Columbia University

How to Get Into Columbia Medical School

Hi premeds!  This page serves as a high-yield resource for Columbia Medical School.  We’ve compiled information from Columbia Medical School acceptance rate data, the Columbia Med School website, and most importantly, from Columbia Med students themselves! You will have facts such as Columbia Medical School admissions statistics and you’ll get an insider perspective about how to get into Columbia Medical School.

Whether you’re comparing medical schools that you have been accepted to, preparing for an interview, or wanting to learn more about Columbia Med School, keep reading!

If you have questions about Columbia University Medical School, contact us down below. 


The most common reasons we’ve heard from students:

  • NYC – access to resources, FUN, vibrant culture
  • Solid clinical foundation and teaching
  • Research-focused
  • Strong public health school with pubic health opportunities for medical school students


Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (Columbia University Medical School) has 5 secondary essays. Our students who have been accepted in the past have emphasized unique talents, diversity, leadership, and impact in their endeavors. Make sure you highlight your ample experiences in clinical medicine and research. Read more tips to get into Columbia Med on what to highlight in your Columbia University Medical School secondary application. 

How to Get Into Columbia Medical School

Columbia Medical School Secondary Application Essay Prompts (2021-2022):

  1. 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 max)
  2. If you have graduated from college, please briefly summarize what you have done in the interim. (300 words max)
  3. Please describe your most meaningful leadership positions. (300 words max)
  4. Columbia Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons values diversity in all its forms. How will your background and experiences contribute to this important focus of our institution and inform your future role as a physician? (300 words max)
  5. Is there anything else you would like us to know? (400 words max)


Get the Cracking Med School Admissions team’s expertise through our secondary essay editing packages. If you have questions, email us at or contact us.

Columbia Medical School
Interview Format

Columbia Medical School interviews are one-on-one traditional format.

To ace your traditional interview, you need to know how to answer common medical school interview questions. It’s important to practice, practice, practice.

Cracking Med Resources for Interviews:

Contact us if you want to schedule a mock interview with our Cracking Med School Admissions team! Take a look at our interview packages.

download your interview guide

If you are prepared, the interview gives you the perfect opportunity to standout and shine by sharing with people what you are passionate about.

Med School Admissions Interview Guide eBook Cover
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Columbia Medical School Acceptance Rate

Admit Rate

Columbia University Medical School Admissions Statistics:

  • Columbia Medical School Average GPA: 3.9
  • Columbia Med School Average MCAT: 521 (130 chemical & physical / 130 critical analysis / 130 biological & biochemical / 131 psychological, social)

How did Columbia University Medical School Students Do on Their USMLE Step Exams?

  • Average Columbia University Medical School USMLE Step 1 Score: 236
  • Average Columbia University Medical School USMLE Step 2 Score: 244

Source: U.S. News Graduate School Rankings 2021

Your medical school application Coaches, Mentors, & Cheerleaders

We Personally Advise Every Student We Work With

Dr. Rachel Rizal

Rachel Rizal, M.D.

Changing the trajectory of people’s lives

Princeton University

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Stanford School of Medicine

Harvard, Emergency Medicine

Awards & Scholarships
Fulbright Scholar
USA Today Academic First Team
Tylenol Scholarship

Rishi Mediratta, MD, MSc, MA

Rishi Mediratta, M.D., M.Sc., M.A.

Advising students to attend their dream schools

Johns Hopkins University

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Stanford School of Medicine

Stanford, Pediatrics

Awards & Scholarships
Marshall Scholar
Tylenol Scholarship
Global Health Scholar

Each year, the Cracking Med School Admissions team
helps students get accepted to top medical schools.
We can help you get accepted!

Contact us today.

The Insider’s View on Columbia Medical School's Pre-clinical years

How to Get Into Columbia Medical School – Know the Curriculum

Columbia Medical School Curriculum Overview: 

As a Columbia Med School student, you only do pre-clinical work for the first 1.5 years (until January of your second year). Then, you do 1 year of core clinical clerkships followed by taking USMLE Step 1 January of your 3rd year. The rest of your 3rd and 4th years are focused on electives and advanced clinical clerkships.

For more information on the Columbia Med School curriculum, check out their website:


Columbia University Medical School Pre-Clinical Curriculum:

As a Columbia Med student, your first 1.5 years are on basic science.

  • The Body: In Health & In Disease
  • Anatomy
  • Foundations of Clinical Medicine
  • Molecular mechanisms & disease
  • Psychiatric Medicine
  • Histology and Pathology 

How to Get Into Columbia Medical School – Know the Opportunities Available:

Unique highlights about pre-clinical years:

  • Pre-clinical curriculum is 1.5 years instead of 2 years
  • Scholarly project opportunities
  • Ability to work with the New York City community and several non-profits around the area

Taking Time Off:

Most MD candidates at Columbia Medical School graduate within 4 years.

What students are saying about Columbia Medical School

The Insider’s View on Columbia Medical School's clinical Years

Columbia University Medical School Clinical Curriculum:

You start clinical rotations January of your second year at Columbia Med School.

Core Clerkships:

  • Internal Medicine (10 weeks total)
  • Neurology + Opthalmology + Neurosurgery (6 weeks)
  • OB/GYN (5 weeks)
  • Pediatrics + ENT (6 weeks)
  • Primary care (5 weeks)
  • Psychiatry (5 weeks)
  • Surgery + Anesthesia (6 weeks)
  • Orthopedics (1 week)
  • Urology (1 week)
  • Selective in radiology, emergency medicine, radiation oncology, dermatology, palliative care, rehabilitation medicine, spinal cord injury (1 week)

Unique highlights about clinical years:

  • In between clerkship rotations are “intersessions” called “Mechanism and Practice.” These weeks give you a break from the rigors of clinical clerkships. Additionally, you come together with your classmates in small-group teaching.
  • Ability to work at different hospital sites, including affiliated community hospitals.

Clinical Rotation Sites:

  • New York-Presbyterian Hospital
  • Creedmoor Psychiatric Center
  • Harlem Hospital
  • VA Hospital
  • Lawrence Hospital
  • New York State Psychiatric Institute
  • Stamford Hospital
  • Bassett Hospital

Daniel Noyes Brown Primary Care Scholars Program:

If you’re interested in primary care, you can apply to be a Primary Care Scholar. It is a 4 year longitudinal mentorship program where you can work with primary care faculty throughout your medical school experience. You improve your knowledge about urban primary care.

To learn more information about this fantastic program click here.

What students are saying about clinical rotations at Columbia Med


Where do students live?

Students mainly live in dorm-style apartments at Columbia Medical School. During 2nd – 4th years, many students also rent their own apartments around New York City.

Getting around:

There’s great public transportation in New York City. For almost all your clinical rotations, you walk a few blocks.


Financial Considerations:

  • Columbia Medical School Tuition: ~$68,000 plus room and board (subsidized housing).
  • Average indebtedness of 2019 graduates: ~$122,000

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