Admittance into a medical program in California is notoriously competitive. Students must maintain a high GPA as well as participate in extra curricular activities in order to be accepted into these programs. However, Mills College offers a different approach for entering the medical field. By focusing on their academic wellbeing, students at Mills have a higher likelihood to be admitted into a medical school.
Mills offers three medical science programs to its students – Undergraduate Pre-Medical, Nursing Leadership Partnership, and Post-Baccalaaureate Pre-Medical program. Each of these programs provides students the skills and course requirements for entrance into either Samuel Merritt University or a graduate medical school.
The pre-med program is designed for undergraduate students to take the required science courses for admittance into medical school. Students are introduced to multiple health science professions including allopathic medicine (physicians that diagnose illnesses and disorders), veterinary and dentistry.
Michelle Chan, a sophomore pre-med student, feels that Mills’ “tight community” offers the right academic environment that will help her get accepted into a medical school.
Another program offered is the post-bac pre-med program, which is for students who received an undergraduate degree but do not have the science requirements for medical school; the program accepts about 60 students of all genders.
Second year post-bac student, Theo Roper, discovered his desire to become a doctor through his study abroad experience, having majored in psychology. By attending Mills’ post-bac program, he has the opportunity to make a career change.
This program offers students like Roper a second chance to go back to school for core science courses, biology and chemistry. According to Jo Scullion, the Health Professions Programs coordinator, after the two-year program, about 85-90 percent of Mills post bacs are accepted into a medical school. Scullion also stated that the national average admittance rate into a medical school is about 42 percent for all applicants.
John Soek, a first year post-bac, was previously a political science and history major until he discovered that he wanted to be a medical doctor. He looked for post-bac programs to prepare him for medical school.
“When I did research for a post-bac program,” Soek said, “Mills seemed to have an environment that was conducive for learning, especially for someone who has never taken any real hard sciences before.”
Mills also offers The Nursing Leadership Partnership, which requires undergraduates to take general education and science requirements at Mills for two years before transitioning to Samuel Merritt University in Oakland to finish their nursing training.
In order for nursing students to have a spot guaranteed at Samuel Merritt, they must maintain a 3.0 GPA as well as pass the entrance examination to get into nursing school. Students are expected to graduate Samuel Merritt University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and have completed their Nursing Qualifying Examination (NQE).
When Sophomore nursing student, Lauren Cactan started her college applications, she was relieved to discover that Mills would provide her a guaranteed spot into a nursing school.
“I liked the fact that there was a noncompetitive environment for the nursing program,” Cactan said. “Most programs you have to have a certain GPA and be at the top of your class to get into a nursing program. At this school, as long as you get a 3.0 GPA and pass the TEAS [Test of Essential Academic Skills Examination] test, you are guaranteed a spot at Samuel Merritt.”
Nursing students are also required to take leadership seminars, which are designed to prepare students for the nursing field. At these lectures, students are exposed to different nursing careers options and its challenges.
Scullion provides medical students with information regarding medical related events and programs that occur on campus and throughout the Bay Area.
“The nursing group is very active,” Scullion said. “They have a nursing honors society and club where they not only promote activity within their groups, but they also do community service and medically related services here as well.”
Jasmin Vargas, a first year nursing student, believes that the nursing program is allowing her to develop life skills.
“I think [the program],” said Vargas, ” … where you learn how to advocate for yourself and human rights, will help develop us into the nurses that actually know how to take care of their patients and not just treat them with the medicine and diagnoses.”