The Michigan Daily - Friday. October 28, 1994 -- 3
Only 49 percent of college
graduates who apply to
medical school are ac-
cepted. Even for graduates of the Uni-
versity, only 51 percent are accepted.
Yet an informal survey shows that
100 percent of University students plan
on applying to medical school. In 1993,
715 University students applied; more
students apply from the University than
any other institution.
"We are the largest producer of pre-
meds (nationally)," LSA academic ad-
viser Penny Morris said.
But just what is "pre-med?"
There is no specific undergraduate
*oncentration for students who plan to
study medicine after college outside of
the Inteflex program - a program in
which students are essentially admit-
ted to medical school when they are
admitted to college. Rather, there are
half of all medical school applicants are accepted
two ways students can prepare them-
Many students declare a concentra-
tion in a "traditional" field for medical
school application. These majors in-
clude biology, chemistry, biochemis-
try and other natural sciences.
Katie Horne, directorof admissions
for the Medical School, said that a
majority of applicants major in biol-
ogy or chemistry. Years ago, these
were the only acceptable preparation
for admissions exams.
Now, many undergraduates major
in less traditional fields including po-
litical science, Spanish and chemical
engineering. Some students choose
nontraditional fields to learn about fields
they will not study in medical school.
Others say they want to keep their
options open so they can pursue a dif-
ferent career if they are not admitted to
LSA senior Brad Trivax is a pre-
med majoring in Mid-Eastern Studies.
"I didn't want to major in a science. I
wanted to major in humanities be-
cause I thought it would be more inter-
esting," Trivax said.
However. Trivax and others are
taking a core pre-medical curriculum
prescribed by medical colleges. Classes
include elementary physics, math,
chemistry, biochemistry and biology,
with some upper-level classes in chem-
istry. Medical schools also recommend
foreign language and upper-level biol-
Diana Rumpel, a senior
biopsychology major, is currently ap-
plying to medical school. "Bio majors
learn about plants and fish," Rumpel
said. "I'm more into the human aspect,
like the brain."
Morris, who also advises pre-medi-
cal students, said students who major
in nontraditional fields do not com-
promise their chances of getting into
medical school. "I can guarantee you
that the medical colleges don't care."
However, Morris and Home agreed
that a candidate's performance in un-
dergraduate classes, especially sci-
ence courses, is very important."What
we see is that they're generally strong
in their field and also very strong in
the sciences," Horne said.
"By sheer numbers, we have a lot
of pre-med students. The primary way
that we serve them is by the rigor of the
environment (of University classes).
There is little nurturing," Morris said.
"Medical colleges know that if you can
make it at U-M,.."
LSA fifth-year senior Carmen
McCallum is confident that she will
be admitted to medical school after
graduation. "If I graduate here, I think
(I will be admitted)."
Inteflex co-director Nicholas
Steneck said, "I think (the University)
neglects pre-med students."
Inteflex plans to open classes to the
all University students that were for-
merly available only to Inteflex stu-
dents. These offerings include a year-
long introduction to health care and the
health sciences for sophomore pre-
medical students. Steneck said that such
a class would open future options for
students who are not accepted to medi-
Classes, including Introduction to
Health Care and Introduction to Health
Sciences, are being developed for next
year's LSA curriculum. Medical ethics
courses, which are also limited to
Inteflex participants, may be "open to
the public" in the future.
LSA Associate Dean Michael
Martin, who coordinated the effort to
open Inteflex classes to other stu-
dents, said changes to the LSA cur-
riculum will improve entry-level
chemistry, math and physics classes
and increase undergraduate research
"Inteflex will provide an opportu-
nity to pilot new courses and other
initiatives within LSA that could be
of benefit to all students in the health
sciences," Martin said.
Aside from Inteflex students. 49
percent of University students who
apply to medical school do not get
accepted "The admissions process was
recently streamlined by the American
Medical College Application Service
(AMCAS), which provides one ap-
plication for colleges across the coun-
try. Applicants complete the applica-
tion, and indicate the colleges they
would like to consider them. The ser-
vice allows students to apply to as
many as eight medical schools by
filling out one application.
Students also take the Medical Col-
lege Admissions Test (MCAT), which
tests applicants' knowledge in three
sections: physics/chemistry. biology
and verbal reasoning. Each category
is scored separately and a maximum
score of 15 is possible in each section.
Many businesses, including Ex-
cel, Princeton Review and Kaplan
provide test preparation courses for
the MCAT. These courses are expen-
sive - Princeton Review charges
$895 for its nine-week program.
"The first thing I tell people is that
they can do it on their own," Morris
said of the programs. In addition to
taking the standardized test, appli-
cants write a personal statement.
Once AMCAS provides colleges
with applicants' vital statistics, the col-
leges conduct a narrowing-down of
candidates. Committees review appli -
cations to see which applicants fulfill
schools' minimum requirements for
grade point averages and MCAT scores.
University Medical School stu-
dents have an average of 3.6 under-
graduate grade point averages and
10.7 MCAT scores, compared to 3.47
and 7.9 averages nationally, accord-
ing to the Association of Medical
The Medical School can afford to
be choosy - it receives over 5,600
Students from the University have
a slightly higher acceptance rate
to medical school than college
applications each year for 130 posi-
tions. The Medical School has room
for 170 persons in each class, how-
ever 40 of those spots are currently
marked for Inteflex students. The next
step for most colleges is the candidate
interview, which is generally con-
ducted by a member of the Admis-
sions Committee. Because each in-
terview is different, applicants must
be prepared for a wide range of ques-
Interviewers usually draw from
information included on the
applicant's personal statement when
conducting the interview. The inter-
view is usually candidates' only
chance to distinguish themselves in
person from the thousands of applica-
tions colleges receive.
"What they're mainly trying to do
is get to know the applicant and assess
their communication skills," Horne
said. While many students are hard-
nosed scientists and are academically
qualified, doctors have to deal with
people also, Horne said. Communi-
cations skills are essential in taking
patient histories and other aspects of
the doctor-patient relationship.
" Be as prepared as you can be,"
Home advised. She noted that several
publications are available on inter-
view techniques, some of which give
advice on the medical school inter-
view. "It pays to do some research on
this." Horne said.
Colleges also consider students'
other qualifications. Leadership ex-
perience, an attitude of service and
caring, and campus participation such
as sororities and fraternities are all
considered, Horne said. Despite a
common misconception, University
pre-medical students have a good shot
at getting into medical school here.
"You have a much better chance
than other students," Horne tells ap-
plicants. 40 percent of this year's en-
tering class was composed of Univer-
sity undergrads, and about 65 percent
are Michigan residents.
Medical students Christian Hull, Dan Hamstra, Christopher Perez and Ethan Marin (left to right) work in a first-year microbiology laboratory.
nteflex program goes to 8 years, less students
Even though most pre-medical students have
entrance exams and other pressures to worry
bout during their undergraduate career, about 155
students aren't worried - they are Inteflex students.
The University's Inteflex program admits high
school applicants to college and the Medical School
simultaneously, but it isn't that simple.
Inteflex is in a state of flux.
The program has been revamped, and this year's
entering class represents the changes. The program,
which previously shortened medical education to
seven years, has followed a trend set by similar
rograms nationally - it has become an eight-year
Nicholas Steneck, Inteflex co-director, said the
decision to extend the program by a year was prompted
by recent changes in the Medical School. The first
and second years of Medical School coursework
has been changed from a few major classes into
smaller, more specialized courses.
Inteflex students, who previously made a two-
year transition from their last two years of under-
graduate work into their M-1 year, did not fit neatly
to the Medical School's changes.
"You couldn't really separate out a course from
any others," Steneck said.
This year's class has also seen a difference in the
"Flexis" themselves - there are only 35 students in
this year's class instead of 40. The number of students
Inteflex admits have been proportionate with the
decrease in Medical School spots - Inteflex started
with 50 students per class in 1972.
Going to an eight-year program, Inteflex students
have to choose a separate major. Previous classes
ave graduated with a special biomedical sciences
concentration, but this year's class and will have to
fulfill the requirements for another concentration.
"It's not that big a deal," first-year Inteflex stu-
dent Peggy Liao said of the changes. "You get the full
Although many see Inteflex students' admis-
sion into medical school as automatic, no longer is
it that simple.
Last year's entering class is the last to be afforded
the old policy on medical school admissions - all
they had to do was graduate from their undergraduate
years with the same minimum grade point require-
ment as other LSA students. In fact, they took the
MCAT only as practice.
Beginning with this year's first-year students.
there is a requirement for getting into medical school
other than getting into Inteflex. Students must achieve
a minimum grade point-MCAT score composite, an
However, the program has often had dispropor-
tionately high female representation. This year's
entering class has 28 females and only seven males.
"In this particular case, that's just the way it
turned out," Steneck said. He asserted that at age 18,
women are more academically competitive with men
than at age 22. "There are just factors in the under-
graduate years which tend to weed out more
Another change in Inteflex will have a greater
impact on the University's pre-med students -
Inteflex will open up some of its classes to other LSA
students next year.
'There are just factors in the undergraduate years which tend to
weed out more women than men.'
-Nicholas Steneck, lnteflex co-director
equation set by the medical admissions committee.
"There's concern that there is the same rigor
between students entering through the eight-year
program as the four-year program," Steneck said.
"It's just a way of putting in quality control."
But not all the students in the program thought
the changes were positive. Matthew Bressie, a
third-year Inteflex student, said he appreciated the
flexibility of the program as it was. "That's been a
real asset for me - not having to worry about the
MCAT and being able to absorb my classes,"
The Medical School has mandated other factors
for Inteflex admission, which has been criticized in
the past for favoring certain groups of people.
In efforts to comply with state mandates, the
Medical School has stated requirements for admis-
sion of underrepresented minorities, residents of
rural communities. Medical admissions committees
have also asked for an increase in students with an
interest in primary care.
The course openings were the result of an LSA
review that began two years ago. Charges from
students and faculty claimed that more money per
Inteflex student was being invested by the Univer-
sity than on other LSA students, who pay the same
amount of tuition. Inteflex students are offered
small-group seminars, and tutoring which are not
open to other students.
When Inteflex began, the University received
incremental funding from the state and federal
governments which was earmarked for Inteflex.
However, the evolution of funding allocation over
the past 21 years has allowed for less separation of
some line items, including Inteflex income.
Steneck said Inteflex funding has been virtually
folded into the regular University budget, and the
program has also been hit by recent funding cuts by
"The conclusion was that the program needs to
produce more than for just a few students," Steneck
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