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New UB Medical School Cited as Factor for Rise in Applications

Published January 22, 2015

More aspiring doctors are applying to the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and more accepted students are choosing UB, according to school officials.

“The excitement created by the project is helping to raise awareness about the quality of our medical school and all the positive things happening right now in Buffalo.”
Charles M. Severin, MD, PhD
Associate dean for medical education and admissions

State-of-the-Art School Generating Excitement

Charles M. Severin, MD, PhD, associate dean for medical education and admissions, says UB’s new downtown medical school, set to open in 2017, is a major factor in this year’s 3.5 percent increase in applications.

While he notes many variables contribute to applicants’ decisions, including the economy, “building a brand-new, state-of-the-art medical school is certainly a positive,” he says.

“The excitement created by the project is helping to raise awareness about the quality of our medical school and all the positive things happening right now in Buffalo.”

More Aspiring Medical Students Apply To, Select UB

“We are always pleased when our applicant pool of highly qualified individuals expands,” says Severin.

A total of 4,356 applicants are vying to be part of UB’s Class of 2019, compared to last year’s pool of 4,201 and the previous year’s 4,090.

This year’s pool includes 2,364 males (compared to 2,259 last year) and 1,985 females (versus 1,942 a year ago). More than 80 percent of applicants are residents of New York State.

In addition, a year ago, more candidates accepted into UB’s Class of 2018 ultimately enrolled.

Seeking the ‘Brain and Heart’ of a Doctor

This year, just over 3 percent of applicants will be admitted. This includes 140 medical students and four MD/PhD students accepted into the Medical Scientist Training Program.

During a thorough process from August through April, a committee of faculty members, community physicians, scientists, admissions officials and students carefully evaluates applicants.

About 600 are invited to campus for personal interviews.

What influences the committee’s decision?

“We’re looking for people with the brains of a doctor and the heart of a doctor,” says Severin. “You can have the highest MCAT score and a 4.0 grade point average or better, but if you don’t prove you have the heart of a doctor, you won’t get in.”

UB’s Collaborative Culture Influences Applicants

What do applicants consider? Severin points to both the new medical school and the medical school’s collaborative culture as significant factors.

He shows each interviewee a brief video highlighting the school’s groundbreaking. “When these students see that film, it can’t do anything but help us,” he says.

The video, produced by UB’s Center for the Arts, features several faculty members, including:

The atmosphere of teamwork at the UB medical school also helps attract students, Severin notes.

“Applicants say they can tell our students like one another; it’s clear to them that our students work as a team,” he says. “That’s not the case at every medical school.”

Students must apply by Dec. 15 for classes beginning the following August.