Quincy University junior Abbey Haas recently received conditional acceptance into the Pre-Medical Scholars Program with St. Louis University (SLU).

Haas knew she wanted to go into the medical field in the fourth grade after her mom was diagnosed with Graves Disease, and watching her mom go through radiation treatments and wishing she could help.

“I want to help people and their families that feel the same way I did at that time,” said Haas.

Initially, Haas considered QU because of its Division II soccer program, and it offered a degree in chemistry. When she learned about the Pre-Medical Scholars Program, she knew QU was the place for her.

“I thought I could play soccer, major in chemistry, and have the opportunity to get accepted into SLU School of Medicine,” said Haas. “On top of that were the aspects of the Franciscan education that I liked, the service-learning and community atmosphere. It had everything tied up in a package all at a small school.”

The Pre-Medical Scholars Program provides the opportunity for qualified students to gain conditional early acceptance into the St. Louis University School of Medicine while completing their undergraduate degree at QU.

“There are requirements students have to meet as a freshman, for instance, no C’s in their high school math and science classes, and their GPA. If they qualify, they work with a QU Med Scholars advisor to meet all the requirements of the program and prepare for their interview,” said Kimberly Hale, Ph.D., dean of the school of science and technology.

Students begin working on the application requirements between their freshman and sophomore years. Along with the application, students submit a written essay and a four-year degree checklist.  To help students prepare for the SLU interview, the Pre-Medical Scholars Committee takes the student through a mock interview, once in the fall and again in the spring.   The committee, which includes QU science faculty and Kristin Liesen, director of experiential learning, also submit a committee letter with the application and other paperwork. In May 2021, the SLU School of Medicine admissions committee interviewed Haas.

“Having the two mock interviews with the committee was awesome because I was exposed to the type of questions I would see in the interview with SLU and get feedback on my responses. So I was completely prepared,” said Haas.

It was an exciting day when Haas received the news of her conditional acceptance into the program.

“I received an email with a letter of acceptance from the SLU Medical School Committee of Admissions for medical school classes beginning in August of 2023.  I immediately forwarded the email to Dr. Hale and the rest of the committee involved to share the exciting news,” Haas said. “A form was sent out later that day to inform me of the terms and conditions and confirm my acceptance.”

A conditional admittance means a student is admitted as long as they follow the acceptance letter guidelines, complete all their junior and senior year requirements and take the MCAT.

“Students in the program choose to major in either chemistry or biology and follow QUs pre-med general degree track,” said Hale. “The MCAT score requirement will change slightly next year, but it is still very attainable.”

The program also requires students to minor in a discipline outside of the natural sciences. Haas chose psychology.

“The program requirements are very manageable, only 30 credit hours a year, so it’s not like you are taking a ton of credits a year. Also, being in this program at this school, you are not doing it alone,” said Haas. “I have resources in every department, whether in the science department, the English department, or my soccer coach. There is always someone there in any direction I could need. For instance, my soccer coach read my personal statement for me before I submitted it.”

The program’s requirement track complements QU’s Success by Design initiative, preparing all students for the workforce or further education and helping students design a customized success plan, which allows them to graduate in a timely fashion.

“True of QU, across the board whether you do the Pre-Medical Scholars Program or not, people are willing to help students succeed,” said Hale.  “We work with all our students wanting to go into the medical field, but the additional benefit of this program is that the structured timeline makes it easier to stay on track, and students can begin the process much earlier.”

For instance, pre-med students not in the program would apply for admittance to a medical school between their junior and senior years and then have to wait their entire senior year to hear if they are accepted. They have to figure out when they are required to take the MCAT, where Haas is told when she has to take it. Also, the turnaround process is not long. Within a few weeks, Haas received her acceptance letter.

“I can enjoy the last two years at QU, enjoy playing soccer, knowing I have already been accepted into medical school,” said Haas. “I already know my next step; it is weight is off my shoulders.”

Haas highly recommends other students apply to the program.

“If you give your all, follow your advisor’s advice, follow the program, and do everything you are supposed to do, there should be nothing holding you back.”

Once in medical school, Haas plans to study pediatric oncology.

“I’m leaning towards pediatric oncology because I really enjoy interacting with kids and being able to leave a lasting impression on their lives.  Two of my grandmothers have had some form of cancer in their lifetimes, too, so I’m interested to understand how and why cancer comes about,” said Haas.  “A career in pediatric oncology combines my passion for chemistry in how different forms of cancer treatment react with the body and my desire to leave a positive impact on the lives of my patients and their families.”

Founded in 1860 by Franciscan friars, Quincy University is a small Catholic university emphasizing the sciences, liberal arts and the professions. Quincy University offers undergraduate, graduate and adult education programs integrating practical experience and Franciscan values. Faculty and advisors work with students to design customized success plans to help them graduate on time, find their passion and prepare them for life. QU is a member of NCAA Division II for intercollegiate athletics. For more information, please visit www.quincy.edu or contact the Office of Community Relations at (217) 228-5275 or communityrelations@quincy.edu. Quincy University. Success by Design.