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Linkage is a formal agreement between the Postbac Premed program and a medical (or dental) school that enables highly qualified Postbac Premed students with a strong interest in the school to expedite the application process. A successful linkage applicant would enroll in one of the 16 Linkage Schools in the following academic year, usually after completing the Orgo / Bio year.Expand all Collapse all
Advantages and disadvantages
Students interested in linking are encouraged to consider both the pros and cons of linking.
- Allows the applicant to eliminate the sliding / claim year
- Allows the applicant to reduce the costs associated with applying to multiple medical schools
- Applicants will quickly receive their letter of admission from the medical school to which they applied
- Ensures that the candidate's application is carefully and thoroughly studied
- Limits applicant's school choice to those that Columbia has affiliation agreements with, and applicant can only apply to one of those schools
- The eligibility criteria for admission to the link are usually higher than for general applicants at the same school
- The applicant must complete the phases of the application process during the Orgo / Bio year (arguably the most demanding course work of the Postbac Premed program) and not afterwards
- In most cases, the applicant will need to prepare to take the MCAT in April or May, while general applicants often choose in June
- The applicant must complete all pre-medical study achievements by May (general applicants have the option of postponing an internship to the summer, usually after the MCAT)
The Postbac Premed program plans visits to most of its fraternity schools each fall. While attending these visits is not required, it is highly recommended - visiting schools is one of the best ways to learn more about them.
Note: Only students who are currently seeking a nomination for a link can take part in these visits.
Link Visit Guidelines
- Appear in a timely manner
- Dress appropriately; It is not necessary to wear a suit or business attire, but jeans, sweatshirts, and sneakers should be avoided in favor of business casual attire
- While linkage visits are not interviews, be attentive and stay interested and engaged; For example, do not send text messages while a panel or PowerPoint presentation is running
- If you register for a Linkage visit but are unable to attend, be sure to cancel your registration by clicking on the cancellation link included in the registration confirmation that you will receive
- If the cancellation deadline has expired (or the cancellation link does not work), send an email to email@example.com
- If you have to cancel on the day of your visit, please contact the Linkage School's matriculation office.
- Don't be a no-show
The eligibility criteria for linkage programs are usually more extensive than for traditional applicants. This is because the fraternity school extends the privilege of reviewing the application at the end of the admission cycle.
The minimum requirements an applicant must meet to apply for a link include:
- Enrollment in the Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program.
- Still be an active student on the Postbac program completing the required coursework. Candidates who have enrolled for maintenance, elective, or other academic programs at Columbia or elsewhere will be excluded from consideration.
- Enrollment in natural science courses in the Postbac program in autumn and spring of the academic year in which the link is sought.
- Enroll in the program for at least two (2) semesters prior to nomination.
- Completion by the end of the autumn semester before the nomination of at least 15 points of academic study achievements within the framework of the course with a cumulative minimum GPA of 3.2 and without individual grades under C.
- Note: While students applying for a nomination require a minimum grade point average of 3.2 within the program, many fraternity schools require a higher grade point average.
- Completed a bachelor's degree from an accredited US college or university; for students with degrees from foreign universities, the qualification must be recognized as equivalent by the secondary school.
- Complete all required pre-medical courses by May prior to the start of the Linkage program.
- Simultaneous enrollment in the Organic Chemistry and Contemporary Biology course sequences at Columbia (or an approved upper-class sequence) as a Postbac-Premed student.
To be eligible for the link, students should also:
- You have not taken a mandatory pre-medical course at Columbia more than once.
- Have no pending incomplete coursework in Columbia.
- Complete the MCAT by April or May (depending on the school's requirements).
- Do at least 90 hours of volunteer or paid research or clinical health work by the end of December and 120 hours by the end of the spring semester.
- You have not yet applied to study medicine.
- Complete GPA and other relevant Linkage School requirements by the end of the fall semester prior to nomination; For example, if a school requires a 3.6, applicants for that program with less than a 3.6 will not be nominated in January.
Specific program requirements
In addition to meeting the minimum requirements to attend Linkage, applicants must also meet the specific program requirements of their chosen Linkage Schools, which may exceed the minimum requirements listed above.
Note: Meeting the requirements entitles a Postbac Premed student to be considered for nomination, but does not guarantee nomination or admission.
Research into linkage programs
Students considering linking should take the following steps:
- Take part in the information event on the Linkage program, which is held by the Postbac Premed program advisors in the spring semester before the Orgo / Bio year
- Talk to the admissions deans and directors at the medical college fair in the spring before the orgo / bio year
- Visit fraternity schools: tour the facilities and talk to admissions officers, faculties, and medical students; The Premedical Office organizes visits to most of the fraternity schools in the autumn of the Orgo / Bio year
- Take part in the Linkage Panel in the fall semester
- Check with their counselor about their interest in a link and the specific schools they are interested in - pre-medical counselors will help determine if a student is a plausible candidate for particular schools, and such counseling can increase the likelihood of a nomination
Applying for a nomination for a linkage program
Students seeking a nomination for the Link should consult with their counselors and plan to research their options for the Link School in the fall semester of the Orgo / Bio year.
For exact dates and details, please consult the relevant timeline. Below is an overview of the nomination application schedule.
Spring semester before the Orgo / Bio year
- Students interested in links should attend a link briefing
- Students wishing to apply for a linkage program nomination should research the linkage programs and meet with their advisor
Summer before the Orgo / Bio year
- Potential nominees should work on the internal application
Fall semester of the Orgo / Bio year
- Potential nominees must complete and submit the internal application by the September date indicated on the schedule
- Prospective nominees must obtain letters of recommendation from faculties for courses they have already completed, supervisors, their undergraduate college, and others who may be able to write insightfully about them
- By December 1, potential nominees must submit the Linkage School Essay and Evidence of Clinical Work in Healthcare; At this point, letters of recommendation are also due (with the exception of letters requested by the faculty in the winter semester)
Spring semester of the Orgo / Bio year
- At the beginning of the spring semester, after the autumn grades are available, the Pre-Medical Committee will announce its nominations
- Nominees will then receive their school's link application schedule, including deadlines for AMCAS, secondary application, MCAT, interview date, etc.
- Letters of recommendation from the autumn semester faculties are due by the beginning of the spring semester
Nominations are made at the discretion of the Pre-Medical Committee. Decisions are non-negotiable and cannot be challenged.
The nomination as a link applicant is Not a guarantee of admission to the fraternity school.
Applying for a linkage program
Students who accept a nomination for a link will complete the following steps in the spring semester:
- Work in consultation with the Postbac Premed Program Office on your personal statement for the AMCAS or AADSAS application
- Submit the AMCAS or AADSAS and secondary applications according to the fraternity school application deadline
- Interview with the Pre-Medical Committee
- Take the MCAT off by the last date set by the fraternity school
- Interview at Linkage School, if invited
The Pre-Medical Committee will prepare and submit committee letters for nominees by the frat school deadlines.
The success of linkage applicants
Linkage is not an easy path to medical school. Read through the linking program requirements, visit schools, attend the linking information session and panel, and communicate with your advisor to determine if linking is the way to go.
From year to year, around 25 percent of eligible Postbac Premed students applied for a linkage program. In 2014, the proportion of students who accepted a nomination for Linkage and who were accepted at their selected Linkage school was 78 percent; In 2015 it was 52 percent and in 2016 72 percent.