Episode 3: RUSM and the Application Process


In this episode, we chat with one of our Assistant Directors of Admissions as they describe the application process.  From submitting your application to getting the final decision and the support throughout the transition, we talk about pre-requisites, GPA, MCAT, and term starts.

Episode 3: RUSM and the Application Process Transcript

Milena Garcia: Hi, Angie-Lee. Good morning. Thank you for joining us. I really appreciate you taking your time to join me for this podcast.

Angie-Lee Korkmaz: Hi Milena, how are you. Thank you for having me.

Milena Garcia: Doing very well. So this week we're going to be talking about our application process. So why don't we start with you taking a moment to introduce yourself to our future Rossies.

Angie-Lee Korkmaz: Yes. So my name is Angie-Lee Korkmaz. I am one of the admin assistant directors of admissions at Ross University School of Medicine. I manage and oversee the process from application to decision. So from the students, so many their application to getting a decision on my team and I oversee that process.

Milena Garcia: Great. We really appreciate you being here today and some of our listeners may already know from our previous episodes we are an international school. We're located in Barbados. We do our preclinical part of the curriculum in Barbados and then we complete the second part of the curriculum, the clinical rotations back here in the US. So our students are eligible to practice in all 50 states as well as every province in Canada.

Angie-Lee Korkmaz: Right and so the majority of our students, a great majority of our students actually do achieve a residency in the US and Canada. 

Milena Garcia: In fact, for our Future Rossies there is a list of our match residency attainments for the past 15 years on our website and that is medical.rossu.edu. So I strongly encourage everybody to take a look at that. But today, like I said, we're going to be talking about the application process.There are some unique aspects to our application process here at Ross. What are some of those unique aspects, please?

RUSM Application Process

Angie-Lee Korkmaz: I think one of the very first things that comes to mind is the fact that we have three start semesters per year. Most traditional medical schools start once a year. And that's at fall. However, our applicants have the ability to start either in January for our spring semester; in May, for our summer semester; or of course our fall semester in September.

Milena Garcia: And it sounds like we do around admissions then so we're busy all the time. Does that mean there are no deadlines to the program, or excuse me, the application process?

Angie-Lee Korkmaz: Yes there's application and there is admissions year-round because we have classes starting year-round. I would not say that there isn't a deadline. I  would encourage students, however, to submit their application, about six to 10 months prior to this semester that they're aiming for.

Milena Garcia: Yes, that's a good idea because that gives us the Admissions Department time to process the application and we approve as we go. So of course, the sooner that they applied, the better it is for them because they will get an earlier decision right

Angie-Lee Korkmaz: Absolutely. Another thing about that is that, you know, the sooner a student is able to get a decision, the sooner they will be able to start planning for the future there will be a you know they're going to have to transition to Barbados to do their 16 to 20 months there. So I encourage students to get their application as soon as possible that we can get them a decision as soon as possible.

Milena Garcia: Yes, in fact for our listeners, there is a really nice guide about the application process on our website. So we're going to encourage you to take a look at that, once again, our website is medical.rossu.edu

Angie-Lee Korkmaz: Right and so on their website once any of our prospective applicants are there. I do encourage them to take a look at our specific pages. The information there is targeted to our specific or special cohorts of applicants. So we have a page designated for international applicants who are transfer applicants for our Canadian cohort and also for our career changers. We do have quite a bit of courage career changes that into our program every year.

Milena Garcia: Right. What about our partnership?

Angie-Lee Korkmaz: Right, so while they're there on the website. And again, and we do also have a great partnership with HBCUs and HSIs nationwide. And for those of you listening who may not know, HBCUs are Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and HSIs or Hispanic Serving Institutes. Now we have our program, which is called our AIM Scholar Program and AIM for us stands for access to inclusion in medicine.

Milena Garcia: This is a really nice scholars program and I will be doing an episode especially on our aims program. So everybody. Check it out. Make sure to come back to us. For more information on our Access in Medicine Scholars Program. Now, back to our application process. What are the prerequisites, please?

Angie-Lee Korkmaz: So prerequisites for our program the committee is mainly looking for students who have completed a bachelor's degree. While they do not necessarily need to major in any of the sciences, we do require students to have completed certain science courses as prerequisites, if you will. And those are two semesters of biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, which is equivalent to eight credits. We also require two semesters of English and one semester of math.

RUSM’s Holistic Approach to the Application Process

Milena Garcia: And I know we take all of this under consideration under our holistic approach. So can you elaborate a little bit more. Once the students submit all their prerequisites. What happens after that? And can you talk a little bit more about this holistic approach?

Angie-Lee Korkmaz: Right, so our holistic approach is basically the unique way that the admissions committee reviews an applicant's file to make a determination whether or not they're qualified to be a Rossie or another decision. Some of the items that're being reviewed are the students personal statement, their resume. We want to see medically relevant experience. There are some students who don't necessarily work in the medical field. But what I've seen is that they will do shadowing or maybe even work as a scribe or volunteer at medical facilities, just to get that experience. We also are looking at your letters of recommendation. Of course, MCAT does play a factor there and a personal interview which will go register is also is a part of the packet and a part of the documents and information so reviewed for that holistic approach.

Milena Garcia: And Angie-Lee as the Assistant Director of applications, tell us what is the secret? What makes a strong candidate for our program?

Angie-Lee Korkmaz: So I wouldn't say we have any specific secret. However, we are looking for students who are dedicated, we're looking for applicants that are available, able to adapt and overcome in different situations as a physician. You can understand that that's definitely a characteristic that you're going to need to have

Milena Garcia: And during this process, is there anything that you see that the applicants are doing that you would suggest they change?

Angie-Lee Korkmaz: Yeah, I think from my conversations with different applicants throughout the years. One of the thing that really stands out to me the most is applicants self selecting themselves that they're still selecting out, You know you don't want to be the one to say no I'm not qualified for med school. No, I will make it.

Angie-Lee Korkmaz: I would definitely highly encourage applicants to allow the committee to make that decision, you know, at the bare minimum, give us a call. We can talk you through the process we can let you know what you need to have, we can let you know what you need to work on. You know, but don't select yourself out. I will definitely not encourage that at all because you never know. You may be qualified and you're telling yourself like you're not so allow the committee to make that decision.

Milena Garcia: Agreed. And because of this holistic approach. There are several things that we look for and that we see during the interview, during the personal safety statements, that may be hidden in there that really speaks about the candidates that we are looking for, right. So, and after this, what can the applicant expect?

Angie-Lee Korkmaz: Alright, so after the applicants submit their application that they're going to be assigned their very own admissions coordinator and their admissions coordinator basically walk them through the process. Make sure they have everything in their file. Tell them what's missing from their file. Just make sure that the packet that is being presented to the Committee is in full, and it's in its best state possible to make sure we're able to get the best decision for the ideal decision for the applicant. The admissions coordinator is going to be there for them throughout the way and then we'll do a handoff at the end. And so your other coordinator that's going to hold your hand and walk you through the rest of the process.

After You’ve Been Accepted to RUSM

Milena Garcia: And let's say in the best case scenario that decision is they're invited to join us. What happens after that decision?

Angie-Lee Korkmaz: Awesome. So, definitely. That's what we want. We want the students to be admitted. We want them to join us. We love our Rossies, we love working with the applicants. And so after they get that big decision, that they are going to be moving on to med school and starting their first step in their career, they are connected with what we refer to as our new student coordinator and that's basically what they are. You are now a new student with Ross University School of Medicine and now you're assigned to a new student coordinator that’ll walk you through the process from you're getting your decision, to your very first day in med school. As you know, our campus is located in Barbados, so your new student coordinator is going to assist you with your passport, help you out with any immunisations that you need to get, they will also arrange transportation from the airport in Barbados to your living quarters. Once you are there,  they're going through the entire packet with you and making sure you're all set and ready to transition to Barbados.

Milena Garcia: This is really nice. And as you highlight this timetable, sounds like we really do have somebody going along every piece of this step with the applicant until they are an accepted student. That's great.

Angie-Lee Korkmaz: Absolutely, yep. I would say that is one of another very unique things about our school is that we really hold our students' hands and walk them through to make sure that they are doing everything that they need to do to make it through med school.

Milena Garcia: Great. Any last recommendations? I appreciate you taking the time. But I want to give you a minute to maybe speak directly to our future Rossies.

Angie-Lee Korkmaz: I think the one recommendation I would say is, and I think I've kind of touched on this before, don't select yourself out. Allow the committee to do that, you know, allow the Committee to review your application, allow them to make that decision for you and whether or not you're qualified for med school. And also, if you are that student that’s been always dreaming about becoming a physician, follow your dream. We're here, we will definitely be able to walk you through and guide you to help you see that dream come to life.

Milena Garcia: Great, Angelie-Lee. Once again, I really appreciate you taking your time to spend 15 minutes talking to us about the application process. I think this has been a really good conversation. It's great to know about this dedicated team of individuals. The admissions coordinators, the interviewers, the new student coordinators that work together to make this a very effective process. And thank you for coming to the podcast to share this information with us. I appreciate it.

Angie-Lee Korkmaz: It is my absolute pleasure Milena, thank you very much for having me.

Milena Garcia: Thank you. Bye bye.