How to Get Into Columbia Medical School



Hey pre-meds!

This page serves as a high-yield resource for Columbia Medical School. The information from this page is a GOLDEN resource. We’ve compiled it 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!

Columbia Medical School Secondary Essay Prompts:

Need help with editing your Columbia Medical School secondary essays? Get the Cracking Med School Admissions team’s expertise through our secondary essay editing package. If you have questions, email us at or contact us.


Columbia Medical School Secondary Essay Prompts:

There are 7 secondary essays for Columbia’s medical school application. Most of the essays are optional or situational, but the Cracking Med School Admissions team suggests that you answer as many questions as you can. Your answers to the questions can give the Columbia medical school admissions committee different insights about who you are, thus making your application stronger.

Essay 1)If you took time off from your undergraduate studies, please briefly summarize your reasons for doing so. (250 words)

Essay 2) In what collegiate extracurriculars did you engage? (400 characters)

Essay 3) If you have graduated from college, please briefly summarize what you have done in the interim. (300 words)

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)

Essay 5)Is there anything else you would like us to know? (300 words)

Essay 6) Please describe your parents’ occupations. (100 characters)

Essay 7) 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)

Secondary Essay Editing
Columbia Medical School Interview Format:

Columbia Medical School interviews are traditional format.

Based on our students’ experiences, they ask common medical school interview questions, such as the ones found in this blog: 4 Common Medical School Interview Questions and How to Answer Them


Want to learn more about how to prepare for your medical school interview? Get tips and tricks to ace interviews! Read our popular traditional interview preparation blogs here: 3 Tips to Ace Medical School Interviews


Contact us if you want to schedule a mock interview for Columbia Med School. Or click the button below.

Columbia Medical School Acceptance Rate







Admit Rate


Columbia Med School Median GPA: 3.87

Columbia Med School Median Old MCAT: 36 Total (11 Verbal / 12 Physical Science / 13 Biological Science)

Columbia Med School New MCAT: 520 (130 chemical & physical / 130 critical analysis / 130 biological & biochemical / 130 psychological, social)


Average Scores of Columbia Med Students:

  • Columbia Medical School Average Step 1 Score: 239
  • Columbia Medical School Average Step 2 Score: 244

Your Columbia Medical School  Admissions Advisers

Rachel Rizal, MD

Rachel Rizal, M.D.

Changing the trajectory of people’s lives

Undergraduate: Princeton University
Medical School: Stanford School of Medicine
Residency: Harvard, Emergency Medicine
What I did After College:
• Improved vaccine distribution in developing countries
• Worked with the World Health Organization in the Philippines
• Launched a national HIV Awareness Campaign in the Philippines
• Produced an HIV awareness commercial for MTV
• Worked full-time at a healthcare consulting firm, advising pharmaceutical companies
• Created a public health program in Stanford’s Emergency Department
Rishi Mediratta, MD, MSc, MA

Rishi Mediratta, M.D., M.P.H., M.A.

Advising students to attend their dream schools

Undergraduate: Johns Hopkins University
Medical School: Stanford School of Medicine
Residency: Pediatrics, Stanford
Masters: Masters in Medical Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies; Masters of Science in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
What I did after I graduated:
• Interned with the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland
• Founded and launched an NGO to improve the health and education of Ethiopian
• World Bank consultant who helped implement Ethiopia’s national nutrition program
• Partnered with the Ethiopian Ministry of Health to study child health practices in communities

The Insider’s View on How to Get Into Columbia Medical School

How to Get Into Columbia Medical School – Know the Curriculum:

Columbia Medical School Curriculum: 

As a Columbia med student, you only do pre-clinical work for the first 1.5 years (or 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:


Pre-Clinical Years:

As an 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


Clinical Years:

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)


Taking Time Off:

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


Why choose Columbia Medical School?

The most common reasons we’ve heard:

  • NYC City – access to resources, FUN, vibrant culture
  • Solid clinical foundation and teaching
  • Research-focused

What students are saying about Columbia Med School

I've been able to do research throughout my entire time in Medical School!

Columbia Med has access to Harlem and Manhattan. It's close enough to the heart of Manhattan but far enough so you feel like you're in your own niche neighborhood.

All my classmates are very smart and motivated. I feel like the reason we all chose Columbia because we "fit in" the NYC culture.

Extra-curriculars are a HUGE part of the pre-clinical community. I'm involved with Emergency Services and organizations that improve access to care to under-represented minorities

The school is very receptive to student feedback to improving and changing the curriculum.

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

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.


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.


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

What students are saying about clinical rotations at Columbia Med School

I've been able to find a strong public health community here at Columbia. I am part of the Primary Care Scholars program and I've learned a lot about "urban health."

Many faculty members are also engaged with research. I've had at least 2 of my surgery attendings offer me paid research projects.

NYU gave me the flexibility to take a year off to pursue a research project I wanted to do in between my clinical rotations. This allowed me to be more competitive for residency match.

Clinical rotations are TOUGH. But, you're in close proximity to all your med student friends and there are frequent get-togethers and parties to de-stress.


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: ~$65,000 plus room and board (subsidized housing).
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Dr. Rachel Rizal

Author Dr. Rachel Rizal

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