Medical school applications rise despite probation

Despite being placed on academic probation by its accrediting body, the School of Medicine and Health Sciences reported an increase in applications this year.

Ava Flores, director of the medical school’s admissions, said that 13,856 students applied to the SMHS this year, a 3.2 percent increase over last year’s applications. Medical school administrators are pleased with the slight increase after the LCME, the school’s accreditation body, placed the school on academic probation in October for issues ranging from curriculum management to a lack of study and lounge space.

The admissions at SMHS are rolling, and applications for this cycle were due by Jan. 1.

Susan Hwang, a health professions advisor to undergraduates at GW, said that about 200 GW students applied to SMHS in the 2009 cycle.

“I had very few students come to me with any concerns regarding GW medical school’s probation status,” she wrote in an e-mail.

She added the increase in admissions came as no shock.

“I’m not surprised that students are still applying to GW,” she wrote. “I think the medical school did a good job reassuring current and prospective students that they are doing everything possible to make the necessary improvements within the given timeframe.”

Kunal Merchant, who was accepted to the SMHS in its early selection program, said that he was startled by the probation at first.

“But when you really looked at it, they were very open about [the probation] and clear about it,” Merchant said.

He added, “Honestly some people were worried but I don’t think there’s any reason to worry. I’m not worried at all.”

Hwang said she would not advise students against applying to GW and was confident that the SMHS would retain its academic accreditation.

She wrote, “My advice to students is to apply to GW medical school regardless of the probationary status.”

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