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Pre-med having trouble deciding first year university (Attending Cornell 2nd year as TO)

onehandbackhandonehandbackhand 4 replies1 threads New Member
Hello all,
I am a high school senior and I plan on pursuing the Pre-Med track. Cornell has been my dream school for a while because I love the campus and my sister goes there and loves it . I was offered a Transfer Option from Cornell as a Biological Sciences major, which means that if I have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 in my first year university, Cornell will pretty much allow me to attend starting fall of second year. My goal is to apply to med school as a Cornell undergrad because they send a very good amount of applicants to med school (correct me if my research is wrong, but around 76% in 2016 went to med school).

My options for my first year university are UC Berkeley, Emory University (OXFORD College), NYU, UMich, Northeastern University, and Rutgers (New Brunswick). I would be a Biology major at all of these schools.

I am having a ton of trouble deciding which university would be the best option, considering the 3.5 GPA that I need to study at Cornell starting the 2nd year. Could I have advice on where I should go? I am worried about not getting that 3.5 GPA, but I also want to go to a university where I would still get a good education should an issue occur and I do not get to attend Cornell for some reason.

Specific Info:
- I like UC Berkeley a lot because I heard professors, opportunities, and education in general is stellar there (but I am worried bc I heard that getting a GPA is hard there). Also a Berkeley degree is awesome. I admit I am attracted to its Rank and Prestige.
- I really do not know about OXFORD at Emory, so I am REALLY LOOKING for information about GPA difficulty and competition at Oxford. Btw is Oxford easier to get into than Emory College?

Just background info: I am a hard-working student, scored a 1550 SAT, 4.2 weighted GPA. I like to think that I am competitive. Love biology and like to think that I am good at it.

All in all, I am very worried about GPA wherever I go first year.
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Replies to: Pre-med having trouble deciding first year university (Attending Cornell 2nd year as TO)

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 82819 replies738 threads Senior Member
    3.5 college GPA is probably the minimum to have a realistic chance of medical school anyway (but the higher the better). Seems odd that you are fixated on transferring to Cornell, which can disrupt the connections that you will be making at your first college (with faculty and in the context of pre-med extracurriculars).

    How do the net prices of each college compare? You may want to consider choosing a less expensive college so that you can come out of medical school with less overall debt.
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  • Bill MarshBill Marsh 503 replies5 threads Member
    Pre-med at Cornell can be brutally competitive. What is your sister’s major? If it’s not one of Cornell’s most competitive majors, then I wouldn’t judge your prospective happiness by hers.

    Unless things have changed, Oxford is not easier to get into than Emory in Atlanta. That would be my choice.
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  • onehandbackhandonehandbackhand 4 replies1 threads New Member
    Thank you all for the help!
    @ucbalumnus Isn't Berkeley biology so difficult that students who would get like a 3.7-3.8 at other colleges get as low as 3.3-3.4 at Berkeley? Please share your experience if you do know!
    @hopefulsenior2020 yea ig but honestly there aren't big differences in costs for those schools
    @Bill Marsh My sister is a communications major. By the way I heard Cornell sent 76% of med school applicants to med school. Wouldn't that mean studying pre-med at Cornell is a very good investment?
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  • coolguy40coolguy40 2889 replies8 threads Senior Member
    That's assuming that mom and dad can afford to send 2 kids to Cornell. The current economy can create a lot of uncertainty, and if something happens, it can turn that scenario on its head VERY quickly. If I were you, I would go for a scholarship. That's 4 years of guaranteed money in writing. It makes no difference where you go to school. If you're going for medicine, your grades and MCAT scores will do the talking.
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  • oldlawoldlaw 324 replies14 threads Member
    And where does that 76% come from? Does that reflect the results of only those who get committee letters? Or does that include all the freshmen who considered themselves "pre med"?
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  • retiredfarmerretiredfarmer 1223 replies3 threads Senior Member
    Remember,... most good secondary schools are not as GPA competitive as very selective universities. When the entire university entering class has GPA's at or near the 4.0 (unweighted) level, the performance expectations of the instructors rise.

    As a point of interest. Have you ever considered Biomedical Engineering as a career.? It is also very challenging to achieve a high GPA, but does lead to a very viable job market AND you can cure/help more people than an MD who is dealing with one patient at a time. By way of example, think of the applications of the rapidly evolving medical robotics field.
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  • onehandbackhandonehandbackhand 4 replies1 threads New Member
    Yea i guess I didn't look into that 76% statistic enough. By the way does anyone know if Oxford College at Emory University is less competitive than Cornell/Berkeley?
    @retiredfarmer I'm not a huge fan of engineering but that could change during my years at college im assuming.
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  • retiredfarmerretiredfarmer 1223 replies3 threads Senior Member
    edited March 31
    If you love biochem, math, physics, medicine and helping people, you may be surprised to learn what "engineering" means in these fields. Our bodies are structures. Engineers learn how to create new designs and processes to find solutions, and not to memorize solutions to already defined problems. Consider the use of robotics and materials today which drive medical solutions.

    Check out the Biomedical engineering information at these three different Universities. Check out their R & D in these areas.

    Case Western @ https://bulletin.case.edu/schoolofengineering/biomedicalengineering/

    Johns Hopkins @ https://www.bme.jhu.edu/undergraduate/degree-requirements/

    WPI @ https://www.wpi.edu/academics/departments/biomedical-engineering/research

    "Engineering" is not only about tearing apart cars in the back yard and building inanimate things. Most of WPI's BME students today are women. I suspect it is true in other BME programs. They are interested in helping people.
    edited March 31
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  • oldlawoldlaw 324 replies14 threads Member
    Engineering is great, but isn't that the type of major where there are so many required courses-if the plan is to graduate in four years-you pretty much have to start as a freshman?
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  • Erin's DadErin's Dad 34017 replies4672 threads Super Moderator
    Pre-Med acceptance = GPA and MCAT.
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  • retiredfarmerretiredfarmer 1223 replies3 threads Senior Member
    edited March 31
    @oldlaw

    There is a lot of truth to the old saw that all ABET accredited engineering programs are the same and tightly roped to the same course requirements. There have been a lot of ABET changes over the years as a result of the development of new engineering fields like BME.

    The interdisciplinary nature of solving nature's (or is it man's) problems. have evolved more creative and varied approaches.. Focus has often, but not always, shifted toward more first and second year student/faculty dialouge and and not just a strict course outline from a catalog.

    Yes, the math, chem, physics first year and largely second year courses are still there, but a lot of integrated engineering/life science project development have evolved to more integration of coursework to meet the demands of newly required project research... research where integrated teams attack real world problems. There are pre-med BME programs where students must follow the advice of pre-med advisors.. an advice which varies depending on the specific med school of interest to the undergraduate.

    Evolution is constant.
    edited March 31
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 82819 replies738 threads Senior Member
    Thank you all for the help!
    @ucbalumnus Isn't Berkeley biology so difficult that students who would get like a 3.7-3.8 at other colleges get as low as 3.3-3.4 at Berkeley? Please share your experience if you do know!

    About a quarter of students in common pre-med courses at UCB earn A- or higher grades, based on grade distributions a few years ago:
    https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/university-california-berkeley/2071932-grade-distributions-in-prerequisite-courses-for-gpa-based-goals.html

    Some more colleges' grade distributions:
    https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/pre-med-topics/2074436-some-colleges-have-grade-distribution-information-available-by-course.html
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  • anon145anon145 612 replies7 threads Member
    @onehandbackhand a small percentage of kids who start out as premed leaving high school end up in MD school. Your major anywhere will determine in part how much stress you have. You should definitely pick a school based on the possibility of staying there for 4 years. Having a high GPA would not be a reason to pick Cal as a pre-med major. (I say this as a grad). As people are telling you having "76%" end up in med school can be really deceiving if the school lost half their pre med students between year 1 and year 4. (which does happen).
    I have never thought cornell was a low stress place for STEM majors..
    https://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2010/03/16/6-suicides-in-6-months-at-cornell
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  • retiredfarmerretiredfarmer 1223 replies3 threads Senior Member
  • joecollege44joecollege44 409 replies19 threads Member
    I don't know why with the list of acceptances you have you would plan to leave after your 1st year. college is also about the experience and the friends you make. those are great places to be. pick the one you like and make the best of it and don't uproot in a year. really weird to go to a place like NYU, Michigan, Emory, or Berkeley with a plan to leave in a year. that will really spoil your year and I suspect have anegative imapct on your success when you start Cornell.

    as far as Emory Oxford, it is barely a step down (if it is at all) from regular Emory in terms of selectivity. some people just prefer the small LAC environment.
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  • SJ2727SJ2727 2622 replies11 threads Senior Member
    . By the way does anyone know if Oxford College at Emory University is less competitive than Cornell/Berkeley?
    Why does that matter? They are all excellent schools. Focus on where you think you’ll have the best fit. Many people enrol in schools that are not the most competitive of the ones they got admitted to.
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  • oldlawoldlaw 324 replies14 threads Member
    Hey, I agree with just about everybody here-but if I missed it sorry-what is the COA of each school?
    I ask b/c you want to limit UG debt if graduate/professional school is in the future.
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