Embarking on the journey toward an Ivy League Medical School is an ambitious pursuit, especially for Thai international students seeking to excel in the field of medicine. In this blog, we delve into the specific requirements and nuances that set these elite institutions apart. From academic prerequisites to extracurricular achievements and the intricacies of the application process, we’ll unravel the key components that can elevate your candidacy. Find out a comprehensive exploration of the Ivy League Medical Schools requirements below, and gain the insights you need to stand out in this highly competitive field.
Lists of Ivy League medical schools requirements
Harvard Medical School
HMS outlines the following criteria for academic qualifications necessary for admission.
- Course Title with Number of Year/Semester
- Biology: One year (with lab)
- Chemistry/Biochemistry: Two years (with lab)
- Physics: One year (lab recommended)
- Math: One year (statistics and calculus encouraged)
- Writing: One year
Extracurricular Involvement: Harvard Medical School places emphasis on extracurricular activities, aligning with common requirements across medical schools. However, due to the competitive applicant pool and Harvard’s dedication to attracting top medical students, a sustained, multi-year commitment to specific activities is crucial. Mere fulfillment of checkboxes for experiences like shadowing, patient exposure, community service, and research is insufficient. Applicants are advised to deeply engage in selected areas to create a thematic focus, distinguishing their applications.
Research: While Harvard Medical School officially “encourages” research, it is essentially a prerequisite, as 99 percent of enrolled students had completed research before matriculation, according to MSAR.
Shadowing and Patient Exposure: A substantial majority of admitted students have engaged in shadowing physicians and gained exposure to patient experiences during their premed years.
Community Service and Volunteering: Harvard medical students typically demonstrate meaningful and enduring involvement in community service and volunteer work before being accepted.
Letters of Recommendation: Harvard Medical School permits the submission of up to six letters of recommendation, subject to specific criteria: Minimum of two letters from science professors (those from classes graded with a letter)
Minimum of one letter from a non-science professor (from a graded class)
If applicable, a committee letter/packet from your school can count as one of the six allowed letters.
University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
Perelman does not specify particular course prerequisites; instead, they look for applicants demonstrating proficiency in the following areas:
- Fluency in English language and communication skills
- Behavioral disciplines
Additionally, it is essential to note that the MCAT must be taken within a three-year timeframe from the application date. For instance, if seeking matriculation in the fall of 2024, the MCAT score should be obtained between January 2020 and September 2023.
As stated on the UPenn Medical School website, individuals with degrees from foreign institutions, excluding Canada, are required to complete a full-time year of science coursework (biology, chemistry, and physics) before applying.
While numerous applicants to esteemed medical schools such as Perelman may satisfy the coursework prerequisites and present impressive grades and test scores, the admissions committee also seeks individuals who demonstrate leadership, compassion, intellectual curiosity, and a dedicated focus in their chosen field of study. Additionally, the committee values candidates who have overcome challenges in their lives and can contribute to the diversity of the incoming class. The ideal platform to highlight these attributes is through your supplemental essays.
Columbia Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons
To be eligible for admission to Columbia’s medical school, you are required to fulfill the following criteria:
- English: Completion of any one-year English or writing-intensive course.
- Biology: Completion of any one-year course that includes a laboratory component.
- Physics: Completion of any one-year course with a laboratory component.
- Chemistry: Completion of two one-year courses, with one specifically in organic chemistry, both including laboratory components.
Additionally, Columbia suggests including biostatistics, statistics, and biochemistry courses in your academic record. While the medical school prefers applicants to attain A or B grades in the specified courses, they acknowledge that such grades may not be feasible in all circumstances. Grades below a C- are considered unacceptable.
Furthermore, while biochemistry, statistics, and biostatistics are strongly advised, they are not obligatory. It’s important to emphasize that AP credit will not be accepted for meeting the specified prerequisites.
Plus, applicants are required to have taken the MCAT within a three-year window of applying. For the application cycle spanning 2023–2024, this entails obtaining a test score between January 2020 and September 2023.
Weill Cornell Medical School
While the median MCAT score is notably high, it’s crucial to note that there is no specific cutoff for scores at Cornell Medical School. It’s important to be aware that scores older than three years at the time of application are not accepted.
International applicants should take into account that, in accordance with Weill Cornell Medical College policy, they are required to complete “one year of full-time coursework at a college or university in the U.S.” This coursework in the U.S. serves as a means for the admissions team and the applicant to gauge how well the individual may perform in Cornell’s medical program.
When submitting your application to Weill Cornell, it is anticipated that you have fulfilled the subsequent academic requirements.
Course Title with Number of Year/Semester
- Basic Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics): 2 semesters
- Organic Chemistry (or other advanced related coursework): 2 semesters recommended
- Writing-Intensive Courses: 2 semesters
Weill Cornell mandates laboratory coursework or practical lab experience for applicants. Additionally, prospective students are advised to explore a diverse array of disciplines, including statistics, ethics, psychology, anthropology, sociology, and management skills.
Yale School of Medicine
Yale’s academic prerequisites align closely with those of its Ivy League peers.
- Course (Including Lab) with Number of Semesters
- General Biology or Zoology: 2 semesters
- General Chemistry: 2 semesters
- Organic Chemistry: 1 semester
- Biochemistry: 1 semester (lab recommended, not required)
- General Physics: 2 semesters
Moreover, for the application cycle in 2023–2024, it is necessary to provide an MCAT score obtained from an examination taken between January 2020 and the last test date in 2023.
Brown University Warren Alpert Medical School
To gain admission to Alpert’s MD program, completion of the following courses is required:
- Quantitative Reasoning: One course in algebra or statistics, preferably in biostatistics. No specific minimum grade is specified.
- Biology: Two courses with a minimum grade of B, including genetics and cell biology. Lab experience is recommended.
- Chemistry: Two courses in general chemistry, one in organic chemistry, and one in biochemistry. No specific minimum grades are mentioned.
- Physics: Two courses covering heat, radiation, optics, mechanics, and electricity. No specific minimum grades are indicated.
- Writing: Any course that involves a substantial amount of writing to enhance communication skills. Alpert suggests considering courses in English, philosophy, or history.
Moreover, although there is no specific prerequisite, strong writing skills are expected from Brown medical students. Therefore, it is advisable to engage in coursework that emphasizes expository writing, such as English or other humanities courses.
Additionally, a minimum GPA of 3.0 is a mandatory requirement for all applicants. Alpert Medical School goes beyond transcripts and underscores the importance of seeking students who will emerge as leaders and role models in the field of medicine and the promotion of human health. The desired characteristics among applicants include intellectual curiosity, research or clinical experience, a dedication to serving others, integrity, and enthusiasm.
Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine
Similar to its Ivy League counterparts, Geisel has specific academic prerequisites that must be fulfilled for admission consideration:
- Biology: Completion of a one-year course in general biology.
- Physics: Completion of a one-year course in general physics.
- Chemistry: Completion of two one-year courses in biochemistry and organic chemistry.
- Math: Completion of a one-half-year course in calculus or statistics.
Additionally, Geisel requires proficiency in English, as well as a demonstration of strong written and verbal communication skills. A background in humanities disciplines during undergraduate studies is also a prerequisite.
While meeting the specified requirements is crucial, applicants are advised to place equal emphasis on understanding and aligning with the school’s mission statement. As outlined on the admissions website, the admissions committee at Geisel seeks individuals who not only meet academic criteria but also reflect and contribute to the institutional mission. Geisel’s mission is encapsulated in five guiding principles: “Create Leaders and Leadership; Students and Faculty First; Revitalize Education and Research; Reach Out and Connect Diverse People & Ideas; We Win Together as a Team.”
To effectively showcase your alignment with the school’s mission and highlight your distinctive qualities, the secondary application becomes a pivotal platform. This is particularly essential in setting yourself apart from other applicants with comparable test scores and academic accomplishments. Focus on enhancing the qualitative aspects of your application, with a primary emphasis on the essays. A detailed exploration of this application segment is provided below to assist you in making a compelling and unique case.
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Our team at Ignite A* is dedicated to helping you achieve your academic and career goals in the field of medicine. Feel free to get in touch with us for further information and assistance in preparing for the portfolio round.