Category Archives: Graduate Schools

The Three-Year MD Program

The three-year medical school program is a fairly new development in medical education. And while there are many benefits to pursing these accelerated programs, but they’re not for everyone. In this blog, we will take an in-depth look at three-year MD program requirements and formats, as well as which schools currently offer this alternative, in order to determine which students it serves best.

What are Three-Year MD Programs?

Three-year MD programs satisfy a demand for shorter medical school programs. They save the student a year of tuition and living expenses (as well as a year with no income), and the student is often guaranteed a spot in a specialized residency. The education and training to become a doctor can often take up to a decade, and so taking a year off of this process is very alluring to some students.

According to the Washington Post, “Some medical school administrators and policymakers see three-year programs as a way to produce physicians, particularly primary-care doctors, faster as the new health-care law funnels millions of previously uninsured patients into the medical system.” And given that specialists are now making double the income of primary care doctors, primary care physicians are at a particular shortage.

With four-year medical programs, the last year is focused on electives and the process of securing a residency position. But there is some debate as to the value of this final year. According to Ezekial Emanuel and Victor Fuchs, writing in the Journal of American Medicine Association, “Years of [medical school] training have been added without evidence that they enhance clinical skills or the quality of care. This waste adds to the financial burden of young physicians and increases health care costs. The average length of medical training could be reduced by about 30% without compromising physician competence or quality of care.”

Which Schools Currently Offer 3-Year MD Programs?

At present, there are very few opportunities to pursue a 3-year MD program. Of all the options, NYU offers the broadest program. Most others are limited to primary care or family medicine, and some carry an obligation to practice within the state.

Students must choose their residency of interest prior to application to the 3YMD Pathway. For the Class of 2018, there are 34 positions, across 20 residency programs. Students can apply at the time of acceptance or in February of their freshman year. The Three-Year Pathway program starts six weeks before the Four-Year Pathway program, and students work in a summer fellowship between their first and second year. Students can transfer to Four-Year MD pathway, if necessary, due to residency change or otherwise. The graphic below gives a detailed summary of the timeline differences between the 3-Year and 4-Year MD Pathway programs.

Three-Year MD Pathway

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Four-Year MD Pathway

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FMAT’s goal is to prepare primary care physicians more efficiently with lower cost. This program culminates in the M.D. degree and leads to a standard three-year family medicine residency at one of three Texas Tech programs, in Lubbock, Amarillo, or the Permian Basin. FMAT is limited to 16 students per year in each class. Students may apply for the FMAT program when they apply for admission or during the fall semester of the MS1 year. Tech School of Medicine provides scholarship support to FMAT students for at least one year of medical school. Students may choose to return to the regular four-year program at any time. However, any FMAT scholarship support will revert to loan status and must be repaid.

  • UC-Davis, School of Medicine: ACE-PC

This program is only for students committed to careers in primary care. ACE-PC students start working in Kaiser Permanente primary care clinics within the first few weeks of starting the program and continue in these clinics for three years. Unique curricular content includes population management, chronic disease management, quality improvement, patient safety, team-based care and preventive health skills with special emphasis on diverse and underserved populations. ACE-PC is limited to six students and classes begin in June. Students can apply for the program during the secondary application, and may choose to return to the four-year program at any time.

This program is only for students interested in practicing Family Medicine who have a strong desire to remain in Georgia. Students apply during the Spring of Year 1 and may opt to return to the four-year program at any time. The curriculum is very similar to their four-year MD program, but is compressed into 131 weeks of instructional time and offers more educational contact opportunities between students and the Family Medicine faculty.

Columbia’s accelerated program is only open to students who have already earned a PhD in biological sciences and intend to pursue biomedical research as a physician scientist. To this end, applicants are restricted to studying cognitive specialties, such as internal medicine, pediatrics, neurology, psychiatry, or pathology. You can apply for this program when you receive the secondary in the regular medical school application process. The program is divided into preclinical courses (18 Months), major clinical year (12 Months), and subinternship and electives (6 Months). Students begin in August of their first year and finish in May of their third year, working over the summers.

PCSP students must commit to complete a residency in family medicine or general internal medicine, and practice primary care medicine for a minimum of five years upon completion of residency. If a student does not fulfill these requirements, they will be asked to return the scholarship award (one year of medical school tuition). There are about 12 positions available in this program each year. Students complete all courses and learning modules required in the first two years of preclinical education in 18 months, as well as several courses during the summer months. Students participate in a sub-internship at the hospital where they will continue their clinical training after graduation. In addition to saving the student from paying for the fourth year of medical school, this program includes a scholarship for the third year of medical school.

In Conclusion…

Accelerated three-year medical school programs are often geared towards careers in primary care, but have the opportunity to expand to more specialties (as at NYU) as they experience increasing success. The shortened programs are extremely academically rigorous, and if students are not meeting academic benchmarks, they are transferred back to the four-year program.

Three-year medical programs mark a specialized pathway of study for those students who are already committed to the type of doctor they wish to become and who are willing to work at an advanced pace to opt out of a year of medical school. Nevertheless it is important to weigh the pros and cons of these programs in order to determine whether or not they might be right for you. Pros of the three-year program include lower costs, practicing medicine a year earlier, and knowing where your residency will take place from the start. Cons include less time off for vacation and test prep, committing to one specialty before gaining experience in medical school, and losing out on a fourth year of consolidated learning.

In the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Stanley Goldfarb and Dr. Gail Morrison argue that the fourth year of medical school is a valuable year that should be enhanced with more intense clinical training in outpatient and inpatient settings, as well as increased advising and mentoring, creating a better transition to residency.

“There may be exceptional students capable of accelerated learning and small programs that create unusual opportunities for such students, but we believe that for the typical student seeking an M.D. degree, the duration of medical school should not be shortened.”

Graduate medical study offers many options, and Collegiate Gateway has extensive experience in understanding and weighing the pros and cons of medical training opportunities. Feel free to contact us to find out more!

Getting into Business: Educational Alternatives to an MBA

Earning an MBA can be a wonderful and effective way to advance one’s career – but it isn’t the right choice for everybody. In fact, there are several educational alternatives to an MBA that may be a better fit for you and your career goals. In this blog, we’ll explore a few of these alternatives, and put them in the context of relevant industry trends

Enroll in a Master’s Program

Before enrolling in a master’s program, it is important to understand the differences between traditional MBA programs and master’s programs in business. While the general approach in a traditional MBA program is to equip a student with the knowledge to deal with a wide variety of business-related situations, a master’s program allows students to specialize in specific fields, as well as obtain a more theoretical, academic education.

In a study conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council, a record number (259) of specialized non-MBA business master’s programs received more than 64,000 applications for the 2014-2015 school year. These specialized masters include, but are not limited to: finance, management, marketing, economics, accounting, health administration, communication, and real estate. Students may find these specialized studies to be more in line with their interests in the business field.

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Employers are interested in these specialized master’s programs as well. According to GMAC’s 2015 Corporate Recruiter’s Survey Report, the proportion of companies planning to hire recent graduates of master’s programs in accounting, finance, and management is also expected to rise this year compared with 2014.

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Deciding on whether an MBA or a master’s degree is right for you depends entirely on your intended career. If you are thinking of pursing a general management position, then an MBA may be the better choice. An MBA allows exposure to every major business function, which offers enough depth to deal with specialists in the field and also provides the breadth necessary for graduates to oversee multiple departments. If you want your career to focus on one discipline, you may want to consider a specialized master’s instead.

Exploring Mini-MBA Programs

According to Bloomberg Business, the downturn in the economy has pushed people to look for fast and inexpensive ways to build their business skills and bolster their credentials. Additionally, commitment to work, family, or other factors may also make pursuing an MBA unrealistic. Mini-MBA programs are a great option for those who want a structured learning environment, but cannot commit to the time and monetary investment of a full MBA.

A Mini-MBA program is a term used by many non-profit and for-profit institutions to describe a training regimen focused on the fundamentals of business. These programs are taught by MBA professors, who hold classes that provide an abridged overview of major topics and concepts typically taught in full-time, two-year MBA courses. Students generally receive continuing education credits for these programs, which they can apply toward a degree program, should they choose to pursue one.

More business schools have begun to offer these programs on campus. “I think the advantage for schools, especially by calling them mini-MBAs, is they get to provide a set of experiences that help people understand the value of an MBA degree program and to know whether or not it is right for them,” says Dan LeClair, vice-president and chief knowledge officer at the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, which accredits business programs.

While they are not a replacement for full time MBA programs, mini-MBA programs can be a great testing ground for those who are on the fence about pursuing an MBA. Additionally, they are excellent opportunities for individuals to gain more skills and possibly better positions in this competitive job market. Interestingly, McKinsey & Company sends many of its non-MBA employees to a 3-4 week mini-MBA boot camp so that they can build a strong foundation of cross-functional business knowledge.

Enrolling in a Certification Program

Certificate programs enable students to gain mastery in specific areas of study by providing coursework or specialized training to keep students up-to-date on developments in their field, expand their areas of expertise, augment their professional skills, and earn additional credentials that can help advance their careers.

Kristin Williams, assistant provost for graduate enrollment at George Washington University (which offers 110 certificate programs), says that employers do not view these programs the same way they do a full degree, and whether they are impressed by the credential varies by discipline and specific job requirements. Nevertheless, a certificate can provide mandatory training for certain jobs or promotions, or make one eligible for higher pay scales. They can also show interest and acquired knowledge in an area that is likely helpful in performing a job, and make an individual more appealing as an applicant for hire.

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Explore Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

Massive Open Online Courses are open-access online courses. These courses contain traditional course materials (filmed lectures, readings, and problem sets) as well as user forums that help facilitate community interactions with professors, students, and teaching assistants. Many of these MOOCs are created by the nation’s top educational institutions, and offer free (or extremely inexpensive) certifications for courses taken.

These courses have increased access to learning opportunities for millions of people, including underserved audiences with little or no access to higher education. While MOOCs are certainly not replacements for MBAs, they provide an opportunity for students to access traditional course materials and explore fields in business they may be interested in before committing to a degree-granting program.

The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business offers the Wharton Foundation Series online, free of charge. The series covers topics typically taught in an MBA program, such as Marketing, Corporate Finance, Financial Accounting, and many others. OnlineMBA also provides a great list of free business courses available online, including ones offered by top universities. Other well-known MOOC resources include Coursera, HarvardX, and MITOpenCourseWare.

Work Experience / Company Rotational Programs

Many large companies offer leadership development or management programs that target young professionals. These programs usually involve rotations through different departments or roles within the company, so that participants can gain exposure to all aspects of the business. These rotational programs are a great way to gain hands-on, paid experience, and could greatly benefit long-term career objectives.

Aside from rotational programs, any work experience in a certain field can be beneficial. You may decide that you only want to work in the business industry as a means of gaining experience and realize that you do not wish to pursue an MBA. On the other hand, if you decide that work experience is not sufficient, you can apply to an MBA program as an even more qualified applicant. Regardless, it is always worthwhile to gain experience in full-time, paid positions.

Deciding on whether an MBA is right for you is a difficult decision. You will need to assess your individual needs, interests and career goals in order to determine which educational programs will best support you. And as always, Collegiate Gateway is here to help.

Trends in Medical School Curricula

As our healthcare systems continuously evolve, medical education must follow accordingly. Although each medical school continues to offer its own unique curriculum, curricula as a whole are following several overriding trends. These changes, outlined below, are intended to strengthen the academic experience of students, while creating more versatile and well-rounded physicians.

Starting clinical work earlier

Many schools have begun to phase out the traditional structure of medical education: two years of pre-clinical, basic science work followed by two years of clinical work. By starting clinical training earlier on in their education, students are able to utilize and expand their hands-on doctoring skills right from the start. This helps students hone their clinical skills, and enables them to apply knowledge from the classroom to relevant real-world situations.

However, med schools are approaching this change in very different ways. On one end of the spectrum, schools such as Duke and Vanderbilt have moved to an extremely accelerated curriculum with only one year of the core basic sciences, followed by core clinical clerkships beginning in year two. Similarly, Harvard has announced that in August of 2015 they will launch a new curriculum, Pathways, that also condenses the basic sciences to the first year.

On the other hand, Mount Sinai has maintained the structure of starting formalized clinical clerkships in the third year, but during year one, med students are partnered with patients to begin a longitudinal clinical experience. Several other medical schools, including Weill and Perelman, have struck a middle ground: students learn the core basic sciences for one and half years, with core clinical clerkships beginning in January of year two.

More flexibility

By finishing core clinical work earlier, students are granted greater flexibility in the third and fourth years, allowing for research opportunities and an abundance of elective choices. At Duke School of Medicine, students dedicate a full year to a scholarly research experience. During this year, students may pursue research or a dual degree, while also completing electives, some standard coursework, and studying for the Step 1 Exam. Similarly, Weill Cornell students are required to select an Area of Concentration (AOC) midway through their third year; these range from global health to neuroinflammation. Students choose their AOC based on personal interest, and then work to obtain in-depth knowledge, skills, and a scholarly project within that particular area.

More interdisciplinary coursework

Physicians must develop a diverse skill set to successfully navigate an increasingly complex healthcare environment. As a result, several schools have carefully crafted their curricula to include courses and themes that span beyond the basic and clinical sciences. This fosters a more interdisciplinary approach, with an emphasis on topics such as health policy, ethics, and population health. In fact, Albert Einstein College of Medicine incorporates a theme of population health into already existing courses and clerkships.

To cater to students with more interdisciplinary interests, many schools offer dual degrees, including an MD/PhD, MD/MPH, and MD/MBA. Certain schools also offer dual degrees in areas such as health policy, clinical investigation and bioethics.

Shortening the duration of a medical education

Partly as a result of the earlier clinical training, several med schools, such as NYU, have begun to offer a pilot “three-year pathway” program. The 3-year program is very similar to the core 4-year MD program, except that 3-year MD students start rotations in their chosen specialty six weeks earlier and spend their first summer pursuing a research fellowship in that same department. These students declare their specialty when they apply, and are guaranteed residencies in an NYU-affiliated hospital. This way, students don’t have to worry about matching into residency programs that may still be wary of the 3-year medical degree.

There is ongoing debate as to whether or not shortening the medical school education is beneficial. In a New England Journal of Medicine perspective piece, Drs. Goldfarb and Morrison state “Given the growing complexity of medicine, it seems counterproductive to compress the curriculum into 3 years, reducing both preclinical and clinical experiences.” Yet, in another Perspective piece, the authors claimed that a shorter medical school education could alleviate the physician shortage by producing physicians at a faster rate, and substantially reduce student debt. Dr. Steven Abramson, vice dean for education, faculty and academic affairs at NYU School of Medicine, predicts: “You’re going to see this kind of three-year pathway become very prominent across the country.”

Emphasis on problem-based learning

Medical education is also increasingly incorporating problem-based learning (PBL) into the pre-clinical years. This technique utilizes clinical cases to stimulate discussion among a small group of students, thereby creating a real-life, collaborative and active learning environment. For example, at Feinberg School of Medicine, each PBL is comprised of 6 to 9 students and a faculty facilitator. The overall PBL process “mimics the manner in which a practicing physician obtains data from a patient.” This enables students to further develop skills essential to becoming a successful physician, such as teamwork and communication.

Most schools have established an effective mix of PBL and standard lecture-based teaching. The Integrated Pathways Curriculum at SUNY Downstate, for example, offers reduced lecture time in favor of a greater emphasis on small-group learning such as PBL. 

For more information on medical education or any other part of the medical school application process, contact Collegiate Gateway – as always, we’re happy to help.

What an MD/MPH Can Do for Your Career

In our constantly evolving healthcare environment, physicians with interdisciplinary skill sets are becoming increasingly valuable. Those graduating with dual degrees such as an MD/MPH are uniquely poised to tackle some of healthcare’s most pressing challenges, which include disparities in access to care, high costs, and controversial reform.

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USC’s School of Medicine

How Can an MPH Help You as a Physician?

MD/MPH programs lie at the intersection of patient-based medicine and public health. According to the UNC School of Medicine, the MPH provides a broader social context and a focus on improving quality of care. Those pursuing this degree are often seeking a role beyond patient care, which could include policy-making, disease prevention, health education, or health research.

According to Dr. Judith Green McKenzie MD-MPH, Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, the value of the MPH lies in its ability to expand a physician’s perspective:

“The physician is not only able to take care of one patient at a time but can also use the knowledge gained from the data available to implement changes that would affect the patient population as a whole. This is important towards preventive measures. The impact is not just local (one patient) but global (many patients).” 

Potential Career Paths

There is a broad array of career paths associated with the MPH degree that span public policy, private industry, research and community outreach. According to Brown’s PLME program (Program in Liberal Medical Education), these include the following:

  • International work
  • Environmental health, such as regulation of toxic elements in water
  • Behavioral health: diversity across populations; ethnic/racial group behaviors
  • Health promotion and disease intervention
  • Health management
  • Community outreach and serving the underserved
  • Working with the CDC: regulation of health policy and health education
  • Public policy: federal and state government
  • Special population groups, such as aging and gerontology, maternal and child health
  • Private industry, including epidemiology, pharmaceuticals, health education
  • Research
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London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Research Poster Board Presentation

Practitioners with a combined training in medicine and public health can treat individual patients while at the same time contributing to public health discourse. Dr. Christina Tan, MD-MPH, Assistant Commissioner for Epidemiology, Environmental and Occupational Health for New Jersey, serves as the top epidemiologist for the state. Last fall, she had the responsibility for assessing the readiness of New Jersey to handle the possibility of Ebola. With regard to her training, she says:

“The MPH program helped solidify and enhance my understanding of epidemiology and public health policy, as it’s important to have an understanding of the historical, legal, and scientific context of public health practice (which is very different from clinical work).”

Differences in MD-MPH Programs

It is essential for prospective students to compare programs in order to find the right one for their specific interests and goals. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), more than 80 medical schools sponsor activities to help students pursue an MPH.  These range in structure from the fully integrated program offered by the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, which houses both the MD and MPH programs within one professional school, to the combined MD-MPH program offered by Yale University School of Medicine and Yale School of Public Health, to Duke University School of Medicine’s partnership with the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. These programs differ greatly in their curriculum, concentrations, length and cost

Concentrations

Make sure to check out whether the program includes concentrations that match your interests!  For example, whereas Boston University’s curricular program is flexible, offering concentrations ranging from environmental health to health policy and management, New York University’s MD/MPH degree strongly emphasizes a global health perspective.

NYU-International-Health-Program

Many MD/MPH programs offer standard concentrations such as public health, global health, maternal and child health, and epidemiology.  But if you are interested in less conventional specialty areas, do some research to find appropriate programs. For example, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health offers Law and Public Health, Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health offers Biostatistics and BU offers the interdisciplinary concentration of Health Law, Bioethics and Human Rights. Tufts University’s School of Medicine Public Health Program takes a different approach, offering a generalist MPH degree without any concentrations.

Location

You may want to consider the state in which you ultimately want to practice, so that you can begin to make contacts with nearby related organizations. Or perhaps the location has value for other reasons, such as wanting to stay close to home or in a particular region of the country.  For example, New York has 10 MD-MPH programs, including SUNY Downstate, Einstein, Columbia, Mount Sinai, NYU and University of Rochester. On the other hand, some states such as Alabama, Oklahoma and Wisconsin, have only one MD-MPH program, part of the state system.

Length of Program

Combined MD-MPH programs last either four or five years. The typical model for 5-year programs is to complete the MPH between the 3rd and 4th years of the MD program, as at Boston University, Columbia and Harvard. Several schools offer a 4-year option through a more condensed approach that includes the three summers between academic years. At SUNY Downstate, you can complete coursework over three summers; at the Keck School of Medicine at USC, you use three summers to complete a 150-hour practicum. The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has a fully integrated program that culminates with a capstone field experience of 300 contact hours. In choosing where to pursue your MD/MPH, therefore, it is important to consider your willingness to interrupt your medical training, as well as your ability to balance the demands of an accelerated program.

Cost

The cost of adding this additional degree may also be an influential factor, yet financial assistance opportunities and discounted tuition are quite common. At Feinberg School of Medicine, the cost of an MPH is simply a surcharge on top of the standard medical school tuition. Other schools, such as Tulane, offer their MD/MPH students both merit-based and research-based scholarships.

When to Attend

The experience of undertaking a Masters in Public Health varies greatly, depending on how you time your work experience. You could undertake a dual MD-MPH, or you could receive your MD degree and subsequently obtain an MPH immediately or after working. Yet another option is to “intercalate” a Master of Science degree in the UK in the midst of your MD program. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine offers an outstanding one-year MSc program that students can take between their third and fourth years of medical school. Thirteen MSc courses are available, such as Global Mental Health, Nutrition for Global Health and Public Health in Development Countries.

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London School of Hygiene Library

Dr. Tan elaborated in an email about the pros and cons of attending an MPH program before or after work experience: “Because I got my MPH about 10 years after my MD degree (and after working at governmental public health agencies), I wanted to use the MPH as a way to “fill-in-the-blanks” regarding what I was already doing in my work.”

TIMING

PROS

CONS

PRE-WORK
  • Acquire skills for a public health job
  • Build a network of contacts
  • Add an analytical component to your MD curriculum
  • You may not yet know your field of concentration
  • You will need to obtain required fieldwork experience while at university
POST-WORK
  • You will be aware of your knowledge deficits from your actual work experience
  • You will be a stronger candidate due to your real-world experience
  • It may be difficult to return to a classroom environment after work
  • You may find it challenging to forego income at a later stage in life

 

When to Apply

MD/MPH programs can also differ in a number of other ways, including when you would actually apply. At some schools, such as SUNY Downstate and USC, prospective students apply for the dual degree as they are applying for medical school admission. Others, such as NYU, encourage you to apply once you have already matriculated.  Still others, such as UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and UMDNJ-School of Public Health, offer the opportunity to add the MPH degree after extending acceptance letters for the MD degree.  In addition, there is always the option to apply years after receiving your MD degree and practicing medicine.

Is the MD/MPH Right for You?

To successfully navigate our complex healthcare environment, the AAMC cites the natural and essential overlap between medicine and public health. But despite the prevalence of MD/MPH programs, not every medical school offers one, and not every student interested in public health will pursue one. Additionally, today’s aspiring physicians will likely receive some public health education regardless of whether or not they are involved in an MD/MPH program. Many medical schools – often in addition to offering an MD/MPH –  have now integrated public health concepts into their standard curriculum. Recent policy initiatives such as the Affordable Care Act, with its emphasis on preventive care and population health, further underscore the need to effectively integrate these two disciplines.

Depending on your personal interests and professional goals, an MD/MPH might very well be the right path for you. It is not only a decision about whether or not to pursue this dual degree, but also a matter of which institution provides the best fit. Check out the resources offered by the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) MD-MPH resource guide and the Association of Schools of Public Health.

Choosing to pursue an MD/MPH is a complicated process that varies greatly for different individuals. For more guidance, contact Collegiate Gateway – we’re always happy to help.

More B-Schools Accept the GRE

An increasing number of MBA programs are allowing applicants to submit scores from the GRE (Graduate Record Examination), rather than the GMAT. Today, over 800 MBA programs around the world permit applicants accept the test, including Harvard, Wharton, and Stern.

This trend comes in the wake of changes in the GRE to align more with the rigor of the GMAT.  In August of 2011, the ETS (Educational Testing Service) revamped the GRE, expanding the test from three to four hours and incorporating new types of questions in the verbal and quantitative reasoning sections. In the verbal reasoning section, antonyms and analogies were entirely removed, and text completion and sentence equivalent questions were included. In addition, more reading comprehension questions were added, with multiple-choice questions in which several answers are correct. The quantitative reasoning section was also changed to place greater emphasis on data interpretation and real-life scenarios.

According to the ETS website, institutions benefit from accepting the GRE in addition to the GMAT because it provides an “even bigger, more diversified pool of highly qualified applicants.” Furthermore, GRE test takers come from a variety of backgrounds in terms of nationality, ethnicity, gender, age, and undergraduate major. In a 2012 interview with US News, Nikhil Varaiya, director of graduate programs at San Diego State University, states that  “[Universities] are seeking MBAs who have science and engineering backgrounds, disciplines in which students have traditionally taken the GRE for admission to graduate programs.”

Some test takers find the GRE more practical because it is offered at more locations than any other graduate admissions test and is more affordable, according to ETS. The GRE is also generally considered to be an easier test. Business Because, an online community for those interested in business school, recommends taking the GRE instead of the GMAT, as it places less emphasis on grammar and logical arguments and the math is easier. In addition, it does not have the newly added GMAT section of Integrated Reasoning, which combines all the difficult parts of the Verbal section with quantitative analysis and data interpretation. There is also the added bonus of having more options for graduate school in case an applicant should decide to apply or attend a non-MBA graduate program, either in addition or in place of business school.

However, the drawback for some test takers is that the GRE places a heavy emphasis on vocabulary and requires two essays instead of one.

Regardless of which test applicants take, it is important to remember that the GRE or GMAT is just one data point in the portfolio of an applicant. When looking for the next group of MBAs, applicants are considered based on a wide variety of criteria, including their leadership and work experience.

For more information on MBA admissions, contact Collegiate Gateway. As always, we’re happy to help.

 

Is Law School as Attractive as It Once Was?

According to a recent report by the Law School Admissions Council, nearly 11 percent fewer people took the LSAT this October than the year before. What’s more, these 33,673 test takers represent a steep drop of 45 percent since the test-taking peak in 2009.  When paired with declining attendance at recent LSAC Law School Forums – basically, law school fairs – the numbers reflect a continuing disillusionment with the legal field.

And indeed, the job market for new lawyers is sobering to say the least. According to annual job placement data released by the American Bar Association, an average of only 56 percent of the class of 2012 found full-time legal jobs within nine months of graduation. The figure reflects stagnation over the last year, with 55 percent of the class of 2011 finding jobs within the same time period. Perhaps fittingly, the New York Times reported earlier this year that law school applications from aspiring JDs are on pace to hit a thirty year low. Of course, these averages can be misleading; 14 top law schools report job placement of over 80%, with University of Chicago, UVA, and UPenn topping the list with a 95% employment score. Additionally, while applications are declining, enrollment has shown only a modest decline:

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Law school is no longer the safe haven it once was to sit out an economic downturn. There are no guarantees of job placement, even at the top schools. The profession, however, is taking steps to self-regulate. Law schools are addressing the current status of the profession by cutting the size of their incoming classes, thereby decreasing the excess supply of lawyers. Additionally, an ABA study last year showed that law schools are altering their curricula to increase instruction in professional skills through clinical work, simulations and externships. 

More Selective Teacher Prep Programs = Better Teachers?

If getting into teacher preparation programs were as difficult as gaining admission to law school or medical school, would education graduates be more effective teachers? Colleges and universities around the country have been under pressure to make their teacher preparation programs more competitive and selective, as the increased pressure for teacher accountability continues. Programs like Teach For America (TFA) offer an alternative to the typical teacher preparation programs.

Debates about teacher accountability have been widespread throughout the media, partially stemming from a proposal by the Obama administration in early 2012. The $5 billion grant, called the RESPECT Program, plans to reward states for improving teacher effectiveness in a variety of ways, including making teacher education programs more selective.

Colleges of education do not agree that simply making their programs more selective will produce more effective teachers. They feel that attracting smart and talented students to teaching is important, but good preparation is even more critical. Leontye Lewis, dean of the School of Education at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina and a selected member of a U.S.Department of Education panel to review standards for teacher prep programs, says, “High school GPA is a good determining factor for success in college, but it is not a determining factor for effectiveness in the classroom.”

One concern with emphasizing selectivity is that it could lead to fewer minorities and students from disadvantaged backgrounds that might not have excelled in high school. The importance of a diverse teaching staff is especially important in urban schools, where achievement gaps are clearly visible among students of different ethnic backgrounds.  Jane West, senior vice president for policy, programs, and professional issues at the American Association for Colleges for Teacher Education, says, “It’s very important to get minority candidates from and of the neighborhood where they will be serving students… They have skills related to cultural knowledge and being of the community that can be significant in how well they work with students.”

Teach For America is an alternative to undergraduate teacher preparation programs.  TFA’s mission is simply to provide an excellent education for students in low-income communities. The organization was founded in 1989 by Wendy Kopp as an outgrowth of her undergraduate senior thesis at Princeton. Since then, nearly 33,000 participants have reached more than three million children nationwide. Teach For America recruits a diverse group of leaders with a record of leadership and academic achievement. The new teachers work for two years in a low-income community. TFA provides intensive training, support, and career development, in addition to requiring the members to enroll in a graduate certification program while teaching. The program has become popular across the country. At more than 130 colleges and universities, over 5% of the senior class applied to Teach For America. Spelman College had 27% of its senior class apply, while 18% of Harvard’s seniors applied.