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What Do Medical Schools Value in Selecting Students Gabriel Garcia, MD Associate Professor of Medicine Associate Dean for Medical School Admissions Stanford.

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Presentation on theme: "What Do Medical Schools Value in Selecting Students Gabriel Garcia, MD Associate Professor of Medicine Associate Dean for Medical School Admissions Stanford."— Presentation transcript:


2 What Do Medical Schools Value in Selecting Students Gabriel Garcia, MD Associate Professor of Medicine Associate Dean for Medical School Admissions Stanford University School of Medicine



5 Designing an Admissions Process 1.Mission of the Medical School 2.Societal Expectations 3.Health care system manpower concerns

6 Medical Schools Mission 1.Drive the admissions process to choose applicants that will be expected to embrace the values of the school. 2.Impact the curriculum to maximize the chances that a student will participate in activities that are important to the school. 3.Assign a higher value to graduates that engage in activities consistent with the mission.

7 Mission Statements “To educate future physicians and foster their capacity to make discoveries and lead innovation in the science and practice of medicine.” “To prepare medical graduates for distinguished medical careers in service to the people of California, with emphasis on the needs of the underserved, inland and rural populations.” “To further the healing and teaching ministry of Jesus Christ "to make man whole…”

8 Desirable Traits of Physicians Consider the care of their patients their first priority –Ethical, honest, dedicated Make good decisions for their patients –Smart and knowledgeable –Willing to learn and change their practice with newly acquired knowledge –Develop better ways of treating patients Relate well to their patients –Communicate well and understand the cultural context in which care is given

9 Elements of a Good Admissions Process 1.Examines and values all the skills and attitudes of an excellent physician in the applicant. 2.Evaluates the fit of the applicant with the mission of the school. 3.Ranks the applicants according to how they will benefit from and contribute to your school.

10 Steps in the Admissions Process Review of Application –AMCAS application –Supplemental application Essays Mission targeted questions Letters of Reference –Individuals –Premedical Advisory Committee Interview Executive Committee decision

11 Review of Application Is performed by volunteers (a faculty member or a student) or admissions office staff members. The purpose of file review is to identify students who would be good candidates for admission. Is a labor-intensive process if performed correctly. The number of volunteers is usually inadequate to perform this function in a timely manner.

12 Review of Application Research and scholarly activities –Independence of thought, productivity Leadership –Role model, legacy Evidence of originality and creativity –Academic and non-academic accomplishments Community service, clinical work, sports, arts, business or other activities Educational context –Interpret the applicant’s record with regard to the “distance traveled”

13 What do medical schools value? Service (in the broadest sense of this word) –To underserved communities Scholarly endeavors Clinical experiences The mission of the school will determine which of these areas would be of most interest to the committee on admissions.

14 How Do You Demonstrate Your Passion for Medicine? 1.Develop a track record reflecting a desire to impact the health care of all our communities Public service Cultural activities Educational endeavors Scholarly pursuits

15 How Do You Demonstrate Your Passion for Medicine? 2. Be a creative and imaginative leader and role model “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Mohandas K. Gandhi.

16 How Do You Demonstrate Your Passion for Medicine? 3. Develop the skills and attitudes of terrific doctors – your own medical toolbox.

17 Barometer for Participation in Any Extracurricular Activity Showing up Showing up for a long time Leadership Advocacy Innovation Legacy

18 How much is enough? An Example Showing up varsity sports Showing up for a long time for 3 years Leadership team captain Advocacy mentored youth Innovation designed her racing wheelchair Legacy developed a system for others to design their own

19 Educational Context “Distance Traveled” Interpret the scholastic record taking into account Parental income, education and occupation Pre-college education Hours per week of work while attending college for financial support Cultural barriers Geographic location where applicant was raised Prior experiences with any type of prejudice Impact of stereotype threat Special family circumstances

20 Interview Does your interaction with the candidate conform to the expectations you derived from reading the application? If not, what are the discrepancies? Do you think the letters of support represent the candidate fairly? Does the candidate have a interest in the world outside of school and in the welfare of others? Does the candidate have any significant knowledge of your program and how it would benefit her in pursuit of her stated goals?

21 Interview Are there specific concerns that the candidate may have about your school? Does the candidate have a reasonable understanding of the positive and negative aspects of a career in medicine? Do you detect any characteristics that cause you to question candidate’s suitability for a career in medicine or the ability to think logically and critically? Have you explored answers to questions raised by file reviewers?

22 Committee Decision 1.How will this candidate contribute to and benefit from your school? 2.Will accepting this candidate be in keeping with the mission of your school?

23 Practical Points Applicants Ensure that your track record as stated in the application is a fair and honest reflection of who you are. Complete the supplemental applications knowing the unique mission of each school. Explain any unique or challenging factors in detail. Advisors Make sure the letters of evaluation and support address the skill set, character traits and attitudes that make the applicant particularly suited for a career in medicine.

24 Why Stanford?

25 Distinct Core Values at Stanford GOAL = Encourage Scholarly Activity Flexible Curriculum = OPPORTUNITIES Medical Scholars Program (Basic and Clinical Research, Arts and Humanities, and Public Service) and Traveling Scholars Program Top-notch Basic Science and Clinical Faculty in Both the Medical Center and the Rest of the University Are Committed to You.

26 SCHOLARLY CONCENTRATIONS Spring 8 Weeks6 Weeks4 WeeksSelectives Electives Internal MedicineObstetrics &Family MedicineAmbulatory Practice (8 weeks) Pediatrics GynecologyPsychiatrySubinternship SurgeryNeurology Critical Care Year 3, 4, [5] Autumn FOUNDATIONS OF MEDICINE I Winter Year 2 Year 1 The Nervous System Immunology Gross Anatomy of Head & Neck Introduction to Organ Systems Cardiovascular Pulmonary FOUNDATIONS OF MEDICINE IIHUMAN HEALTH & DISEASE I PRACTICE OF MEDICINE IPRACTICE OF MEDICINE II PRACTICE OF MEDICINE III SCHOLARLY CONCENTRATIONS HUMAN HEALTH & DISEASE IIHUMAN HEALTH & DISEASE III Renal/Genitourinary Gastrointestinal/Liver Endocrine/Reproductive Brain and Behavior Hematology Multi-Organ System PRACTICE OF MEDICINE IVPRACTICE OF MEDICINE V TRANSITION TO CLINICAL CLERKSHIPS AprilMay 1-month Study for USMLE intensiveBegin clinical preparation forclerkships clerkships SCHOLARLY CONCENTRATIONS Block 1 FOUNDATIONS OF MEDICINE Block 2 HUMAN HEALTH & DISEASE Block 3 PRACTICE OF MEDICINE Block 4 CLINICAL CLERKSHIPS Cells to Tissues Molecular Foundations of Medicine Genetics Development & Disease Mechanisms Gross Anatomy PRACTICE OF MEDICINE VI APPLIED BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES Block 5 APPLIED BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES


28 Distinct Core Values at Stanford GOAL = Non-competitive Environment that Promotes Both Individual and Collaborative Achievement No Grades No Ranking of Students No AOA or Awards Until Graduation = Value Teamwork!


30 Distinct Core Values at Stanford GOAL = No penalty for staying longer to continue to explore your education. Nominal tuition (fees only) after 13 quarters of attendance Generous financial aid. Our maximum grant for our neediest students pays 83% of tuition. Mean debt for 2002 graduates: –$91,000 at public schools –$124,000 at private schools –$63,000 at Stanford!


32 Questions? Go to our web site - Call us – 650 723-6861 E mail us -

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