The UNLV School of Medicine started its admissions process Oct. 29, and in less than 2 weeks we have received more than 650 applications - and nearly 50 percent are from Nevada students. We are just thrilled.
The next step now is for the school's Admissions Committee to select the very best students for our charter class.
A question I am frequently asked is how top students will be selected? What attributes are the most important? Will we look solely at GPA and MCAT scores, or will we look at other attributes as well?
The school's Admissions Committee tackled these questions more than a year ago. They started meeting in March 2015 with the mission to decide what type of students would make up UNLV School of Medicine's student body. The committee considered the school's culture and educational programs and developed a process to find the ideal students from a large pool of applicants.
The admissions committee met again to discuss student selection and the admissions process in July 2015, adding University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine faculty, additional UNLV faculty, and community representation.
These steps were essential because a medical school's students are the foundation for excellence. The better the student body, the better the education, and the reputation of the school.
One question addressed is whether excellence is best evaluated by looking at students' standardized test scores and GPA results? Some medical schools rely only on these test scores, personal statements, and letters of reference. UNLV School of Medicine is looking at these but delving deeper to learn more about each applicant. In addition to evaluating the applications, each applicant will go through a structured interview process. Two members of the "Interview Committee" will speak with each applicant to learn more about the student's background, character, interests, and their desire to live and work in Las Vegas. It's one of the most important aspects of the school's admissions process.
Our committee believes the profession of medicine is complicated, and while good GPA and MCAT scores are important, they are not the only measure for evaluating future physicians.
The profession of medicine is made up of a diverse set of actual occupations. Many physicians pursue a career taking care of patients while others do research, become educators, and administrators. Others pursue specialties in radiology and pathology that don't deal directly with patients but are consultants to other doctors. Even in patient care, there are many different types of physicians with various types of skills sets, such as surgeons who need to have great surgical dexterity and judgment as well as the ability to talk to patients. That's why we need to select students with a variety of technical, visual, intellectual and communication skills.
For instance, let's compare my journey into medicine with that of my husband Bill's. He was extremely smart, had high test scores, and a sharp memory. Today, Bill is a retired pulmonary and critical care internist. He had an outstanding career in academics and community practice and was known for his excellent rapport with his patients. He was admitted to medical school after only two years of college and, relative to the other students in his class, he was very smart and found the education process easy. He says he learned medicine during his residency and his first few years of practice.
I went back to school six years after I graduated from college, when my kids started school. I went to medical school with more maturity and good test scores but with a relatively poor GPA. Unlike Bill, who had an amazing memory, I had more of an analytic mind and remember information by attaching the data to bigger concepts to learn them. I ended up in pathology because it is a specialty that you can set your own hours and you can build an educational and research component into your career. I learned early on I had a visual memory and was skilled at making diagnoses by looking at cells under a microscope. I ended up as a cytopathologist, a specialty in pathology that diagnoses cancer. I also ended up taking an administrative career path, moving from the director of the cytopathology laboratory, to pathology department chair, to Dean of medicine. All these experiences led to the opportunity here.
There are numerous and different types of careers in medicine. Test scores alone don't predict success in all areas. We believe personality just as indicative of future success in whatever career a student pursues.
We are extremely excited about our admissions process. The committee worked hard to ensure it was fair and equitable. For more information about the school's admissions requirements and process go