By Carmen Galvan
Assistant City Editor
Despite the smaller number of available slots for the class of 2016 due to recent deferments, potential applicants to the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine should not expect a stricter application process.
“We are basically using the same process that we historically have used for selecting students, so they shouldn’t do anything different than they otherwise have done,” said Dr. Samuel Shomaker, the Jean and Thomas McMullin dean of medicine and vice president for clinical affairs for the Texas A&M Health Science Center. “We’re going to be emphasizing the same things as traditionally: community service, commitment to medicine, healthcare experience, strong academic performance and then letters of recommendation that can speak to their capabilities as a physician.”
This news may come as a relief to some students who believe their applications to the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine must be flawless in order to earn a spot.
“My original thought [to the situation] was that I was disappointed, but I wasn’t blaming A&M, necessarily,” Waxahachie junior Nate Larson said. “I just thought, ‘Well, I’m just going to have to adjust my plan now.’ I viewed it as with less people chosen you get less leeway in the application, and I wanted to make sure that I’m the better applicant.”
During the first week of February, all students accepted by the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine were sent a letter explaining an unusual situation: 250 students were accepted to the school when only 170 spots were available. The letter calls for 80 students to either defer voluntarily by April 1 or be randomly chosen by the school to defer their medical education for a year. Each deferred student, however, is guaranteed a spot in the next class.
“Please bear in mind that your seat in our medical school is not in jeopardy by deferring or being deferred,” the letter states. “Your matriculation to the entering class of 2012 is guaranteed provided you meet the conditions as set forth in the acceptance acknowledgment form.”
Under these stipulations, 90 spots will be made available for next year’s round of applicants, Shomaker said. “We have a reasonably large number of open slots, if you will, for students who are interested and we would encourage them to consider and make application,” Shomaker said.
Although there is still the possibility of another miscalculation next year, Larson said the risk wouldn’t prevent him from applying.
“If I got on a [deferment] offer from A&M and I still wanted to go there I would accept it because deferment for a year is not that big a deal,” Larson said. “This could happen at any school, so it wouldn’t really deter me from doing anything. A year off wouldn’t be that bad and I would still be accepted to med school, so it wouldn’t be that big of a deal.”
Shomaker said he hopes other Baylor students will hold similar views.
“We do get a fairly significant number of applicants from Baylor and we want to make sure the student body knows we welcome applications from them,” Shomaker said. “We have a good history of strong students from Baylor in our medical school and we want to encourage students to continue viewing us as an option for them.”