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September 2007 Issue

Brad Besson (right) is congratulated by his father, UC alumnus Michael Besson, MD, during the 2007 White Coat Ceremony.
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Incoming Med Class Boasts Record Strength in Academics

Published September 2007

At 28, Brad Besson has lived a pretty full life. He has spent time as a photographer, a veterinary technician and a chef, and even served a tour in Iraq when the United States invaded in 2003.

But this jack-of-all-trades, the son of a UC-trained ophthalmologist father and optometrist mother, says that despite his experiences, medical school is still pretty intimidating.

“I’m no stranger to working hard,” he says, “but the volume of work that comes with medical school is daunting.”

But Besson is up to the challenge. In fact, so are his 159 classmates. The class of 2011—welcomed in August during the 12th annual White Coat Ceremony—is one of the most academically outstanding incoming classes the College of Medicine has seen.

College of Medicine dean David Stern, MD, says it’s normal to have an incoming class with higher averages in one or two academic areas. But, he says, the class of 2011 ranks higher across the board.

The incoming students scored particularly well on the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), which assesses applicants’ writing skills and measures abilities in three areas—verbal reasoning, physical sciences and biological sciences.

The class  scored higher on average in all three areas compared with previous classes. The average total MCAT score for UC’s incoming students is 32, compared with 31 for the 2006 entering class and 30 for students admitted in 2005.

The entering class also has an average GPA of 3.7, one-tenth of a point higher than the 2005 entering class.

“It’s clear that our reputation as a leading academic health center is growing, and that our faculty, physicians and investments in facilities are leading that growth,” says Stern.

Laura Wexler, MD, associate dean for student affairs and admissions, says academic qualifications are only one piece of the puzzle when assessing medical school candidates.

“We aren’t just looking for students who are academically oriented,” says Wexler. “We seek students who will become outstanding physicians and community leaders.

“The most well-rounded and competitive students have lots of options, so it’s always reassuring to see so many of them choosing our school—not just for our reputation, but for the quality education they know they’ll receive.”


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