UA-Medical School emphasizes volunteerism

Michael Ford
Arts & Entertainment Editor   

   Tom South, the director of admissions for the University Of Arkansas Medical School, spoke to about a dozen pre-medicine students at the Oct. 14 meeting of the Medical Sciences Club.

   “The meeting was very interesting,” said Ashley Rogers, senior biology major. “He talked about some of the qualifications required to attend UAMS, as well as personal characteristics the admissions board looks for.”

   Rodgers said she did not realize the emphasis the board places on compassion when considering a candidate, noting that it looks at the overall individual.

   “UAMS seems to be putting more emphasis on community service experience, said Dr. Russell Nordeen, professor of biology. “So it is important for students interested in a medical career to perform volunteer work at a health care facility to see if they have what it takes.”

   About 340 students from Arkansas filled the applicant pool for last year with 150 accepted. The average student scored 28 on MCAT and averaged a 3.6 GPA.

   “He gave us a catalog that had a copy of the first requirements and curriculum from when the school was first opened,” Rogers said. “I enjoyed reading over that.”

   South also discussed the costs of attending medical school, which average $30,000 per year including $12,000 in tuition costs. He discussed a debt relief program that enables students to save substantially by contracting with small towns with populations smaller than 15,000 to provide medical services following graduation.

   Other options include $8,500 in subsidized Stafford loans with the balance available in unsubsidized Stafford loans. UAMS graduates average $98,500 in debt compared with the national average of $120,000.

   South said state law requires 70 percent of students admitted to the medical school to be equally distributed amongst the four congressional districts. On average, UAMS admits 25 to 30 students each year from the alternate list.

   “A career in medicine could be very rewarding but it also can be very demanding, Nordeen said. “You have to have the sort of personality that is both compassionate and hard working.”

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