Why are PSU’s pre-professional programs so successful? Students headed off to medical school say it’s the faculty.

“I really feel free to talk to any of the professors,” said Mitch Ayers, who was accepted into the University of Kansas School of Medicine’s early decision program and begins med school there this summer.

He and classmate Andrea Petersen, who was also accepted into KU’s early decision program, said the faculty made sure they were well prepared not just academically, but also for that all-important interview at KU.

“I had a lot of my teachers do mock interviews with me to prepare for the KU interview,” Petersen said.

Petersen and Ayers said it was also helpful that they had rich, hands-on experiences at PSU.

“I’ve had multiple opportunities to do medical mission trips,” Petersen said.

Ayers said his work with the Pre-Meds of Promise Program was an important part of his resume.

“It (Pre-Meds of Promise) has given me the opportunity to have a lot of patient interaction,” Ayers said. “That’s good, because (the admission committee) likes to know that we understand what we’re getting ourselves into.”

When Ayers and Petersen begin medical school this summer, they’ll be following in the footsteps of many PSU grads.

“Typically, we have about 20 students who apply to professional programs each year,” said Virginia Rider, biology professor and a pre-medical and pre-veterinary adviser. “Our success rate has not waivered substantially.”

In 2012, for example, 17 of the 18 students who applied to medical school were admitted. It’s a record that students note when choosing where to go to college.

“I had heard a lot about the pre-med program at PSU,” Petersen said. “I’ve wanted to be a doctor since second grade, so that was important.”