New Medical School for 2024 – Thomas F. Frist Jr. College of Medicine at Belmont University

As you formulate your list of schools for the upcoming medical school application cycle, there’s another med school to consider – the Thomas Frist Jr. College of Medicine at Belmont University. The Frist College of Medicine is an allopathic (MD) program that received preliminary accreditation from the Liaison Committee of Medical Education (LCME) in October 2023. The inaugural class will matriculate in July 2024.

A new medical school presents an opportunity but also raises questions from applicants as they wonder if they should apply and what the benefits and drawbacks of a new program are. To assess if you should add this school to your list, let’s start with some basic information about the program:

  • The school is located in Nashville, Tennessee.
  • The program was established in alliance with HCA Healthcare and its namesake is the co-founder of HCA Healthcare.
  • Its mission states that ” …the University is dedicated to cultivating diverse physician leaders of character who embrace a whole-person approach to healing in a community of service-learning, inspired by the love and grace of Christ.” Although Christianity is mentioned in the mission statement, applicants of all faith backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

It’s harder to obtain information about a brand-new school since there’s no student or alumni network to provide a firsthand perspective. However, by reading the website and attending a virtual information session you can learn more about the curriculum, clinical opportunities, student life, and the admissions process.

When deciding whether to add a new school to your list, here are a few benefits and drawbacks to consider:

Pros of a new school

  • Abundant leadership opportunities – At a new program clubs, organizations, and interest groups have yet to be established, so you can be a founder or leader of a group more easily, which builds up your resume for residency applications.
  • Facilities – A recently built med school will typically have gleaming buildings and state-of-the-art equipment. Technology will be built from the ground up and integrated into learning.
  • Close connections to faculty – With fewer students at the school, it is easier to forge connections with faculty.

Cons of a new school

  • Lack of a track record – With a school that has recently opened, there areno information about student performance on the USLME or match lists that show where graduates went for residency.
  • No alumni network – An alumni network can be valuable for contacts at residency programs, to learn more about specialties, research opportunities, and even future jobs; however, at a new school, there are no alumni.
  • Working out bumps in the program – A new program may need to adjust the curriculum or go through some faculty turnover before everything works smoothly. This process can take time, and feedback from the first few classes of students, to work out any issues.

In the end, a new school can be a good option for applicants who want to be part of building a school’s subculture and who are flexible in seeking out opportunities and adjusting to changes. New schools also tend to be less competitive for admission than established programs, so they can help you to have a more well-rounded list.

The questions I tell the applicants to ask themselves about each school they consider adding to their lists are:

If this medical school is the only school I’m admitted to this cycle, would I want to attend? Or would I rather get in nowhere and reapply?

Answering those questions can provide clarity to help you determine if you want to add Frist, or any other school, to your list!

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