Medical Student Testimonials

"As an M.D./Ph.D. student, I came to Columbia because it offered the best in both medical and research education: a large, urban medical center to provide excellent clinical training, and many world-renowned research labs in which to do my thesis. As a minority student I appreciate the support structure that is here for students like myself. I have a long road ahead and it is nice to know that I have advisors with backgrounds similar to my own that I can go to for guidance."

- Christopher Ortiz, 2005


"My love affair with New York dates back as far back as I can remember. So for me, attending a school that could boast the resources of the city was high on my list of priorities. Columbia seems to have its hands in all aspects of the city's academic and cultural offerings and really encourages us as students to take advantage. From working in the clinics in Harlem to following the summer jazz festival around the city's parks to just kicking around in SoHo, I definitely feel as though being at Columbia will make the time of my medical training richer and more memorable than it could have been at any other institution."

- Christen Drake, 2006

"Columbia P&S has an incredible support system in place to help first year students succeed with minimal stress. The student-run Student Success Network provides review sessions and practice anatomy practicals that greatly facilitate studying for exams. As a minority student, I have the added benefit of receiving support from BALSO members who have completed their first year of medical education. BALSO members donate their time to advise the first years and set up additional test preparation. With support coming from many directions, I now feel more confident that I will advance successfully in my medical education."

- Charise L. Freundlich, 2006

"Columbia University has offered me everything that I thought I could have wanted from a medical school experience. One of my top priorities was to be in an urban setting that would offer me various experiences (especially culturally) and have a vast array of resources that I would be able to use. Columbia's location in New York City offers that. In addition, I have been able to shadow practically any physician that I wanted to as a first year who just wanted a taste of what a certain field was like. The clinical experiences that were offered as part of the first year have proven to be invaluable learning tools for my future endeavors as a physician. Even the non-medical aspects of being at P&S, such as the many clubs and social activities that are offered, have made what at first seemed like an intimidating undertaking into an enriching and enjoyable experience. It also helps to have a great support network that the administration has provided in order to guide me throughout my medical school years and help me become a successful physician."

- Damani Taylor, 2010

"Being more than halfway done with medical school, I can still honestly say that Columbia was the best school for me. Having strong support systems was important to me and Columbia has just that: support from other students (Student Success Network (SSN), in which second years prepare first years for their exams and practicals), the Advisory Dean system, and more. The students here work hard while still being social and having fun, and P&S even fosters the ability to pursue other interests through the P&S Club. The minority community here is large and strong, and there is something to be said for an Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs that really advocates for students in their time of need. Clinically, we get exposure to a variety of patient populations and can take advantage of unique opportunities I don't think I would've experienced otherwise, such as working on a Native American reservation in New Mexico. No medical school is perfect, but Columbia has been able to meet pretty much all of my academic needs while making medical school enjoyable."

- Grace Berry, 2011

"One of the main reasons I chose to attend Columbia P&S was because of the surrounding community and the unique opportunity it confers to learn from and work with the medically underserved. At P&S I feel like I can make a difference in the community, be it through volunteering at the free clinic or tutoring for one of the many programs for disadvantaged youths in the community. The Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and the Black and Latino Students Organization (BALSO) also offer opportunities for students to get involved in the community, in addition to providing students with an invaluable social and academic support network. Some of my most memorable moments from medical school have been through my involvement with BALSO."

- David Martin, 2013

"P&S is unique. The studies are engaging and stimulating, but I find the people of the CUMC community to be most interesting. I love being surrounded by so many brilliant and talented individuals from all over the world. Furthermore, opportunities to interact with these people are endless with so many clubs and groups. As one of the most functional and active clubs, BALSO has made my transition from Arizona smooth and allowed me to quickly integrate into such a dynamic atmosphere. Being active in BALSO has also been rewarding and I am looking forward to becoming more involved in the upcoming semesters."

- Andrew Gomez, 2014

"I love Columbia P&S for all of the reasons that I thought I would when I chose to come here: the city (amazing), the people (incredibly normal), the curriculum (shorter is always better), the pure Pass-Fail grading (so no need to over study), and BALSO (lots of support, amazing people, and delicious food). There are also great opportunities to get involved and develop a very satisfying non-academic life through the P&S Club, which has everything from a dance club to a wine tasting club to limitless community service opportunities."

- Sophia Koessel, 2014

My journey to P&S was not the same as everyone else, it wasn’t the school I thought I would end up at when applying, however it was the only school that gave me such a sense of community and collegiality. My interview was so relaxing if that can even be imagined of a medical school interview. The students were nice and really excited to have me at their school so much so that after about 30 minutes in I couldn’t think of any more questions to ask. About to go into my clinical year as a second year student I’m still amazed at how people surrounding me every day and how they have made some of the most academically challenging time of my life ridiculously fun. The vast opportunities to get involved in clubs that are not all medically oriented gave me an outlet when I just didn’t want to think about class anymore. At this point I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else.

- Brittney Hills, 2015

Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons always seemed to offer everything I was looking for in a medical school. It was in a metropolitan area, partnered with an institution of top physicians that provided innovative care for underserved communities. This is certainly true; however, the true potential of P&S did not become fully evident until I actually arrived. During my first few months here, the students and faculty that compose P&S and the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs have continuously invited me to become part of its family- a family that’s constantly offering to expand my knowledge of the medical profession, but most importantly, one that warmly supports me as I personally evolve into a caring physician. The opportunities that I have been granted are innumerable. The experiences I have been offered are indescribable. And the people that have stepped into my life and served not only as mentors, but also as friends, are simply one of a kind. P&S is my home.

- Christopher Gonzalez, 2016

As someone who grew up and went to school entirely in Southern California, I was looking to expand my perspectives when I applied to medical school. Columbia’s location on the island of Manhattan provided just that. I knew that I wanted to be in an urban setting that offered me a wide variety of clinical experiences and Columbia offers just that. Plus the faculty is dedicated to ensuring that we are the best doctors we can be and I have had several opportunities to interact with them in a variety of clinical settings as a first year student. Additionally, the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs provides an added support structure for students like me who are making their first big move and are interested in becoming more involved in the local community. Especially after experiencing this place I would not want to have my medical training anywhere else. 

- Tyler Vestal, 2016