Behind the Scenes with Deans

Admissions Tips for East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine

Below is a transcript of the conversation with Doug Taylor, Associate Dean and Director of Admissions at East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine:

An Introduction of Doug Taylor

My name is Doug Taylor. I serve as the Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Records at the James H. Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University. I’m fluent in two languages, a little bit of English and mostly Appalachian. If you have trouble understanding me, write me a note and I’ll straighten it out.

I have been at this medical school since the doors opened. I’ve overseen the admission of every student that ever went to this school. We now number a little over 2,400 graduates. I’m likely the longest-serving admissions officer in the United States because I love what I do. I love working with young people, helping guide them towards success, and being a part of their journey. It’s a privilege reserved for only a few.

I grew up in East Tennessee, served two years in the United States Army, with one year in the Republic of Vietnam. Afterward, I finished my education and worked in undergraduate admissions and records at this very school. When the medical school opened, they drafted me to set up an admissions and records program, and with a great team, we’ve been successful.

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What Makes A Pre-Med Applicant Stand Out? 

We admit 78 students each year from over 4,000 applicants. What makes an applicant stand out is someone who clearly demonstrates they understand what they’re getting into and are passionate about the career of medicine and helping people. We don’t like box checkers; we prefer those motivated by genuine care for others.

What Are Some Recent Changes to the Medical School Admissions Process?

Starting new, we weren’t bound by a lot of conventions. We implemented holistic review, looking beyond academics to the heart and motives of the applicant. More schools are adopting this approach. Previously, some applicants were motivated by money, but now we’re seeing more altruistically motivated individuals.

What Makes East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine Stand Out?

Our medical school is small and personal, fostering a collegial atmosphere among students, faculty, and the community. The community supports the school, and our faculty gets to know the students well. We live in a beautiful area with lakes, mountains, and a supportive medical community. The emphasis here is on primary care and rural medicine, but the skills learned are essential for all medical fields.

What is Your Biggest Piece of Advice for Medical School Applicants?

Learn to read effectively and love change. Medical school requires strong reading skills and the ability to adapt. What gets you to the door of medical school won’t get you through; you must change and grow.

Most importantly, be sure this is what you want to do. Make sure your application is the best it can be and apply early. Get to know your professors and ensure you have strong, supportive letters. Choose schools wisely and visit them to find the right fit.

Interested in attending the East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine? Try the MedSchoolCoach Explorer to find out your odds of acceptance at every U.S. medical school.
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