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College of
Health Sciences

MD Admissions Committee

MD admissions procedures and philosophy

Admissions philosophy statement
The Admissions Committee of Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (Geisinger Commonwealth) supports the institutional mission and values of the school by selecting academically successful, passionate, innovative and community-minded individuals who are committed to improving the quality of healthcare. Geisinger Commonwealth recognizes the importance of selecting a diverse, intelligent and compassionate class and, as such, employs a holistic approach to candidate selection. Applicants will be reviewed not only on their ability to become competent physicians, but also on their potential to contribute to the learning of their classmates, colleagues and patients.

Community-based, patient-centered, innovative education

Learn the art and practice of medicine in a program that emphasizes knowledge, clinical skills and caring.

I. Admissions Committee

The Admissions Committee is charged with the oversight and review of the MD admissions process.

The Admission Committee membership shall include:
1 Chair
1 Vice chair
10 Faculty members
4 Faculty members as representatives of community campuses
3 Ex officio members

The dean appoints 50 percent of the voting members of the committee to renewable one-year terms, and the faculty council elects 50 percent of the voting members to three-year terms.

The dean shall seek input from the vice dean and with input from the associate deans for regional campuses in making his or her appointments to the Admissions Committee.

The chair position represents one of the 12 elected or appointed voting members of the committee. The chair of the committee (‘the chair’) shall be appointed by the dean annually to a one-year term with input from the associate dean for admissions and student affairs.

The vice chair of the Admissions Committee (‘the vice chair’) shall be elected annually by the voting members of the Admissions Committee (see non-voting status of ex-officio members below) to a one-year term, the vice chair is selected from one of the 12 elected or appointed members of the committee.

Ex officio members are non-voting members of the Admissions Committee.

Ex officio non-voting members of the Admissions Committee include: (1) associate dean for admissions and student affairs; (2) chief diversity officer; and (3) director of admissions.

Ex officio non-voting members of the Admissions Committee may not serve as chair or vice chair of the Admissions Committee. Neither the dean, the president, nor the vice dean may serve as chair or vice chair of the Admissions Committee. Ex officio non-voting members do not count for quorum purposes, however, they may make motions, may second motions, may engage in discussion of motions, and may engage in and contribute to general Admissions Committee discussions and deliberations.

Quorum for the Admissions Committee is seven members (calculated and determined by 50 percent of the voting members plus one).

B. General administrative policy

1. Nondiscrimination
Geisinger Commonwealth embraces a medical education model which recognizes that quality physicians emerge from environments rich in diversity of experiences, cultures and ideas. Geisinger Commonwealth values diversity and is committed to maintaining a work and learning environment free of discrimination. Geisinger Commonwealth is committed to the recruitment, retention and promotion of faculty, staff and students that will promote Geisinger Commonwealth’s commitment to excellence, diversity and service based on individual abilities, experience and skills. To ensure Geisinger Commonwealth physician graduates are culturally competent and enhance their interest in the elimination of health inequities in the region, Geisinger Commonwealth seeks to add value to the learning experiences of all participants by providing a diverse and inclusive learning environment. Given the dearth of women and under-represented minorities in medicine in northeastern Pennsylvania, the recruitment and inclusion of qualified women and traditionally underrepresented minorities in medicine and biomedical sciences, specifically African American/Blacks, Latinos/Hispanics and Native Americans as members of our faculty, staff and student body is a Geisinger Commonwealth priority. Actions and/or services affecting students will be applied without regard to sex, race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical handicap, disability, marital status, veteran status or disabled veteran status.

2. Applicant health
All matriculating students must be able to meet the Geisinger Commonwealth Technical Standards.

3. Citizenship status
All applicants must be citizens of the United States or hold permanent residency status.

C. Admissions requirements

All applicants are required to complete a bachelor’s degree in a U.S. or Canadian accredited undergraduate college or university prior to enrollment in the MD program. The following coursework is required:

•  General biology with laboratory (one year/two semesters)

•  General inorganic chemistry with laboratory (one year/two semesters)

•  Organic chemistry with laboratory (one year/two semesters)

•  General physics with laboratory (one year/two semesters)

•  English and English composition (one semester)

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D. Application procedures

Applicants are required to complete an application through the online American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS), the national application service for MD programs throughout the United States. Applicants are required to complete this application, submit an application fee and follow-up with submitting all requested documentation to AMCAS. Geisinger Commonwealth will not consider an incomplete AMCAS application and only verified AMCAS applications will be invited to submit our secondary application. The admissions office will email a notification inviting all AMCAS verified applicants to complete the Geisinger Commonwealth Secondary Application. The secondary application will request basic demographic information and will include essay questions designed to determine a candidate’s match with the Geisinger Commonwealth community. The application fee is $100 or submission of the AMCAS Fee Assistance Program (FAP) waiver documents.

E. Complete Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Situational Judgement Test (SJT).

Geisinger Commonwealth is strongly encouraging applicants to take the AAMC SJT. We will consider scores as one part of our admissions process. For more information, visit GCSOM's SJT announcement and FAQ page.

F. Letters of recommendation

All applicants to Geisinger Commonwealth are required to submit one pre-professional committee letter or three evaluation/recommendation letters from faculty who are familiar with the applicant’s career goals and academic coursework. Geisinger Commonwealth participates with AMCAS Letters. All letters of recommendation/evaluation for MD applicants should be submitted via the candidate’s AMCAS application. Additional information about this service can be found on the AAMC website.

G. Interview process

Selected candidates will be invited to interview at Geisinger Commonwealth. Applicants will be notified via email to arrange a mutually agreeable interview date. Interviewees are responsible for making their own travel arrangements. Information about hotels, parking and directions to Scranton can be found on our interview and travel information web page. Candidates will interview with a faculty member and medical student. Lunch will be served followed by a tour of the facility. Applicants will have an opportunity to meet with current medical students and ask questions about student life and/or curriculum. The entire interview process takes approximately four to five hours.

Admissions Committee procedures

  1. Applicants will undergo an initial screening by the assistant director and/or director of admissions and/or other designees approved by the Admissions Committee. Suitable applicants will be sent for full screening to a member of the Admissions Committee. Once the member of the of the Admissions Committee renders a decision, suitable applicants will be invited for interviews.
  2. No student shall be accepted without an interview.
  3. Each interviewed applicant shall be reviewed and ranked by the Admissions Committee. The Admissions Committee shall have access to the entire admissions record, including the AMCAS application, letters of recommendation, interview reports, screening comments, secondary application materials, AAMC Situational Judgement Test (SJT) and any other documents in the applicant’s admissions file.
  4. The Admissions Committee will establish minimum ranks for acceptance, placement on the wait list and rejection, but may adjust the admit rank as the season progresses to ensure the correct number of applicants are admitted. As withdrawals occur, the associate dean for admissions, enrollment management and financial aid in consultation with chair of the Admissions Committee will select students from the waiting list.
  5. Notifications from the Admissions Committee will be sent to each applicant in accordance with the Association of American Medical Colleges policies.
  6. Decisions of the Admissions Committee are final and are not subject to appeal.

H. Applicant file security

The application file will only be accessible to members of the Admissions Committee, the admissions and student affairs staff and the dean/president or his/her representatives.

II. Follow-up

The Admissions Committee may request the admissions and student affairs offices to prepare reports on an as-needed basis. In order to maintain the privacy of students, reports distributed shall not identify individual students but shall include aggregate information.

Approved by the Admissions Committee on June 11, 2019.

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