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Medicine at Harvard

LondonerGirlLondonerGirl Registered User Posts: 33 New Member
edited November 2012 in Harvard University

I would like to apply to Harvard for medicine. I see that through Common App they only list Pre-medicine, does that mean I must list my course as Pre-medicine? Or can I just apply for medicine straight?

Also, if I can apply for medicine straight, where can I find the course code?

Add info: I am an undergraduate, international applicant.

Thank you very much :)

EDIT: Is the course code universal? So will Stanford have the same course code? And are the Harvard and Stanford medicine courses very different or pretty much the same?

(Sorry for the barrage of questions!)
Post edited by LondonerGirl on

Replies to: Medicine at Harvard

  • LooshinLooshin Registered User Posts: 113 Junior Member
    US applications are very different from the UK's. You can't study Medicine at UG-level. You also apply to the university rather than a specific course, so there aren't any course codes.
  • ChallengedChallenged Registered User Posts: 325 Member
    Hi there –

    It seems you're very confused about the US application process (I say this in the nicest way possible, sorry if it comes of as harsh!)

    The Common Application is nothing like UCAS. For the most part (now there are exceptions) in the USA you apply to the college or university itself, not a major. Secondly, you are not limited to five courses, and may apply (theoretically) to as many as you want.

    If you're applying to Harvard-caliber schools you will not just have to do a common essay, but also a fairly rigorous supplement for each college. It's very important to note that the admissions criteria are very different from the UK even, say, Oxbridge.

    A large part of your application will have to do with you extra-curricular activities, and what your essays convey about you as a person. While you can certainly do a UCAS style essay, you ought to answer the question in the context of something more general, like, 'what's a dilemma you've faced', or something.

    Honestly, there's a ton you need to understand about the US admissions process. I suggest reading this site for about 2 hours to get a feel for it, do some Googling, and also check out the Harvard Club UK's website, I think they have important information specifically for those applying from the UK, that is how to present A-levels, GCSEs and all.

    Good luck!
  • T26E4T26E4 Registered User Posts: 24,274 Senior Member
    US Medical degrees are conferred by post undergrad Medical Schools. Harvard College is distinct from Harvard Medical school. Without an undergraduate degree, you are not eligible to apply to any medical school.

    From what I understand, very few slots are given to international applicants if at all.

    And course numbers are not standard across different colleges.
  • LondonerGirlLondonerGirl Registered User Posts: 33 New Member
    Dear Challenged,

    Thank you for your advice :)

    I'm so silly because I did actually research everything thoroughly quite a few months back and I've just forgotten everything so when reading your post everything just clicked again!

    I understand that I must submit essays and so on, and I've already taken my SATs. I've also added Harvard and Stanford to my Common App account and filled in pretty much everything.

    So am I going about this right? That I'm just applying to the university itself and if they accept me then I choose my course?

    Thanks to everyone who helped :)
  • straightchillinstraightchillin Registered User Posts: 29 New Member
    Sounds like you're on the right track! There are programs in the United States that you can apply to called "Direct-Meds" - Brown has one, Northwestern has one (it's called HPME), and so do a few other schools. If you're interested in those, you can find more info at: Accelerated Medical School Programs - College Grid

    On the other hand, if you're looking at Stanford and Harvard, then you would just go about filling out the application through the CommonApp as you've indicated that you're doing. They may ask you to list a preferred major (they probably don't want to accept a class that is composed 98% of kids who want to do math) but that isn't binding by any means - they just want to get an idea of who you are. Once you're there and once you've figured out what you want to do, you declare a major (at Harvard, I believe you do this sophomore year) and you work from there.

    Good luck!
  • gibbygibby Registered User Posts: 10,158 Senior Member
    Yes, you are going about this correctly.

    Although colleges ask about your "intended major" they don't hold any student to their choice, as most students end up changing their major at least once during their four years at school. At most US colleges, student's select their major during their sophomore or junior year in college.
  • kyubinesskyubiness Registered User Posts: 84 Junior Member
    @gibby, sorry to ask here, but does it truly mean that whatever intended major, course code you choose at the college supplements are non-binding, and also, do not affect my chances? Thank you for answering.
  • gibbygibby Registered User Posts: 10,158 Senior Member
    ^^ Yes, that's exactly what it means.

    At Harvard, all students apply to the college as liberal arts majors, irrespective of the intended major selected. Towards the middle part of your 3rd semester at Harvard (1st semester of sophomore year), students identify a major (called a concentration) and pre-select courses that they will take in order to graduate from the college. Even then, students are allowed to change their concentrations at anytime up until the first semester of junior year.

    So, basically anything selected during the applications process is non-binding. Although you could try to "game the system" by selecting a major that you think might improve your chances, I highly doubt your intended major has any effect on your chances.
  • straightchillinstraightchillin Registered User Posts: 29 New Member
    I'm not sure that's entirely true.

    I would assert that it can't hurt your chances - after all, we're 16 and 17 years old and can't make decisions for our futures. However, if a student writes an essay about his or her fascination with a specific Harvard professor and the work that he is doing to bridge achievement gaps, and then ties that into their own personal experiences with working in underprivileged areas' educational facilities to get across a strong desire to transform the education system, I'd assume that that student's chances have been significantly bolstered by their intended major.

    In other words, take two identical students: USAMO, Intel/Siemens (with math projects), math summer programs, math math math math math. Now if one declares their intended major as math and the other as history, I really do think the first would have a better chance of getting in.
  • kyubinesskyubiness Registered User Posts: 84 Junior Member
    @gibby I see. But i forgot on what grounds I'm referring to! What about for the transfer programs? Are they non-binding, and not affecting chances as well?
  • gibbygibby Registered User Posts: 10,158 Senior Member
    Transfer applicants still apply to the college as liberal arts majors. However, as transfer students have already spent one or two years at another college, I imagine Admissions pays much closer attention to their choice of intended major. Straightchillin's example is actually more likely to happen with transfer applicants than with a freshman applicant.
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