Like prized high school athletes, more than a dozen students already accepted to the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University were brought back this weekend so the school could convince them that Augusta is the right choice.
Many of the underrepresented minority students have been accepted by more than one medical school, and there is competition for them, said Dr. Kimberly Vess Halbur, MCG’s associate dean for diversity affairs.
Of the 29 black students accepted last year, only nine actually came to MCG.
Sarah-Bianca Dolisca is choosing from six medical schools. She got early exposure to MCG while in college through a six-week summer enrichment program.
“It was my first time actually living in Augusta for six weeks. So I got that experience and realized it was livable,” she said, laughing. “It wasn’t that bad.”
She said the visit will help answer questions she had, particularly since the merger of Georgia Health Sciences and Augusta State universities into GRU.
Ralph Baffoe is deciding between a smaller program where he might get more individual attention and the 230-student MCG class.
“It seems like they are actually making the effort to let you know there will be a good support system for you,” he said. “Especially considering the fact that MCG is such a big school comparatively, you feel like there is a support system that is going to help you if and when you need it.”
Students had the chance to visit the school during their interview day, but that is stressful and this is a chance for more interaction and candor, said
Muaz Ibrahim, who is choosing between two medical schools.
“This is a good opportunity to see how things really are, see how the students really like things because you know during interview day everyone is going to tell you they love it,” he said.
Part of the visit includes a luncheon with current students, Halbur said.
“That came from a student recommendation that said, ‘We really just wanted to talk unscripted, off the record, with the students about their actual experience,’ ” the associate dean said.
The students know they are being recruited but laughed at the comparison to star athletes.
“It’s definitely nice to be wanted,” Ibrahim said. “You can see how excited they are to have you and how much they want you to attend.”