DO YOU ACCEPT STUDENTS WITHOUT ANY PRIOR SERVICE EXPERIENCE?
Approximately 60% of all accepted students have no prior military service. However, after being accepted into the medical program, all students must commission into the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Public Health Service prior to matriculation. Before the first year begins, all future students are sent to their respective officer training facilities where they are taught how to become military leaders.
DO YOU ACCEPT TRANSFER STUDENTS?
The USU School of Medicine does not accept transfer students. All students must take the full four year curriculum.
I'M ALREADY IN THE MILITARY, WHAT ABOUT ME?
Military applicants compete with civilian applicants on the same level. However, there are two considerations which set military applicants apart.
First, if you are on active duty, in one of the military academies, or the ROTC, Officers must obtain a Letter of Approval (LOA) and Enlisted must obtain a Letter of Release (LoR) to apply from your branch of service. See Notice to Military Applicants for more information. Remember, the LOA or LoR must clearly state that approval is granted. See LOA example.
Final letters of approval/release must come from the following:
United States Air Force Personnel Command, San Antonio-Randolph AFB, Texas
United States Army Human Resources Command, Fort Knox, Kentucky
United States Navy Personnel Command, Millington, Tennessee
United States Marine Corps Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Quantico, Virginia
United States Health Service, Office of the Surgeon General, Washington, DC
For applicants in the reserves, a DD form 368 and a letter from your commanding officer (who has the authority to release you) will need to be submitted.
Those in the IRR do not need the LOA or LoR.
Secondly, active duty and other military obligates are restricted when selecting a branch of service. They must comply with their LOA or (LoR) instructions. It is rare that a component will give permission to transfer into another component. If such permission is not granted, the applicant must enter the same component in which they currently serve.
WHAT ARE THE AVERAGE MCATS AND GPAS, AND WHAT ARE THE LOWEST SCORES ACCEPTED?
The average MCAT scores and GPA are as follows:
The lowest scores accepted are as follows:
The minimum Total MCAT score in order to be reviewed by the Admissions Committee is a 496 or higher.
Unless you earned a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher in a Post-Bacc or Master’s Program your application will be automatically withdrawn.
WHAT IF I DON'T MEET THE ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS?
- Missing course prerequisites: If the prerequisite can be completed before June 1st of the year of matriculation, the applicant's file can be reactivated. Any offer of acceptance would be contingent upon completion of the coursework.
- Noncitizens: If the person is a non-citizen but can become a citizen on or before November 1st of the year preceding matriculation, their file can be reactivated.
- Weak academic packages: USU recommends post-baccalaureate (or graduate) work to improve a below-average grade point average. Many undergraduate schools offer such programs specifically to prepare an applicant for medical school. The Admissions Committee recommends about 25-30 additional credit hours.
- Low MCAT scores: USU recommends students retake the MCAT if they have low scores. The Admissions Committee does not average multiple test scores together and any improvement is looked at favorably by the Admissions Committee.
- If an applicant does not meet the requirements of USU, another option for military medicine is the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) administered by the Air Force, Army and Navy. This program provides funding for medical school in exchange for service.
WHAT MAKES AN APPLICANT COMPETITIVE?
The Admissions Committee looks at the "whole" person. The five main factors that determine an applicants eligibility are undergraduate cumulative grade point average (science GPA is carefully weighed), MCAT scores, Letters of Recommendation (LORs), clinical experience, and AMCAS and USU statements.
WILL I BE INTERVIEWED AS PART OF THE ADMISSION'S PROCESS?
Students must be interviewed before they are offered an acceptance into the USU School of Medicine. Not all applicants will be invited to interview. Applicants invited to interview are selected by the Admissions Committee. Candidates selected for an interview are notified via email and appointments are scheduled through the SoM Admissions Office. Two SoM representatives interview applicants, evaluating motivation and potential as a future military physician.
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF ISSUES THAT WILL DELAY YOUR APPLICATION FROM BEING REVIEWED SOONER BY THE ADMISSIONS COMMITTEE?
Not submitting your secondary application.
Lack of a MCAT score (the Admissions Committee needs this score before reviewing your application).
Lack of one or more of your letters of recommendation (the Admissions Committee needs your complete set of letters before reviewing your application)
Not listing all of your recommenders on your Letters of Recommendation Checklist.
Clinical Letter not received in a timely manner
LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION
WHAT LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION ARE REQUIRED?
A Premedical Committee letter of recommendation packet is required by the Admissions Committee. A compilation packet from your University’s letter service will be accepted in lieu of a premedical committee packet.
If a premedical letter or compilation packet cannot be provided, the following ACADEMIC letters must be submitted:
- Two science letters (biology, chemistry, physics, etc.)
- One non-science letter (math, English, humanities, etc.)
There are no substitutes for these letters. Even if you have been out of school for an extended period of time, you must still attempt to submit academic letters of recommendation.
If unable to provide a Premedical Committee or compilation packet or any of the academic letters, a missing letter explanation will need to be provided in the appropriate area of the secondary application.
WHAT IS A CLINICAL LETTER?
A clinical letter is a letter of recommendation which can be written by a Healthcare Professional (Doctor, Nurse, Physician Assistant, Nurse Practitioner, Certified Nursing Assistant, etc.) who has observed your patient care interactions. They have witnessed firsthand your hands-on experiences in the healthcare environment and how you have implemented your developing clinical skills in real life experiences.
Here are some examples of a clinical letter:
- Physician at an office at which you worked, shadowed, or volunteered
- Health care staff member who has observed you in the emergency department
- Nurse that you have been working with in a health care facility, nursing home, or clinic
- Member of the staff (e.g. supervisor) at the place at which you are providing volunteer medical service who has observed you (Veterans Home, Hospice, etc.)
- Supervisor of your EMT Department
- Supervisor at the hospital where you work as a nurse, medical scribe, phlebotomist, medical assistant, tech, etc.
WHAT IS A PRE-MEDICAL COMMITTEE LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION. WHAT IF I DON'T HAVE ONE?
- Some undergraduate schools have a pre-medical committee that interviews students, compiles letters of recommendation, and writes cover letters to medical schools. The cover letter usually ranks an individual among the pool of applicants from their school. USU prefers applicants have a pre-medical letter if their school offers one.
- If students do not submit a letter from the committee, they must explain their reason for not providing one.
- If an applicant's undergraduate school does not have a pre-medical committee, notify USU in a statement with the secondary application materials. The university will accept individual letters of recommendation.
- USU Applicants should submit four letters of recommendation:
- Two letters of recommendation should be written by a science faculty member
- One letter of recommendation should be written by a non-science professor
- One letter of recommendation must be written by a supervisor of clinical work. This can be a part of the pre-medical committee letter or separate.
WHAT IS A MISSING LETTER EXPLANATION?
A missing letter explanation is a one to two paragraph explanation detailing why you were unable to provide a required letter of recommendation, such as an academic or clinical letter. This explanation needs to be submitted as part of your secondary application in the appropriate areas.
FINANCES & FEES
IS THERE A FEE FOR SECONDARY APPLICATIONS?
There are no fees for secondary applications.
WHAT FEES DO STUDENTS INCUR WHILE ATTENDING THE UNIVERSITY?
All USU School of Medicine students enjoy a tuition-free education. Furthermore, they draw the full salary and benefits of a junior ranking officer while attending the four-year program.
DURING PRE-CLERKSHIP TRAINING, IS THERE REQUIRED CLASS 7-8 HOURS DAILY? OR IS THERE FLEXIBILITY IN THE SCHEDULE DUE TO LECTURE RECORDINGS, ETC? APPROXIMATELY WHAT PERCENTAGE OF THE TIME IS SPENT IN PROBLEM BASED LEARNING/CASE STUDIES?
During the pre-clerkship period students are typically involved in formal coursework (labs, lectures, small groups, clinical work, etc.) that involves up to 26 hrs./week. This generally allows for at least two, and typically three half-days a week that are reserved for self/independent study. Most, if not all lectures are recorded, so students have the option of either attending lectures in person, and/or viewing the recordings at a time/location of their choice. The percentage of time spent in problem-based learning/case studies varies from module to module, however significant emphasis is placed on clinical correlations, which can involve either of these, and other types of teaching modalities.
I SEE STUDENTS TAKE STEP 1 AFTER COMPLETING CORE ROTATIONS. WHY IS THIS? DOES THIS ALLOW FOR BETTER COMPREHENSION OF STEP 1 CONTENT TO BE TESTED?
A growing number of medical schools are in fact delaying administration of the Step 1 examination until after the core clerkships. One reason is that the Step 1 exam is increasingly including clinical vignettes and that it’s not unusual for elements of the basic sciences to be incorporated into portions of the Step 2 exam. Most significantly, though, is that we’ve found that students tend to remember the basic sciences better when they can associate it with the care of real patients; this is important as today’s clinicians cannot afford to simply study the basic sciences, take a major exam, and simply “forget it.” Too much of modern medicine – which is changing at an unprecedented pace--requires a continued knowledge and understanding of the application of basic science to everyday problems (& solutions!).
ALSO I SEE COMMON ASSESSMENTS AT THE END OF 2 ROTATIONS. ARE STUDENTS THEN NOT TAKING SHELF EXAM AT THE CONCLUSION OF EACH ROTATION, BUT EVERY 2-3 ROTATIONS? IN ADDITION TO SHELF SCORE, WHAT DETERMINES GRADE DURING ROTATION?
Students take their shelf exams at the end of each 15-week “block” rotation, and while performance on shelf exams is important, a substantial part of each clerkship evaluation is based on an appraisal of a student’s actual performance when caring for patients assigned to their ward team and on their demonstrated ability to function as part of a multi-disciplinary team. Other key skills – such as a student's ability to elicit a complete and accurate history and physical examination, their ability to cultivate a working differential diagnosis, their ability to prepare a complete clinical note, along with demonstrated communication skills and professional behaviors, are examples of some of the other elements that contribute to the determination of a final clerkship grade.
HOW DO STUDENTS SCORE ON STEP 1 AND 2 COMPARED TO NATIONAL AVERAGE? ARE STEP SCORES AS HEAVY A FACTOR FOR MILITARY RESIDENCY PLACEMENT AS THEY ARE IN THE CIVILIAN SECTOR?
A recent review indicates of average Step scores show that as a Class, students are scoring at, or slightly above, the national mean on these exams. While Step scores are an important consideration when applying to residencies (both military and non-military), most programs—particularly those in the military sector, also place a heavy emphasis on the Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) or “Dean’s Letter” that is prepared by our Office of Student Affairs, in the early part of your final year of medical school. Students are given an opportunity to contribute to the development of these letters which aim to highlight both academic and non-academic accomplishments attained over the (nearly) four years of medical school. Graduate Medical Education (GME) program directors find these letters to be invaluable as they present a more holistic review of a student’s demonstrated strengths, as well as areas that may need further development—elements that are not always fully manifest in a standardized test score.
HOW DO USU SCHOOL OF MEDICINE STUDENTS FARE IN THE MATCH?
USU School of Medicine students learn what specialties they will pursue and the location at which they will practice medicine during their final year of school. The matches are based on service needs and student preference. Typically, more than 90 percent of USU students receive their first choice in specialty and location.
DO STUDENTS WEAR UNIFORMS TO CLASS?
Students are required to wear the appropriate uniform of the day as directed by the University brigade.
WHERE DO STUDENTS LIVE WHILE ATTENDING UNIFORMED SERVICES UNIVERSITY?
USU is located on the grounds of the Naval Support Activity Base in Bethesda, Maryland. There is no base housing provided to students. However, they are given the monthly basic allowance for housing (BAH) to find accommodations in the area. There are several local options, many providing mass transit access.
I HAVE PRIOR ARMY/NAVY/AIR FORCE SERVICE EXPERIENCE. WILL I MAINTAIN MY CURRENT PAY AND BENEFITS WHILE ENROLLED IN THE SCHOOL OF MEDICINE?
Yes. Even though all medical students enter the School of Medicine as an O-1, they continue receiving the pay and benefits of the highest rank achieved prior to matriculation.
I WANT TO COME TO USU'S SCHOOL OF MEDICINE AND SERVE IN THE ARMY/NAVY/AIR FORCE/PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE. IF ACCEPTED, WILL I BE GUARANTEED A SPOT IN THIS SERVICE?
No. Students complete a preference statement on interview day ranking their interest in the branches of service. Every effort is made to accommodate this preference. However, when an applicant is approved for acceptance by the Admissions Committee, they will be offered an appointment in their service of choice if there are seats available.