Onward and Upward

Yeshiva University Graduates Achieve Over 93 Percent Acceptance Rate to Medical, Dental and Law Schools

With more than 90 percent of Yeshiva University graduates employed, in graduate school—or both—within six months of graduation according to a recent Career Center survey, it’s no surprise that many choose to continue their academic journeys at a remarkable rate: U.S. News & World Report recently ranked Yeshiva University second in the country among colleges with the highest percentage of graduates pursuing advanced degrees within one year of graduation.

However, the rates at which graduates are being accepted to schools in their fields are even more astounding: this year, 93 percent of students applying to medical school, 96 percent of students applying to dental school and 100 percent of students applying to law school have been accepted.

Esther Kazlow conducted hands-on scientific research last summer as a Roth Scholar, one of many advanced research opportunities the University offers to undergraduates.

Esther Kazlow conducted hands-on scientific research last summer as a Roth Scholar, one of many advanced research opportunities the University offers to undergraduates.

“The undergraduates at Yeshiva University bring focus, determination and ambition to their studies,” said Dr. Karen Bacon, the Dr. Monique C. Katz Dean of the Undergraduate Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Yeshiva University. “Guided by faculty mentors and challenged by our rigorous curriculum, they invariably enjoy professional success and grow as committed members of our Torah community. We are so very proud of them, of how they will contribute to their chosen professions and of the many ways in which they bring honor to Yeshiva University.”

According to Dr. Brenda Loewy, director of pre-health advising at Stern College for Women, the rates reflect the uniqueness of the YU student body: “Our students are extremely motivated and they are used to working hard because of the challenges of balancing a dual curriculum. They have a dream and they are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve it, and their character is such that they want to make a difference not only in the medical world, but simply in the lives of the people around them.”

At YU, students hoping to pursue medical or dental school also gain access to research opportunities and faculty mentorship that helps set them apart from other applicants. “Our faculty in biology, chemistry and physics are conducting state-of-the-art research, often with grant money, and they reach out to students to include them in that research and list students as authors on the papers they write together, which is very impressive,” said Loewy. “Faculty also help students network to find research positions with their collaborators in other top-notch institutions, like the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York University, and Mount Sinai Medical Center. They also love to take advantage of our partnership with Bar-Ilan University, which allows them to conduct summer research in Israel, and present and share their research with faculty and peers at poster sessions.”

But above and beyond their pursuit of research opportunities, students make time for meaningful work outside the classroom. “The students are engaged in myriad activities that we propel them toward early and consistently,” said Lolita Wood-Hill, director of pre-health advising on the Wilf Campus. “College EDge is a wonderful example of how our students engage with the larger Washington Heights community, helping teens whose backgrounds, cultures and languages are very different from the YU community to get a college education. Such sharing of themselves highlights the unique values of YU.”

Wood-Hill emphasized the role strong collaborations between the University’s many student offices plays in supporting each student. “The Dean’s Office, the Writing Center, the science faculty, and the Career Center work closely with our team, and we have unique skills and strengths that enhance our ability to help our students succeed,” she said. “We reach out to students early and often, many times starting to work with them before they even arrive on Campus. When they do get here, we provide comprehensive attention to each one—between Pre-Professional Office Coordinator Debbie and myself, they get two sets of eyes and ears through every part of the advising process as they apply for medical or dental school.”

At Stern College for Women, students have been accepted to dental schools at the rate of 100 percent for three years running.

At Stern College for Women, students have been accepted to dental schools at the rate of 100 percent for three years running.

“There’s a very personal touch here,” agreed Loewy. “We develop relationships with the students and they know they can talk to us and come to us as many times as they need to, and that relationship is for life. When students are on waitlists, we make the calls to schools on their behalf. When they’re in med school or residency and need advice, we’re here for them.”

She added, “Every student is special and unique. We’re here to help them find the place they need to be so they can achieve their goals.”

For Estee Robin, a biology major with a concentration in molecular and cellular biology who will be attending Rutgers New Jersey Medical School this fall, the support from YU faculty and staff has made all the difference. “The faculty in the biology department whom I had close relationships with were quick to offer letters of recommendation and general advice. Mrs. Naomi Kapp and the rest of the Career Center worked with me for many hours on perfecting my personal statement and performing mock interviews, and as my pre-med adviser, Dr. Loewy was always willing to discuss any questions or concerns that I had—when it was time to start filling out my application, I knew that she would be available and eager to help me through the daunting process.”

But Robin found that her fellow students were looking out for her, too: “There is a wonderful network of pre-med students both at Yeshiva College and Stern, and through the past few years, they have always been available and willing to help out younger students going through the same paths as them,” she said. “I always knew that I had a support team standing behind me the whole way through. After speaking with friends who are applying to medical school from other much larger colleges, I realize how fortunate and blessed I am to have had the personal guidance and support that so many of them do not have.”

Noah Kirschner, a biology major who will be attending Einstein in the fall, recalled a visit to Wood-Hill’s office during a difficult point in the application process. “There were two schools I hadn’t heard back from and I was surprised,” he said. “I mentioned it to Ms. Wood-Hill, and that afternoon after I left her office, she called the deans of both schools. The next day the schools reached out to me to arrange interviews.”

He added, “She just went above and beyond for me, and I think that personal connection that you get here—whether it’s help from upperclassmen, mentoring from a faculty member, or having an adviser be so accessible—is very important.”

For law school hopefuls, YU also provides unique access to programs that give students their first real taste of the field—and an edge in the application process.

“Our Yeshiva University Undergraduate Judicial Internship Program places our undergraduate students in judges’ chambers, something almost no other undergraduate school does,” said Dina Chelst, esquire, director of pre-law advisement at YU. “They not only sit and observe but participate in the legal process, which is unbelievable. Students can also participate in the Frontiers in Contemporary American Law program, a course taught by experts at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law that exposes them to many different areas of law.” (Undergraduates can take advantage of similar Frontiers programs in Biomedical Science and Psychology which gives them access to faculty at Einstein and the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, respectively.)

When students expressed interest in learning about how labor law applies to the National Football League, Chelst brought in an authority in that area to speak to them about it. When they had questions about education law, she organized a session with Abja Midha, project director at Advocates for Children of New York. Midha now mentors four Stern College students. “I really like our events to be student-driven and geared toward their interests,” she said.

Like the pre-med advisors, Chelst works hard to identify and meet with students early in their undergraduate careers to set them up for success. “We discuss their trajectory for taking the LSATs, which doesn’t always occur to students when they begin their studies, and plan out their reach schools and safety schools,” she said. “I review multiple iterations of their essays with them. I also foster relationships with law schools to make sure our students’ applications get the most positive review they could be given.”

For Yeshiva College graduate David Weiss, the opportunity to hear from law professionals on campus and the hands-on LSAT preparation he had access to during his undergraduate years were crucial: “The Pre-Law Office ran events that allowed me to get a handle on the exam early on and ultimately succeed on test day,” he said. “Ms. Chelst gave me countless hours of individual attention during the actual application process. She pored over every detail of my personal statement and resume, and she even helped me via email on the weekend my application was due. All in all, I think that the guidance I received from Ms. Chelst helped me reach my full potential, and I am indebted to her and the YU Pre-Law Office for helping me get into one of my top-choice law schools, New York University.”

Ariella Muller, a political science major and biology minor, felt her undergraduate experience and the close advising she received from faculty and staff at YU played a critical role in helping her obtain law school acceptances from top-ranked programs like Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, and—of course—Harvard. “The Frontiers in Law program gave me exposure to actual law school classes and helped me realize that I would enjoy law school—it played a major role in my decision to pursue it,” said Muller, who ultimately hopes to practice international or intellectual property law. “Dina Chelst really helped me with the application process and everyone was very supportive.”

Whether their ultimate dream is Columbia Law or Harvard Medical School, students know that they have a whole team of coaches cheering them on every step of the process—whether it’s an academic adviser calling a graduate school on their behalf to a Career Center counselor conducting mock interviews with them to make sure they’re comfortable and confident during the real thing.

“We help them research online and communicate with specific institutions and programs to gain perspective on fit, and we can review the information with the students to help them assess their options,” said Marc Goldman, executive director of the Career Center. “If they are at an earlier stage in their career planning, the Career Center team can work with them in assessing their interests, skills, and values as well as exploring various career and graduate school paths via research, informational interviewing and experiential opportunities.”

“The one-to-one ongoing attention for students, as well as the collaborative efforts between the Career Center and the pre-professional advisors, is a key to their success,” he said.

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