What You Need to Know about Applying to Medical School
By Carey James, Vice President of Operations
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.
What do we look for in a medical student who is applying to Ross University School of Medicine? 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?
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.