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Monday, May 14, 2012

Oh, the people you'll meet!

When I first imagined the students at medical school, I thought that the students would all be very similar. I had imagined a medical school crowd to simply be an extension of the pre-med group in college. I had thought that entering medical school would be entering a world of like-minded people and I was excited about that prospect. I soon found out, however, that medical school is a wide and diverse place - an even BETTER prospect. I find it that when I am surrounded by people who are not like me, I have a greater opportunity to learn from our differences and a great chance to experience something new and exciting.

Everyone comes into school with a different background that this breadth of experiences is what contributes to the positive learning environment. At Case Western, I find this to be especially true. Just looking at the diversity of medical program offerings can showcase the different types of people. This week, I will be going through the different types of programs offered at Case. I'll share my insight mostly on the two programs I am most familiar with - PPSP and UP, but feel free to ask me about anything and I'll try to find out for you!

Pre-Professional Scholars Program (PPSP)

The PPSP program is offered to high school seniors. Along with the regular Case Western college application, students have to submit an additional essay describing their desire to enter medicine. A number of students will then be invited to spend a day at the medical school and undergo a medical school interview. The key is to show maturity and a passion for becoming a physician. As an 17-18 year old, you are experiencing the same interview process usually faced by someone four years older and four years more mature. The admissions committee is hedging a bet on you, on whether or not in four years, you'll be a student they would like to see matriculate into the school of medicine. Every year, there are only a handful of admitted PPSP students. 

The obvious benefit of this program is the assurance of a guaranteed spot. In order to retain this spot, however, students are expected to maintain a minimum GPA (in the 2008 application cycle, the expectation was 3.60 GPA) and to show contribution to Case community by actively participating in clubs and organizations. No MCATs are required, BUT if you do choose to take the exam, you must reach at least the average score of the entering class in order to retain your spot (for 2008, the score cut-off was 32). Many of the students do not take the MCATs. Can you imagine the stress free life they're living? WOW!

The greatest benefit of this program, however, is not the lack of MCATs - it's the freedom. With a guaranteed spot, students no longer have to worry about fulfilling the "must-haves" of a usual resume. If a student has no interest in research, there's no need to work himself to the bone at a research lab, hoping to get published. The guarantee allows the students to open up their undergraduate careers to do whatever may interest them. You can pursue a degree in English, peruse history books, check out a archaeology dig or volunteer with at a hospital or set up a band. One of my friends in the program is a DJ with his own radio show! The beauty of the program is that it allows students - future doctors - to become more well-rounded individuals who will, in the future, better serve and better connect with their patients. 

Let me know if you have any questions regarding the program or how to apply. Leave your comments below. Thanks!

Still To Come: 

University Program

College Program (Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine)

Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP)

Stay tuned!!



  2. Hello! 2 years after you wrote this post...but, do you have any suggestions for the PPSP interview? Any advice would be appreciated, thank you :) (my email is