October 8, 2015
A group of six Drury pre-med students received some good news this fall about their future. They already know they’re accepted into the Saint Louis University School of Medicine, thanks to a longstanding program that fast-tracks outstanding students who know they want to be physicians.
Drury’s Pre-Medical Scholars Program is a set of partnerships with five universities throughout Missouri that offers undergraduate students a chance to be pre-accepted into medical school, typically at the beginning of their junior year.
Besides Saint Louis University, the other four medical schools are Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, Kansas City University of Medicine & Biosciences, University of Missouri-Kansas City, and the University of Missouri School of Medicine. Altogether there are about a dozen Drury students currently pre-accepted to one of these schools with additional students awaiting decisions for this year’s pre-acceptance interviews.
The newest group headed to SLU is something of a bumper crop.
“This is the first time in the last 10 years that we’ve had so many students accepted into one pre-acceptance program in one year,” said Dr. Mark Wood[cq], a chemistry professor and head of Drury’s pre-health sciences program.
The six students – Kayla Whorton, Trey Hufham, Joshua Kimrey, Alex Flanagan, Kerri Raleigh and Breanna Stirewalt – are all undergraduates double majoring in some combination of biochemistry, biology or chemistry.
Each was required to have an ACT score of at least 30, maintain a 3.5 GPA throughout their undergraduate career, complete at least 135 hours of professional shadowing and ace an interview. In return, they will have no minimum MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) score requirement and don’t have to go through a series of grueling interviews at multiple medical schools.
“It’s a huge stress relief. Instead of spending $2,000-$3,000 on an MCAT prep program we get to save all that money,” says Kimrey, a junior who is actually triple majoring in biology, chemistry and philosophy. “And instead of spending 40 hours a week studying for that test, we can focus on our classes. It means the world.”
While each medical school has its own set of requirements for early acceptance, all are geared toward students who have demonstrated an early interest in going to medical school.
Senior Alex Flanagan said having “a lot of volunteer work in a variety of settings,” was a great help in the application and interview process.
“Getting into these medical school programs now requires more than just a GPA,” Wood said. “That is still a part of it, but it’s becoming a smaller one. What they’re looking for now is, ‘Have you done extensive shadowing? Have you done volunteer work that demonstrates that you care for other human beings?’ Yeah, they can do the academics, but what medical schools are really concerned with is if students truly want to do these jobs.”
To that end, Drury has a popular program that allows pre-health sciences students to volunteer and shadow doctors and other medical professionals at Jordan Valley Community Health Center.
The extra piece of mind and free time these students now have will allow them more opportunities to focus on the present during a pivotal time in their lives.
“You get to focus a lot more on enjoying learning rather than making yourself look good on paper,” said Hufham.
Story by Chaniqua Crook, student writer in Drury’s marketing and communication department.