Friday, January 31, 2014

Early Assurance Offers An Opportunity To Gain Admission Into CHM Early

Are you an undergraduate student seriously interested in going to medical school upon graduating?

Do you come from a disadvantaged background or have a strong interest in serving in a high-need medical specialty area?

If so, you may actually be able to gain acceptance to the MSU College of Human Medicine (CHM) before graduating with your undergraduate degree.

Early Assurance gives students the opportunity to apply to CHM in their junior year (or the year prior to completion of their undergraduate degree) at both public and private undergraduate institutions in the respective communities where the college already has partnerships in the medical training of third and fourth year students.

This ability to apply prior to the regular pool of candidates offers several benefits.

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of utilizing Early Assurance is simply securing a spot at a top-notch medical school and one of the nation's pioneers of community-based medical education. The reality is that admission to medical school is highly competitive. In 2013, CHM received over 6,000 applicants for 200 seats available for first-year students starting in August 2013.

As far as the process of getting into medical school, "One of the benefits of applying through the Early Assurance program is that there aren't any application fees. Students applying will not have to pay for the primary application or the secondary application fee, which is a $260 savings," says Brian Ulrich, Admissions Counselor for the MSU College of Human Medicine.

Yet those are just the savings attached with applying to MSU, in particular. There is potential to save even more if accepted through Early Assurance.

Those accepted through EA gain entry to medical school without going through the traditional medical school application process, which can cost applicants hundreds or even thousands in travel costs and application fees to other schools.

Once someone has secured acceptance to CHM through Early Assurance, what students can spend is valuable time for other things. Students are then able to utilize their senior year on conducting research, participating in Study Abroad, or pursuing other personal or academic interests.

Additionally, Early Assurance offers exclusive developmental activities just for those whom are accepted. A "Welcome" event in the fall allows Early Assurance undergrads the ability to have lunch with current medical students and possibly attend a professor's rounds, an intimate one-hour session with a CHM faculty member.
Early Assurance enrollees can also receive invitations to many interesting lectures and guest lectures throughout the year. Accepted EA applicants can also gain access to mentoring by current CHM students who've enrolled through Early Assurance in the past.

“We plan to continue to offer all of these wonderful opportunities for future EA students, while also looking for other fun and exciting activities that will provide incoming students a glimpse of what they can look forward to in medical school," Ulrich adds.

Though there are certainly several benefits of appeal, Ulrich also explains that Early Assurance is specifically intended for particular candidates.

"This path is pretty targeted at students who fit the mission of the program, which is meant to be for students either from disadvantaged backgrounds (i.e. the first generation to attend college, graduated from a low-income high school, are eligible for need-based grants, etc.), and/or students who express and support interest in a high-need medical specialty area," said Ulrich. "What we are really looking for are candidates who fit this mission."

As to when it's time to finally begin medical schooling, all candidates accepted through EA are able to select their pre-clinical campus, of which there are two destinations—the East Lansing campus and Grand Rapids' Secchia Center.

Though there are two preclinical campus', CHM is one medical school with the same programming and curriculum shared at both locations.

What does differ, though, are the procedures for applying to early assurance between MSU students and those attending CHM partner institutions.

Both MSU students and undergrads from these partner institutions are eligible to apply. MSU students may apply through the Early Assurance Opportunity (EAO) while undergrads at partner institutions apply to the Early Assurance Program (EAP).


Early Assurance Opportunity
CHM offers the opportunity of early assurance admission to undergraduate MSU students interested in becoming MD physicians in an underserved region or with an underserved population.
 MSU students interested in attending CHM and subsequently caring for underserved populations should contact their premedical advisor about applying to the EAO. Potential applicants should also contact Elizabeth Lyons, CHM Admissions Advisor, at, to indicate interest in the program.

In addition to the application, three to five letters of recommendation must be submitted. One letter must come from an undergraduate academic or supportive advisor who is familiar with the EAO program.
Early Assurance Program
MSU College of Human Medicine has established a growing network of collaborations with statewide institutions offering an enhanced opportunity for admittance into medical school. The long-term vision for this program is enhancing health care throughout Michigan, beginning with this pipeline of medical students from 12 Michigan public and private colleges and universities, and one community college.

Starting in 2008, Grand Valley State University was the first institution to partner with CHM on the Early Assurance Program while Grand Rapids Community College was the first community college to be part of the Early Assurance Program with CHM in 2012.

Today, numerous schools across the state are partners with CHM. A list of partner institutions can be found at the EAP page on the official office of admissions website.

The institution will endorse and forward an application packet for those students they feel are a good fit for the program. A select group of endorsed students who have the greatest likelihood of being accepted to the program are invited to interview at MSU CHM in April; the offer of acceptance to MSU CHM is made in June.
Applicants accepted to the EA program will begin an active relationship with CHM during their senior year. Unsuccessful applicants to the EAO may begin the regular AMCAS application process without delay.
However, those that are unsuccessful may still be a good fit for CHM. It just may mean they're acceptable candidates through a different route.
“I think applicants really need to consider whether or not they fit the program,” explains Ulrich. “For example, we could have a really great candidate to medical school who may be a great fit for the regular process, but does not fit the criteria set forth through EAP and therefore should not apply through EA, as they would not be a good fit.”
For those that do think they’re a good fit, there are some things that should also be considered.
Regardless of what school an applicant is from, whether MSU or otherwise, students interested in attending medical school at the College of Human Medicine should complete a program of meaningful clinical and service experiences while attending their particular college or university.
Here are some other tips to review when preparing to apply: 
  • Review the Premedical Handbook and Self-Assessment Guide ( The handbook has suggestions on becoming a competitive applicant, and the guide can help you develop a plan of action.
  • Meet or exceed the minimum academic standards of a 3.0 overall GPA, a 3.0 science GPA, and a minimum MCAT score of 25 with a biological science section score of at least 8.
  • Prepare for the MCAT and take it no later than May 1 of the application year.
Applications for Early Assurance are due by Wednesday, February 19.
CHM will review all application materials and subsequently issue interview invitations to selected applicants in March. Interviews are held in early April.

Applicants invited to interview must complete a secondary application prior to their interview date. Candidates interviewed for the program will be notified of the Committee’s final decision in mid-June, once all MCAT scores have been received.
So, for some, it may be worth attempting to get into medical school earlier than others. As they sometimes say, the early squirrel gets the nut!

Friday, January 10, 2014

MSU College of Human Medicine Embarks on 50th Anniversary

Green. White. Golden.

The Michigan State University College of Human Medicine (CHM) was founded in 1964, making this year the 50th anniversary for one of the nation’s pioneer community-based medical education institutions.
With footprints that span the entire state of Michigan, the college is nationally recognized for the social mission of preparing physicians for service in underserved communities—a mission that has been in place since the start.

After early 1960's reports suggested an immediate need for additional medical schools in the state of Michigan, MSU Board of Trustees responded in 1961 by implementing a new two-year medical program foundationally supported by other related areas of the university, such as the Institute of Medicine & Biology in the provost's office.

The College of Human Medicine came into fruition after several grants further supported successful development of the program. The Board of Trustees soon named Andrew D. Hunt, MD, the first dean of the college in 1964.
VIDEO: "Formula for MSU Medical School" historical film featuring Dean Andrew D. Hunt, Jr., 1966

At the time, more physicians were needed to focus directly on community health care. So when the two-year program morphed into an official four-year, degree-granting program in 1967, CHM made it a point to train tomorrow's physicians on the ground thus allowing students to obtain clinical training inside community hospitals.
As it reads on the College of Human Medicine website:
"A formal philosophy of placing clinical training within community hospitals emerged. To implement this philosophy, the college formed a consortium of teaching hospitals in several Michigan communities, each with an assistant dean and a staff of faculty coordinators for major medical specialties."

Today, clinical campuses across Michigan—Flint, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Midland Regional, Traverse City and the Upper Peninsula Region—are vital to clinical training for third- and fourth-year (Block III) students, paralleling environments in which physicians typically practice.

Secchia Center, built on GR's "Medical Mile" in 2010, has been awarded LEED gold certification

Differing from many other medical schools, CHM offers two separate locations for preclinical (Blocks I & II) education. Students spend years one and two in East Lansing or the Secchia Center in the rapidly expanding health sciences corridor in downtown Grand Rapids.

Beyond teaching and training some of #meded's best, there's much to look forward to in 2014 for CHM.

Carrying over from 2013 is the MSU Rally For Research. CHM is raffling off a 2013 MINI Cooper, with proceeds going to the purchase of devices used in important research. A laser scanning confocal microscope will help the College of Human Medicine's neuroscience team dive deep into the causes of Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and other neurological diseases. More information can be found at
MSU CHM will be raffling off a 2013 MINI Cooper for the Rally For Research
 The second annual Gran Fondo event will take place in Grand Rapids this summer in between yet another rewarding process of graduation (May) for some and matriculation (August) for others. The latter of which directly pertains to us at the office of admissions.
Moving forward, the office of admissions begins 2014 finalizing the second half of this incoming class' admissions process. This entails setting the schedules for all of our six remaining interview days while also preparing for events like Second Look Day.
We, at the admissions office, are also looking forward to breathing new life into how we communicate with the public. We're currently aiming at building our brand through various social media platforms, which includes this very blog.
What you'll be able to find here in the future is more information, not only on the process of applying to the MSU College of Human Medicine, but also critical dates and reminders, student and event profiles among more admissions tips and tidbits. Beyond admissions information, we'll be getting more in-depth with CHM as a whole, giving you a window into the college and showing why CHM is an all-around gratifying place to study medicine.
For up-to-the minute and helpful information on our admissions process or medical school in general, follow us on twitter. The plan is also to be up soon on our own facebook page and more possible social networks as well. This gives our audience more opportunities to interact with our office while staying updated with pertinent information.
Additionally, we're working on a brand new user-friendly website for the CHM Office of Admissions, so stay tuned as we hope to unveil the new site some time this upcoming Spring.
First thing's first, however, and we're currently going through a terrific pool of candidates to fill our incoming class of 2018. But just like the month of January, everything outlined here is only the beginning.

We look forward to what 2014 brings and wish all CHM students, alumni, faculty and staff a terrific year while also wishing the best of luck to all the applicants who consider MSU as a possible destination for their medical education.

Go Green!