Ross University Blog

ADMISSIONS: What You Need to Know about Applying to Medical School

May 30, 2017

Carey M. James<br/>Associate Dean of Operations, Analysis and Admissions

Carey M. James
Associate Dean of Operations, Analysis and Admissions

This article was authored by Carey M. James, Associate Dean of Operations, Analysis and Admissions.

What do we look for in a medical student who is applying to Ross University School of Medicine (Ross)?  Our admissions philosophy is that anyone with the requisite ability, character and drive to be a physician deserves an opportunity to pursue his or her dream. We know that there are so many barriers to entry to medical school, things that get in the way, like lack of time, financial resources, and mentorship as pre-medical hopefuls begin their journey in college. While the average age of beginning  medical students in the US is 24 years old, the expectation is that you were always an A student, and never deviated from that since you were 17 or 18 years old. There are no second chances.

At Ross we also recognize that there is a shortage of seats in US and Canadian medical schools, and you need to be consistently competitive from the very beginning to be a viable candidate. There is little room for development as a student or to account for successfully overcoming earlier struggles, when there are more than 50,000 applicants for just 21,000 seats in MD programs in the US.

You are not your MCAT

While US medical schools are trying to become more holistic, our Caribbean medical school has always taken the approach that you are not your MCAT. Of course we look at an applicant’s academic record, but this is just one factor in a number of other skills and traits that we value. At Ross we know that people evolve, that there are those who become brilliant students who were not so their first semester of college. We need to see that there has been improvement, and that a student is ready to excel in medical school now. We can give you feedback and suggest ways in which you can improve your record. Many of our students come to us right out of college, while many others are career-changers, perhaps a few years older, and have spent time in medical and other fields. They are former nurses, paramedics, IT professionals, and more, who came to the decision that becoming a doctor was what they really wanted to do with their lives.

Are you ready to succeed?

Ross' campus in the Commonwealth of Dominica, a beautiful location known as “the nature island,” is an incredible learning environment where students start seeing patients in the second week of classes during the first semester. They see standardized patients, people in clinics and at health fairs, and in the Kalinago territory which is home to the indigenous population. This is a hands-on curriculum on the front-lines of medicine. Students then go on for clinical training in hospitals throughout the US and Canada.

It’s important for us to know that you’re ready to succeed. We look carefully at your letters of recommendation, and at your personal statement. What we want to see is that you have had some exposure to volunteer work in a medical setting, so that you recognize the demands placed on physicians, the daily stresses and the enormous pressures on the profession. The personal admissions interview is also very important, as it gives us a chance to get to know you as an individual, not just a set of data. Our campus community helps define who we are as a school, and develop who you will be as a doctor.  During the admissions process we need to understand who you are as a person, and as a team member.

We are looking for emotional intelligence

The non-cognitive factors we seek in applicants are extremely important. We want you to be adaptable, flexible, not take no for an answer and never quit. In other words, our students must have grit. They also require a tremendous capacity for caring and compassion. These are characteristics that can’t be graded on a test. We are looking for emotional intelligence.

If you overcame a difficult start in college, or spent years in pursuit of a profession that became unrewarding, you don’t have to take yourself out of the game and give up on your desire to become a doctor. Forgive yourself and know that you have options and an opportunity to be excellent. We are here as your advocate. I encourage prospective students to believe in themselves. There are more than 13,000 Ross alumni in all 50 states in the US and in every province in Canada. Our medical school, nearing its 40th anniversary, offers a well-worn path to residency and licensure.


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SCHOLARSHIPS: Grant Campbell is Focused on the Road Ahead

January 26, 2017

“It automatically felt like this is what I’m going to do with my life – whatever it takes,” said Grant Campbell reflecting on the shadowing opportunity he had last summer in the Operating Room department at University Medical Center (UMC) in Texas.

Motivated to turn his desire to become a doctor into a reality, Campbell is now three weeks into his journey to physicianhood as a first-semester student at Ross. He also is the recipient of two financial scholarships - the Dean’s Scholar and the Community Health Leadership Awards.

“Growing up, I always knew I wanted to make a big impact on the community, but I didn’t know how,” said Campbell.

Campbell attributes his sense of community to his father who is a family physician. His father would take him on hospital rounds and expose Campbell to what he perceived as a gratifying life.

“The decision to go to Ross was the biggest, but the easiest. And, now that I’m here, it’s awesome.”

“My father is my hero - the best person I know. I wanted to do something good with my life and have a significant and meaningful effect on people like my father has,” said Campbell. “However, I somewhat pushed medicine aside. I didn’t want to get a medical degree just for the sake of following in my father’s footsteps.”

However, it was the shadowing experience that gave Campbell the clarity and confirmation he needed to make the commitment to get a medical degree. “I realized that getting a MD would give me the knowledge and skills that would allow me to reach my potential to do the most good.”

In addition to having his “aha” moment about following a career in medicine, Campbell first learned about Ross at UMC. A physician he shadowed encouraged Campbell to consider the university. Also, a Ross alumnus gave a memorable lecture on abdominal surgical technique that resonated with Campbell.

Though, Campbell acknowledged his decision to attend Ross was in part due to the mentor relationship that developed between him and Norma Serrano, graduate admissions advisor at the university. “She really was a factor in choosing Ross,” said Campbell. “I knew if she was indicative of the quality at Ross, then I would be in good hands.”

“The decision to go to Ross was the biggest, but the easiest,” continued Campbell. “And, now that I’m here, it’s awesome.”

According to Campbell, he likes the seclusion of being on an island, without the distractions to divert him from his studies. “Most people dread studying all day, but I love it,” said Campbell. “I know that it’s helping me get closer to helping people.”

Campbell is a graduate of California State University – Sacramento and received a post-baccalaureate degree from Southern California University of Health Sciences. He has future aspirations of joining the US military after his residency training.



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SCHOLARSHIPS: Ross Student Driven by His Noble Intentions, Inspired by His Sister

January 23, 2017

“Since I was five, I have been fascinated by the human body,” said Burhan Butt, who just received the Dean’s Scholar Award and Opportunity Scholarship to begin his medical education at Ross.

Butt is a recent graduate from the University of Toronto where he received an honors degree with distinction in biology.

Discovering His Passion for Medicine

Perhaps, what established his pursuit of medicine was his trip to Pakistan to visit family. At the age of nine, Butt was influenced by his uncles who were physicians. He observed firsthand their knack for treating their patients’ medical conditions while maintaining meaningful connections with them.

“One of my uncles who was a family physician really sparked my interest in medicine as I observed him interacting with patients every day,” said Butt. “Witnessing his ability to understand the human body as well as being able to relate to people with different personalities and experiences initiated a life-long passion for medicine.” 

“I want to get a medical degree so that I can use my skills and experience to make healthcare much more accessible to everyone.”

Inspired by His Sister's Success

Now as a young adult, one of Butt’s biggest inspirations to become a physician is his older sister, Ifrah, who is currently completing her last semester at Ross in a clinical clerkship at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Michigan. “Her experiences in clinical settings and her daily schedule confirms I made the right decision going to medical school,” said Butt.

Aspiring to Make a Difference 

Butt aspires to volunteer with Doctors Without Borders and hopes to use his language skills to reduce barriers to healthcare – he is fluent in English, Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi.

“I want to get a medical degree so that I can use my skills and experience to make healthcare much more accessible to everyone,” said Butt. “I want to treat people for an affordable cost.”

He goes on, “I believe healthcare should be a right, not a privilege.”


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SCHOLARSHIPS: Ashley Sebastian Begins the Path She Vowed to Take

January 18, 2017

With a Masters of Public Health degree from Western University in Ontario, Canada under her belt and a wealth of medical and community volunteer experience on her resume, Ashley Sebastian just began her first semester at Ross University School of Medicine – with scholarships.

As a recipient of the Dean’s Scholar Award and Opportunity Scholarship, both merit-based aid, Sebastian was acknowledged for the combination of her academic performance, service and exposure to medicine. For several years she volunteered at a community kitchen, the Nova Scotia Cancer Clinic and was involved in the Environmental Noxiousness, Racial Inequalities and Community Health Project (The ENRICH Project) at Dalhousie University. Sebastian also served as the first research assistant at the William Osler Health System in Brampton, Ontario where she analyzed medical charts and physician processes to develop better practice outcomes. Additionally, Sebastian had the opportunity to shadow Dr. Subodh Verma who is a professor of surgery and pharmacology at the University of Toronto as well as cardiac surgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

“That day, I made a vow to become a physician who would never leave anyone behind. My mission is to improve the quality of life for others by bridging the gap between social determinants adverse to health and health care delivery.”

Sebastian has known from an early age that she would become a physician. While on vacation with her family as a second-grader, a driver refused to stop the vehicle to assist a visibly hemorrhaging pedestrian, in spite of her pleas.

“That day, I made a vow to become a physician who would never leave anyone behind,” said Sebastian recalling how helpless and sad she felt. “My mission is to improve the quality of life for others by bridging the gap between social determinants adverse to health and health care delivery.”

Perhaps it was also the influence of her family that subconsciously inspired Sebastian to become a physician. Her grandfather, father, three uncles and a host of cousins all have careers in medicine.

“I have grown up in a family of physicians and realize that hard work and an ardent commitment to the sick are the cornerstones of the profession,” said Sebastian as she contemplated about the physician role models in her family. “From volunteering to help the homeless to sponsoring children in developing countries, my father, who is a physician, taught me the foundations of selflessness and altruism.”

Sebastian completed her undergraduate career at St. Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she received the 2014 Student Leadership Award for Science. In the same year she made the Dean’s List and was an active member of the university’s Caribbean Society. In 2015, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology.

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ADMISSIONS: Check Out These Available Scholarships for Incoming September Students

July 06, 2016

Student Aly Klein (above) was recently awarded the Community Health Leadership Award for first semester. Learn about the award below. You can read Aly's story here.

We don’t want financial barriers to stand in the way of you achieving your dream and becoming a physician. Potential Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) students may be eligible for scholarships to help offset the cost of medical school. See below for the lineup of scholarships available for admitted students who enroll in our September 2016 class, plus a few stories about some recent award/scholarship recipients.

Awards/Scholarships for Incoming First-Semester Students (Automatically Considered)

For the six scholarships detailed below, no application is necessary—you’ll be considered for these scholarships based on your medical school application materials.

Opportunity Scholarship

Merit-based $25,000 scholarship, offered based on overall undergraduate GPA or MCAT score. Awarded in $5,000 increments over semesters 1 through 5.

Chancellor’s Academic Achievement Award

Merit-based $25,000 award, offered based on overall undergraduate GPA or MCAT score. Awarded in even increments between semesters 1 and 2.

Canadian Founder Award

Merit-based $15,000 award, offered to Canadian students based on overall undergraduate GPA or MCAT score.

Dean’s Academic Merit Scholarship

Merit-based $10,000 scholarship, offered based on minimum overall undergraduate GPA or MCAT score. Awarded in $2,500 increments over semesters 1 through 4.

Community Health Leadership Award

Merit-based $10,000 award, offered to students who have made significant community contributions through volunteer work and/or research and based on overall undergraduate GPA or MCAT scores.

Dean’s Scholar Award

Merit-based $3,000 award, offered based on overall undergraduate GPA, prerequisite GPA, and MCAT score.

Awards/Scholarships for Incoming First-Semester Students
(Short Award/Scholarship Application Required)

For the three awards/scholarships below, you’ll need to complete a short award/scholarship application, which you can find on the web page for the award you’re considering.

Alumni Legacy Scholarship

Merit-based scholarship that covers first-semester tuition. Applicants must have a letter of recommendation from a RUSM graduate. MCAT score, GPA, clinical experience, and special honors/recognition will be considered as criteria. Applicants who are not offered the Alumni Legacy Scholarship will automatically be offered a $500 Alumni Book Scholarship if they completed all initial eligibility requirements.

The deadline to apply for this scholarship is July 15, 2016.

Eliza Ann Grier Scholarship

Merit-based $20,000 scholarship offered to US citizens from under-represented minority groups in the field of medicine (African-American, Native American, or Hispanic-American). Overall undergraduate GPA, personal essay, and letters of recommendation will be considered.

The deadline to apply for this scholarship is July 15, 2016.

MERP Scholar Award

Merit-based $10,000 award offered to students who excelled academically and provided leadership to peers during the Medical Education Readiness Program (MERP). Eligibility criteria include overall MERP score, personal essay, and letters of recommendation from MERP peers/faculty.

Recommended Reading: Stories about Recent Award/Scholarship Recipients

  • “My dad always told me don’t be average. If you’re average—if you do the same things everyone else does and follow the masses—then you won’t go anywhere,” says Aly Klein, a recipient of the Community Health Leadership Award. It’s a message that he took to heart. Read Aly’s story here. 
  • At 14, Stacey Sassaman decided to pursue medicine when her grandfather was diagnosed with a rare, malignant brain tumor. “I wanted to understand the disease process. I wanted to help him and future patients,” said Sassaman. She received both the Community Health Leadership Award and the Dean’s Academic Merit awards. Read Stacey’s story here. 
  • Knowing firsthand what it’s like to grow up in an underserved community, Stephen Sebastian hopes to open a rural medical practice. He began the first step toward realizing his goal when he enrolled at RUSM in January 2015, receiving the Canadian Founder Award and Dean’s Academic Merit Scholarships. Read Stephen’s story here.

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Ross University School of Medicine Partners with Monmouth University

May 10, 2016

Lisa Dougherty, national director of admissions at RUSM (left), and Dr. Laura Moriarty, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Monmouth (right), shake hands after signing the articulation agreement.

Lisa Dougherty, national director of admissions at RUSM (left), and Dr. Laura Moriarty, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Monmouth (right), shake hands after signing the articulation agreement.

Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) has entered into an articulation agreement with Monmouth University. Representatives of both institutions gathered on the Monmouth campus in West Long Branch, N.J. to sign the agreement and increase opportunities for qualified students to pursue their dream of becoming a physician.

“I was very impressed by the facilities and the engagement of the faculty at RUSM,” said Dr. Bernadette Dunphy, specialist professor of biology and co-director of the Pre-Professional Health Advisory Committee (PPHAC) at Monmouth. “The education is top-notch, and it gives our students a great opportunity.”

Opportunities for Monmouth Graduates

Under the terms of the articulation agreement, Monmouth graduates interested in applying to medical school will have special opportunities such as:

  • Waived application fee (except where prohibited by law) when applying to RUSM
  • A guaranteed admissions interview with RUSM
  • Priority consideration for scholarships for which they qualify and apply (once an acceptance decision has been made)

In addition, RUSM will hold five open seats in each semester class for eligible applicants from Monmouth until 30 days before the start of the semester.

“Ross University School of Medicine is thrilled to partner with Monmouth University to provide opportunities for aspiring medical students,” said Lisa Dougherty, national director of admissions at RUSM. “At RUSM, we share Monmouth’s core value of ‘Excellence in Teaching and Learning’ and look forward to welcoming students into our learning community.”

“A Great Fit for Our Students”

A group of pre-med advisors hold the pennants of their respective schools during a visit to the RUSM campus. Dr. Bernadette Dunphy is third from the right.

Dr. Dunphy said visiting the campus in Dominica helped her get to know RUSM “beyond the brochure”—a crucial factor when providing guidance for pre-med students. When students are considering going outside the U.S. for medical school, Dr. Dunphy explained, they often don’t have the opportunity to visit, and they want assurance from someone who’s been there.

“After checking out the campus, faculty and housing, it was clear to me that RUSM is a great fit for our students,” she said. “Having this agreement allows us a closer connection with the school and gives our students a personalized experience.”

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Want to Change Careers and Become a Physician? Check Out Our Online Guide

February 29, 2016

Whether you’re a teacher or a nurse, a medical lab technician or a computer programmer, Ross could be the next step in your journey to an MD degree. We’ve graduated students who have likely been in very similar situations to yours, and they’ve gone on to earn their MDs, attain residencies and fellowships, and move on to careers as physicians.

At Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM), we’re dedicated to giving students from all walks of life an opportunity to realize their dreams and become physicians. To that end, we recently created an online guide for students looking to change careers and enter the world of medicine. Expect the following in this digital resource:

  • A primer on what makes a “nontraditional” medical school student, and why these students could be attractive candidates for our program
  • A sampling of careers that our graduates have held before enrolling at RUSM
  • A step-by-step guide describing what you, as a career-changing medical school student, need to do to get your application ready for submission
  • Profiles of RUSM grads who have made the career leap—read about the jobs they held, and where they are now in their medical careers

Check out our career changes guide here.

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January MCAT Scores Released. Does Your Score Qualify You for Admission?

February 23, 2016

The Association of American Medical Colleges today released MCAT scores for students who took the test on Jan. 22 or 23. To enroll in Ross University School of Medicine’s May 2016 class, you’ll need to have taken the MCAT on or before these dates.

If you just received your score and are curious about whether your MCAT score is acceptable for admission to RUSM, there’s a quick way to find out—our online candidate assessment tool. It only takes about a minute, and it generates a personalized report about your potential candidacy. You’ll need your MCAT score and undergraduate grade point average handy to use the tool.

Try the candidate assessment tool here.

Tags: Admissions , MCAT

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MCAT SCHEDULE: Some January Exams Postponed Due to Inclement Weather

January 01, 2016

For those planning to take the MCAT on January 22 or 23: 

Please note that due to inclement weather conditions, some Prometric centers will be closed, and MCAT examinations will be postponed. Please find more information at this link.

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THE TOP 15 FROM 2015: Some of Our Favorite Stories This Year

December 22, 2015

As 2015 draws to a close, we're looking back at some of our most interesting and exciting stories. From clinical updates to student and graduate success stories, help us say goodbye to 2015 with some of our favorite posts from this year!

MATCH: 800+ RUSM Grads Earn Residencies in 2015, Breaking Institutional Records

We're very proud to announce that more than 800 Ross University School of Medicine graduates earned residency appointments in 2015. Our alumni earned residencies in very competitive specialties—like ophthalmology, neurology, and surgery—while also obtaining placements in primary care programs, like internal medicine, pediatrics, and family medicine. With our new residency total, we’ve broken institutional records for the second year in a row. >> Read More

OPPORTUNITY: RUSM Students Join US Navy Ship COMFORT Clinics on Medical Mission in Dominica

About 900 Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) students joined medical personnel from the US Navy’s hospital ship USNS COMFORT to provide health services to people in Dominica while the ship was docked there between July 28 and Aug. 6. >> Read More

ALUMNI PROFILE: One Grad's Path from Teacher, to Student, to Resident of the Year

Ray King, MD, PhD, a RUSM Class of 2010 graduate, was just named Resident of the Year at the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) at Georgia Regents University, Augusta. Dr. King is the chief resident in surgery, and is just about to complete his training. It goes without saying that we’re immensely proud of Dr. King’s accomplishment, but—given the caliber of our students and graduates—we also aren’t that surprised. What might surprise you, though, is the path he ultimately took to become a physician. Because it’s the opposite of what you’d expect. >> Read More

CLINICAL SPOTLIGHT: Making Our Strong Clinical Program Even Stronger

We’re excited about some of the great new developments in the clinical program at Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM). From dedicated student support teams to new U.S. regional hubs that serve as convenient, single-location “academic homes” for our clinical students, there’s a lot for our students to look forward to—and even more enhancements headed your way in the future. >> Read More

ADMISSIONS ADVICE: Steps for Success on Your Medical School Interview

The medical school interview is a crucial component of the admissions process, and can make or break your candidacy for medical school. Your credentials and accomplishments on paper have gotten you this far—now, the school is asking for the opportunity to get to know you in person. That’s a big deal. We sat down with Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) Graduate Admissions Advisor Matt Fessler, who had some helpful suggestions on how to prepare and conduct yourself to ensure you will stand out in your interview. >> Read More

CHIEF RESIDENTS: RUSM Grads Earn Chief Resident Spots for 2015-2016 Residency Year

Hundreds of Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) graduates started residency training just a few months ago, in July. In the meantime, many of our graduates who are already deep in their training have earned the distinction of being named chief residents for the 2015-2016 year. Chief residents are generally appointed by the program director of a given residency program, and they’re entrusted with developing clinical rotation schedules, performing administrative duties, and supervising junior residents, among other responsibilities. Curious whether a friend or classmate of yours was appointed chief resident recently? Check out the list. >> Read More

STUDENTS: RUSM Clinical Student Gets Published on Major Healthcare Blog

The first time Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) clinical student Marc Katz submitted a piece of his writing to—a popular,  influential healthcare blog run by New Hampshire-based internal medicine physician Kevin Pho —he didn’t think much of it. The day after he submitted the post, he was surprised to see he had already gotten an email back saying his story was accepted. His initial thought? “Well…I guess people are going to see this now,” he laughs. >> Read More 

ALUMNI PROFILE: RUSM Grad Who Completed MERP Is Now Chief Resident in Surgery

Sola Fasusi, MD, readily admits that when he found out that he’d been recommended to the Medical Education Readiness Program (MERP), his pride took a hit. He had already had been waitlisted at two United States medical schools, had taken the MCAT twice, and had applied to Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) only after a friend mentioned the school in passing. He was granted conditional acceptance to RUSM, on the condition that he successfully complete MERP before starting as a first-semester med student. “It was a shot to my ego,” remembers Dr. Fasusi. “But it fueled a fire in me, and I realized I had two decisions: either wait to see if I could possibly get into one of those two US medical schools, or take the RUSM opportunity now.” He chose the latter. And he’s glad he did. >> Read More

CLINICAL SPOTLIGHT: St. Joseph Mercy Oakland, Pontiac

Established in 1927, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland (SJMO) is a long-time healthcare provider in Oakland County. A 443-bed comprehensive community and teaching hospital, SJMO is ranked in the top five percent of hospitals across the nation for clinical excellence and women’s health, and has earned a position among the top 50 US cardiovascular programs. >> Read More

VIEWPOINT: Faculty Member Sees an "Unbelievable" Transformation at RUSM

Davendra Sharma, MBBS, DM, professor and interim chair of behavioral sciences, has been at Ross University School of Medicine for over 20 years. Here, he explains not only the great transformations taking place on campus, but also his unique path from skeptic outsider to passionate advocate of the university. "We have grown as a force that is beyond comparison. We have something that goes beyond materialism. We have the commitment. We have the love for our students. That is what this school is all about, or I would not have been here so long." >> Read More

MATCH: Surgery Residency Brings RUSM Student Closer to Dream Career

Shortly after attending the Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) Match Celebration in New York on March 21, Jairo Espinosa, who is scheduled to graduate in May, plans to do some traveling. Completing his last clinical clerkship had been “very, very surreal,” he said. “It was a crazy feeling.” After all, he had been working so hard since enrolling in medical school, with barely a break. “I like to plan ahead,” he said, and so he made the arrangements for a month-long trip to Europe and Asia, right after learning where he had matched, and before he was to begin the residency. Jairo landed a surgery residency at Western Michigan University. >> Read More

CARMS: Two Tragic Stories Started This New Resident on Her Path to Practice Medicine

For January 2015 graduate Sisi Li—like many of her classmates at Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM)—the seeds that would ultimately grow into a calling to practice medicine were planted early in life, when she was still a young child. But unlike other RUSM graduates, her path to practice didn’t start with toy stethoscopes or stuffed animals standing in for patients. Instead, it started with her hearing two tragic stories that impacted her family before she was ever born—stories that affected her more than she knew at the time. >> Read More

CLINICALS: RUSM Offers United Kingdom-New Jersey Clinical Track

Ross University School of Medicine is excited to announce the new United Kingdom and New Jersey track program, dubbed the UKNJ Track. Students will spend 24 straight weeks each in the United Kingdom and in New Jersey hospitals. Students will complete surgery, pediatrics and OB/GYN clinical rotations at Queen’s Hospital in Romford, just outside of London. >> Read More

RESCUE: RUSM Faculty Save a Passenger's Life on a Plane

“Is there a doctor in the house?” is something most of us have heard only in a scene in a movie, but for two Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) physician colleagues, the urgent announcement, “Is there a doctor on the plane?” was very real. They were flying home from the RUSM Leadership Conference, held Sept. 17-19 in Cancun, Mexico. Sean Gnecco, MD, RUSM Associate Professor in the Internal Medicine Foundations program, and Assistant Dean for Clinical Sciences, Iriana Hammel, MD, FACP, AGSF, heeded the call for a doctor immediately. >> Read More

MATCH: RUSM Student Lands Her First Choice for Residency

Marcella Perez, set to graduate in May 2015 from Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM), plans to bring 25 family members to the commencement ceremony in Coral Gables, Florida. She was born and raised in New Jersey, and some relatives are coming from there, some from Tampa, and some from as far away as Colombia. And after Perez's successful Match today—at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School's Family Medicine Program, her first choice—she and her family have even more to celebrate. >> Read More

Tags: Admissions , Alumni , Canada , Clinical Program , MERP , New Jersey , New York , Residency

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ADMISSIONS: New Articulation Agreement with Benedictine University

October 15, 2015

Years of Collaboration Leads to Articulation Agreement between RUSM and Benedictine University

During a recent signing ceremony, Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) entered an articulation agreement with Benedictine University (Benedictine).  Representatives of both institutions gathered on campus in Lisle, Illinois to acknowledge 10 years of successfully identifying eligible students who have been well-suited to apply to the medical school in Dominica. With the signing of the agreement, there is now a direct pathway for similar applicants to progress through the admissions process.

“The relationship with Benedictine University has been so successful because both institutions are looking for applicants who are well-matched for RUSM,” said Leslie Andersen, Senior Associate Director of Admissions at RUSM. “Benedictine is knowledgeable in RUSM’s requirements and curriculum and we are acquainted with Benedictine’s process and standard for referrals. Benedictine students who are referred generally do well through the admissions process.”

Terms of the Agreement

Under the articulation agreement, Benedictine graduates will be held to RUSM’s standard admissions requirements and will have special opportunities such as: 

  • Waived application fees
  • A guaranteed admissions interview
  • Consideration for scholarships for which they qualify (once an acceptance decision has been made)

Also, RUSM will hold five open seats in each semester class for eligible applicants from Benedictine until 30 days prior to the start of the semester. 

Making the Grade

“Our relationship with Ross University School of Medicine has been a good one,” said Alice Sima, MSN, MBA, RN, Director-Pre-Professional Health Programs at Benedictine. 

Before Sima began recommending students to RUSM, she was committed to learning about the medical school’s academic standards and student experience. She has visited the campus in Dominica, toured the simulation lab and participated in focus groups with Benedictine alumni to hear firsthand about their experience at RUSM.
“If I don’t have the information I need, then I won’t recommend a school,” said Sima. “Students and parents are looking to me for guidance. I have to make a recommendation with integrity.”

A Decade of Success

There are currently 12 students enrolled at RUSM who completed their undergraduate education at Benedictine, with five students enrolling in 2014--the greatest number of enrollees from the institution in one year. Over the past 10 years, 24 Benedictine alumni have graduated from RUSM.


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ADMISSIONS: What to Expect at an RUSM Information Seminar (+Video)

September 23, 2015

Throughout the year, Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) holds live information seminars across the US and Canada—recruitment events designed to give interested students a deeper look at how we prepare our students for challenging, rewarding careers in medicine—and how RUSM is here to support you from day one, from white coat to residency and practice.

Go here to see if we’re hosting an information seminar near you, and be sure to check out the video on the right, in which Eric Wilson, MD, RUSM Class of 2007—a California sports medicine physician practicing at Kaiser Permanente—gives you a sneak peek of what you can learn at one of our live events.

What can I expect at an information seminar?

RUSM seminars generally last about two hours. Here’s what you can expect in a nutshell:

  • Learn about our campus and a take a close look at our accelerated, organ systems-based, integrated Foundations of Medicine (basic sciences) curriculum—and how we weave clinical exposure into the curriculum starting as early as first semester.
  • Explore our clinical program in detail, and find out which United States hospitals you could be rotating through as an RUSM student.
  • Watch a select group of alumni speak, in person, about their experiences at RUSM—and learn about their lives in residency and medical practice.
  • Speak with admissions officers one-on-one to discuss your MCAT score, GPA, and other specifics related to your personal academic situation.
  • Find out more about financial aid, scholarships, and other ways you can fund your medical education.

What’s the typical schedule at a Ross information seminar?

For one of our standard information seminars, expect the following schedule:

  • Registration: Check in, chat with admissions advisors, and enjoy a spread of complimentary refreshments before the event begins. Generally takes place 10 to 15 minutes before the seminar begins.
  • Presentation: Watch an engaging presentation—incorporating photography, videos, and live speakers—and learn about the application process, arriving on campus, our curriculum, the US clinical experience, and our graduates’ residency/career successes. Typically, this segment lasts about an hour.
  • Panel/Q&A: Listen to our graduates’ stories, and then ask them your questions—about medical school, the RUSM experience and residency, and their professional careers after they earned their Doctor of Medicine (MD) degrees. All told, the panel and Q&A last about an hour.
  • Individual Q&A: After the event concludes, speak with our admissions officers about whether you’re a fit for RUSM, and what you should do next in the application process. If schedule permits, our alumni generally stay for some time after the event to answer students’ individual questions one on one.

How can I sign up for an RUSM information seminar near me?

Go here for the latest list of live events and signup forms. If you have other questions about our event, feel free to send them to

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ADMISSIONS: Important 2016 MCAT Information

September 16, 2015

An important reminder for students thinking of applying to medical school: the American Association for Medical Colleges (AAMC) has released the list of MCAT test dates for 2016. Take a look here.

How does this affect my medical school application for the May 2016 class?

If you’re planning to apply for Ross University School of Medicine’s (RUSM) May 2016 class but have not taken the MCAT yet, these new 2016 MCAT test dates mean that you still have options. The MCAT will be offered on Friday, January 22, and Saturday, January 23. If you take the MCAT on one of these two test dates, you will have enough time to apply, send in your supporting documents, receive your MCAT score, and potentially secure an interview.

What about the September 2016 class? When should I take the MCAT?

The last day you can take the MCAT and qualify for our September 2016 class is Saturday, June 18. However, our admissions colleagues highly encourage applicants to take the MCAT sooner, not later.

“Students hoping to enroll in September 2016 are highly encouraged to take the MCAT as early as January,” says Carey James, associate director of operations, analytics, and admissions. “That way, if you decide to retake the exam to better your score, you’ll still have time to study, retake it, improve your score, and make it in time for September.”

Though taking the MCAT in June is still an option, there is a chance that the September 2016 class will be full by then, James notes.

You can register for the MCAT on the AAMC’s website.

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ADVICE CORNER: How Your Past Experience Can Boost Your Medical School Application

September 15, 2015

Recently, we sat down with Carey James, associate dean of admissions at Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM), to chat about one important piece of your medical school candidate profile: your past experiences. These can help an institution’s admissions officers look at more than just your MCAT score and grade point average to really understand who you are—both as a person and as a prospective physician.

“To us, that’s really interesting stuff,” says James. “It helps us see beyond the statistics and understand you better as a person who is  more than just numbers on an application.” In fact, in select cases, your past experience can actually outweigh how you performed during your undergraduate studies, he says.

Though he emphasizes that there are many options out there for a medical school student who wants to get some extra experience in the field, James pinpointed three main methods: Shadowing a physician, your work history in a medical field, and your volunteer history.

Why It’s Important: Shadow a Physician

Shadowing a physician is a common, generally safe way for you to get some experience in the medical arena without participating in direct patient care. Shadowing is all about observation: You’ll likely be following a physician over the course of a typical day at work, watching that person interact with patients, and gaining a greater understanding of the practice of medicine. Think of it as a test drive.

“It protects the student, and helps them gain empathy as to what it’s like to be a practicing physician,” James adds. “It helps them imagine being in that role, and broadens their understanding of the realities of daily life in practice.”

That’s an important point, says James: Shadowing a physician is less about  developing practical skills in medicine and more about seeing what it’s really like to be a practicing physician—and if being a doctor is really right for you.

“Before you apply to medical school, it’s important for you to ensure that the job is the right fit for you before you commit,” James says. Shadowing a physician can help you make that decision.

Action steps: If you know a physician, that’s one of the first places you should start on shadowing—just reach out and ask! The Association of American Medical Colleges suggests that you can also try asking your teachers, pre-med advisors, or professors about shadowing opportunities, as well as hospitals or practitioners in your area. When you do your research, think about finding a shadowing opportunity in a specialty that’s interesting to you. If you’re interested in children’s healthcare, for example, see if you can find a pediatrician to partner with.

Why It’s Important: Medically Related Professional Experience

What if you’ve been working in an actual medical profession, though—like as a physician’s assistant, nurse, or emergency medical technician? That type of experience should absolutely go on your medical school application, says James. In fact, depending on how long you’ve been working in the medical field, this type of experience can even outweigh how you performed as undergraduate student.

“While a student may have been one type of person ten years ago as an undergraduate, they’ve had a decade—years, a large portion of their life—that they’ve spent out in practice, helping patients, gaining experience, and really developing an understanding of the responsibilities healthcare providers have for their patients,” James says. “That becomes their story, and it helps us understand who they are.”

Having this type of student at RUSM tends to elevate the work of everyone around him or her, James says.

“It’s fantastic what these types of students bring to the table,” says James. “They’re great people to have in your study groups, they’re great to have on campus, and they’re great in hospitals during clinical rotations because they already know the protocols. I consider those with past medical experience to be very mature and prepared students.”

Action steps: Having medical experience becomes very important with “nontraditional” medical school students who decided to pursue medicine later in life than most, but it’s just as important if you’re still working toward your undergraduate degree. If you’re still in college, check with your institution to see if they have their own ambulance service or medical program. If they do, see if you can participate.

Why It’s Important: Volunteer Experience and Non-Medical Experience

Volunteering at a healthcare facility is a little like shadowing: You probably won’t participate in much direct patient care. This makes sense, as volunteers are generally neither paid nor trained. However, unlike shadowing, many volunteers are encouraged to interact with patients, which can give medical students an edge when it comes to the patient-doctor relationship.

Don’t be afraid to pursue multiple volunteer opportunities—even non-medical opportunities. The AAMC points out that volunteer experiences of all kinds can make you a more well-rounded person, help you develop leadership abilities, and network with others who share your interests.

But what if you’ve volunteered for a cause that isn’t directly related to medicine? Put that on your application too, says James.  

“Volunteering for an organization—like Habitat for Humanity—isn’t strictly necessary for medical school, but that sort of experience is part of who you are,” James says. “If that’s how you spent your summers, doing something for other communities, and you got something out of it—if it made you feel good—then that says a lot about who you are as a person. And we pay attention to that.”

It’s important for admissions officers to see the whole picture of who you are, so even if your work experience isn’t directly related to medicine, include it.

“Sometimes, it takes a lot of prying for us to find out you’ve been spending 30 hours a week working at your family’s business,” James says. “But that actually becomes very important, because it tells us what you’ve been doing with your time. It helps us understand how you budget your free time, and what you choose to do with it—which becomes very important when you become a practicing physician.”

And don’t forget about the “fun stuff,” he adds.

“If you play on a pick-up soccer team or cricket team on the weekends, make mention of that,” James says. “It’s often really interesting stuff, and it helps us frame you as a real person, not just numbers on an application. Sometimes, it serves as a great icebreaker for the interview and helps us understand where your passions are.”

Action steps: Check with local hospitals to see if they accept volunteers. Some run free clinics or satellite offices that allow prospective medical school students to participate.

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CAREER ADVICE: Which Medical Specialty Makes Your Heart Twitch?

August 25, 2015

Choosing a Career in Medicine

This blog entry was written by Vijay Rajput, MD, FACP, SFHM, Professor and Chair of Medicine at Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM). Dr. Rajput is also the Medical Director for the Office of Student and Professional Development at RUSM.

Medicine is a career, not a job. The difference is that in a career you invest yourself, develop professionally, become more mature, and create a legacy. In a job, you can become the best burger-flipper, for example, with practice, but it’s still not a career.

Nevertheless, a physician, too, needs to get up every morning and go to work, and enjoy the work in which he or she is engaged. Medical students should be made aware of the wide range of options from which they may choose in pursuing their careers, and it is incumbent on medical educators to guide them through the process.

The basic question that needs to be answered by the student is what do you enjoy? Which medical specialty makes your heart start twitching? More specifically: 

  • Do you enjoy the cognitive aspects of analyzing a problem, or do you like to use psycho-motor skills and work with your hands? Do you enjoy both types of work?
  • What type of patient do you prefer to work with, children, adults, pregnant women?
  • What type of environment makes you more comfortable – a hospital operating room, emergency room, an outpatient office, a lab?
  • Do you enjoy taking care of an acute rather than a chronic problem? Do you prefer to manage a crisis rather than a chronic condition?
  • Do you prefer to get immediate satisfaction, or do you not mind getting delayed gratification?

Clearly, a person who likes to use psycho-motor skills in an acute situation, where immediate gratification is possible, is a person who would enjoy being a surgeon. A person who is comfortable in an office setting, and does not require immediate gratification, may be suited to family medicine or pediatrics. While it may seem obvious, many medical students do not necessarily ask themselves these questions to determine what specialty they wish to pursue. Additionally, an individual’s personality plays a role. If you are taciturn and reserved by nature, and can come across as grumpy, maybe pediatrics is not for you. On the other hand, if you are naturally cheerful, pleasant and very patient, you should consider a career as a pediatrician or a family medicine doctor.

Of course there is also the consideration of how difficult it may be to obtain a residency match in any area, and how the student’s academic record and United States Medical Licensing Examination® Step scores measure up. Students should aim high, but also have realistic expectations.

Now here are some don’ts when considering a career in medicine: 

  • Don’t choose a specialty based on a charismatic, exciting faculty member in that field. You need to talk to many people within that specialty to build up a comprehensive picture of what it’s really like.
  • Don’t try to navigate the market and choose a field because it seems to be in demand. Markets can swing every few years, and you might find yourself in a career you don’t enjoy, and earning less money than you anticipated.
  • Don’t neglect the opportunities within opportunities. For example, if you like the area of infectious diseases, check out the possibility of working in epidemiology at the Centers for Disease Control or the Department of Health.
  • Don’t rush your decision. Sometimes it just takes time to know what your passion really is and what you enjoy. There’s nothing wrong with that.

To achieve a rewarding career we need to do more than balance work and life. It’s not a balancing act it’s a juggling act, with the third component being integrity.

I advise medical students to follow these guidelines as they carefully consider what type of physician they wish to be and what kind of life they want to live.


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ADMISSIONS ADVICE: Steps for Success on Your Medical School Interview

August 12, 2015

RUSM Admissions Advisor Matt Fessler
RUSM Graduate Admissions Advisor Matt Fessler

The medical school interview is a crucial component of the admissions process, and can make or break your candidacy for medical school. Your credentials and accomplishments on paper have gotten you this far—now, the school is asking for the opportunity to get to know you in person. That’s a big deal.

We sat down with Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) Graduate Admissions Advisor Matt Fessler, who had some helpful suggestions on how to prepare and conduct yourself to ensure you will stand out in your interview.There are many factors that go into a successful medical school interview, but Matt identified three key ingredients: know yourself, know the school, and be professional.

Got a question for Matt? Send him an email!

1. Know Yourself

During your interview, it‘s important that you are able to thoroughly discuss your past experiences and accomplishments. “Anything on a resume, application, or other supporting documents is fair game to talk about in the interview,” he says. “And regardless of your qualifications on paper, if you can’t talk about yourself in an engaging way, you aren’t going to get very far in the interview. After all, we want to get to know you.”

It’s likely that you have years of educational, extracurricular, and professional experience under your belt, so it may be helpful to review your documents and resumé to ensure that your memory is fresh on any topic an interviewer may want to explore further. Just as important: that you’re able to delve into why you want to become a physician, and demonstrate an understanding of medical school and the field in general.

2. Know the School

One way to impress an admissions advisor, according to Matt, is by “demonstrating an in-depth understanding of the school.” Do research on the university and its academic program, and prepare to answer questions on why you want to go to your school of choice and what attracted you to the program. This not only shows that you are well prepared for your meeting with the admissions advisor, but also demonstrates a genuine interest in attending the program. If you don’t know much about the school to which you’re applying, the interviewer may not take your interest seriously.

Ross University Admissions - Interview Tips and Advice

3. Demonstrate Professionalism

The medical school interview is an opportunity to put your best foot forward, and professionalism in both demeanor and appearance is vital. Matt recommends you “dress to impress,” and believes it’s always better to overdress than underdress. Professional attire isn’t just suggested: it’s expected, and showing up to an interview underdressed can give a negative impression. 

“Be courteous, professional, and respectful,” he says. “And don’t forget to smile, shake hands, and make eye contact—these might sound like small things, but they can add up to equal a really positive medical school candidate.”

Be confident (but not overconfident!), and be careful when it comes to your personal life. “It's okay to tell personal stories,” he says. “But remember that there’s a fine line between what’s appropriate and what isn’t."

Action Steps: Before (and After) the Interview

In addition to the key elements above, it’s imperative that you practice your interviewing skills. Mock interviews, practicing with friends, or even practicing in the mirror can help you feel more comfortable and confident once it’s time for the official interview.

“When it comes to practice questions, ‘tell me about yourself’ is a great one,” Matt says. “Try using that as a practice exercise.”

Another piece of advice: Come with questions of your own, which is often expected in an interview. Matt recommends writing your questions down, which demonstrates that you came prepared. Some good topics to address include a school's curriculum, life on campus, what clinical training is like, and residency placement rates.

Once your interview is over, don’t forget to send an email or card to thank your admissions advisor for their time, and to touch on some things you learned and what you might look forward to as an enrolled student.

Matthew Fessler has been a graduate admissions advisor with RUSM for two years. As part of his ongoing responsibilities, Matt works closely with new first-semester RUSM students to help them successfully transition to the basic sciences program. He also advises both prospective and current students and interviews candidates for admission to the school. Email Matt at



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ADMISSIONS ADVICE: Make the Most of Your Summer

June 24, 2015

Get advice from Carey James, RUSM’s Associate Dean of Operations, Analysis, and Admissions, on how to stand out among medical school applicants.


According to Associate Dean James, there are some simple, yet meaningful, steps you can take this summer that can lead to the start of your medical education.


"Once you’ve identified your top choices for medical school, make strategic connections between the opportunities at those schools and your choice of summer activities," says James. "Pausing to map out a path to your specific target schools will make both your summer and year-round activities more strategic and goal-oriented."


Read the full story at PreMedLife.

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USMLE: RUSM’s First-Time Pass Rate on Step 1 Higher Than US, DO Schools

June 15, 2015

RUSM students earn 97% first-time pass rate on USMLE

For the fourth year in a row, Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) students collectively achieved a first-time pass rate on Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE) that is on par with US students who took the exam. RUSM students’ Step 1 first-time pass rate for calendar year 2014 is 97%, topping the rate of US/Canadian schools (96%) and osteopathic schools (93%). Click the chart on the right to zoom in and explore our Step 1 outcomes over the last five years.

What’s Step 1 of the USMLE?

USMLE Step 1 is designed to test the knowledge acquired during the basic science years of medical school. Performance on this exam is an important indicator of a student's competitiveness for residency positions. Graduates of international medical schools must take and pass the USMLE if they want to practice in the United States. RUSM students' success on USMLE Step 1 attests to the university's strong curriculum, dedicated faculty and leadership, and academic support for students.

RUSM Students Perform Well Despite Changes to Test Scoring

It’s notable that for 2014, the USMLE’s administrators raised the minimum passing score for this test. We’re very proud that, despite this change to the test, our students continued to perform very well on this critical licensure exam.

Congratulations to all of our students who successfully completed Step 1, and we wish you well as you gear up for clinical rotations in the United States.

RUSM is currently accepting applications for all future semesters. Get started on your application.


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MCAT2015: A Guide to the New Scoring System

June 12, 2015

The first batch of students who took the new, revamped 2015 MCAT in April received their scores today. If you’re wondering whether the AAMC has adjusted the way they score the exam—or just want to learn a little bit more about it—check out this handy fact sheet from the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), the organization that administers the MCAT.

Want even more more information on the 2015 MCAT? Check out Ross University School of Medicine’s dedicated MCAT2015 section.

To our prospective students, don't forget: If you're taken the "old" version of the MCAT, our Admissions Committee will accept your scores for up to five years after you've taken the test. If you want to apply for our September 2015 class, you'll need to take the MCAT by Saturday, June 20, 2015.

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NEW RESOURCE: Introducing the RUSM Guide for Parents!

May 03, 2015


Parents of prospective Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) have written in to us, asking if we could create a resource just for them—a place on the web that has everything they need to know about RUSM, all in one place. And we take these requests seriously. After all, we realize that medical school is a major commitment—for many who come to RUSM, pursuing a medical degree is a family affair, with the student drawing inspiration and encouragement from their family back home.

Well, we listened. We’re proud to introduce the RUSM Guide for Parents—a comprehensive set of web pages that take a closer look at our institutional outcomes, campus and culture, mission, and curriculum. This section shines a spotlight on how our medical school works, the quality of education we provide, our US clinical program, and our basic sciences campus in Dominica. Not only that, but we’ll share a few special facts about attending medical school at RUSM that might just surprise you.

Check out the RUSM Guide for Parents here.


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