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Office of Admissions - Brody School of Medicine
Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I apply to the Brody School of Medicine?
A. Like most US medical schools, the BSOM utilizes the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). A complete description of the process can be found on this web site under "Application Process - Application Procedure".

2. Who is on the BSOM Admissions Committee?
A. The Admissions Committee has approximately 30 members. About one-third of the Admissions Committee is comprised of basic science faculty members, while another third is made up of clinical faculty members. The final third is made up of current BSOM students. All members of the Admissions Committee are equal and share the same duties, rights, and responsibilities.

3. What are the prerequisites for admission?
A. One year each of General Biology or Zoology with laboratory, General Chemistry with laboratory, Organic Chemistry with laboratory, Physics with laboratory, and English (or writing-intensive course). If you have received advanced placement credit for a required course or taken some of your prerequisites at a community college, we will accept these as long as your degree-granting college or university lists these courses on your official transcript. Additional information about prerequisites can be found on this web site under "Application Process - Admission Requirements".

4. Do I have to major in a science in order to get accepted?
A. No, your major is not important as long as you have completed all the premedical course requirements.

5. What does the Admissions Committee consider as they evaluate applicants?
A. The Admissions Committee considers the totality of numerous factors when evaluating an application for admission to the BSOM. These factors include academic achievement as reflected by course work and grade point average (GPA), performance on standardized exams such as the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), experiential knowledge of the medical field, service activities in the community, letters of recommendation, interviews, fit to the legislatively-mandated mission of the School of Medicine, and any other relevant available information. In keeping with the school’s mission, the Admissions Committee strives to select an entering class that reflects the diversity of the state of North Carolina, comprised of individuals from a variety of age groups, ethnic backgrounds, cultural heritages, religious beliefs, and so forth. The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University is committed to equality of opportunity, and does not discriminate against applicants, students, employees, or visitors based on race/ethnicity, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, veteran status, political affiliation, genetic information, or disability.

6. Is the admissions process different if I’m on active duty in the military?
A. All applicants, including those in the US military service branches, are evaluated as described in FAQ 5 above. Information about the University’s Military Tuition Benefit can be found on the ECU Residency Status web site (http://www.ecu.edu/cs-acad/registrar/Residency.cfm).

7. Does applying early help my chances of admission?
A. Completed applications are generally reviewed in the order in which they are received. The number of applicants to BSOM has been steadily rising over the past decade, and in recent years we have received 10 to 12 applications for each of our 80 seats in the entering class. Consequently, applications that arrive very close to the deadline may not get fully reviewed before all of our limited interview slots are filled.

8. Does the Admissions Committee care about the kind of medical exposure I’ve had?
A. As stated above in FAQ 5, experiential knowledge of the medical field is a major factor considered in the admissions process. This stems from the legislatively-mandated mission of the BSOM: to provide medical care to the eastern region of North Carolina, to educate the people of North Carolina (particularly those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds or groups which are under-represented in medicine), and to train physicians to care for the citizens of North Carolina. Since our goal is to train practicing physicians, most successful applicants have extensive experience shadowing physicians, volunteering in hospitals and clinics, and participating in other hands-on activities which allow them to know what the day-to-day life of a medical career entails.

9. Can the BSOM Admissions Office help me find opportunities for medical employment or volunteer activity?
A. While we unfortunately cannot act as brokers of employment or volunteer opportunities, there are various organizations on most undergraduate campuses that can assist you in this (for example, see the ECU Volunteer Center website at http://www.ecu.edu/volunteer/). In addition, the designated pre-medical advisors at colleges and universities typically are familiar with local opportunities.

10. What are average MCATs and GPA scores of the entering class?
A. In recent years the average GPA of the entering class has been about 3.6, and the average numerical score on the pre-2015 MCAT has been 30 (10, 10, and 10). Obviously, we will not know the average incoming class score on the new format MCAT until the entering class of 2016 has matriculated.  As much as possible, we strive to use numerical data (such as GPAs and MCAT scores) more as a "safety gauge" than as an absolute measure of worthiness. You can find out more about the credentials and demographics of recent entering classes on this web site under "Student Body Profiles".

11. When should I take the MCAT?
A. If you have completed the premedical course requirements, and if you have had time to prepare for the exam, we recommend that you take the exam early in the year prior to expected matriculation. This will allow you the opportunity to retake the exam again if your scores don't meet your expectations and have these new scores considered by the Admissions Committee during the current cycle. Like many schools, we require that the MCAT be taken within three years of application to the BSOM (so, for applications to the 2016-entering class that are received during the summer and fall of 2015, MCAT scores from 2012 to 2015 will be valid).

12. Who should I ask to write my letters of recommendation?
A. We require three individual letters, two of which should be academic (one of which should be from a science instructor) while the third should be a personal reference (from an employer, advisor, or other non-family individual). Alternately, a single letter from the Pre-Medical Advisory Committee at your undergraduate school will meet this requirement. If you wish to send in additional letters, we urge you to look at quality over quantity. Letters that provide information to the Admissions Committee that is not already in your application are obviously helpful, while letters that simply reiterate what is already known add little. The vast majority of applicants who send in additional letters limit these to two or three. Please note that our agreement with AMCAS requires that all letters be submitted to them electronically, and the deadline for receipt of letters is December 31st of the year in which you are applying.

13. Do letters from ECU alumni / celebrities / politicians help?

A. A letter from an individual who knows an applicant well and thus reveals aspects of that applicant's accomplishments or character is very helpful to the Admissions Committee, regardless of the status of the letter's author. Conversely, a letter from a well-known person who does not really know the applicant usually has little influence in the Admissions Committee's deliberations.

14. If I am not a North Carolina resident, can I submit an AMCAS application?
A. As a state-supported school with a legislatively-mandated mission to train physicians to serve North Carolina, we currently only consider residents of North Carolina for admission, and no non-NC-residents have been admitted to our program for over 25 years. In an effort to spare non-NC-resident applicants unnecessary expense, the BSOM does not even appear as an option for admission unless the applicant has designated North Carolina as the state of legal residence.

15. If I am not a US citizen, should I submit an AMCAS application?
A. Permanent residents of the US who are also legal residents of North Carolina will be considered by the Admissions Committee.

16. Can I apply to the BSOM if I have a criminal record?
A. All schools in the University of North Carolina system (including the BSOM) are required to inquire if potential students have any past or pending criminal offenses. Therefore, we ask each applicant completing our Supplementary Application to answer the following questions:
  • Have you ever been convicted of a crime?
  • Have you ever entered a plea of guilty, a plea of no contest, a plea of nolo contendere, or an Alford plea, or have you received a deferred prosecution or prayer for judgment continued, to a criminal charge?
  • Have you otherwise accepted responsibility for the commission of a crime?
  • Do you have any criminal charges pending against you?
  • Have you ever been expelled, dismissed, suspended, placed on probation, or otherwise subject to any disciplinary sanction by any school, college, or university?
  • If you have ever served in the military, did you receive any type of discharge other than an honorable discharge?

Your “yes” answer to one or more of these questions will not necessarily preclude your being admitted. However, your failure to provide complete, accurate, and truthful information on this application will be grounds to deny or withdraw your admission, or to dismiss you after enrollment. For the purpose of the previous six questions, “crime” or “criminal charge” refers to any crime other than a traffic-related misdemeanor or an infraction. You must, however, include alcohol or drug offenses whether or not they are traffic related.

The answers to these questions are not considered by members of the Admissions Committee as they conduct their deliberations. Any applicants judged by the Committee to be deserving of an offer who do have a previous criminal record are referred to a Subcommittee, which reviews the prior offenses on a case-by-case basis. An applicant’s eligibility for admission as determined by this Subcommittee will be based upon a careful weighing of the totality of circumstances surrounding the offense. In its deliberations, the Subcommittee strives to be consistent with state medical licensure policies, and to recognize the US justice system principle that a person's debt to society is fulfilled once punishment is administered.

17. Can I have the $70 Supplementary Application fee waived?
A. The BSOM Office of Admissions will consider requests to waive our $70 Supplementary Application fee if payment of this fee would constitute a true financial hardship to an applicant. To qualify for a fee waiver, the applicant must generally be enrolled full time in an educational program, qualify for financial aid at that institution, and have been granted an AMCAS fee waiver. Applicants who do not qualify for financial aid or who are currently employed are seldom granted BSOM fee waivers. The provision of an AMCAS fee waiver does not necessarily ensure that BSOM will grant one as well. In order to be considered for a waiver of the $70 application fee, a letter from the Financial Aid Officer at an applicant’s current institution documenting enrollment and financial need should be emailed to somadmissions@ecu.edu.

18. What is the Early Decision Program?
A. The Early Decision Program (EDP) is a national program in which most of the nation's medical schools participate. A complete description of the EDP can be found on the following AMCAS web site: AAMC - Questions About the Early Decision Program. Since the EDP is designed to be of benefit to both applicants and medical schools, applicants with credentials that are equal or less than those of the typical accepted applicant (as noted in FAQ 10 above) are unlikely to be offered admission via the EDP. At the BSOM, anyone who applies via the EDP but is not accepted is automatically rolled over into the regular admissions pool. Quite often we eventually accept a number of EDP applicants during the regular admission phase. The Admissions Committee is understandably reluctant to commit many seats in the entering class by the October 1 EDP deadline, since we’ve typically seen only 3% to 5% of the applicant pool by that time.

19. What is the Early Assurance Program?
A. Under this program, four of the 80 seats in the BSOM entering class are reserved (four years in advance) for selected students entering ECU as freshmen. Students who are awarded a position in this program must maintain certain academic standards and participate in various activities to remain eligible for their seat in the entering class. An appropriate number of alternate candidates are also selected and encouraged to participate in program activities. Further information can be found on this web site under "Application Process - Early Assurance Program".

20. Does the BSOM offer any combined degree programs, such as MD/PhD and MD/MBA?
A. Yes, we offer MD/MBA, MD/MPH, and MD/PhD programs.  More information can be found by following the links under “Curriculum” on the left side of this web site home page (http://www.ecu.edu/cs-dhs/bsomadmissions/).

21. Will it help my chances of admission if I go to ECU for my undergraduate education?
A. We do not give special preference to applicants from ECU, since that would discriminate against students from the dozens of other fine colleges and universities in the region. The three largest schools in the state (ECU, NCSU, and UNC-CH) typically provide the largest numbers of applicants and matriculants.  More information about the educational backgrounds of currently enrolled students can be found on this web site under "Student Body Profiles".

22. Can I apply to the BSOM if I'm in another graduate program?
A. An applicant who is formally enrolled in a degree-granting program is generally not considered for admission to medical school prior to the completion of that program. The reason for this is apparent: acceptance into our program would require that applicant to prematurely withdraw from the current program, leaving that program with a vacant position (and often creating problems in the associated service, research, and other activities there).  Application to the BSOM during the final year of another graduate program is fine as long as all degree requirements are met prior to the date of BSOM matriculation.

23. What if I miss your deadline for returning the supplemental application?
A. Our policy is to not grant deadline extensions for any reason involving applicant tardiness. We may occasionally grant a brief extension if an applicant can provide independent documentation that it was the actions of others which caused the deadline to be missed.  While we encourage applicants to return the supplemental application as soon as possible (see FAQ 7 above), the deadline is November 1 for all AMCAS applications received before October 15.  The deadline for AMCAS applications received after October 15 is provided in the e-mail sent with the supplemental application instructions, and is generally within two to four weeks after the date of that e-mail.

24. How many interviews will I get?
A. Applicants invited for interviews participate in two individual interviews with two Admission Committee members (more information about this can be found on this web site under "Application Process - Interview"). The only information about an applicant that we provide to Admission Committee members are the applicant’s name, school, and cumulative GPA. We do this so that the interviewers can focus on the non-numerical characteristics that we look for in applicants (medical exposure, service ethic, personal attributes, etc.).

25. Can I get feedback from my interviewers on my chances for admission?
A. In a word, no.  Interviewers are instructed not to give feedback to applicants, since they have not reviewed the applicant's application and would therefore be giving advice based solely on information obtained during the interview. The Associate Dean for Admissions will, however, meet with unsuccessful applicants at a mutually agreeable time to provide feedback if desired.

26. Can I add information to my application after the interview?
A. Applicants are encouraged to send in any additional information that might enhance their application credentials (such as fall semester grades, induction into honor societies, and so forth).

27. How long will it take to hear something from the Admissions Committee?
A. The Admissions Committee will initially deliberate an individual's application within two to three weeks of the interview. However, in most cases (about 95% of the time) the Admissions Committee will not make a final decision at that first presentation. At regular intervals throughout the interview season (August to March), the Admissions Committee reviews all applicants who have been interviewed up to that point (so that each applicant is viewed in comparison with the entire applicant pool, and not just the group with whom they were considered at their initial Admissions Committee appearance). Once the Admissions Committee is certain of the action they wish to take on an applicant, a letter is sent to the applicant. Conceivably, someone could interview in August or September and not hear from the Admissions Committee until late April or early May (when all decisions are made). For applicants in this situation, just remember that "no news is good news": if you haven't heard from us, that means you're still under active consideration and still eligible to receive an offer.

28. Can I call to check on the status of my application?
A. Yes, but the information we are able to provide over the telephone is very limited. The option most applicants prefer is to check the “Admissions Update” page on this web site that provides regularly-updated information of the number of applications received, the number of interviews conducted, the number of offers made, and so forth. This can be accessed by clicking the “BSOM Admissions Update” button in the lower left corner of our home page on this web site (http://www.ecu.edu/cs-dhs/bsomadmissions/).

29. Is it easy to get a deferral for a year if I'm accepted?
A. The Brody School of Medicine has historically not granted requests for deferred entrance, feeling that only events which are extraordinary in nature and clearly outside of the applicant’s control would generally justify delay of matriculation.

30. How big is the wait list, and what are the chances that someone on that list will be offered a seat?
A. The alternate pool is usually smaller than the entering class size of 80, since experience tells us that only a dozen or so seats will usually open up between early May and the start of classes in early August. The list is not ranked, so that the Admissions Committee can utilize any new information that may become available (spring semester grades, etc.).

31. What can I do if I'm not accepted?
A. We typically have between 800 and 900 NC applicants each year for our 80 positions, and usually only have to offer around 120 people to fill the class. Therefore, we are forced to turn down many good applicants each year. For the past several years, approximately 30% to 50% of each entering class has been composed of re-applicants. More information about this, along with advice about re-application, can be found on this web site under "Application Process - What If I'm Not Accepted?".

32. Does it hurt my chances of admission to sit out a year between applications?
A. At the BSOM, the Admissions Committee would much rather see applicants take a year off in order to make substantive changes in their credentials than to immediately re-apply with essentially the same applications. The Admission Committee is very consistent in their evaluation of applicants, and we have found that applicants who re-apply with no significant changes in their credentials receive much the same results from the Admissions Committee as they did the previous year.

33. Should I re-take pre-requisite courses in order to get a better grade?
A. In general, we do not recommend that applicants re-take courses they have done poorly in unless they feel like they did not learn the material covered in those courses. Taking advanced courses in the same subject area (and doing well in those courses) will usually demonstrate an applicant’s potential for medical school to the Admissions Committee. If applicants do decide to re-take specific courses, they should be aware that AMCAS will include both the original grade and the repeat grade on the AMCAS transcript.

34. If my undergraduate grades are non-competitive, will taking classes or getting a masters' degree help?
A. The Admissions Committee does tend to consider recent academic work as more reflective of an applicant’s current ability and potential than academic work done in years past. AMCAS puts all undergraduate-level coursework performed after receipt of the initial baccalaureate degree on a separate line, so that your second-undergraduate-degree GPA should be easy to distinguish from the GPA of your first degree. Graduate level GPA is also listed on a separate line by AMCAS.

35. How do BSOM students do in the residency match?
A. Most students are quite pleased with their residency matches. A link to the most recent match results is found at the top of our "Student Body Profiles" page.

36. Are there opportunities for transfer (Advanced Standing) into the School of Medicine?
A. Advanced standing opportunity at the BSOM is based solely on the availability of open positions, and in recent years there have been no vacancies available for transfer students. Due to our curriculum structure, students (particularly those in foreign schools, and often those in American schools) must usually complete two years at their original institution before being eligible for transfer to BSOM. As a general rule, applicants must be enrolled in an M.D. program at the time of application and must have successfully passed Step I of the USMLE. If vacancies become available, very strong preference is given to residents of North Carolina.

37. Can I get credit for coursework done in dental or other health professional schools?
A. No.

38. What is the Summer Program for Future Doctors?
A. This is a summer enrichment program designed to help pre-medical students learn more about medical school and demonstrate their academic abilities. More information can be found on this web site under "Summer Program for Future Doctors".

39. What is the learning environment at BSOM like?
A. The Brody School of Medicine and East Carolina University are committed to social justice. The course/clerkship directors and other course leaders concur with that commitment, and expect to maintain a positive learning environment based upon open communication, mutual respect, and non-discrimination. We do not discriminate on the basis of race/ethnicity, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, veteran status, political affiliation, genetic information, or disability. Any suggestions by students as to how to further such a positive and open environment in this course will be appreciated and given serious consideration.

40. Can I meet with someone in the Admissions Office to discuss my application?
A. We are always willing to schedule meetings with prospective applicants at a mutually convenient time. In addition, we offer to counsel applicants who weren’t successful in gaining admittance to the BSOM during the summer before the next application cycle begins. As a matter of policy, however, we cannot meet with individuals who are in the process of applying, since doing so would be equivalent to granting them an additional interview.

41. What if I have other questions that aren’t answered on this web site?
A. Inquiries regarding admissions may be sent in any of the following ways:

US Postal Service Address
Office of Admissions
The Brody School of Medicine
East Carolina University
600 Moye Boulevard
Mail Stop 610
Greenville, NC 27834

Phone: 252-744-2202
Fax: 252-744-1926
E-mail: somadmissions@ecu.edu

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