Uncertainty surrounding the future of the state’s medical schools has done little to deter interest from prospective students at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey’s Stratford campus, which reported a larger, more talented applicant pool for its fall 2012 semester.
“We have not gotten questions about the restructuring. Students are applying to UMDNJ based upon it being a great osteopathic medical school,” said Paula Watkins, director of enrollment at the university’s School of Osteopathic Medicine. “I’m already seeing students who are applying for next fall, who want to prepare for the application which opens this May for fall of next year, and so far that’s a nonissue.”
UMDNJ’s School of Osteopathic Medicine saw an increase of 12 percent in applicants for the Fall 2012 semester. The school received a record 4,100 applicants for 160 open spots, with a mean grade-point average of 3.68.
“Last year, of the three medical schools within the state, we received the highest number of applicants” for the first time, said Dr. Thomas Cavalieri, dean of the School of Osteopathic Medicine. “We are very proud because we think that this reflects on the quality of our school as well as our effectiveness to recruit very quality applicants.”
“The commission report came out two days before one of our interview days,” Katz said. “As I’ve told the applicants, there’s no decision that’s been made yet. Whether this happens or doesn’t happen, it doesn’t change what we’re doing.”
The spike in interest also is seen at nearby Cooper Medical School at Rowan University, in Camden, where nearly 70 percent of the New Jersey residents who applied to medical school for the fall semester trying to get into the school’s charter class.
Cooper will accept 50 students into its first class, which Dr. Paul Katz, founding dean, said will help shape the school. The fact the school does not have a track record has been a challenge for recruitment, he said, but the “startup” mentality will allow the institution to be more nimble than its established counterparts.