Berry forges new path for students to attend medical school

Release Date: April 18, 2017

Berry College has partnered with Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine with campuses in Virginia, South Carolina, and Alabama to provide major advantages for students aspiring to medical school. 

The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) is a private, non-profit osteopathic medical college. The agreement between Berry and VCOM provides two programs: a guaranteed interview and an early guaranteed acceptance program for high performing Berry students. 

“We are excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with Berry College.  Berry alums who have attended VCOM thus far have done exceptionally well and the mission of both institutions align quite well.  We know that together we can help educate caring and compassionate future physicians to serve in the region,” said William P. King, VOM Vice President for Student Services. 

 Students who meet the criteria can carry out a guaranteed interview, which increases their chances for admission by shortening the application and admission process to medical school. There are some stipulations to the agreement such as GPA, geographic location, and/or socioeconomic status that need to be met by the student.  If a student earns the guaranteed early acceptance, the MCAT is not needed.   

Derek Bass, a Berry College biology major who will graduate in May, has applied to VCOM and thinks the new agreement will be a great benefit to students. 

“If I had that option as a sophomore, I would have definitely jumped on it,” Bass said.   

This program was established by Berry College and VCOM due to the reduced opportunities for medical training in the United States, the shortages of physicians in the Appalachian Region, underserved populations, and the rural areas of Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, and Alabama. VCOM also has a strong global health and medical missions program which promotes altruistic care of patients. 

“There is currently a shortage of doctors, especially in rural areas around the Southeast. This collaboration between our two institutions will promote students from those areas as well as those from low socioeconomic statuses to pursue careers in medicine,” said Dr. Chris Mingone, Berry Clinical Assistant Professor and Pre-Medical Advisor. 

As a result of this agreement, students who maintain a 3.4 GPA will be guaranteed an interview with VCOM. Furthermore, students who know that VCOM is their choice of medical school, have a strong GPA, and meet a few additional requirements after their sophomore year can apply and earn an early guaranteed acceptance to VCOM through the Rocovich Scholars program.    

The MCAT, which is an entrance requirement for most medical schools, will be waived for those who earn the Rocovich Scholars program because VCOM officials recognize that Berry students with a sufficiently high GPA excel in VCOM’s medical school. 

“This is a great cost savings for our students and a very attractive part of the collaboration.  This agreement will take some of the stressors of the application process away from the student and allow for more opportunities for personal growth and development,” Mingone said.