Ross University Blog

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.

Tags: MCAT , Admissions

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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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Tags: Admissions , MCAT

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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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Tags: Admissions , MCAT

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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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