Trinity School of Medicine, the ILP, and an Opportunity of a New Beginning

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“When you enter med school, everything from undergrad vanishes and you start fresh. And that’s what Trinity gave me: a new platform to do my best in, the best environment to really thrive.”

This is one of the many things we love to hear from our students. The above was said by David*, a third year student at Trinity, now in his rotations in Baltimore. David is a smart, hard working student that scored a 21 on the MCAT, went overlooked by the US med school system, enrolled in Trinity’s ILP program, and thrived, scoring an impressive 244 on the Step-1 exam. (As a refresher, see below for what sort of doors a score like that can open for a match candidate).

Charting Outcomes Residency Specialty Average Step 1 Scores 2014

David’s situation is an exemplary case of the flaws in the US medical school admissions system and the goals of Trinity: address the physician shortage and give qualified students opportunities they need to succeed. This approach permeates every aspect of our students’ education, including the ILP program.

As a reminder, unlike other international schools, Trinity’s ILP track is not a prep program, nor an opportunity to “gate” our data and hide or weed out students. It is a specific, proven curriculum that takes Trinity’s already supportive learning environment and optimizes it for students. It adds one extra term, ramping up the courseload, but keeps students on track to graduate and match in the same year as their colleagues, and there is no additional tutition cost. And, not to put too fine a point on it, it’s also worth mentioning that it works. See for yourself:

Trinity School of Medicine is an institution that focuses on all of the major milestones (and roadblocks) along the way to becoming a doctor, evaluates them, and implements new approaches to bring the best possible outcomes. The ILP is one of those approaches. So often, it comes down to the MCAT as a necessary tool for evaluation but, an over-emphasized element of the US admissions process. At the same time, the Step-1 score is so often the major factor in securing a residency slot.

We asked David to explain more about his personal journey because we felt he had something to offer those still struggling to find the right medical school for them.

“I was a weak student at first. I started on ILP, so at first things were more ‘laid back.’ The transition to a full course load was hard. It was very jarring. I made it, though. After that second term, that’s when everything started to fall into the right place for me, too.” (David’s jarring experience was not uncommon, that’s why we redesigned the progression of the first three terms to provide a more gradual transition to the standard complement of courses.) Trinity Faculty are easy to talk to

So what was the turning point for David? The faculty. Because of Trinity’s small class size, he had more one-on-one time with his professors. “In particular, Dr. Dragan [Dr. Dragan Jovanovic, MD, PhD, professor of pathology at Trinity School of Medicine] taught me a new way to think through what I was learning. At first it was how I should think for exams, but it turned out in my rotations to be an incredible foundation for working with patients and coming up with a diagnosis. It was a major part of my education.”

Once he knew how to think, of course, it still took a tremendous amount of hard work.

Kaplan Pharmacology“Outside of the classroom really matters. The studying for courses, for NBMEs, comp exams. Step-1, everything. Class is obviously important, but for me, so much learning was done outside the classroom. I had to put the time in. I’m not the most naturally talented guy in a class. So, for Step-1, I made sure to put in the time and the work. It came back to me tenfold. It’s not all about the talent you have when you start. It’s mostly hard, hard work.”

And what does that look like for students like David? “After the 4th term, that winter, I sat down and studied on whatever subject I was weakest before I started 5th term. The Kaplan materials from Trinity, pharmacology in particular, was crucial. I then passed the comp. It was pivotal. That refresher backed up my fundamentals, it reestablished what my base was from Trinity, the ILP, Dr. Dragan, everything, before I went into 5th term.”

That doesn’t mean it was ever easy, though. He’d scored a 230 on his practice exams and was confident, but he still wrestled with the same demons every student faces. “In the post Step-1 slump, I was so focused on my mistakes. I didn’t know my score, but I knew I could have done better. When I got the results I definitely surprised myself. I’d scored fourteen points higher than my practice exams, earning a 244.”

And we couldn’t be more proud. David and students like him have learned that Trinity is about what you can do, not what you’ve done so far. There are too many candidates out there that would make excellent doctors if they were given the right opportunity and support. We’re here to provide both.

Click here right now, and let’s see what we can do for you and your future in medicine. 


*”David” is a pseudonym. He agreed to let us publish his story if we kept him out of the spotlight. Of course, he intially asked to be referred to as “Bruce Wayne.” Trinity students: humble, but not too humble.

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