New Opportunities for Marist Pre-Med Students
School of Science Forges Relationship with the University of Nicosia
Pre-med students at Marist College have recently received a bit of an edge when applying to medical schools. Representatives from the University of Nicosia in Cyprus visited Marist on December 3rd, to agree on certain ties between the two institutions.
The University of Nicosia actually contacted us about abroad opportunities,” explains Marist’s Assistant Dean of Science, Neil Fitzgerald, “and we asked if they were willing to come up with an agreement with us.” This agreement says that Marist students will automatically get interviews for Nicosia’s medical school program, as long as they meet certain requirements.
They require a recommendation from the Marist College Health Professions Committee, a minimum GPA, and a minimum MCAT score. The MCAT is a standardized admissions test that all students must take before applying to medical school. With these achievements, Marist students have a guaranteed interview with a fully accredited international university.
Of course, “once they get an interview it is up to them to impress the committee so they can get in,” explains Professor Fitzgerald. However, in such a competitive environment, this initial interview can be very helpful.
“Getting into medical school is half the job,” Fitzgerald says. He explains that some students look for medical schools abroad because schools in the United States are growing increasingly difficult to gain admission to - even for students with strong transcripts and test scores.
Medical schools abroad take a different approach, which gives opportunities to a lot more students. “Offshore, they will accept more students knowing that a certain percentage will fail,” says Professor Fitzgerald. This and the fact that most U.S. students would rather not spend four years abroad makes it easier to gain admission into medical schools abroad.
Abroad students receive equally strong training as they would at a medical school in the United States. Once students go to medical school and complete their residency at an accredited abroad university, they can then work as a doctor in the United States.
The medical school at the University of Nicosia is brand new, with state of the art facilities and equipment. They also have a collaboration with St. George’s medical school in London, which is well established as the United Kingdom’s second oldest medical school.
The University of Nicosia has a particularly exceptional program for American students. “They have a lot of international students as undergraduates” explains Fitzgerald, “so they have a current program based on the U.S. system.”
This program allows undergraduate students to study abroad and take classes that will count towards their pre-med degree. In fact, the University encourages undergraduate students to study there for a semester before medical school. They offer to pay for the flight, with the hopes that the student will come back as a graduate student.
“A student could go abroad, see what it’s like, and get to be known by the people over there,” says Professor Fitzgerald, continuing, “I think any contact with professionals is going to be an advantage.” As an added bonus, Cyprus makes for a great vacation spot. “It’s supposed to be the sunniest country in Europe,” says Professor Fitzgerald, “it has nice beaches and it’s just a pleasant place to be.”
This agreement with the University of Nicosia is only one of many advantages for Marist’s pre-med and pre-health students. The School of Science has similar agreements with Tufts Dental School, Sage, and the New York Chiropractic College.
From the time they enter the School of Science as freshmen, pre-med students can rely on its top-notch advising system. “We have an advisor for the health professions make sure they take the right classes, that all the help is available it to them and that they take advantage of every opportunity,” lists Fitzgerald.
As they plan their futures, pre-med students also get help from the Health Committee, which is made up of faculty across campus. The group is there to give advice, look at personal statements, and offer mock interviews. Most importantly, they write committee recommendation letters that get sent out with medical school applications.
Since Marist is such a small school, the Health Committee can offer a great deal of personal attention. They have the ability to spend dedicated time with each individual student and ensure their success.
This probably contributes to Marist’s success rate when sending students to medical school. About 70 percent of Marist students that apply are successful, which is well above the national average of 43 percent. In the end, the specialized attention and connection to other institutions can lead to more successful medical careers.
Written by Sarah Gabrielli '18
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