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City Year education pathways: University of Michigan School of Medicine

It is no secret that medical school is competitive. In fact, the University of Michigan School of Medicine has already received 9,401 applications for the 2022 incoming class, with only 170 applicants planned to be accepted. So, what makes your application stand out? City Year Detroit had the opportunity to talk to Carol Teener, director of admissions at the University of Michigan School of Medicine, to learn more about the application process and what they look for during the admissions process.

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Visit City Year’s university partnerships page to see which undergraduate and graduate programs offer exclusive scholarships and benefits for City Year AmeriCorps members, alums and staff.

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“Our position is that there is more than one path to medical school,” said Teener.

Of course, all applicants are expected to demonstrate a solid foundation of knowledge across core scientific subjects, but what makes a strong applicant stand out is demonstrating inter/intrapersonal skills needed by physicians to thrive in an ever-changing health care landscape. The ultimate goal of the admissions office is “to find and work with future physicians who have demonstrated the potential to interact and engage meaningfully with the diverse communities who comprise and are served by the medical field,” said Teener.

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Teener agrees that by participating in a program like City Year, you are able to gain valuable qualities such as compassion and understanding for these diverse populations, just like the ones you will potentially serve as a doctor or healthcare worker. Another valuable attribute a year of service can offer is your ability to dedicate yourself to a goal and see it through. A year of service with City Year can be challenging, but your commitment to service shows the admissions office that you can demonstrate the ability to be committed to a project or goal- a quality that is needed to succeed in med school.

As you consider the long road to a medical degree, taking a year off for volunteer work may seem daunting; however, you are not alone. In fact, more than half of U-M’s first-year medical students in 2018 did not enroll for two or more years after their undergraduate education. With a comprehensive volunteer opportunity like City Year, you can leverage your gap year to ensure you get the maximum benefit from your year of service and, at the same time, gain the top competencies that medical school admission officers are looking for.

Some skills you will gain during your year of service include:

  • Public speaking
  • Networking
  • Technology skills
  • Communication
  • Project management
  • Professional development training
  • Leadership

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These skills are not just worthwhile for your med school application; they prepare you to excel in your career long after your year of service is finished. This experience can also help you reinforce skills you have already learned, develop new skills and possibilities and give you another avenue to build leadership skills. All of these opportunities make you a more qualified and desirable candidate.

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In addition to introducing new skills, serving with City Year can provide you with valuable networking prospects. With so many socially conscious individuals working toward greater goals, volunteering provides ample opportunities to connect with like-minded people. The University of Michigan requires a minimum of three letters of recommendation. Your recommenders can be any individuals who can objectively assess your personal qualities, such as integrity and ethics; reliability and dependability; social, interpersonal and teamwork skills; resilience and adaptability; altruism and a desire to learn. What better place to highlight these qualities than from your time serving under-resourced communities?

If you would like to talk to a City Year recruiter to learn more about the opportunities in Detroit, contact Alli.

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