Medical education
2:17 pm
Mon October 25, 2010

MSU expands program to assure admission for some pre-med students

Michigan State University is partnering with three private colleges in west Michigan to give undergraduate students a head start in medical school.

It's not easy to get into medical school. Last year more than 6,000 students applied for 200 open seats at MSU's College of Human Medicine in downtown Grand Rapids.

Dr. Christine Schafer is a consultant for the college and was Dean of Admissions for more than a decade. With that many applications, she says it can be tough identifying which students are the best match. "Having in the best sense of the word, very well-rounded students. Those students, whether they come here or if they go to another medical school will be - they'll be better doctors," Schafer said.

The agreement reserves seats for undergrads at Hope, Calvin and Aquinas Colleges. Selected students will know they've been accepted into MSU's medical school up to a year earlier.

Dr. Marsha Rappley is the Dean of the school. Rappley says the need for doctors is greater in growing communities on the west side of the state. MSU hopes the program will foster students who want to remain in west Michigan to care for underserved populations. "A lot of it is about organizing programs so that early on a person feels part of the community and then they don't want to leave because their opportunities are here," Rappley said.

MSU has similar agreements with 7 other universities in the state.