Central Michigan University's College of Medicine has made its first offer of early assurance of admission to medical school to five Centralis honors students.
The program, called CMUMed honors, launched in 2015 in cooperation with the Honors Program. It selects up to 20 select freshman honors students to begin a journey to gain a thorough understanding of the College of Medicine's mission as well as insight into the medical school application process.
"It's exciting that we have five awesome CMU students to fill those spots, a full contingent from this program," said Chris Austin, director of admissions for the medical school.
Rigorous and rewarding
After acceptance into the program, students spend each spring semester taking part in medical school seminars in which they learn how to apply to and interview for medical school admittance, discuss cutting-edge advances in medicine, assess the latest technology, and more.
Then, after experiencing the college's academic rigor, gaining clinical skills, working with mentors, and taking the Medical College Admission Test, up to five students may be offered early assurance of admission to the College of Medicine.
Dominique Gutierrez and Haley Kopkau are among the first group to be offered a spot in the College of Medicine’s early assurance of admission program.
Removing the scary
Juniors Dominique Gutierrez and Haley Kopkau are among the first to make the grade, along with Alexis Vicenzi, Payton Salomon and Rachel Swanson.
While Gutierrez and Kopkau both knew from the time they were children that they wanted to become doctors, they appreciated the well-designed look behind the curtain of medical school, the required admissions test and program interviews.
"Since no one in my immediate family is a doctor, I knew very little about the process of applying and going to medical school," said Kopkau, a biochemistry major from Tawas, Michigan. "The EAP was my first real exposure to what medical school entails."
Gutierrez, a biomedical science major from Alma, Michigan, particularly appreciated the interaction with current medical students and the yearly mock interviews.
"After having gone through a mock interview each year, by the time I actually did my interview in the third year, it wasn't scary.
"I have friends who are interviewing at other schools around the country, and they have no idea what the process is. It's very difficult for them."
Staying a step ahead
Those comments are music to the ears of not only Austin but also Lyman Mower, assistant director of admissions and financial aid and instructor of the students' first class. While they are pleased with the program's success, they are continually assessing it and adjusting to stay a step ahead.
"Year after year, we've altered seminar objectives to get the students to where they should be academically and pre-professionally," Mower said.
Currently, they are discussing ideas for MCAT preparation and possibly switching the last seminar to fall semester of students' junior year to give them one last preparatory push into spring, when they will apply to the early assurance program, take the MCAT and go through interviews, Austin said.
Also on the drawing board is possibly opening up an EAP-like program to the general student population, Austin said.
"The honors program is the partner because it was a well-defined population of top students and the first program to ask," Mower said. "Now we are looking at expanding the program's impact from there."