Second Opinion 

New partnership helps Rhodes sophomores get into med school.

In Rhodes College's underground Frazier Jelke science building, couches surround a life-sized triceratops replica. Biology samples preserved in jars line the shelves, and physics equations are painted on the wall. The lounge is a nice study area, but with a new partnership, pre-med students may have time to spend in other places.

Rhodes and George Washington University in Washington, D.C., recently formed a partnership that will allow Rhodes students an incredible opportunity: to be accepted into GW's School of Medicine and Health Sciences as sophomores. Through the early selection program, students will be able to forgo the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and apply to medical school before completing the four pre-med course requirements, thereby finishing the sequence in four years rather than condensing it into a grueling three.

According to Alan Jaslow, Rhodes' Director of Health Professions Advising, the new partnership presents a multitude of positives for Rhodes students.

"It's a great situation for students who want a liberal-arts experience to avoid some of the hurdles pre-med students have throughout the year," such as the MCAT, he states. "It allows more options and more freedom for the students."

Megan Tisdale, director of admissions at the GW School of Medicine, says that the institution has similar programs with 11 schools. GW invited Rhodes to join after Rhodes president William Troutt met with GW president Joel Tractenberg. The GW president "was especially interested in the commitment to service at Rhodes College," Tisdale says, and felt the two schools were an excellent match.

He wasn't the only one. As Jaslow says, "About 80 percent of our students participate in some form of community service, and GW has a long history in the Washington area of community service."

Interested students must meet minimum academic requirements and a committee at Rhodes evaluates student applications.

"If we agree that a student is a good candidate and matches well with GW, we'll pass the student on," Jaslow explains. "GW's admissions committee will then evaluate the students. Students should know by the end of their sophomore year if they've been accepted."

Tisdale adds, "Early selection is for applicants with academic distinction and a proven commitment to medicine. These selected students do not have to study for and take the MCAT exam and can use that time and energy to concentrate on their leadership and service activities, as well as academics." As a result, the students are better prepared for all aspects of studying and practicing medicine.

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