Nationwide, close to 60 percent of medical school aspirants are turned away, even after applying to 10 or more schools. Recent Saint Mary’s graduates have had much greater success. All seven students who completed the College’s pre-med advising program and applied to medical school in 2007 were accepted.
Jessica Curti ’06, who majored in biology and is at the UC Davis Medical School, credits Saint Mary’s with laying the groundwork for her studies.
“I took everything from organic chemistry to zoology, and each class helped me,” she says. “I was able to get a good score on the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) because of the chemistry, biology and physics courses at Saint Mary’s.”
Pre-med preparation requires more than textbooks,
says Taylor Klein ’07, a health sciences major who is at the University of Nevada’s medical school. In a tutorial with professor Greg Smith, she dissected a cadaver.
“Most (pre-med) students just observe the cadavers and name structures,” she says. “Our work at Saint Mary’s was more similar to what you do in medical school.”
Michael Jones ’06, a student at the University of Hawaii’s medical school, believes his major in experimental psychology served as excellent preparation.
“A big part of being a doctor is talking to people, so I’ll be practicing what I learned every day,” he says.
Science Dean Brian Jersky says that outside the lab, the College’s liberal arts curriculum helps students develop critical thinking skills.
“Thinking about issues other than the merely technical is a crucial skill in a medical student and later a doctor,” he says.
The College also encourages aspiring doctors to look beyond the campus for ways to learn. Jones and Klein worked at Hawyard’s St. Rose Hospital.
Even within the competitive medical school application process, SMC students in the St. Luke Pre-medical Society preserve the spirit of collaborative learning with group study sessions and activities.
“Our pre-med students are very competitive, but not with each other,” says advisor Karen Cowman. “They’re competitive with their own potential.”