Yale system remains a strong draw

Incoming students cited the quality of faculty, research opportunities and the thesis requirement.

Kwame and Kofi Atsina went to different colleges and have different interests, but when it came time to apply to medical schools, both put Yale on their lists. In September the brothers from Ghana were among the 100 first-year students in the Class of 2011 at the White Coat Ceremony, the annual even that welcomes students to the field of medicine.

“I never knew that we’d end up at the same school,” said Kwame, who attended Lehigh University. “I never guessed we could be so fortunate.”

“I’ll want to know where he is and what he’s doing, but I have to give him space. He’s an adult now,” said his big brother Kofi, who is 15 months older and graduated from Yale College.

Director of Admissions Richard Silverman said the Atsinas aren’t the first sibling pair to be admitted to the medical school in the same class, but he agrees the odds are long—especially this year. Silverman said the school received 4,056 applications for 100 slots, the highest number in the school’s history and a 9.7 percent jump over last year.

As always, the Yale system remains a big attraction for incoming students. According to a survey Silverman conducted, students said it was their main reason for choosing Yale. They also cited the school’s reputation, research opportunities, the quality of faculty and students and the requirement to write a research thesis.

“High school was very competitive,” said George Hauser. “I wanted to learn for the sake of learning.”

“I fell in love with the vibe,” said Melanie Johncilla. “The lack of competition. The spirit of teamwork.”

In his opening remarks at the ceremony, Dean Robert J. Alpern, M.D., Ensign Professor of Medicine, said that the Yale system didn’t dispense with grades and rankings to make it easier for students. “We expect greater things from you than grades,” he said. “We expect you to become leaders in the medical world.”

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