Medical School seeks to help non-traditional applicants

The Medical School offered a two-day workshop to advise students on applications.

The School of Medicine offered the first MedPrep workshop May 20 and 21.

The MedPrep program seeks to provide prospective medical students with advice about the application process.

"The Mizzou MedPrep program is designed for those whose path to medical school has taken a few twists and turns," said Rachel Brown, associate dean for student programs and professional development at the School of Medicine, in a news release. "Some of these applicants may be in their second career or have come from a disadvantaged background where they did not have the same educational opportunities or support as other applicants."

MedPrep Coordinator Cathleen Mudd-Hutcheson said in an email that the program is open to students who are primarily in their junior and senior years of college and beyond.

"Last year at MU we had more than 1,500 applicants and interviewed around 360 to fill 104 slots for our first-year class," Brown said in the news release. "Most people apply to an average of 15 medical schools and expect to get invited to one or two interviews, so the information contained in the application is critical."

Mudd-Hutcheson said the focus of the first workshop was to explore a variety of aspects that are considered when a student applies to medical school. The sessions included information about the importance of academics, personality characteristics, volunteerism and research. In addition, each participant was able to visit with an adviser and have the opportunity to ask individualized questions, as well as review any potential application materials.

"The first workshop was a tremendous success," Mudd-Hutcheson said. "We had 42 participants mainly from various locations throughout the state of Missouri, however we did have one attend from out of state."

She said MedPrep II will be a three-week online workshop held Aug. 1 to 19. The workshop will have a one-day on-site component.

Mudd-Hutcheson said the workshop included a panel session Friday evening with seven medical students who shared personal stories. The Saturday sessions included group presentations, a keynote address by School of Medicine Dean Robert Churchill and various breakout sessions including a hands-on experience in the Clinical Simulation Center.

Junior Chasidy Allen attended the first workshop and said she especially liked the experience in the simulation center. She said there were dummies that participants could perform surgery on, and she hadn't known medical students had the opportunity to work with things that were so realistic.

Allen said she heard about the program from her academic adviser.

During the Friday sessions, she said she realized a lot of students in medical school didn't major in something medically focused. Although Allen is a biology major, she said learning this gave her the idea to take classes outside her major.

She said the program encouraged students to be well-rounded and do something that makes them happy.

Allen said she didn't especially like the series of sessions that lasted all day Saturday. Even though the information was useful, it was hard to keep focused, and she said she would have like to have more interaction. But the experience was positive overall, she said.

"It really encouraged you to follow your dreams and know that you can do it," she said.

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