Tag Archives: NYU

Merit Scholarships from Colleges

As college admissions have become more competitive and the cost of a college education continues to skyrocket, schools are offering more and more merit scholarships to entice top-tier students to attend and increase affordability. Applicants now have access to a wider range of non need-based scholarships, based on talent in academics and other areas.  Each college has its own method of awarding funds, so it is important to research the merit aid process at each school on your college list.

Some colleges, such as Tulane, automatically consider all applicants for merit scholarships. However, other schools, including Washington University in St. Louis and Vanderbilt University,  require applicants to complete a separate merit scholarship application and/or essay. Some institutions have an early cut-off date—such as November 15th in the case of Emory—by which students in contention for merit aid must apply. Finally, there are also colleges like the University of Rochester that offer further merit scholarships to returning students, in addition to any money they were promised as incoming freshmen.

Factors that Determine Merit Aid

Schools determine which candidates will receive merit awards by weighing a variety of factors including grade point average, standardized test scores, and the strength of the student’s high school curriculum. Generally, the better you do in high school, the better your chances of being offered merit aid by colleges. For many students, this is can be the largest source of scholarship funding. In fact, some colleges, including Boston College and Duke award full-tuition merit scholarships to small groups of exceptionally qualified students.

Keep in mind that additional factors related to your character play a role as well, as demonstrated by your extracurricular activities, community service and leadership roles.  Furthermore, the unique institutional priorities of each college influence the nature of their merit scholarships. Colleges often offer special scholarships for students of diverse backgrounds, or with particular academic, athletic, service or career interests.

Automatic Consideration

Some colleges, such as TulaneOberlin, and NYU automatically consider all applicants for merit scholarships. Schools such as Lehigh and USC also offer a wide array of merit scholarship opportunities. Most colleges will consider students for merit aid just based on the application for admission, but some require that students complete the FAFSA or to click “yes” on the Common Application to being considered for merit scholarships at that particular school.

By Application

Some schools require that prospective students take the initiative to apply for merit aid and require the submission of additional essays.  The Premier Scholars Program at Washington University in St. Louis requires a separate application and participation in an all-expenses-paid weekend program for scholarship finalists during March.

At Vanderbilt University, once a student applies for admission, they are emailed within two days to set up their MyAppVU account, which has a scholarship section to be completed by December 1st in order to be considered for all merit scholarships at Vanderbilt.

Schools that Award High Percentages of Merit Aid

The following chart lists a selection of schools that awarded the most merit aid to students who “had no financial need and who were awarded institutional non-need-based scholarship or grant aid” for the 2017-2018 academic year, according to U.S. News & World Report.

School % of Students Receiving Non-Need Based Aid
Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering 53%
Cooper Union 46%
Denison University 41%
Oberlin College 41%
Fairfield University 40%
University of Denver 40%
Tulane University 39%
University of Portland 39%
The New School 38%
Case Western Reserve University 33%
Clark University 33%
St. Michael’s College 33%
Hobart and William Smith Colleges 32%
Muhlenberg College 32%
Drexel University 31%
University of Vermont 31%

 

Benefits Associated with Merit Scholarships

When evaluating different options, keep in mind that merit scholarships can offer more than just monetary rewards. Many, such as UVA’s Jefferson Scholars offer significant enrichment opportunities, such as access to leadership and study abroad programs, and internships with program alumni.

Another example is the Bonner Scholars Program at the University of Richmond, which is tied to a deep commitment to community service. Scholarship recipients intern for 10 hours a week for four years at an organization that aligns with their service goals. Bonner Scholars also participate in on-campus reflective exercises and educational programming.

The Emory Scholars Program offers unique programming, a strong community, early class registration, as well as other benefits.

College is expensive, and there are many paths to finding your “best-fit” as well as maximizing the best deal. For more guidance and information on college-sponsored merit scholarships, contact Collegiate Gateway—we’re always happy to help.

Who Benefits from Test-optional and Test-flexible Admissions Policies?

As the role of college entrance exams continues to shift, many students find it difficult to navigate evolving and variable testing requirements. The process is made even more complex by the growing number of “test-optional” schools that do not require students to submit the SAT or ACT.

Over 1000 colleges and universities have decided that standardized test scores are not as predictive of academic success in college as the day-to-day academic performance reflected by a high school GPA. Current test-optional colleges include Wake ForestSmith, and Bowdoin.

Several others, including NYUMiddlebury and Hamilton fall under the category of “test-flexible,” meaning that applicants have the option to submit alternative college entrance examinations, such as SAT Subject, Advanced Placement, and International Baccalaureate examinations in place of SAT and ACT scores.

Many students question how to handle test-optional policies, and are unsure of whether or not they should submit their scores. In this blog, we will take a closer look at student choices in applying to test optional colleges and why more and more schools are offering test-optional admissions policies.

Which colleges offer test-optional policies? Are all policies the same?

FairTest.org offers a comprehensive list of the colleges that currently offer test-optional and test-flexible admissions policies. While colleges offering these policies include a variety of institutions, it is notable that many are small liberal arts colleges, public universities, and small Catholic colleges. With few exceptions, the most highly selective colleges continue to require standardized testing; besides being a standard indicator of college readiness, test scores can create a benchmark of acceptance for schools that are becoming inundated with ever-increasing applicant pools.

It is interesting to note that of the 50 highest-ranked national universities, only four have test-optional or test-flexible policies, including Wake Forest, University of Rochester, Brandeis, and NYU, whereas 21 of the top-ranked liberal arts universities offer such testing options. One possible reason is that to attract applicants, the national universities rely more on US News & World Report’s rankings, which factor in test scores. In addition, small liberal arts universities are typically more holistic in their evaluations of candidates.

Test-optional and test-flexible policies vary widely, and the best way to make sure that you are submitting the correct testing requirements is to research the details on the specific college’s website.

For example, NYU (test-flexible) requires testing but students have a variety of options:

  • ACT (writing test not required)
  • SAT(essay test not required)
  • 3 SAT Subject Test scores
  • 3 AP exam scores
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma
  • 3 IB higher-level exam scores if not an IB Diploma candidate
  • Nationally accredited exam that shows you completed your secondary education

Many test-optional schools require students who are not submitting test scores to meet additional requirements, including interviews, writing samples, teacher recommendations, or completing a Test-Optional Form. For example, Franklin & Marshall College requires students who choose to opt out of testing to submit two graded writing samples (creative or analytical), preferably from a humanities or social science course. Loyola University Maryland asks applicants who take advantage of their test-optional policy to submit an additional teacher recommendation and/or personal essay. At Virginia Commonwealth University, high school applicants must have at least a 3.3 GPA to bypass testing requirements.

Interestingly, many test-optional schools, including Marist College, require students to submit standardized test scores once they have been accepted and enroll. The schools use these test scores for the purposes of academic advisement and course placement.

Why do schools offer test-optional policies?

Increasing ethnic diversity

Many schools, including Wake Forest, claim that test-optional policies have led to a more diverse student body with no notable difference in academic achievement between students who opted out of testing and those who submitted scores. Wake Forest also states that ethnic diversity increased by 90% since the Fall of 2008 when their test-optional policy went into effect. A 2014 report from two former Bates College admissions officials, William Hiss and Valerie Franks, also found an increase in racial and socio-economic diversity at test-optional schools.

Focusing on holistic admissions

In determining whether an applicant is a good fit, test-optional schools stress the importance of examining the student’s complete academic profile. The College of the Holy Cross states, “We are test optional because we have found that a student’s academic history in high school is a better indicator of their scholastic ability than an exam taken on a singular Saturday morning.”

Fairness

Many institutions are disillusioned with current standardized testing, and feel that the test preparation available to the wealthy creates an unfair advantage. For example, Marist College states, “Many studies indicate performance on standardized tests is closely linked to family income and education level, while others suggest a possible bias against certain minority students. Our experience shows that the rigor of a student’s program and overall academic performance can best illustrate commitment, motivation, work ethic, and a willingness to take on challenges.”

Improved US News Rankings

Intentional or not, the schools offering test-optional policies also tend to see improved U.S. News rankings. A 2014 study by researchers at the University of Georgia examined data from 32 selective liberal arts colleges, and found that, after going test-optional, these schools received an average increase of 220 applications and their mean SAT scores rose by an average of 26 points.

Selectivity and test scores are important factors in the U.S. News rankings. US News is transparent about the components that comprise its ranking methodology. 7.75% of rankings derive from the SAT critical reading and math portions; and the composite ACT score.

Test-optional policies tend to increase applicant numbers, creating higher selectivity for the schools, and since students who did better on standardized tests report their scores, while students with low scores often do not, the school can report artificially inflated test scores of accepted applicants.

Notably, the only “test-blind” school, Hampshire College, is unranked by US News. Hampshire College does not consider any ACT or SAT scores as part of its admissions policy, and therefore has no scores to report. Sarah Lawrence was once “test-blind” as well, from 2003 to 2012. In 2012, Sarah Lawrence switched to a “test-optional” policy, presumably to rejoin the ranks of US News, among other reasons.

Bottom-line: Should I send my scores?

At the end of the day, you might be deliberating over whether or not to send your scores. Here are some considerations to assist in your decision:

Research the range of standardized test scores for accepted students

According to U.S. News, “If you do some research and find that your results fall below those of the top third of accepted students at more selective schools or below the median at more inclusive institutions, you may want to hold them back.”

Decide if your test scores accurately represent your potential as a student

At the College of the Holy Cross, Director of Admissions Ann McDermott writes, “If you feel your testing says something about you and your abilities, feel free to send them along. We will look at them in conjunction with your transcript, your recommendations, essay, and interview (if you have had one) and make our assessment.  If, on the other hand, you feel that your test scores do not represent you well, then do not hesitate to withhold them. We will not make any assumptions about your testing, and will focus our attention on your transcript and the other accompanying credentials that are contained in your application.”

Take a hard look at your academic performance and activity list

Jane H. Dane, associate vice president for enrollment management at Old Dominion University in Virginia, notes that applicants who withhold scores are “particularly scrutinized for other evidence of potential for success, like challenging course work and leadership skills. The more well-rounded you are, the better your chances of impressing without scores.”

Remember that regardless of testing policies, all schools look at more than your scores

Try to remember that test scores are just one part of your college application, and not even the most significant one. As the College Board reminds us, “College admission officers give the most weight and importance to your high school grades and whether you’re challenging yourself.”

Determining the best testing options for each student requires consideration of a variety of factors and personal preferences. For more information on standardized testing, or any other aspect of the college admissions process, feel free to contact Collegiate Gateway. We’re always happy to help!

Applying to Business School: Which Round is Best?

If you are applying to business school, you may be weighing the pros and cons of applying during Round 1, Round 2, Round 3, or in some cases, even Round 4. If you apply during an early round, will your application be measured against the most competitive and prepared students? On the other hand, if you apply during a later round, will it be too late and will most spots be filled?

Which Round is Right for me?

Most business schools offer three application deadlines, and a few offer a fourth. The application dates for Round 1 (early September or early October) versus Round 2 (early January) are typically three months apart. Rounds 3 and 4 deadlines tend to occur in late March to early April. Below is a snapshot of the application round deadlines for the top 20 business schools, according to U.S. News & World Report.

2016-2017 Top 20 Business Schools Application Deadlines for Full-Time MBA Programs
In order of US News & World Report Ranking

screen-shot-2016-12-14-at-8-26-05-pm

Early Admissions: Early Action and Early Decision

An Early Action round is only available at some schools, and this round is usually in early September or October. Schools that provide this application option allow students who are reapplying or who are sure they have selected their top choice to demonstrate their interest by submitting an early, non-binding application. Early Action also usually includes consideration for merit scholarships. Columbia Business School offers a binding Early Decision option for students willing to commit to attend if accepted.

Benefits of Applying Round 1 or 2

Applying during Round 1 has many benefits:

  • Every spot in the class remains open
  • The admissions staff reading your application is just beginning the process and has not yet been inundated by applications
  • You will hear your admissions decision earlier and be able to make future plans earlier
  • If you are denied from your top-schools in Round 1, you’ll still have time to submit applications to your second-tier schools in Round 2
  • Financial aid and scholarships are most plentiful in Round 1
  • More on-campus housing options are available
  • International applicants need more time to process a visa application

The bottom line, however, is that you should apply during Rounds 1 or 2, at whichever point you can submit your best application. Do not delay and wait a whole year to apply just so that you can apply in Round 1. If you need more time to raise your GMAT score, make campus visits, or enhance your career goals and fill educational gaps, it is perfectly fine to apply during Round 2.

For example, the Wharton MBA Program encourages all first-time applicants to apply in Round 1 or 2 as the majority of the class is selected during these rounds. Harvard also urges applicants to apply during Round 1 or 2. Yale, similarly, encourages students to apply during Rounds 1 and 2, but goes even further, stating that there is no difference at Yale in selectivity between Rounds 1 and 2.

In a few cases, though, the difference between Rounds 1 and 2 is meaningful. Stanford’s admissions website states, “If you plan to apply in round one or two, we strongly encourage you to apply in round one. Over the last few years, the number of applications we receive in round two has increased, making it more competitive.” Stanford also gives the opportunity to attend Admit Weekend for Round 1 and 2, but not Round 3.

Dual Degree Programs

If you are planning to apply for a dual degree, there are some programs, such as Wharton’s MBA/JD, which require you to do so by Round 1 or 2. Other schools, such as Harvard, allow you to apply for the MBA/JD joint degree during any of the three rounds. If you are interested in a dual degree, be sure to check the specific admissions deadlines of your top choices.

Planning and Preparation

When considering application deadlines, you should take into account the length of time that you need to prepare. According to Judith Hodara, the former director of MBA admissions for the Wharton School, prospective MBA applicants should begin to prepare six to nine months before the MBA application deadline. This includes securing letters of recommendation, preparing your resume, writing essays, taking the GMAT, completing any additional coursework, and gathering any other application materials.

Putting together all of the pieces of your MBA application and knowing when to apply can be a daunting process. Collegiate Gateway is skilled in the art of helping students put their best foot forward. Feel free to contact us—we’re always happy to help!

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!

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.