(Courtesy of Touro University) Over 90 % of undergrads at Touro’s Lander Colleges who apply to medical school and 98 % who apply to dental school secure spots. As a national leader in medical and health science education, Touro gives its students an edge. From research and shadowing opportunities to medical missions in Thailand and Nepal, test prep and clinical training, Touro offers students every opportunity to realize their dreams of becoming doctors, dentists and other health care professionals.
In keeping with its goal to ensure future medical professionals are set up for success, Touro University presented a special session last month designed for undergraduate students to learn about their options in the medical and health science fields, what it takes to gain admission into highly competitive programs, and how to become candidates for professional schools in growing fields.
Deans and other representatives of five of Touro’s graduate and professional schools—New York Medical College, Touro College of Dental Medicine, Touro College of Pharmacy, Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, and Touro affiliate New York College of Podiatric Medicine—spoke to the students about the process of choosing and applying to medical schools, as well as how to succeed once enrolled. Afterward, the school representatives were available to speak to students one-on-one about their respective programs.
A Pathway to Success
Rabbi Moshe Krupka, Touro’s executive vice president, opened the session highlighting the school’s dedication to seeing their students succeed. “We’re going to give you an outstanding education, we’re going to give you caring professors, we’re going to give you guidance, and we’re going to have nights like this and endless opportunities to prepare you to be successful. We are so proud of the fact that our institution stands by each and every one of you,” he said.
Dr. Edward Halperin, chancellor and CEO of New York Medical College said, “In developing this prep session, I felt that we needed to deal with two unmet needs. First, to provide educational programming to address the special needs of observant Jewish students seeking careers in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and podiatry. Second, to describe the ways in which we seek to facilitate the transition of Touro undergraduates to our own university’s health professions’ graduate and professional schools. This program, which we provide each fall at the Touro Brooklyn campus, strives to meet both needs.”
He stressed the importance of choosing where to apply. He noted that when deciding which car to buy, most people will pick up a copy of Consumer Reports or do research on the pros and cons of different models.
“But they pick where they’re going to college, medical school or dental school because it feels right, because they liked walking around the campus,” Dr. Halperin said. “Nobody in their right mind would spend $200,000 on a purchase because it feels right. They would do their homework and that’s what you all need to do.”
Speaking of homework, Dr. Halperin said undergraduates always ask what matters most to the admissions staff. Does the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) matter more than GPA? Does GPA matter more than the Computer-based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics (CASPer)? How important are the letters of reference? “Answer: Everything’s important,” he said. “We look at it all. You need to take challenging courses. You need to get good grades. Your references matter. You need to write a clear essay that’s understandable, and do well on your standardized tests.” Halperin shared tips for interviewing successfully and told the group that qualified Touro undergrads have a good chance of securing interviews at Touro professional schools.
Preparing for Future Careers While Honoring Our Values
Beyond learning about Touro’s various opportunities in medicine, dentistry and health sciences, the students heard about rising to the unique challenges religious Jews encounter during training. Students at Touro’s medical and dental schools are fortunate to have their class and exam schedules in sync with the Jewish calendar and to have access to on campus minyanim, shiurim and a community of like-minded students who share values as well as study sessions, Shabbatons, challah bakes and other events. All food on these campuses is kosher and the environment is conducive to Jewish life.
The second half of the event was dedicated to facilitating conversations between potential students and the deans and staff members representing Touro’s graduate schools. Students were encouraged to approach various stations throughout the room to ask questions of the representatives and learn more about the specific programs.
“I like the idea that there are a lot of medical professionals in the same place that you could talk to,” said Yael Levy, in her second year at Touro’s Lander College of Arts & Sciences. “I know I want to do something in the medical field, but I’m not sure exactly what yet, so it was really helpful to hear everyone and see people who are doing different things.”
Levy shared that, in some ways, learning about what it takes to succeed in the field of health sciences is overwhelming. “But at the same time, it made me realize I want to do this,’” she said. “It sounds intense and hard, but also an exciting challenge.”