The second-most diverse university in the United States in terms of both their student and faculty bodies, Charles Drew University (CDU) of Medicine and Science is home to one of only four Historically Black Medical Colleges in the US.
For 40 years, CDU College of Medicine operated in partnership with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), having students complete a combined program with their first two years of study at UCLA and then finishing their final two years at CDU. 2022 marked the next step for the medical school as they received their accreditation and launched a standalone four-year medical school program.
With that transition, came the need to develop their own admissions process.
Building an efficient admissions process for a small team
“Through our partnership with UCLA we had experience with Kira Talent's Live Interviewing, which UCLA used to conduct their Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs),” shared CDU College of Medicine’s Assistant Dean of Admissions and Student Affairs, Margarita Loeza. “Having seen first-hand the efficiency and ease of the platform, we knew it would be a great tool for us to have in our admissions process as we grow our new program.”
For their first admissions cycle, CDU College of Medicine stuck to the basics, conducting two twenty-minute interviews per applicant.
“We wanted to meet and assess applicants like we did in the MMIs, but needed a way to do that which was more streamlined and required less of a time commitment for our faculty,” explained Loeza.
“Last year we received 974 applications, of whom 363 were invited to interview,” continued Loeza. “Each of these applicants completed two twenty-minute interviews on Kira, the first focused on the student and their life, and the second focused on their academic knowledge and experience.”
“Once the interviews are complete, we bring the entire application to the admissions committee and they make admissions decisions including which applicants will receive an offer, a rejection, or a waitlist status,” she added. “That’s how we build our cohort of 60 students.”
Creating a warm experience for applicants
Heading into their second admissions cycle, Kira made it easy for CDU College of Medicine to make adjustments and additions to their interview process based on feedback from applicants and faculty.
“We were able to easily make changes to our rubrics as well as some of our questions, to better hone in on the competencies that we want to assess,” Loeza explained. “This year, we’ve also added an introduction video into the check-in process to give applicants a warm welcome and proactively answer some questions that we got from applicants last year.”
Scaling admissions to fit a growing program
The efficiency that Kira lends to CDU College of Medicine’s admissions process is especially important as their applicant pool continues to grow.
“This year, we’ve already received more than 3000 applicants, and the application doesn’t close for a few more months still” Loeza shared. “We’re maintaining our class size for the foreseeable future, so we depend on our ability to efficiently identify the right applicants for our school. Kira Talent helps us do that.”