Columbia’s medical school places a high premium on creating physician-leaders who can communicate with their patients and who are positioned to collaborate with other health care professionals in different settings.
Columbia Medical School Application
The following are required in the Secondary Application:
- Applicants should use single-spacing and 12-point font.
- Be sure you do not repeat examples in the different essays.
Columbia Medical School Essay #1
If you took time off from your undergraduate studies, please briefly summarize your reasons for doing so. (250 words)
For this question, you should respond with a straightforward response and explain if you took time off for personal, medical or academic reasons. Most importantly, do not make excuses. I suggest presenting this information clearly so there are no remaining questions. If you benefitted or grew from the time off, point out the growth and benefit.
Columbia Medical School Essay #2
In what collegiate extracurriculars did you engage? (400 characters)
Because this word limit is brief, you won’t be able to list every activity from college. I suggest a brief summary of the most important activities. You won’t have space to provide many details, but don’t forget this information is also in the primary application. Whether you use bullet points or paragraph format, I would try to present the information in a logical order.
Columbia Medical School Essay #3
If you have graduated from college, please briefly summarize what you have done in the interim. (300 words)
For this prompt, you should also be clear and include all activities. If you have been out of college several years, you can be brief. If you are graduating this year, I would include what information you know you will be doing in the upcoming year. If you aren’t sure, I would include what you plan to do (e.g. where you plan to apply for employment or volunteer experience).
To the extent possible given the word limit, highlight achievement and contribution.
Columbia Medical School Essay #4
What challenges do you expect to arise from living and working in a complex urban environment? How will you meet them? (300 words) (This is the only required question)
Columbia asks this question because its environment is very urban and cosmopolitan. I would consider factors like noise, small spaces, and diversity of viewpoint, lifestyle and culture. Remember that Columbia students treat patients from many parts of the Bronx and Upper Manhattan, so the school wants to ensure that you understand that you will be treating a wide variety of patients who are also from an urban environment.
Columbia Medical School Essay #5
Is there anything else you would like us to know? (300 words)
For this section, you can include anything new that happened since you submitted the primary. You can also use this space to explain your specific interest in Columbia. Do not repeat other essays here.
Columbia Medical School Essay #6
Please describe your parents’ occupations. (100 characters)
I suggest responding to this question simply. It’s quite short, so I wouldn’t overthink it.
Columbia University Medical School Essay #7
If you answer yes to the “Did you work during undergrad?” checkbox, this question appears:
Did you work for compensation during college during the year or the summer? If so, what did you do? How many hours a week did you work? (300 words)
Respond directly and with specificity. You can elaborate to some degree if you have room. Again, highlight achievements and contributions as much as possible.
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Columbia Medical School 2018 -19 Application Timeline
|July – October||Secondary Application invitations are sent to all applicants who selected Columbia and all submitted applications are processed.|
|Late August – January||Interview invitations are sent.|
|September||Last month in which the MCAT may be taken and submitted for the 2018-2019 application cycle.|
|October 15||AMCAS primary application deadline.|
|October 29||Columbia’s deadline for Secondary Application.|
|November 12||Columbia’s deadline for supporting documents, i.e., Secondary Application fee, MCAT score, and letters of recommendation.|
|Late February||Admission offers are sent and waitlist opens.|
|April||Revisit Day occurs for admitted students.|
|April 30||Drop date for admitted students to withdraw from all but one school.|
|May – August||Admissions Committee reviews waitlist applicants.|
|Mid-August||Orientation and classes begin for the matriculating class and the waitlist closes.|
*Strong recommendation: Submit within two weeks after receipt.
***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***Jessica Pishko graduated with a J.D. from Harvard Law School and received an M.F.A. from Columbia University. She spent two years guiding students through the medical school application process at Columbia’s Postbac Program and teaches writing at all levels. Want Jessica to help you get accepted? Click here to get in touch!
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• 3 Tips for Writing the Optional Essay in Medical School Secondary Applications