USFSM and LECOM have established an admissions program.

USF Sarasota-Manatee, LECOM establish early acceptance program

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: July 25, 2017

SARASOTA, Fla. (July 25, 2017)USF Sarasota-Manatee has finalized agreements with LECOM (Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine) for admission to its dental and osteopathic medical schools, providing a direct path for USFSM students to pursue medical degrees after graduation.

Under the campus’ Early Acceptance (EA) programs, qualified USF Sarasota-Manatee students will be guaranteed acceptance to LECOM to pursue either a Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD) or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) after finishing their degrees at USFSM.

“We are thrilled to partner with LECOM to offer additional program pathways for our students to pursue,” said Dr. Terry Osborn, interim regional chancellor at USFSM. “With our growing emphasis on STEM, we are eager for our students to have opportunities to continue their education locally.”

Both the DMD and DO programs are offered at LECOM’s Lakewood Ranch campus in Manatee County. Or, for the DO degree, students may opt to study at LECOM’s Lake Erie, Penn., campus, where LECOM is based.

USFSM and LECOM approved the EA programs last month after deciding in February to develop criteria for guaranteed admissions.

Each EA program consists of two phases. The first covers entry to the programs at the undergraduate level. Admission is open to first- and second-year USFSM students and high school seniors who’ve been accepted to USFSM. LECOM will accept up to five students per year for each program. Accepted students will receive provisional letters of acceptance from LECOM.

The second phase concerns entry to medical or dental school. Among other requirements, applicants must satisfy minimum course and GPA targets while at USFSM, undergo an interview and submit applications to LECOM. Applicants accepted to the medical program will not be required to take the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test); however, students in the dental program will need to take the Dental Admission Test (DAT).

“While students have always been able to come here and then go to medical school after graduating, I think it is great that we have a partnership with a local medical and dental school,” said Dr. Paul Kirchman, dean of the College of Science & Mathematics. “We are providing more opportunity for local students and we will attract even more students from outside the area.”

The agreement is expected to help grow interest at USFSM, which has steadily risen since the campus transitioned to a four-year institution and admitted freshman students in 2014. Last year, in response to labor trends and regional job forecasts calling for more science-based careers, the campus established a College of Science & Mathematics and hired Dr. Kirchman to lead it.

The admission agreements with LECOM are a continuation of that effort. They come after the creation of similar programs with USF’s colleges of nursing and engineering. Additionally, the campus recently signed an admissions agreement with Stetson University College of Law.

“Keeping young professionals in the area is, of course, part of what I see as our mission,” Dr. Kirchman said. “The area does need doctors and nurses, and that need will only increase in the future with the growing and aging population.”

LECOM welcomes the agreement as well and notes that it provides its students a comprehensive learning experience.

“The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine is seeking medical and dental students who will excel in academics, clinical care, research and community service,” said John Wojtkielewicz, institutional director of undergraduate affiliations. “LECOM feels that by offering students reserved seats in its medical and dental schools as incoming USFSM freshmen, we can provide them with a great opportunity for an excellent educational experience both at USFSM and LECOM.

“Our graduates are committed to serving those in their communities who are in need of professional health care. This agreement with USFSM will attract the students we seek and will not only benefit our schools, but also the citizens of the Sarasota-Manatee community,” he said.

To learn more about LECOM’s Early Acceptance programs visit

For more about USF Sarasota-Manatee, visit

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