Cornell University

Study Away Students

Responsibility of the student

It is the responsibility of the student to determine procedures for applying to health professional schools preferably before leaving Cornell, and as information on these become available through web audios and email.

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Overview

Students apply to medical school more than one year before they plan to matriculate. Most of our students apply in the summer between their junior and senior year, but around forty percent apply the summer after their senior year. Study abroad is an option in all colleges, but this might result in taking a year off between graduation and medical school. This later time may be particularly suitable for students who are not on campus their junior year, who want to improve their academic or experiential credentials, or who believe that a year between Cornell and professional school will benefit their personal and professional goals. Study away students should consult with their college's premed advisor to determine timing of their medical school application, given their major and these other factors.

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Study Away and HCEC  

The Health Careers Evaluation Committee (HCEC) prepares the letter of evaluation most medical/dental schools request of applicants. Candidates are urged to register with the HCEC in December or January prior to the summer when they plan to apply.

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The usual non-Study Away timeline

November (early) HCEC Orientation
January HCEC Registration Parts 1 and 2
March
HCEC Registration Part 3, Letters of Recommendation & External Transcripts
April, May, or June
Interview with the HCEC

Study away students, however, will have somewhat different timing and procedures than the above used by on-campus registrants. These procedures and timing follow.

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HCEC procedures for students away Fall Semester 

  • Review the Process Overview page on the HCEC webpage.
  • Review materials on the HCEC website.
  • Register with HCEC in January and follow the usual HCEC spring semester timeline.

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HCEC procedures for students away Spring Semester 

  • Attend HCEC Orientation in November.
  • Register with HCEC in December or January. If not on campus, mail the RAF & Fee to the HCEC.
  • Stay in touch with the HCEC via e-mail. Give the HCEC your address/e-mail with complete temporary and permanent contact information as well as a permanent address.
  • Once registered, use the online HCEC Online File checklist to determine if materials submitted to your file have been received and to keep current with HCEC updates.
  • Schedule an appointment for the interview directly with the HCEC office. You may have the option of choosing between an internet video interview (e.g. Skype, IChat, etc.) or an Ithaca interview. Seniors must register with the HCEC by May 31 to be considered an undergraduate and eligible for an interview.

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HCEC procedure for students away the entire academic year 

  • View the HCEC Orientation materials on the Process Overview page on the HCEC website.
  • Register with HCEC in December or January. If not on campus, mail the RAF & Fee to the HCEC.
  • Stay in touch with the HCEC via e-mail. Give the HCEC your address/e-mail with complete temporary and permanent contact information as well as a permanent address.
  • Once registered, use the online HCEC Online File checklist to determine if materials submitted to your file have been received and to keep current with HCEC updates.
  • Schedule an appointment for the interview directly with the HCEC office. You may have the option of choosing between an internet video interview (e.g. Skype, IChat, etc.) or an Ithaca interview. Seniors must register with the HCEC by May 31st to be considered an undergraduate and eligible for an interview.

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Coursework: Planning for Study Abroad  

If possible, complete the science course prerequisites for medical school (introductory biology, introductory chemistry, organic chemistry, and introductory physics) before going abroad. These courses should be taken at U.S. institutions to ensure you have covered topics you will encounter on the MCAT and/or have the appropriate prerequisite course(s) for any upper division courses you plan to take, and have grades the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) will use in the grade point it computes. (See Course Credit below.)  

Cornell Abroad, 300 Caldwell Hall, can guide you in choosing a study abroad program suitable to your previous study, language and culture interests, and your premed goals. Cornell study abroad options include programs run directly through Cornell, college-specific exchange programs, programs sponsored by other American institutions, and direct enrollment through Cornell in universities overseas. Biology majors will find options outlined for them on the Cornell Abroad website.

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Study Abroad course credit  

You must enroll in a full course load abroad. A full course load typically translates into 15 credits for a semester and 30 credits a year. You must apply through Cornell Abroad with the approval of your college. Courses taken abroad must be taken for credit and be completed with the equivalent of a Cornell "C" or better. This is the case whether you participate in a Cornell-run program, a program sponsored externally by another U.S. institution, or in a direct enrollment option at a university overseas. Grades, total credits (either 15 or 30), and course titles for your completed study abroad courses will be transferred to your Cornell transcript in the same format in which they are received from your program or overseas university-either in the familiar American letter grade system or the foreign grading system, which varies amoung study abroad programs and universities. Your study abroad grades will not be averaged into your Cornell grade point average.

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Course credit and the medical school application  

The American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) is used to apply to most American medical schools. All letter grades recorded in the American scale (A, B, C, D, or F) for course work taken on a study abroad program and transferred to Cornell as outlined above will be included in your AMCAS composite GPA. All grades recorded in a foreign grading system (used by a French or Spanish university, for example) will not be recorded in your AMCAS GPA; these foreign grades will not be recorded within your accumulated Pass/Fail semester hours.

For complete details on the AMCAS policies contact AMCAS directly at 202/828-0600 or amcas@aamc.org.

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Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)  

Besides Health Careers web page information about preparing for and the timing of taking the MCAT, see the MCAT website for foreign test centers, dates, and online registration.

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Applying to medical school  

AMCAS is available online in April/May and accepts applications beginning in June. It is best to apply early in the summer. If you will be away in the spring semester, listen to the audios "How to Choose Medical/Dental Schools..." and "How to Apply to Medical/Dental Schools: AMCAS and others...." They are in the Media Programs link of the Health Careers web page. This will allow you to make a tentative selection of schools where you may want to apply.

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Other sources of information  

  • Cornell Health Careers Guide for Applicants
  • Sophomore Orientation, audio available on the Media Site.

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