Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine students arrive with degrees in everything from neuroscience to English literature to music performance. Some are single, some have partners, and some are parents. About half come directly from college or graduate programs, the rest have worked as professional athletes, journalists, business entrepreneurs, you name it. Their interests in medicine are as diverse as their personal backgrounds. But for all of their individuality, Geisel School students share certain characteristics.
They want to go places. Perhaps that's why Geisel's unique clerkship program, which encourages students to do rotations at offsite locations around the country and in different parts of the world, is particularly appealing. Geisel students also want to make a difference. Now. Not later. In fact, many students arrive with strong backgrounds in community service and activism. Here they find an environment that fully supports their efforts to participate in or launch health initiatives from the local to the international level or to volunteer in other fulfilling ways. At the Geisel School students, care deeply about their causes, their work, their patients, and each other.
By all accounts, the Geisel student body is a particularly close-knit group. One reason is the smaller class size, of about 90 students. Here, no one is anonymous. Everyone is part of the peer group. As you are going through medical school, Geisel School students are the kind of classmates you can count on for inspiration and support. After medical school, they are the kind of people you can count on as lifelong friends and colleagues.
"I visited Dartmouth long before applying to medical school and was very taken with the sense of community and widespread acceptance of non-traditional students like me, so I was excited by the possibility of attending medical school here." When Guerra returned for medical school interviews, she asked everyone she encountered to name Geisel's strengths and weaknesses. "For strength, the unanimous answer was community," she recalls, "and that was more important to me than anything else. Now that I'm here, I see that it's true; it's clear that people want to see you succeed."
Of all of the medical schools that Lindqwister visited and interviewed at, Geisel stood out for its sense of community. "I thought the sense of stewardship between classes was really nice, and I appreciated the way Dartmouth focuses on the more experiential aspects of medicine," he says. At Geisel, he has also found a supportive environment for pursuing areas that he has become particularly passionate about—equity in medical education and medical futurism (assessing how medicine is likely to change in the future).
As an undergraduate, Backes was so focused on academics she felt that she had missed out on some opportunities. "One of the things I wanted to change when I finally got to medical school was to be able to enjoy the journey as well as the destination. I felt that at Geisel I could do that. The people I met in the program made me feel right at home."
"At Geisel, there are so many different ways people can find their niche, take a leadership role, and make things happen," says Lewis, who is involved in student government and Urban Health Scholars, and serves on the Geisel Diversity Council and National Board of Directors for the Student National Medical Association.