07 May 2012

What Does a College Dean Really Do?

A special thanks to Dean Barbara Beckman for participating in our Admissions Spotlight Series. Dean Beckman is currently serving as the Associate Dean of Admissions at Tulane University School of Medicine.  Joseph Fernandez from Parliament Tutors conducted the interview.

As the Associate Dean for Admissions, what are your day-to-day responsibilities?

Reviewing applications, meeting with prospective students and advising them, interviewing on Mondays and Wednesday and helping out with Student Affairs events such as White Coat, Student Appreciation Days, Graduation etc.

What do you consider the most significant parts of an application, the parts which applicants should prepare the most carefully?
Letters of recommendation, Secondary application questions and responses, experiences

Is there anything you frequently see on an application that you hope to never see again?
A pattern of incidents such as drinking

What common pitfalls should applicants be careful to avoid?

Using verbatim words from websites

Are there any myths about the application process which you would like to dispel?

The application deadline may be January 15th but rolling admissions suggests that the earlier the applicant can submit their application the better chance they have of securing an interview.

What advice would you give to an applicant with below-average test scores but significant work experience?

Find a way to do better on the tests.  Medical school is a series of standardized tests.

Do you frequently have to turn away applicants whom you wish you could admit?  If so, what could those applicants do to be admitted?

There are so many great applicants and not enough slots.  Keep trying.

How much faith do you have in the ability of the MCAT to predict success at Tulane’s Medical School?

Yes, but there are exceptions.  Typically those students with acceptable MCAT’s who do not do well are not working hard enough.

What do you look for in a recommendation letter?
Detailed descriptions of the individual’s character and examples of their work ethic

Suppose an applicant has little or no experience relevant to your program, but has significant experience in other fields.  What can that applicant do to distinguish himself or herself in your eyes as a good candidate for your program?

Lots and lots of service, Peace Corps, Americorps, Teach for America

Joseph Fernandez is an MCAT Tutor with Parliament Tutors, a New York Tutoring service.