Located in the heart of the Upper East Side, Hunter College is home away from home to 23,000 students and hundreds of staff members and professors. As a popular commuter school a part of the CUNY system, it has its own subway station along the 6 train line and is located just blocks away from Central Park, hospitals such as Weill Cornell, Lenox Hill and Mount Sinai and endless opportunities spanning the big apple. The connections made through Hunter College are amazing and the location is only the beginning. Being in the city means it is easily accessible from all of the five boroughs and close to amazing internships, nonprofits and job opportunities. As a student at this college, there are over 75 major undergraduate degrees to choose from with amazing advisors to guide you in every step of the way. As a pre-medical honors student, I am required to take prerequisites for medical school as well as general education requirements such as writing intensive classes and foreign language classes. Every professor that I have encountered thus far in my journey has had passion in the subject they are teaching, passing down their extensive education to their students effortlessly. Hunter College is reputable for having some of the best professors in NYC, as most of them have received their Masters and PhDs from universities such as Yale, Columbia and Oxford to name a few. The passion that these professors have motivates the students in huge class sizes to continue to ask questions, participate in discussions and continue the conversation outside of the classroom.
This brings me to my next point in that the class sizes for pre-meds the first few years are massive, reaching up to 800 students. Freshman year chemistry can reach up to 800 people but that number significantly drops down halfway into the semester. The general biology classes can reach up to 200 students and the general physics class can reach up to 130. As you take more advanced courses over the years, the class sizes dwindle. Most of the other classes for other majors, such as Economics and Art History tend to have less students per class, closer to 50 students or less. The class sizes at Hunter College, however, should not discourage students from forming connections with their professors and TAs. It is encouraged to attend office hours and attend recitation classes so that a bond can be formed. When it comes down to asking a professor for a letter of recommendation, they should be able to remember your face and name, so make yourself well known to them.
Forming these connections with professors is not only for the ability to gain a letter of recommendation, but it can also aid in obtaining a research position at a lab, which is something most pre-medical/pre-dental students strive for. CUNY-Hunter has the most research labs compared to any other CUNY university. With research labs on every floor of the college, there is always room for undergraduate students to join a lab they are interested in. Simply email the professor whose research sparked interest in you the most and set up a meeting with them to discuss a possible position in their lab. The worst possible scenario is that they say no, and in that case, there are many more labs to choose from with more options with this database. http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/ugresearch/forstudents/rops
Keep in mind, the resources offered at Hunter College can also land someone an internship or research position outside of the university. The Career Development Services for Student Affairs is one of the most important services to be offered. These coordinators specialize in on-campus recruitment, mock interviews, career development plans, resume planning, headshots, etc. They have also created a database for students to find internships in the area in their indicated interest. You can check out the website at http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/studentservices/cds/students where you can find templates for resume building as well as the link to the database mentioned.
The advisors are another highly encouraged resource to utilize, as they are there for the students all days of the week. Every student is required to see their advisor at least once a semester to discuss classes, future plans, and personal life and most students have 2-3 advisors. All of the advisors provided to you at Hunter College are there to see you succeed and do not want to deter you from your goal, as I have had support from my major advisor, pre health advisor and honors advisor for the past 2 years. As a pre-health student, the pre health office will be you number one go to spot over the 4-5 years you spend at Hunter. With four pre-health advisors to help you reach your professional goal, they invite you in with open arms and break down the process for you. Unlike most schools, the pre-health office requires students to attend pre-health workshops up to 3-4 times a semester; these workshops relate to time management, stress management, tips on getting research, application process facts, etc. Their website also has a mutliditde of information regarding the application process and different opportunities: http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/prehealth .
And lastly, you must be curious about the social life at a commuter school like Hunter College. There seems to be a misconception about “commuter schools” as they can be seen as having antisocial students. However, this cannot be further from the truth, at least in regards to Hunter. With 23,000 students, the majority of them pre-med, it is very hard to be alone and without friends. Everyone struggles in the same classes and tend to stick together through the horrors of learning organic chemistry reagents/mechanisms or trying to figure out the Kreb Cycle for the general biology class. Most students choose to spend their long breaks on one of the seven floors of the library, which have huge tables for group study sessions and quiet floors for students that prefer a silent area. Every Wednesday from 1pm-3pm, no classes take place and it is the perfect opportunity for clubs to meet, friends to hang out in the common areas or a chance to study with no distractions. The experience at CUNY-Hunter is unlike any other CUNY and from the past two years attending this college, I would not have it any other way.