GRCC, MSU partner on medical entry


A new agreement gives Grand Rapids Community College students a clearer pathway to completing a medical degree at the MSU College of Human Medicine.

The pact allows GRCC students who transfer as undergraduate pre-medical students to MSU an opportunity to be granted an early assurance opportunity (EAO) for admission to the College of Human Medicine.

These students will receive academic advising directed at admission to the medical school and will be enrolled in a program of clinical and service experiences in preparation for admission.

“This is a continuation of our partnership between our institutions with a long-term vision for improving health care in West Michigan and beyond,” said Dr. Norman Beauchamp Jr., who was scheduled to become executive vice president for health services after approval by the MSU Board of Trustees last week.

Bill Pink, GRCC president, said many GRCC students finish their four-year degrees and then return to West Michigan to pursue careers. This agreement will help ensure the students finish their medical schooling in West Michigan and remain “Grand Rapidians.”

Preference for EAO admission will be given to those former GRCC students who now apply as an MSU student and may not otherwise be familiar with what goes into preparing for pre-medical and medical school application processes. Applicants also must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • First-generation college student

  • Graduated from a federally defined low-income high school

  • Eligible for or recipient of an undergraduate Pell Grant or institutional need-based grant

  • Graduated from an area with a health professional shortage

  • Demonstrated interest in a high-need medical specialty area

Academic affairs and admissions teams from the institutions have been working on setting the program in place by aligning advising and curriculums.

The MSU College of Human Medicine and GRCC signed an articulation agreement in 2012 with Grand Valley State University, giving GRCC students who transferred to GVSU a pathway program for admission to the medical school.

This year, the MSU College of Human Medicine has received 7,983 applicants for the 190 seats available for first-year students starting this fall, including 20 students entering medical school through its early assurance program.

Christina Heyboer, a fourth-year student at MSU College of Human Medicine student, said she benefitted from the early assurance program established in 2012 with GVSU.

She knew she wanted to be a doctor, but as a first-generation college student, she was unsure about how to get there.

“At the time, I didn’t even know what the MCAT was,” she said. “I knew that I had to go to medical school, and I knew that it would be hard and that's about the extent of what I knew.”

As part of the program, she said she met extensively with advisers, who helped guide her down the pathway.

Aracely Marroquin is a first-generation, second-year GRCC student who plans to apply for the latest program that would bring her next to MSU. She said she was planning to attend MSU anyway, and if accepted, this program will help her along the way.

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