NEW AGREEMENT — Bethany College President Jamie Caridi, left, and West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine President Jim Nemitz both sign a memorandum of understanding between the schools for a new early acceptance program that guarantees students who meet the qualifications entry into the medical school. — Shelley Hanson

BETHANY — Bethany College students who meet certain requirements will now be guaranteed entry into the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine thanks to a memorandum of understanding between the institutions of higher learning.

The agreement was signed Wednesday by the heads of both schools — Bethany College President Jamie Caridi and West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine President Jim Nemitz — during a ceremony at Bethany College’s Phillips Hall.

The early acceptance program, aka pre-osteopathic medicine program, is for qualified juniors. The students must meeting the following requirements to be eligible for the program:

— Have a science GPA of 3.4 or higher;

— Be a United States resident or permanent citizen; and

— Complete eight hours of biology with labs and eight hours of general chemistry with labs.

Eligible students must have a letter of recommendation from their pre-osteopathic medicine program adviser. Students must also go through an interview process.

“Students who meet metrics and show potential will receive conditional acceptance to WVSOM. The final acceptance will be based on the students maintaining a certain GPA, a 500 or better on the Medical College Admission Test and other criteria,” according to information provided by the schools.

“It’s a partnership that will ensure that qualified Bethany College students are guaranteed a 100 percent acceptance rate into the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine,” Nemitz said. “Let me give you some context — last year in America more than 62,000 undergraduates applied to medical schools. Of those 62,000 graduates only roughly one-third were admitted.”

He added that at WVSOM, fewer than 10 percent of applicants were admitted. However, because of the new partnership, Bethany College students “will be guaranteed a seat at one of the best medical schools in the country,” he said.

Caridi described the partnership as a win for both schools and for the students.

“Ultimately it’s about helping students become what they want to become,” he said. “Ultimately it’s about serving others.”

Caridi said the medical school is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

“We’re trying to make it easier for you to get access to a medical education,” he said. “You can become anything you want to be. … The point with this program is that you do your job of working hard, you get accepted into our program and then we give you the education to be what you want to become.”

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