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SUNY Cortland holds open house

Catherine Wilde/contributing photographer

Visitors on a tour of SUNY Cortland stream out of the Child Care Center during Monday’s open house.

More than a dozen prospective pre-med majors listened to biomedical professor Theresa Curtis explain to them how rigorous the requirements are that lie ahead of them, at Monday’s Open House at SUNY Cortland.

That didn’t deter Christina Brown, of Monroe, who wants to be a physician’s assistant.

That program is in some ways even more demanding, explained Curtis, because schools require physician assistants to have a broader range of knowledge and more hours devoted to experiences, like time with patients, than do medical schools.

Still, Brown said after the presentation, she was not discouraged. She also was pleased with SUNY Cortland, having first toured Ithaca College on Monday. She was impressed by the biomedical program offerings and the labs.

“It is more up to date,” said Brown, who came with her parents, JoAnn and Lenny Brown.

Curtis’ presentation was taking place in the newly renovated Bowers Hall, where a new greenhouse and museum greet visitors who come in the main entrance.

Sydney Gale, of St. Lawrence County, said SUNY Cortland is a top choice for her, behind perhaps, the Sage College of Albany.

“The program seems rigorous and intense,” Gale said of her introduction to pre-med. “But it seems like it would really prepare me for what’s ahead of me.”

Gale said she knew the demands of taking the Medical College Admission Test, even before Curtis’ presentation, but is not deterred.

“I’ve known people who’ve taken the MCAT and it’s really intense,” Gale said “Four months prior and they go into this zone and disappear for like six months and you see them after and you’re like, ‘Oh you do exist.’”

Curtis explained that as freshmen, it is crucial for students not to let their grades slip, but rather just focus on getting used to college and devoting the time needed to their studies. The other components of being a pre-med major, which include service-oriented work and extracurricular activities —in order to be considered well-rounded enough to be accepted by a medical school — can wait, Curtis said.

The open house also introduced students to other elements of life at SUNY Cortland, such as various options for dorms and tours of all the buildings in addition to focused discussions about academic programs.

SUNY Cortland Spokesman Fred Pierce said an open house is an important factor that students consider when deciding what college to attend.

“Essentially once you’ve narrowed your choices, and find the schools that have the program you’re interested in… then really it comes down to if this is going to be a place you want to spend four years of your life,” said Pierce. “And to determine that, a family really needs to get on campus and meet other students and see what the facilities are like and get a feel for it.”

Pierce also directed students to the website, where a virtual tour option can be found at cortland.edu/admissions.

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