Five Questions with Tom Harkness, Senior Associate Director of Admissions for Canada and Beyond


Since 2008, Tom Harkness, senior associate director of admissions, has led RUSM’s recruitment efforts in Canada. Moreover, Tom maintains his relationship with students well after the Admissions process, providing consistent and ongoing support that extends beyond the role of recruiter.

RUSM: What do you enjoy about your job?

Harkness: I support Canadian students throughout their medical education - from enrollment to residency. It’s inspiring to witness how RUSM students’ passion to become a physician doesn’t wane for most.

What types of activities do you conduct?

Harkness: I coordinate information seminars that are conducted across Canada. The seminars usually include perspectives from RUSM alumni and faculty who attend. I also visit university campuses across Canada to let aspiring medical students and pre-health advisors know about the opportunity and high-quality medical education we offer at RUSM.

For current students, I host a dinner on campus every semester where an RUSM alumnus from Canada shares his or her experience and wisdom. Additionally, I provide workshops on how to meet immigration law requirements necessary to complete the clinical portion of their education, as well as offer guidance on the proper licensing RUSM graduates need to obtain their residencies and to practice in Canada.

RUSM: What resources at RUSM do you think Canadian students find helpful?

Harkness: When I visit campus, students tell me that not only are they impressed with the enhanced technologies that support the curriculum, like human patient simulators for example, they appreciate the Canadian Student Handbook because it demystifies the journey to becoming a physician.

The Canadian Student Handbook is a step-by-step guide that is available to address the unique nuances of seeking a medical education abroad. For example, Canadian students are informed early in their medical education that they are required to take the Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Examination (MCCEE) to apply for residency in Canada, an exam that is taken in addition to sitting for the United States Medical Licensing Examination Clinical Knowledge (USMLE CK).

RUSM: What is student life like for Canadian Students at RUSM?

Harkness: There is a significant Canadian presence on campus. Between Jan. – Apr. 2013, there was nearly 10 percent of the student population from that region. One of the most visible networks at RUSM is the Canadian Student Society. With events ranging from ball hockey to Canadian Thanksgiving to info sessions with RUSM alumni from the country, students can enjoy social events as well as gain valuable insight that will help them successfully navigate through medical school.

RUSM: What financing options are available to Canadian students?

Harkness: Canadian students can apply for provincial student loans as well as a professional line of credit at Canadian banks.

In addition, RUSM students in semesters 6-10 are eligible to apply for a DeVry Medical International Institutional Loan to cover tuition and fees. Living expenses may be considered in cases of extreme hardship.

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