like the atmosphere best. Don't worry too much about grades.

I actually don't suggest taking honors classes at all for a premed unless you like challenges and you don't mind spending the time. Or maybe take a honors class sophmore year if you find out regular classes are easy to you. They can really be a timesink... I was doing 15 hrs/week last semester. I just happen to be insane, and also really really interested in math. Curves are generous though, so it's unlikely to hurt your GPA too much.

I can't speak for any other honors (pretty much only gen chem, orgo, and math classes), but math 2230-40 (theoretical linear algebra & multivariable calculus...it's not technically honors) is a LOT more indepth than the regular version 2210-20. But if you're premed you won't need that kind of advanced math, and if you're engineering you want practical math, not theoretical. So no don't take it unless you like math. No matter where you go, if you're premed and just looking to fill reqs (aka you hate math), take calc III or linear algebra + one semester of stat. That will look fine. Engineering probably has different reqs though.

You can take courses in other colleges at Cornell, so you can just finish whichever sequence you started. You won't be taking physics first year anyway probably.
 

johny1

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Wow thanks! That answers like all my questions!

And now that I think about it, I might be an under qualified applicant. I had an SAT of 2150 (I studied for 1 month with 10 practice tests- I don't know if this is considered too much or too little preparation) and class rank of 1/200. There were many students in my class with exceptional SATs but lower GPAs than me because they were either lazy or didn't care enough to try hard. (So I'm even more worried now. My math was a 750 but my writing and CR were low so for an engineer I don't know whats going to happen)

Also 15hrs/week? What does that exactly mean? 15 hrs of class in one week? so like 3hrs of classes everyday? Or 15 hrs studying every week?


Do you know what kinds of med schools Cornell students usually get into? I know that they have a low premed to medical school acceptance but I wonder if that is made up by the quality of the med schools that those 67% get into.

Thanks again!
 

rrxr

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I think that might be a little less preparation than some/most people? I really wouldn't worry about your writing and CR. You can pretty much avoid writing after the first year writing courses (which everyone has to take at basically every college ever) if you want to. Plenty of people are bad writers here... I want to stab out my eyes when peer editing sometimes lol.

15 hs of studying+homework+classtime. Credit-hours are run fairly normally, about ~1 hr of class for every credit (not including labs).

I have no idea about which med schools people get in, sorry...Why don't you try emailing the prehealth office? Every time I've had a question I've gotten a response in a couple of hours. But in my experience when you ask questions like that you get the generic list of all the top schools. Obviously at some point at least one person from Cornell got into every school! We do have a database here with surveys from previous years telling where people got in + where they applied + when they applied + GPA + science GPA + activities but I think you need a cornell netID to access it.

I'm glad I was helpful :D
 
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rrxr

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I saw your post on cc, and oh my god you have a lot of questions!

For engineering, you probably want to be a biological engineer. (I am NOT in CoE so take this with a grain of salt and be sure to confirm with other people! aka official advisors) The reqs are here: http://www.engineering.cornell.edu/academics/undergraduate/curriculum/handbook/2010/majors/be.cfm

From my brief glance at the reqs, it is missing only three premed classes: 2nd semester gen chem (4 credits, includes lab), 2nd semester orgo chem (3 credits) and the one-semester orgo lab (2 credits). That's not too bad at all imo.

The 1st year schedule recommended by that site has FWS, intro bio, and math which all overlap with premed/Cornell reqs... I would also recommend considering pushing back something else to take chem 2090-80 first year. If you do transfer into CAS you won't have "wasted" any time at all taking CoE reqs. I do think you should give CoE a shot though, you might like it.

A note about biology classes: If you're considering being a bio major in CAS do NOT take BIOG 1105-06. This can screw you courses-wise over b/c bio classes at Cornell are kind of stupid. If you're 100% sure you're not going to be a bio major 1105-6 is great.

As an engineer it looks like you're completely done with writing/english after first year! But if you REALLY REALLY want to avoid writing you can avoid it in CAS too lol. In CAS you have to do 3 semesters of language (or 1 upper level class if you have previous experience) and 5 "distribution" classes... However this does not necessarily mean english, you can fill it with things like "introduction to japan", philosophy, government, history, sociology....

I don't know about psych majors here but I'm not sure that psych overlaps well with premed. Google their reqs.

As for research, if you aren't shy it's easy to get. (aka if you aren't afraid of emailing/meeting random people) If you are shy no one here is going to hold your hand, you had better go to a small college... The great thing about being big is that there is a great variety of things to do (courseswise as well as researchwise). I started this semester as a freshman in the federal lab on campus, doing research on aphids. I know a couple other freshman who are doing research too, if you want it this early it's easy to get.

As for volunteering opportunities... I'm going for a MD/PhD so I know less about that but I think people go to the nursing home here, transportation provided. It's probably less than in Boston though.
 

smith11994

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Wow! thanks for sharing this kind of post it is so wonderful and realistic.This is so informative and very helpful in me. Hope too see some more of your posts God Bless.
 

johny1

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The 1st year schedule recommended by that site has FWS, intro bio, and math which all overlap with premed/Cornell reqs... I would also recommend considering pushing back something else to take chem 2090-80 first year.
So I would have to push back two courses to fit both these in? And you mentioned that orgo is second semester (second semester of freshmen year? how can i fit that with like chem 2090-80 )

I am feeling much more comfortable with the idea of going into Cornell's engineering and then having the option to switch out since I won't be losing anything.


So your very interested in math so are you some type of math major? What kept you from not going to engineering since its very math and science based?

Thank you so much! your posts have been ridiculously helpful!

also for other premed engineers rrxr found this amazing site for Cornell premed engineers I'm about to go give it a whirl: http://rso.cornell.edu/emed/

I think you need a cornell email address actually to able to login.
 
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rrxr

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So I would have to push back two courses to fit both these in? And you mentioned that orgo is second semester (second semester of freshmen year? how can i fit that with like chem 2090-80 )

I am feeling much more comfortable with the idea of going into Cornell's engineering and then having the option to switch out since I won't be losing anything.

So your very interested in math so are you some type of math major? What kept you from not going to engineering since its very math and science based?

The complete orgo sequence is two semesters (3570 AND 3580). It seems that biological engineering only requires ONE semester, whereas TWO plus a lab is recommended for med school (I think you can get around this if you really want to... But I don't recommend it). Does that make sense? I was unclear, sorry. When I said another semester of orgo I meant another semester on top of the bio engineering one.

Don't try to take orgo first year, there's no reason to. (I know someone who is, but he's an ass who thinks he's smart.) Take gen chem either freshman or sophmore, and orgo chem either sophmore or junior. I only recommended considering gen chem first year since you seem like you really don't want to do engineering... But if you are considering staying in CoE, be sure to take an engineering class first semester to get any idea of what it's like.

But yeah to take gen chem first year, you would have to push back engineering... But DO NOT worry about it, you can change classes very very easily before classes begin, during orientation! You'll meet your faculty advisor during orientation and they will be able to help you finalize your schedule.

Haha I'm a math/bio double major, with a sort of computational biology/biostat focus-ish thing... I'm a freshman though so this is all very tentative! Math for me is a hobby kind of thing, I just enjoy exploring the thereotical side of math. Engineering math is more "applied math" which bores me... It's more the "what" whereas what I'm interested in is the "why". IMO engineers are just doing really complicated/difficult plugging in. =p I am going to take some biostat/modeling classes though, so math won't be completely useless to research and stuff.

I could never ever be a mathematician for a living... I kind of wish I could but I can't! I'm pretty good at test-taking but I couldn't come up with theorems and things for the life of me...

I suppose the real reason I'm not an engineer is that I'm just plain more interested in medicine. As bizarre as it sounds... I'm legit interested in math, and just majoring in it "for fun"! My other big hobby is reading classical literature, so I think I just have boring hobbies lol.
 

rrxr

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And this sounds awful but I suppose the real reason I'm going for an MD/PhD is that my parents are both MDs and PhDs... So it was the first option that occured to me when I was young (before I knew what engineering really was lol... I think I thought it was building bridges???), and when I explored biology I found out I really liked it too! Probably if my parents happened to both be engineers I would find out I like engineering too... I think my dad wanted me to go into engineering? His viewpoint is "anything but an MD/PhD or nursing" lol.
 

johny1

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Yeah I guess you are right. My parents are engineers which is what I think made me want to go into engineering school. But I have always had a stronger interest for science than math which is leading me into medicine.


"His viewpoint is "anything but an MD/PhD or nursing" lol."

So hes an MD/PhD and he doesnt want you to be one. Why lol?
 

rrxr

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So hes an MD/PhD and he doesnt want you to be one. Why lol?

The grass is greener on the other side of the fence, man. Besides he did the MD and PhD separately so it was a really really really long time for him.
 
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