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Cornell University

Preparing for Health Careers

Many students enter Cornell University certain that they want to use their education to develop strong credentials for a health career, while others decide on this career path after significant reflection and experience during the college years. The years spent at Cornell are a time for both the exploration of the curriculum and preparation for future careers. Health Careers Advising web content and workshops, along with the health careers advisors, are here to help students navigate the process of selecting the appropriate courses and give advice related to the many decisions to be made prior to applying to medical or dental school.

In the first year, the best way to prepare for any human health career is by focusing on two things: forming a support network and managing your academic life. A strong support system makes it easier to navigate the initially unfamiliar and often unexpectedly rigorous intellectual terrain. Similarly, a strong start in academics brings confidence and facilitates building a strong support system. By taking coursework seriously from the first to the last days of each semester and seeking the guidance available at Cornell, you will develop the confidence needed to continue preparing for professional school.

Because medicine is a profession dedicated to the service of others, students should develop and demonstrate a strong service ethic through varied experiences. Service to others may be inside or outside the classroom and can take many forms. Reflection on experiences, both service and clinical, is critical for demonstrating the development of the qualities of a health care professional. Demonstrating evidence of integrity, ethics, professionalism, written and oral communication, service-mindedness, and understanding of the healthcare field on applications to professional schools and in interviews is essential.The path to a career in medicine requires students to engage in careful planning and preparation, including reflection, and to seek guidance with important decisions. The successful medical or dental school applicant uses the Cornell years to develop strong academic credentials, a demonstrated commitment to the field of healthcare and the service of others, and the interpersonal skills needed by future healthcare professionals.

Cornell University provides a wealth of resources for students exploring and preparing for Health Careers. Keep exploring these links to learn more:

Subscribe to Handshake Health Careers Notifications to receive pre-health e-mails from the Cornell Health Careers Advising Program:

  • Log into Handshake:
  • Click on your initials in the top right corner of the screen
  • Select “Career Interests”
  • Scroll to the question “Which career notifications would you like receive from Cornell Career Services?” and select the “Health Careers” box