Why Choose WWU Biology Pre-Med?
Here at WWU, students are engaged in a faith-based learning environment that strengthens not only their spirituality but also their knowledge of the world around them. We have been recognized for our academic rigor, and there are many research and service opportunities we have made available to help our students grow. The Biology department has intentionally sought to prepare our pre-med students to not only be competitive for acceptance, but also for success once in medical school.
Preparation for the New MCAT
Since the HHMI/AAMC report “Scientific Foundations for Future Physicians” was released in 2009, we at WWU have been proactively preparing for the new MCAT and medical school entrance expectations. We have redesigned our junior biology core course sequence to intentionally prepare students for the new requirements, with virtually all of the MCAT topics for cell & molecular biology and biochemistry being covered. The lab sequence has also been designed to meet new expectations for analytical and research competencies.
New Concept Physician Shadowing
We are currently involved in a new physician shadowing program that provides a streamlined approach to linking students with physicians from a large variety of specialties. This program is sponsored by the Walla Walla Valley Medical Society and links the 3 colleges/universities in the Walla Walla Valley with local physicians, hospitals, and clinics. Our program is a pilot program for the state of Washington and was initiated by a former president of the WA Medical Association. The AAMC has expressed an interest in what we are doing, and so it may prove to be a pilot program for the entire United States.
Strong Student Service and Research
One of the core themes of the WWU mission statement is a generosity in service. From quarterly “Service Days” to mission trips, students are able to utilize their skill to serve the community and the world. WWU also has very active undergraduate research participation. Every year, our pre-med students present their research at science conferences, including major national conferences, and some students have published their research. Research and service experiences have become increasingly important for students wishing to enter medical school and for securing competitive residencies later on.
Teamwork and Leadership
Many students and faculty have noticed how special the WWU campus is. There is no cut-throat competitive environment; students collaborate with each other to ensure that all are able to succeed. WWU is a “destination” campus, meaning, in part, that students are more likely to work together: if something needs happen, they make it happen together. With student-run organizations and government, there are many opportunities for students to be involved on campus. These opportunities develop strong leadership and teamwork abilities in our students that are recognized even after they graduate and leave WWU, something that is now sought by medical schools.
Planning for a Career (It’s Not Just Getting In)
WWU has excellent programs for developing the type of student medical schools seek: team player, leader, service-oriented, and academically competitive. We are often asked about acceptance rates. However, due to the different criteria different schools use to calculate acceptance rates, it is not possible to compare schools based on the advertised rates. LLU makes it clear that they accept students on an individual basis and do not have a quota from each SDA college/university. While many of our students choose LLU, in recent years our graduates have also been accepted at UC Irvine, Emory University, Oregon HSU, University of Texas – M.D. Anderson, and a sizable number have gone to University of Washington. Nevertheless, our goal is not just to see students accepted. We work to provide students with the experiences and competencies that allow them to flourish once they get to medical school and to compete for residencies later, another quality medical schools now seek in applicants.
The WWU Biology Department cares about our students. We play with them and we work hard with them. We are dedicated to see them grow and succeed professionally, and we endeavor to do so while building their faith. You may see this with our unwritten open-door policy, always welcoming students who need help with a concept or just want to talk. You may sense this during prayer, in the classroom, in our offices, or even after a sunset devotional at our Rosario Beach Marine Station. We hope you will consider WWU, and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask.