Part 1: Introduction

Drexel University College of Medicine is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is the result of a merger. Drexel University was formed when Hahnemann Medical College and Women’s Medical College were dissolved. Drexel stands on the rich history of the Women’s Medical College being the first all women’s medical school in Pennsylvania. 

Drexel University College of Medicine has held tightly to its roots, ensuring that diversity is prevalent in its student body. Drexel University openly publishes statistics on its website. For the class of 2023, over half of the student body is female, and 18% is Black, Hispanic, Asian or Native American. Additionally, 15% of students are non-traditional. These stats show the school’s diversity in practice, not just in word. The school’s motto, “Ambition can’t wait” is paired with this commitment. And a student’s ambition certainly has plenty of room for growth at Drexel University College of Medicine. The school is large, offering plenty of degree opportunities for a variety of medical field choices.  

It’s exciting to think about what your future at Drexel University College of Medicine could look like. Here at International Medical Aid, we’re committed to supporting you as you apply to different medical schools. We have resources on our website to prepare you for the admissions process. Additionally, in this definitive guide, we’re going to show you everything that Drexel University College of Medicine offers, so you can decide if Drexel University is right for you. 

We’ll go over all of Drexel University’s admission requirements and walk you through the 2020-2021 secondary application essays. We’ll explain how to answer these questions and provide sample responses to help you connect the dots. 

Finally, we’ll walk you through your interview day experience. Of course, nothing is the same because of COVID-19, but International Medical Aid and Drexel University College of Medicine are committed to making your medical school experience as exciting as possible. 

Let’s look at the programs that Drexel University College of Medicine offers.

Part 2: Programs Offered at Drexel University College of Medicine

Drexel University College of Medicine offers the following degree programs:

  • Four-year MD degree
  • MD/PhD program
  • MD/Master of Public Health program
  • MD/Master of Business Administration program
  • MD/Master of Science program

Traditional MD Program

The traditional MD program is based on Drexel University’s Foundations and Frontiers program, which consists of three phases spread out over four years. Phase One lasts for two years and covers all the basics. Phase Two advances students to clerkships, and Phase Three is all about preparing for residency. You’ll also take Emergency Medicine, a sub-internship in a core discipline and Transition to Clinician

The Frontiers and Foundations program is known for:

  • Clinical exposure from the start
  • Science courses with clinical education
  • Teamwork
  • Education utilizing technology
  • Cultural awareness
  • Engagement in community and civic affairs
  • Professional Formation Program
  • Special focus on Women’s Health, Population Health, Healthcare Economics and Humanities

If you’re interested in seeing what a typical day at Drexel University might look like, go here. And if you’d like a first-hand, in-depth look at the curriculum, check out this link.

The program is expected to take four years to complete. 

MD/PhD Program

The MD/PhD program will graduate you as a Physician-Scientist. If you’re interested in in-depth, scientific research beyond the requirements of an MD degree, this program will be of interest to you. You’ll combine the content in the traditional MD program with research under faculty mentorship. You can study the following areas.

MD/Master of Public Health

If you want population health to be a focal point of your medical career, look no further. That’s exactly what the dual-degree MD/Master of Public Health degree is all about. With these two degrees in hand, you can work in government, health care, education and public health. 

Students enrolled in the Master of Public Health program will have some pretty cool opportunities. These include:

  • Summer Global Health courses in Africa, Cuba and Israel
  • Public health coursework that correlates with classroom interests
  • Study outside the classroom with faculty mentorship; opportunities in research, health program design and evaluation and community health assessments

Students enrolled in the MD/Master of Public Health program will choose to study one of the following:

  • Research Methods in Health Services and Clinical Science
  • Health Management, Leadership and Policy
  • Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Community Health and Prevention

The Master of Public Health degree is expected to take a full year, meaning that most students will complete the MD/Master of Public Health dual degree in five years.

MD/Master of Business Administration

If you want to understand the business side of medicine, this dual-degree program offers exactly that. The MBA degree will help you whether you run a private practice or work in a hospital setting. This coursework is as follows, with each course lasting for 10 weeks:

  • Foundation Courses
    – Measuring and Maximizing Financial Performance
    – Essentials of Economics
  • Core Courses
    – Total Enterprise Management
    – Strategies and Plans for Marketing
    – Statistics for Business
    – Economics for Managers
    – Technological Innovation for Managers
    – Managing Operations
    – Managing Corporate Finances
    – Account Management
    – Leadership and Professional Development
  • Capstone
    – Strategic Management
  • One of the following:
    – One flexible core elective
    – Two open electives

It takes approximately five years to complete this dual degree. 

MD/Master of Science

This degree is designed to “connect research and clinical care.” It has students spend their first three years in the MD program, with the third year immersed in clinical rotations. The fourth year is spent learning the Master of Science curriculum, along with two research seminars. Finally, the fifth year takes students back to the School of Medicine, where they finish their clinical rotations and prepare for residency. 

As part of the Research Seminar, MD/Master of Science candidates work on a project. Drexel University College of Medicine published the following projects on their website to highlight some of the work of their candidates and recent graduates.

  • The Effects of GABA Agonists on Traumatic Brain Injury-Induced Social Behavior Deficits in Adolescent Rats by Gal Daskal, mentored by Dr. Raghupathi in the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy
  • The Use of a Novel pH-sensitive Fluorescent Probe for Intra-operative Tumor Detection by Malia Voytik, mentored by Dr. Brooks from the Department of Surgery at Perelman School of Medicine (UPenn)
  • The relationship between Voice Handicap Index and Laryngeal EMG findings in patients with vocal fold paresis and paralysis by Srihari Daggumati, mentored by Dr. Sataloff, the Chairman of Otolaryngology

These are only some of the projects listed on the college’s website. Click here if you’re interested in learning more. 

The Cost of Attending Drexel University College of Medicine

Tuition for one year of medical school at Drexel costs $48,978, or $24,489 per semester, which is half the cost of most Ivy Leagues. However, while tuition is under $50,000, prospective students still need to consider textbooks, housing, food and transportation. We recommend adding your everyday living expenses to the cost of tuition for an estimate of what your yearly total will be. Be sure to factor in apartment-living costs in Philadelphia as well.

Part 3: Earning High Enough Grades to Get In

Drexel University College of Medicine has high expectations of its prospective students. The College of Medicine’s acceptance rate is 6.9%, which is way higher than Perelman School of Medicine or Brown University.

Drexel University published the following stats for their most recent incoming class. 

  • 10,000+ applicants
  • 1,5000 interviews
  • 800 students accepted
  • 260 new students

So, while it’s challenging to get in, it’s not as challenging as some medical schools. We hope this gives you some peace of mind if you’re applying to Drexel University’s medical program.

Grades

Currents students average a mean GPA of 3.64 and a mean MCAT score of 512. Drexel University has a limit of two years for the MCAT. Applicants should pay special attention to this since many schools allow three years between taking the MCAT and submitting their applications. If you’re applying for the 2021 academic school year, your test scores can be no later than 2018. 

Recommended Coursework

Instead of requiring specific courses for prospective students to take in preparation for their time at Drexel University College of Medicine, the school instead has a list of Scientific and Personal Competencies that they expect all students to possess.

For Personal Competencies, students should…

  • Take responsibility for their actions
  • Be reliable and dependable
  • Frequently participate in service activities
  • Work well with others (including social skills)
  • Always be looking to improve

For Scientific Competencies, students should be able to…

  • Use science and math to explain what happens in the world
  • Understand the scientific steps necessary to identify what’s going on in the world
  • Understand how living systems work
  • Understand chemistry, biomolecules and molecular and cell assemblies
  • Understand how organisms function
  • Understand evolution

To possess these qualities and understand all this information, Drexel University recommends the following coursework.

  1. Biology, with emphasis on the cells and molecules that make up living organisms. One year of college biology is recommended.
  2. Chemistry, with emphases in inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry and biochemistry. Two years of college chemistry is recommended.
  3. Physics, with emphases in kinetics, thermodynamics, wave motion, mechanisms, magnetics and electricity. One year of college physics is recommended.
  4. Laboratory experience, with emphases in exercises with sound hypotheses, problem-solving and basic lab rules. One year of lab experience is recommended. Additional experience is encouraged.
  5. Statistics and probability, with emphases in testing hypotheses, quantitative scientific reasoning analysis and biostats. One course in biostatistics is recommended.
  6. English/communication/writing, with emphases in literature and intensive writing. Courses that improve competency in reading, writing and speaking English are imperative. Additional foreign languages are encouraged.
  7. Behavioral and social sciences, with emphases in social, cultural and behavioral science, and how these subjects relate to healthcare. Courses in history, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, psychology, ethics and economics are recommended.
  8. Service orientation/community service. Examples include tutoring/volunteering at a doctor’s office or homeless shelter.
  9. Meaningful clinical experience. This experience can be on a volunteer or paid basis and should have the prospective student directly engaged with patients. Hospitals, rehab settings, nursing homes, doctor’s offices and hospices are all appropriate settings.

Application Timeline and Required Tests

Two applications are required to apply to Drexel University College of Medicine. The first application is known as your primary application and is submitted to the American Medical College Application Service, better known by its abbreviation: AMCAS. In this application, you’ll provide all the basic information that every university needs to see: your transcripts and grades, work and activities and your personal medical statement. The great thing about the AMCAS is that you only need to fill it out once since almost every medical school in the United States uses it as part of its admissions process. We wish we could say the same thing for secondary application essays, but we’re not there yet! 

Your secondary application is the one you’ll submit directly to Drexel University College of Medicine. This application will include your personal medical statement tailored to Drexel University, along with two essay responses. You’ll send a secondary application to each medical school to which you apply.

If desired, prospective students can apply to Drexel University College of Medicine through the AMCAS Early Decision Program. If you want to apply and find out if you’re accepted early on, your AMCAS application will need to be submitted by August 1st. Your secondary application to Drexel University College of Medicine is due August 30th, and you should receive your acceptance or rejection notification no later than October 1st. 

If you are applying early, make sure you have everything in order. Drexel University wants you to send them a composite letter (click here for more info) or provide letters of recommendation. Both the MCAT and CASPer testresults are required. 

The well-known MCAT can be taken multiple times, but keep in mind that the admissions department will see how many times you’ve taken the MCAT and your score for each test. The CASPer stands for Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characters. Originating from McMaster University, this test looks at your personality and how well you would do in a medical setting. 

Personal Statement

Unlike many of the Ivy Leagues we’ve talked about on the blog, Drexel University College of Medicine requires students to submit a personal statement in addition to the one included in the AMCAS application. While this is a pain, it’s important to write a strong statement. We also recommend tailoring this statement directly to Drexel University College of Medicine.

We recommend formatting your letter with an introduction to yourself, a story that relates to medicine and your “why” statement. Your “why” statement should focus on why you want to attend Drexel University College of Medicine. Are you proud to add your diversity to the university? Maybe you feel like you can learn and grow at Drexel University in ways you can’t anywhere else.

Here’s an example:

I was born with spina bifida and have been in a wheelchair since I was 10 years old. After years of trying to learn to walk with fore-arm crutches, I decided a wheelchair would be easier. But what I didn’t anticipate was how hard it would be to get around. I had to find the wheelchair ramp everywhere I went. I had to be lifted from my wheelchair onto a chair in lab so that I could see through the microscopic lens. My parents had a lift installed on the staircase so I could easily go to and from my bedroom. I was grateful for my wheelchair since it enabled me to be independent, but it was a real pain. 

My love of medicine began as soon as I understood that spina bifida was a disability. When you spend your whole life sitting and watching people use their legs to get around, you start to wonder what that would be like. I wanted to learn everything I could about my disability and the different treatments that were available for it. I knew there was no cure for spina bifida. I would never walk. But I still wanted to learn everything I could. That began with the science behind how spina bifida works. The moment I understood my condition, I knew I wanted to be a doctor. At first, I thought I wanted to be a spina bifida specialist, but I ultimately decided that I want to practice general medicine as a Primary Care Provider. I want to see everyone: infants, toddlers, children and adults. I want everyone to see that being wheelchair-bound doesn’t mean your options in life are limited.

I want to attend Drexel University College of Medicine because of what the university stands for: a diverse student population. I want it to be normal for a medical student to be in a wheelchair, in the same way that the Women’s Medical College made it normal for women to attend medical school. I believe this is an opportunity that Drexel University College of Medicine can provide for me. Ultimately, I want to have the same experiences as everyone else, all while having the opportunity to stand out.

This example works because the student provides part of their personal background. They related it to medicine, and they explain why they want to attend Drexel University College of Medicine.

For a more comprehensive guide on writing your medical school acceptance letter, check out this post, where we offer guidance on how to make your medical statement strong. 

If you feel like you’re lacking the kind of experiences that will form your personal statement, consider an internship. International Medical Aid has numerous opportunities that will help you flesh out your personal statement and your application. We have exciting opportunities in South America, East Africa and the Caribbean, where you can work with underserved populations, providing healthcare that would be otherwise inaccessible. For a medical college with a strong emphasis on diversity, that kind of experience would be perfect for your personal statement. Click here to learn more.

Part 4: Drexel University College of Medicine Essays

Aside from your personal statement, Drexel University College of Medicine asks its applicants to answer the following questions.

Question #1
If you recently graduated, please explain how you’ve spent your time since graduation. (No word limit)

If your every waking second has been spent applying to medical schools, you can pass this question. You’ll be in the same boat as everyone else. However, if you’ve had an internship or you’ve worked, describe that experience.

If it’s been a while since you graduated, writing out a list of things you’ve done would be appropriate. You’ll want to show that you’ve used your time responsibly. If you draw up blank, review your Work and Activities Section from your AMCAS application. Just don’t plagiarize it! Even though you wrote about your Work and Activities, it’s considered plagiarism to copy it verbatim. Since you’re the one who had those experiences, find a new way to word them.

Here’s an example:

Since graduating from Brigham Young University with my bachelor’s degree in the Spanish language, I’ve spent my time interning at Utah Valley Hospital. I work with patients whose first language is Spanish. I help them fill out their paperwork and describe their symptoms.

I want to pursue an MD/Master of Business Administration dual degree at Drexel University College of Medicine so that I can work on the business side of medicine. Watching shows like “The Resident” and “The Good Doctor” has taught me all about the politics that are present in a medical setting. While medicine should focus on treating sick patients, this is not always the case. If I earn my MD/MBA, I will be equipped to navigate hospital policies so that I can put patient care first. My ultimate goal is to become the CEO of my hospital, so my time spent interning at Utah Valley Hospital is the first of many steps to hopefully get there. 

This response works because the prospective student shows how he has spent his time productively. It shows that he’s humble. He isn’t afraid to start at a beginner’s level and slowly work his way up the ranks to where he wants to be. And it shows that he has a goal, and he’s using his time to work to achieve that goal. 

Question #2
Here is your opportunity to tell us anything else you want us to know. You can use this space to elaborate on an experience from your AMCAS application or an experience you’ve had since completing your AMCAS. COVID-19 disruptions in your life are also applicable. Whatever you want to share, here is the space for it. (500 words)

You could cover any number of issues here. We recommend staying away from what the admission committee might consider as a complaint or a lame excuse. For example, don’t complain about earning a B instead of an A because you couldn’t concentrate when classes transitioned to remote learning. Everyone dealt with that, whether or not they’re preparing for medical school, so it wouldn’t be considered a significant challenge. 

A significant problem would be having outdated test scores or not having taken the MCAT or CASPer tests because testing centers have been shut down for months. Having a family member hospitalized and delaying graduation by a semester so that you could be with your family is also appropriate. 

However, you might be among the lucky few who weren’t affected by COVID. Or, you might be so sick of the pandemic that you don’t want to discuss it. Both are okay. Just make sure you use this space to help round out your application, no matter what topic you choose to share with the admissions committee. 

Here’s an example:

I lived at home while completing the first two years of college at my local community college. My father had passed away when I was in ninth grade, and my mother struggled to provide for me and my siblings. The college fund my dad had been saving over the years had to go to pay off his medical bills. My father’s years of preparation for me were suddenly gone. At first, I resented attending a community college. I wanted to go straight to Baylor University after graduating from McKinney High School. 

I remember waking up on my first day of classes. I saw my sister asleep on her side of our bedroom, and I wanted to cry. If my dad were still here, I would be in my dorm, fully appreciating the college experience. Instead, I got ready at my house, drove the five minutes it took to get to my community college and spent the day in classes before driving home. It felt like High School 2.0. There was no special meaning to it.

If I had stayed in that mindset, I probably wouldn’t have learned very much during my time at Collin County Community College. Thankfully, I improved my attitude when I realized I wasn’t the only one in my position. Several of my classmates were financially struggling for various reasons. I even met a guy who had to reject his acceptance to his dream university because, even with scholarships, he couldn’t afford it. While my first two years of college were spent at home with my mom and sisters, I enjoyed a unique experience. I became friends with people whom I could genuinely relate to and respect. I don’t know if I would have had those same experiences if I had gone straight to Baylor after graduation.

As far as Baylor goes, when I explained my situation to the admissions department, they granted me a deferral for two consecutive years. I was able to transfer to Baylor for my junior year of high school. Between scholarships, grants and loans, I was able to afford it. What made my experience even sweeter was getting to share my dorm room with one of my community college classmates who also had to defer due to a family crisis. I learned from this experience that I should never take educational opportunities for granted. I also learned that, sometimes, a “lesser” experience can turn out to be extremely meaningful.

This essay response comes in at 407 words, so it’s within the 500-word limit. This student learned the value of education. Her experience was humbling and undesirable, but she made the best of it and everything worked out in the end. This kind of essay shows the admissions committee that she persevered through a difficult situation–something doctors have to do all the time. 

Part 5: Your Interview Day at Drexel University College of Medicine

Congratulations if you’ve scored an interview with Drexel University College of Medicine! Being invited to interview at any medical school is a huge accomplishment. Now, for a school with a six percent acceptance rate, you might be feeling the pressure. We can assure you that everyone is feeling the pressure. By preparing in advance and putting your best foot forward on your interview day, you’ll have as good a shot as every other interviewee. 

You’ll be interviewed using the one-on-one interview format. This type of interview lasts for 30-45 minutes and involves an interview with a member of the admissions committee, university faculty or medical student nearing the end of their program. Your interviewer will have all your application information available to them, enabling them to ask a wide variety of questions about your background. We recommend reviewing your AMCAS application (specifically your Work and Activities section), personal statement and secondary essays so that you’ll be on the same page as your interviewer. 

We also recommend reviewing Drexel University College of Medicine’s history and paying special attention to their values as a school. During your interview, focus on how you will contribute to Drexel University’s diversity within their student body. Remember, the two crucial elements of your interview are why you want to be a doctor and why you should study medicine at Drexel University College of Medicine.

You’ll be interviewed between September and April. Make this interview one of your top priorities if you want to be considered for admission because Drexel University College of Medicine will not admit any students who aren’t interviewed, even if you have an outstanding application. Also, should you need to cancel or reschedule, Drexel University asks that you do so 72 hours in advance.

Because of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, all interviews are taking place virtually. While this might be disappointing, it should alleviate some stress. You won’t need to worry about scheduling a flight, making sure you arrive on time or finding your interview location. 

For a remote interview, you’ll want to dress the same way you would for an in-person interview. Make sure you have good lighting and a professional-looking background. While a photo collage on your wall might be aesthetically pleasing, it’s not professional and should be avoided. A plain wall works well. Make sure that your background isn’t dark. You don’t want your interviewer to have to squint to see you.

Conclusion

Thank you for reading International Medical Aid’s guide to applying to Drexel University College of Medicine. We wish you the best of luck in your application process. If you’re applying to different universities, be sure to check out our blog. We offer guides for many of the Ivy League universities, including Georgetown University School of MedicineYale School of MedicinePerelman School of MedicineNYU Medical School and UCLA Medical School, among others. We highly recommend applying to multiple schools, as this will increase your chances of being accepted. 

Additionally, if you need any help with your application, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Here at International Medical Aid, we offer consulting services. We have strategy sessions, where we help you come up with a game plan for your college applications. We understand how overwhelming the application process can be, between the different sections of the AMCAS and the multiple secondary applications you need to submit. We also offer primary and secondary application reviews and practice sessions for your interviews. Finally, if you’re not a traditional student, our experts can guide you through your unique application route.

Good luck with your medical school applications! Be sure to check back here often for new posts to help you along your journey. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions or need help. Here at International Medical Aid, we want to see you succeed.