Elizabethtown College enters affiliation agreement with West Virginia University
According to White Family Dental’s Ed White, if you were to Google the top 10 best jobs, dentistry would be at the top of the list. And that’s not an exaggeration. Several sources, including U.S. News and World Report, list dentistry as No. 1.
White, vice chair of Elizabethtown College’s board of trustees and alum of the West Virginia University (WVU) School of Dentistry, has been involved with E-town since 1999; he enjoys working with both schools. As a matter of fact, he currently has five graduates of the WVU program working at his practice.
He felt as though there was a natural tie between WVU School of Dentistry and the College, so he posed the idea to both schools to get the ball rolling.
“[White] ended up putting me in contact with Dr. Shelia Price, the associate dean of admissions, recruitment and access at West Virginia University School of Dentistry,” said Associate Professor of Biology and Chair of the Health Professions Advisory Committee Aaron Cecala. “… From there, we hammered out an agreement that would allow a student, initially, to gain entry into WVU School of Dentistry if they meet all the metrics.”
Student are, in some ways, able to then leapfrog over a portion of the application pool and increase their chances of gaining entry into dental school.”
The Biology Department’s pre-health program currently has affiliation programs with about 13 other institutions. Admission into each program varies. Some of the applications are done simultaneously with the application for Elizabethtown College. For others, such as the affiliation with WVU School of Dentistry, students apply after attending E-town for a year or more.
This is the first year a student would be able to take advantage of the affiliation with WVU, said Cecala. The agreement allows, what Cecala calls, priority access to an interview, which is a big advantage. “Student are, in some ways, able to then leapfrog over a portion of the application pool and increase their chances of gaining entry into dental school,” Cecala said.
While this does not guarantee admission, it greatly increases the likelihood, which is true of many of the other affiliation agreements held by the College. “It’s such a competitive environment, where students who have really great metrics: GPA, scores on entry level exams like the MCAT, and a lot of shadowing experience need to have a way of differentiating themselves …,” Cecala said. “A lot of our students are extremely competitive in regard to all those things, but it’s useful to have a little bit of extra help to get into the program of your choice.”
Even though White feels the biology students at E-town receive an education that is superior to many other institutions, he agrees that students often need a boost to stand out from other applicants. “This program will allow [E-town] students to fulfill their dreams,” White said. “It shows that if you come in and work hard, we can guarantee you a spot.”