[Skip to Content]
An image of the Syracuse University campus.

Syracuse University, SUNY ESF and Spelman College partner with Upstate for Accelerated Scholars program

Upstate Medical University has recently partnered with three new schools for its Accelerated Scholars Program, which guarantees a student’s admission to the College of Medicine.

New to the program are SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse University and Spelman College, a historical black college in Atlanta. The three new schools—two of which are in very close proximity to Upstate—join 11 schools already in the program.

The Accelerated Scholars program allows students to declare their desire to enter medical school as soon as their senior year of high school and with some partners, as freshmen in college. By enrolling in the program, students are guaranteed admission to Upstate Medical University as long as their undergraduate requirements—as agreed upon by both schools—are met.

SUNY ESF and Syracuse University are also creating special tracks that would allow students to complete their undergraduate degrees in three years, followed by four years of medical school. Students in those tracks would follow a very specific course of study, likely in biology or bio technology, said Krystal Ripa, director of special admissions programs at Upstate.

Upstate’s strong desire to diversify the physician workforce and make medical school more accessible is at the heart of expanding the program, Ripa said. Accelerated Scholars can save time and money as the program does not require the MCAT, the standardized exam usually required to attend medical school. Preparing for and taking the exam can be time-consuming and expensive and the program helps students save time and money on application fees, campus visits and interviews, Ripa said.

Two of Upstate’s latest partners—ESF and SU—are almost next-door neighbors to the medical school campus and have been long-time Upstate collaborators.

“The ESF-Upstate Accelerated Scholars Program provides another avenue for our students to find ways to improve their world, this time through healthcare fields. There is a clear connection between the degradation of environmental systems and negative impacts on human health and so it makes complete sense that some of ESF’s students would be interested in the intersection between the environment and human health,” said Dr. David Amberg, ESF interim president. “We have had a strong research collaboration with Upstate in environmental health and medicine for several years and so it is a natural progression to look at joint educational programs in this critical area.”

The unique “3+4” program, available through SU and in development at ESF will be attractive options for students seeking to complete their undergraduate degrees and medical school in just seven years.

“Syracuse University is excited to partner with Upstate Medical University to offer to pathways to medical school,” said Lauren L. Hunter, PhD, director of pre-health advising at Syracuse University. “The 3+4 program allows motivated students to enter medical school after their third year of study toward the BA in biology at Syracuse University and the 4+4 program allows students the flexibility to choose any major while also providing the assurance of having already been offered a seat in medical school.”

Partnering with Spelman will help add additional diversity on many levels to the incoming cohorts of medical students.

“A targeted approach to diversity that extends beyond the talking points is critical to the success of all institutions,” said Neiger Green, Upstate special territory admissions advisor based in Atlanta. “Research shows that diversity in culture, ethnicities, experiences and thoughts aids for a more complete and thorough engagement for all involved. We know that diversity is more than numbers, but seats at the table and audience. HBCUs and the graduates of HBCUs are a primary and critical piece of the puzzle.”

Students in the Accelerated Scholars program will participate in summer programming that includes education in areas such as critical thinking, effective communication and ethical thinking. The summer programming topics are built around the Association of American Medical Colleges’ core competencies for entering medical school. Throughout the process, from initial contact in high school or freshman year of college until they begin medical school, Upstate staff will communicate with the students regularly. That dialogue and ongoing assessment ensures they are meeting requirements along the way and are prepared, Ripa said.