Special to the Journal
AUGUSTA, Ga. – For the second consecutive year, a record number of potential students have applied to Georgia’s only public medical school.
Applications to the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University are up 18 percent over last year, more than doubling the national average increase of around 7 percent, according to data from the Association of American Medical Colleges. This year, 2,815 people applied for 230 first-year slots at MCG. Last year, 2,384 applied.
This year’s increase means that applications are up around 28 percent over the last two years. Additionally, of the 1,445 Georgia residents who applied to any medical school across the country, 1,251 or 87 percent of them chose to apply to MCG.
Those numbers are a direct reflection of the school’s reputation, says Dr. Paul Wallach, MCG Vice Dean for Academic Affairs.
“We are truly Georgia’s medical school. Our students come from all corners of the state and we have clinical campuses in Albany, Savannah and soon Rome and the partnership campus in Athens,” Wallach says. “We are one of the best deals financially and have enhanced facilities and state-of-the-art simulation labs coming online soon with the scheduled completion of the J. Harold Harrison M.D. Education Commons next year. The word is out, far and wide.”
“We continue to enroll the best and brightest students, who want to become physicians because they want to serve mankind.” adds MCG Dean Peter Buckley “We realize how important that is to the health of people in this state and beyond and remain steadfast in our mission to produce physicians Georgia can be proud of.”
In addition to more applicants, this year saw a spike in the number of students who made early commitments to attend medical school at MCG, according to Interim Associate Dean for Admissions Gina Duncan.
“Students usually apply to several places,” Duncan says. “Final decisions aren’t made until school begins in August, but this year, 72 students have indicated that they’ll begin medical school here through the early decision process. That’s the largest number of early decisions over the past 12 years.”
Final statistics for the class of 2017 won’t be available until August, but last year’s first-year class had an average GPA of 3.7 and a mean score of 30.5 on the Medical School Admissions Tests.
Wallach says this year’s applicants are also more diverse than ever. “We have people who are financially underserved, who are racially diverse, who come from medically underserved regions of the state and who come from a wide array of backgrounds. That is extremely important because we want to have a class and, ultimately a workforce, that looks like the population – one that’s from all corners, all walks of life.”