Application Process for High School Students

Thank you for your interest in SUNY Upstate Medical University. We are glad you are considering a career in the healthcare field. For many health care professionals, their interest in a health care career began in high school.

SUNY Upstate Medical University is an upper-division transfer and graduate college. We do not admit students as freshman or sophomores. All students must have completed at least two years of college prior to enrolling in our bachelors programs or a bachelor's degree prior to enrolling in our graduate programs.

For Bachelor’s Degree Programs
SUNY Upstate is an upper-division college. This means that students transfer to our campus for their junior and senior years to complete their bachelor’s degrees.

For Graduate School
We offer several degree programs for college graduates, including medicine, nursing, physical therapy, physician assistant, and PhD programs in biomedical sciences.

Early Admission
SUNY Upstate offers Early Admission options for most of our programs.  Qualified high school seniors may apply providing they have met the guidelines as outlined on our Early Admission page. (Applying Early Admission to SUNY Upstate)

If you're not sure which area of health care you would like to pursue, there are many options for you to learn more:

  • Check to see if there is a Health Career Explorers program in your area.
  • Find out if your high school offers a New Visions program. This opportunity allows high school students to be exposed to many areas of health care.
  • Attend a camp that explores health careers which are offered throughout the United States.  Central New York students are encouraged to consult CNYAHEC’s website for various opportunities near their home.
  • Attend a SUNY Upstate Medical University Open House
  • Volunteer at a local hospital or medical facility. Some places allow you to volunteers as young as 14 years old.
  • Shadow a professional, as this is the best way to learn first-hand about the profession.

If you already know which area you are considering, here are some things to think about:

Nursing

SUNY Upstate Medical University's upper division nursing program offers a bachelors degree and master's degrees in nursing. Applicants must be registered nurses (RN's) with a New York State license.

What can you do as a high school student?

  • Shadow nurses to learn more about the different areas of nursing that exist and the role of a nurse. One option would be though our Nursing Shadow days.
  • Research the education degree options available for nursing and think about which direction you would like to pursue. Once you earn your RN, do you want to continue on for your bachelors? Your masters?
  • Learn about the admissions requirements for the schools you hope to apply to.

SUNY Upstate Medical University offers a 2+2 Early Admissions program for qualified high school seniors. Students applying to this program need to have been admitted to an RN program at another college.

Cardiovascular Perfusion
Medical Imaging/Radiography (X-ray)

Medical Imaging/Ultrasound
Respiratory Therapy
Radiation Therapy
Medical Technology
Medical Biotechnology

While most teens have met doctors and nurses, there are several health careers that SUNY Upstate offers that you may not know about. Some of these professionals are on the front lines of patient care, others work in labs or in other settings that do not require patient contact.

SUNY Upstate’s College of Health Professions offers bachelor’s degrees in careers that directly care for patients: Medical Imaging (X-ray, CT, MRI) and Ultrasound, Respiratory Therapy, Radiation Therapy as well as those that have little patient contact: Medical Technology, Medical Biotechnology and Cardiovascular Perfusion.

Each of these professions is unique and differs in the amount of patient contact and types of technology.

Admission to SUNY Upstate is competitive.  Students complete the pre-requisite courses during their first two years of college and apply to Upstate in the fall of their sophomore year.  Upstate does not offer the freshman and sophomore years.  Admitted students transfer to Upstate for their junior and senior years to complete their bachelor’s degree.

Early Admission for high school seniors is not available for Cardiovascular Perfusion.   

What can you do as a high school student?
Shadow professionals to determine if the profession is a good fit for you.

  • Set up a shadowing experience at a local health care facility
  • Attend a Shadow Day at Upstate.
  • Look for colleges that offer the prerequisite courses for your intended program of study.

Upstate is Different:

  • Upstate is an upper-division/graduate college.
  • Upstate does not admit students for the freshman and sophomore years.
  • Each bachelors program has specific pre-requisites that students need to complete prior to enrolling.

SUNY Upstate Medical University offers 2+2 Early Admission programs for qualified high school seniors.
Early Admission applicants should:

  • Have a strong academic record, especially in science and math
  • Complete four years of math and science
  • Shadow a health care professional in your area of interest
  • Have competitive SAT and/or ACT scores.

Physician Assistant

Physician Assistant (PA) is a master's program which requires students to enter with a bachelor's degree. There is no specific bachelor's degree required but applicants must complete the pre-requisite courses with a strong academic record and health care experience.

What can you do as a high school student? To understand what a Physician Assistant does and all the areas where a PA can work, we encourage high school students to:

  • Shadow a Physician Assistant.
  • Volunteer in a health care facility.
  • Consider participating in a New Visions or Health Careers Explorers program.
  • Document experiences because official documentation of 1000 hours of health care experience is required when applying. Experiences in high school can be included in those 1000 hours.
  • Work on a plan to acquire the minimum requirement of 1000 hours of health care experience. Direct patient care hours are preferred. Consider job opportunities that do not require a degree. Examples are: Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA), EMT, phlebotomist, and patient care technician.
  • While some students enroll in PA school following college, many students opt to work after earning their bachelors degree to gain additional experience.
There are no early admission options for our Physician Assistant program.

Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy (PT) is a doctoral program which requires students to enter with a bachelor's degree. There is no specific bachelor's degree required but applicants do need to enter with the pre-requisite courses completed and a strong academic record.

What can you do as a high school student?

  • Shadow—and a lot of it! This is a requirement for all applicants to PT.
  • Try to shadow in at least three different settings.
  • Engage in a variety of shadowing experiences (hospital setting, sports, geriatrics, pediatrics, etc.)
  • Be able to discuss, in detail, what you observed and learned from the shadow experiences.
  • Obtain a letter of recommendation from the Physical Therapist you have shadowed.

SUNY Upstate Medical University offers a 3+3 and 4+3 Early Admission programs for qualified high school seniors. Research both options to determine which one best meets your needs.

Medical Doctor

Medical school requires students to enter with a bachelor's degree. There is no a specific bachelor's degree required but applicants must complete all pre-requisite courses with a strong academic record.

What can you do as a high school student?

  • Take a challenging course load and shadow medical doctors.
  • Volunteer in a health care facility.
  • Consider the most competitive colleges for your bachelor's degree.

SUNY Upstate Medical University offers Early Admission to medical school for qualified students.

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