Students gather to learn about medical school applications


CW File

Jackson Fuentes

Approximately 100 students gathered in the Ferguson Center Great Hall on Monday night to learn how to navigate the medical school application process.  

While students dined on free food, Dr. Dan Avery, director of admissions for the University of Alabama School of Medicine and Hayden Swecker, director of admissions for the School of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham,  emphasized key points in the admissions process.  Avery reminded potential applicants that though the medical school journey may be long and arduous, there is a “desperate” need for physicians.Whether it be family medicine, general pediatrics, psychiatry, or research, the job market for medical students is expansive because of the high demand for medical workers.  Avery also highlighted the cost of medical school, provided an agenda for each year of a student’s medical school journey, and answered questions regarding course of action should one be denied access to medical school.  

Swecker provided future medical school prospects with crucial admission information for early decision applicants, as well as regular admission applicants.  She also spoke about the holistic admissions approach that the University takes in order to determine if a student should or should not be admitted.  Swecker challenged students to think about their specialties and how they tie to their passions, the state of Alabama, and their home state. 

The closing minutes of the lecture consisted of a question and answer session directed predominantly by Swecker.  Many of the questions centered around items such as getting a masters degree before pursuing medical school, taking a gap year, qualities one should look for in a medical school, and test-taking tips for the MCAT. 

Olivia Smith, sophomore biology major, felt that the lecture was informative and provided her with a better sense of direction.  

“I think this was a great opportunity for University of Alabama students to hear about the UAB Medical School and all of the opportunities that we have,” Smith said. 

Marian Denham, director of Health Professions Advising, also praised the program for its accessibility to prospective medical school students, as well as its ability to answer tough questions about the application process.

“The program was wonderful,” Denham said. “It was open, it was casual, and people really appreciated that they could ask questions. UAB has been a wonderful partner to us [by] coming to our campus often and supporting our students.”