Release Date: December 17, 2014
BUFFALO, N.Y. — More people are applying to the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and more accepted students are choosing UB, according to officials at the medical school.
While the state of the economy and many other variables influence how many people apply to medical school or attend a given school, UB officials believe that significant credit for the recent increases goes to the construction of the new medical school downtown.
“Building a brand-new, state-of-the-art medical school is certainly a positive,” says Charles Severin, MD, PhD, associate dean for medical education and admissions at UB. “The excitement created by the project is helping to raise awareness about the quality of our medical school and all the positive things happening right now in Buffalo.”
Dec. 15 was the application deadline for students matriculating next August. A total of 4,356 applications have now been received, 3.5 percent higher than last year’s application total of 4,201 and higher still than the 4,090 received in 2013.
“We are always pleased when our applicant pool of highly qualified individuals expands,” says Severin.
This year, applicants included 2,364 males and 1,985 females versus 2,259 males and 1,942 females last year. More than 80 percent of applicants are residents of New York State.
The class that enrolled in the UB medical school last August also had the lowest “turnover rate” in more than a decade, Severin says, meaning that more students who have been accepted to UB have decided to accept the offer and have ultimately enrolled.
The admissions process begins each August and runs through April of the following year. Identifying which of the thousands of the candidates who apply should be admitted requires careful evaluation by a committee made up of faculty and community physicians, scientists, admissions officials and students.
“We’re looking for people with the brains of a doctor and the heart of a doctor,” says Severin. “The brain part is easy. But you can have the highest MCAT score ever and a 4.0 grade point average, or even better, but if you don’t prove you have the heart of doctor, you won’t get in.”
The UB medical school invites approximately 600 promising applicants to campus each year for personal interviews. Of these, 140 are granted admission as MD students and 4 are admitted as MD/PhD students.
During the interview process, Severin shows each applicant the short video UB’s Center for the Arts produced of the groundbreaking for the new medical school.
“When these students see that film, it can’t do anything but help us,” says Severin.
Faculty featured on the video include Anne Curtis, MD, Charles and Mary Bauer Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine, discussing how the new building will enhance translational research, Gabriela Popescu, PhD, professor of biochemistry, describing how being close to clinical centers can help quicken the pace of scientific discovery, and Anthony Martinez, MD, assistant professor of medicine, who calls construction of the new medical school part of the “revitalization of a really great American city.”
Applicants who come to campus undergo formal interviews with physicians, scientists, admissions officials and current medical school students. They also eat lunch with students to interact in a less formal environment.
Severin has noticed that the culture of the UB medical school also plays a significant role in attracting students.
“One thing I hear from applicants is that they can tell our students like one another,” he says. “It’s clear to them that our students work as a team. That’s not the case at every medical school.”