Pre med and both are the same cost?
Have you visited both? Which did you prefer on your visits?
Which would you choose if you weren’t doing pre-med? Note that most students going in pre-med end up dropping it. What’s your intended major, if you have one?
Go to whichever school you can get a higher GPA. All things being equal, higher GPA means better chance for med school admissions. Aim for GPA > 3.7
This will of course be biased (so take it with a grain of salt, certainly use your own judgement, and you honestly can’t go wrong with either choice) but I personally would prefer Vanderbilt.
For me at least, the school environment/setting at Vanderbilt is preferable (more urban/metropolitan with more to do off campus; D1 sports; a student culture that prides itself on being laid back/collaborative/fun). Comparatively, Cornell is going to be more focused towards on-campus social life and might have a more intense vibe (although I think some of the negative hype about intensity might be overblown and things might be improving, I imagine that reputation has some source in reality). On the other hand, you might enjoy Cornell if you’re really into outdoor activities, or a more focused student body.
Academically, both schools will prepare you well. Cornell might have a touch more grade deflation, but I’m not sure that’s really something necessary to worry about. For pre-med, I think I would give Vanderbilt the slight edge for having an elite medical center on campus. It’s not a large difference as you’d be able to work with basic science labs/do volunteer work at Cornell, but having the resources of a nearby medical school can be a boon if you take advantage of them, and it gives you more options for finding research/volunteering that you enjoy (for example, human subjects or healthcare outcomes work is really best served at large academic hospitals). For non-premed courses of study, I think the schools are about equal; Cornell has the edge in engineering and east-coast consulting/IB recruiting, but I don’t think this advantage outweighs preference or nonacademic considerations.
My D went to Cornell undergrad and is now at Vanderbilt for law school. You will get a fine education at both, but they are very different living experiences.
Cornell is in a small town with a stunning campus. Not too many places where you can walk to class and pass waterfalls. But it is COLD; there’s no doubt about that. And definitely not urban. Whether these are pluses or minuses depends on your preferences. My D very much enjoyed her time at Cornell but was ready to move onto a different experience for grad school.
From my understanding of medical school admissions, it is important to have clinical experience in undergrad and that can be a bit of an issue in Ithaca, since there is only one small hospital nearby. Nonetheless, plenty of Cornell students go on to medical school so it is something that is manageable.
Culturally you would also find a difference. Cornell has a significant East Coast population and is a in a very liberal city in a liberal northeastern state. Nashville, while itself relatively liberal, is obviously located in a Southern state with a more pronounced southern cultural influence. Again, whether these are pluses or minuses is something you have to decide.