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Getting to know UMMS: Prospective medical students take part in virtual Second Look Day

By Kylee Denesha

UMass Medical School Communications

abril 07, 2020

Current and prospective medical students hold
a Q&A panel via Zoom, discussing all things UMMS.
The students engaged in conversations about classes, clinical rotations, work-life balance and what it’s like living in Worcester.

Like other recent events at UMass Medical School, Second Look Day on Friday, April 3, took place through a computer screen. The annual event is intended to give prospective School of Medicine students a “second look” at what UMMS has to offer, the student body, the curriculum, work-life balance and a new city.

“I thought we did a great job showing how much we love UMass,” said Sara Hyde, first-year medical student on the Second Look Committee. “It is sad to not all be together and meet the accepted students, but I think we gave them a sense of community and did the best we possibly could.”

Informing a group of new people what the School of Medicine is all about is a large undertaking, especially when they aren’t able to witness the campus culture in person. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, campuses in Massachusetts and across the country are operating remotely.

“There are so many traditions that we like to keep for Second Look Day,” Hyde said. “We always do a potluck for the students, and show them around. We didn’t get that sense of camaraderie this time around.”

This is where social media came into play. Weeks before Second Look Day, potential students were able to get updates on student panels, connect with a first-year buddy and learn how to use student resources on the website.

“We were really grateful for the Instagram and Facebook pages that were created just for us,” said first-year medical student and committee member Benjamin Palleiko. “From a distance, we were able to create content that was both relatable and helpful.”

The online approach set UMMS apart from other medical schools across the country, most of which decided to cancel Second Look Day altogether.

“We felt this gave us an advantage,” said Bennett Vogt, also a first-year medical student and committee member. “Students we were interacting with were saying they dropped other school acceptances to commit to UMass, because they felt supported and knew the most about our community.”

“In past years, our surveys of Second Look Day showed strong responses,” explained Jennifer Lee Shea, SOM admissions coordinator. “Students said that they felt more confident deciding on UMMS after the program. Our ultimate goal is to help provide a valuable resource for future students to succeed, and find their cultural fit here at our school.”

Karen Lawton, director of SOM admissions, said Second Look Day is one of the most important recruitment events of the year, as students are in decision mode.

“This is truly the chance for us to strut our stuff, and we wanted to make this year personal although it was virtual,” Lawton said. “The program started back in 2008, and with every year comes new ideas and fresh outlooks from our students. It’s been a pleasure getting to know each new group.”

Second Look Day had its own page on the UMMS website, with student videos explaining topics ranging from their favorite class to the best places to live in Worcester.

In the afternoon, the committee held a Zoom panel with students from every SOM class. More than 100 people were on the call, engaging in conversations about pathways, clinical rotations, out-of-state transitions and much more.

“You’ll be joining a very collaborative and supportive group of people here,” Tim Winn, a second-year medical student said as he responded to a prospective student. “I also wasn’t able to come to Second Look Day when I was looking at schools. As soon as I arrived for orientation, it was unbelievable how involved I was able to be both on and off campus.”

The deadline for accepted medical students to make their enrollment decision is Thursday, April 30.