Pre-health

You are here

Exploring Your Interest in a Health Career

If you’re interested in pursuing a career related to health, your liberal arts experience offers the perfect preparation, as it offers contact with the full range of perspectives on the human experience. As an Arts & Sciences student, you will be exposed to a broad base of knowledge while you hone your critical thinking, creative and analytical skills.

Whether you venture into a career in human or veterinary medicine or dentistry, nursing research, hospital administration, health education, clinical psychology or health care policy, the College of Arts & Sciences offers you a mix of classes in the humanities, social sciences and the sciences that provides an excellent foundation for future study in these growing fields.

Where to Begin

  • Come to the Health Careers Orientation during Orientation Week for incoming first-year students.
  • Set up a meeting with the College’s health career advisor, Naya Sou, who knows how to help you prepare for a health career. (Dean Sou's walk-in hours are on Wednesdays from 1:30 to 4:00 PM, in KG17 Klarman Hall.)
  • You may also want to consult with your advising dean or one of the advisors in the Office of Undergraduate Biology.
  • Visit the university’s Health Careers website, which offers a wealth of information.
  • Join the College of Arts & Sciences Pre-Professional Health Association (CASPHA), a student group that shares information, experiences and fellowship. Email CASHPA.

Gaining experience

  • Arts & Sciences Career Development can help you identify productive ways to spend your summer and guide you toward externships, internships and volunteer opportunities to gain experience in the field.

Applying to schools

  • For general information about applying to medical or veterinary school, visit the Health Careers website.
  • If your school requires a Dean's Certification Letter, fill out, sign and return this release form to authorize Cornell to release your academic and disciplinary information. Allow four weeks for this process. Once your record has been checked, a letter is prepared and kept on file to be sent out with the medical school forms.
  • Submit the Dean's Certification form (a.k.a. College Questionnaire, College Certification) from the medical school, along with a stamped envelope addressed to the school, at least four weeks before the school’s application deadline for admissions.

Courses to Take

What if I'm interested in health care, but I'm not sure which career is right for me?

  • Explore the Field Guides from Arts & Sciences Career Development. They can help you assess your affinities and strengths and identify which careers might be the best fit for you. Are you interested in the science end? Policy? Economics? Education?

Can I do study abroad if I’m premed/-vet/-dentistry?

  • Yes, with careful planning. As soon as you decide on a major, meet with Dean Clare McMillan, study abroad advisor for the College, 607-255-5004 or cam23@cornell.edu.

Major Milestones

First Year

  • Attend Premed Orientation during Orientation Week.
  • Bookmark the Career Development  Center's events calendar and keep an eye on “health careers” events.
  • Explore the Health Careers/HCEC web site
  • Make an appointment with Ana Adinolfi, the health careers advisor, or an advising dean or advisor in the Office of Undergraduate Biology, who will help you create a plan to prepare yourself through courses, study skills and out-of-class experiences such as internships, research opportunities or volunteer positions.
  • Sign up for health careers email notices from CCNet by selecting "health careers notices" in the Career Development Desired menu.

Sophomore Year

  • Get involved with research, either existing faculty work or your own project.
  • Attend the Health Careers Sophomore Orientation in February.

Junior Year

  • Decide when you want to apply to graduate school. Many students choose to gain experience before applying to medical school rather than applying senior year. Talk to your advisor about your situation.
  • Attend the Orientation for Juniors and Seniors Applying in [the Coming Year] held each September. See the Career Services Events Calendar for time and date.
  • In the fall, continue working with the health careers advisor and the Health Careers Evaluation Committee (HCEC) to prepare your application and practice interviewing.
  • In the spring, schedule a HCEC mock interview with Arts & Sciences Career Development.
  • Attend the Health Careers Evaluation Committee (HCEC) orientation in November that focuses on letters of recommendation needed for medical and dental school. Pre-vet and other students should visit the Career Services events calendar for relevant events.
  • Begin working closely with the HCEC on a plan to prepare your application.

Senior year (If you are applying to go directly to school)

  • Submit secondary applications and interview for medical school.

Each Year

  • Check your courses with the recommendation lists in the Cornell Career Services guides before pre-enrolling for courses each semester, and run them by the Health Careers Advisor, faculty advisor or an advising dean.
  • Prepare in fall and winter to apply for summer opportunities to help you gain experience in health career fields.