Getting to med school

Like hundreds of other students at the U considering medical school, Shane Hawthorne wasn’t sure what the U Medical School would expect of him when it was time to apply.

“The U medical school admission requirements are some of the most stringent in the nation — many students don’t know what the U is looking for,” said Hawthorne, a junior in biology.

In a lecture last Wednesday, Wayne Samuelson discussed eight areas where students applying to medical school must perform well.

“It’s up to you to tell us and convince us why you should be admitted to medical school,” said Samuelson, a professor in clinical pulmonary and dean of admissions for the School of Medicine.

The U Admissions Committee reviews every applicant based on their GPA, Medical College Admission Test score, physician shadowing, patient exposure, leadership ability, extracurricular activities and community/volunteer service and research.

Getting into medical school is extremely competitive — of the 1300 students who applied last year only 139 students were accepted, Samuelson stated.

“We turn down 15 to 30 people every year who have 3.9 to 4.0 GPAs and 42 or higher MCAT scores — we reject them because they don’t do very well on the other six requirements,” he said.

Samuelson discussed each of the criterion and what the admission and interview committees will be looking for in applicants.

“For leadership, we want to see your willingness to be responsible,” he said.

Physician shadowing and patient exposure are equally important.

“The average applicant shadows for eight hours a day, three to four times,” Samuelson said.

For each of these requirements, the admission committee wants to see what the student has learned from their experiences and how they have benefitted them.

“It’s not what you do, it’s what you learn from what you do,” Samuelson repeated many times throughout the lecture.

This makes the personal statement portion of a student’s application important to the committee.

“The committee looks at the personal statement very carefully to understand who you are as a student,” he said.

Samuelson also mentions that an applicant’s major does not have to be science.

“I would encourage you to major in something you have a passion for,” he said. He advised U undergraduate students to apply to the U Medical School. Utah residents have a better chance of getting into the U Medical School than going to an out-of-state school.

The Utah State Legislature stipulates that of the 102 seats available to first-year medical students, 76 of them are designated for Utah residents.

The Alpha Epsilon Delta Honor Society sponsored the lecture for pre-med students to learn the requirements for the U medical school and to let students know about AED society.

“It’s hard to get involved in the extracurricular and community service Dr. Samuelson talked about — AED can help students get involved in those activities,” Hawthorne said.

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