Hamilton's acceptance rate to medical school over the past seven years has varied from a low of 68% to a high of 93%. (Read below to see the qualifications medical schools seek. The selection process is complicated, and medical schools seek documentation of strong personal qualities and pertainent experience in addition to academic success.) In recent years, better than 90% of students with a GPA of 3.5 or better were admitted the first time they applied, but these candidates presented resumes that included research, clinical work, and extensive service to their communities. The Hamilton College Health Professions Advisory Committee will prepare a letter of recommendation for any student who wishes to apply--there is no GPA requirement to receive a letter of support--however students are encouraged to wait until their academic and non-academic credentials are in place before they file an application.
Q: What do health professions schools look for in an applicant?
Each health profession has requirements specific to its application process, but it is fair to say that all require:
The good news is that the majority of Hamilton College students arrive on campus with the study skills and time management techniques that allow them to succeed academically while participating in the activities that they care about. Students who find they need some help have a multitude of resources to assist them. Hamilton professors are accessible, helpful, and eager for your success. Students often assist their classmates, collaborating on understanding the material fully and questioning each other on topics to achieve full mastery. Many professors offer weekly review sessions. Students who find themselves struggling with a class should consult their academic advisors and discuss the situation with Leslie Bell.
The Quantitative & Symbolic Reasoning Center offers student tutors for classes in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and economics. The Writing Center offers assistance with papers, reports and labs. Students who want to excel will find the support they need to do so.
There are dozens of volunteer organizations on campus, many coordinated through HAVOC, that allow students to be of service to others and demonstrate their proclivity for helping others. Students who feel they are too busy for significant service during the academic year can participate in Alternative Spring Break or other volunteer activities during vacations.
Hamilton is fortunate to offer several clinical internships for interested students, and others will gain experience through hospital work, shadowing or non-Hamilton internships over vacations. A good number of Hamilton students train as EMT's and work with either the Oneida County Volunteer Ambulance Corps or with the Hamilton College Emergency Medical Squad. EMT's are eligible to work as emergency medical technicians at many hospitals.
At Hamilton your professors will know you well and will be able to write effective evaluations in support of your applications. With a 10:1 student-faculty ratio and very small classes, your professors will know you personally and be able to speak convincingly of your personal qualities and abilities.
The personal qualities sought by medical schools include:
Because many professional schools give preference to students who are in-state residents, and because there is often a financial benefit to attending an in-state school, many Hamilton students will attend medical schools in their home states. Obviously, the schools enrolling Hamilton graduates will change each year. Over the last seven years, the following medical schools enrolled 1-9 Hamilton graduates:
In recent years one or moreHamilton graduates have enrolled at the following dental schools:
Advanced Placement credit does not substitute for a course taken in a college environment. If you are confident of your mastery of the AP content, take a higher level class in the same department, e.g. if you wish to skip Principles of Chemistry, you can start with Organic Chemistry I and add an elective in place of the intro class, perhaps Chem 265 Inorganic and Materials Chemistry. Bio 115 is an introductory class designed specifically for students with a strong AP or IB background in Biology. Chem 125 is designed for students with a strong background in AP or IB Chemistry. You can choose to retake any AP class at Hamilton if you are not certain of your mastery.
Remember that the MCAT or DAT is an achievement test based on the required sciences. Medical schools want evidence of ability at the college level and in a college environment with the required subjects (biology, chemistry, physics, English, math).
Hamilton's curriculum is designed for students who bring advanced work, and our advising system and placement tests in mathematics and foreign languages will make certain you are placed at an appropriate level.
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All other things being equal, it is better to take your required premedical courses at Hamilton. First, by taking these courses at Hamilton, you will have professors on campus who know you well in the courses of greatest interest to the admissions committees. Through these professors and their letters, the Health Professions Advisory Committee will know you better and will be able to make a more convincing recommendation to the medical schools that you are applying to. Second, summer school courses are usually not as thorough as semester-long courses, so you won't learn as much. This is particularly important in the required courses, since these courses prepare you to do well on the MCAT/DAT examination and in professional school.
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The right schedule for you will depend upon your individual circumstances, interests and background. Students who love science, are confident of their study skills, and are eager to attend medical school directly after college should choose two sciences. Do not feel pressured to conform to any formula that doesn't feel right to you. Take the classes that you are excited about and make a commitment to do your best in them. For many students headed toward the health professions, science comes more easily than French, English or art history. Be yourself.
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There are several options. First, you can apply to medical school a year or two after graduation. If you have not completed your premedical course requirements by the time of your graduation, then you might consider enrolling in one of the post-baccalaureate premedical programs that are available. Second, it is possible to take one or more of the courses during the summer school programs, although there are certain disadvantages to that plan (see FAQ above). See Leslie Bell to devise a plan of action.
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