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Advisory College Learning Communities

Cooper Medical School of Rowan University (CMSRU) offers a comprehensive system of career and academic advising for students known as the Advisory College Learning Community system. This system consists of faculty members who serve as advisory college directors, career coaches, and subspecialty mentors, representing a variety of medical specialties.

How it works

During Orientation Week at CMSRU, first-year students find out which Advisory College they belong to during the Advisory College Sorting Ceremony – an exciting event and a rite of passage for all new CMSRU medical students. During the event, first-year students find out not only which of the four Advisory Colleges they are in, but they also find out which primary career and academic advisor they are paired with, in addition to who their student peer advisory liaison (PAL) is. A PAL is a second-year student who is also a member of the same advisory college learning community.

The four Advisory Colleges are named after the following noteworthy and impactful physicians:

  • Elizabeth Blackwell
  • Harvey Cushing
  • Benjamin Rush
  • William Osler

Designed to provide long-term support

Each advisory college learning community has four advisors, including a senior director. Each primary career and academic advisor is paired with individual students for the duration of the student's matriculation in medical school, and they support each student as a general career advisor over their four years in the medical education program. The primary advisor to whom the student is assigned will guide the student with their academic progress and career choices, in addition to supporting physical and mental wellness. Within the colleges, planned individual and group meetings and activities occur regularly. 

The Careers in Medicine program (CiM®) of the Association of American Medical Colleges is an important resource CMSRU uses and is introduced to students in their first year. The primary advisors will guide their advisees through the curriculum each year for optimal use of this important resource.

Access to career coaches

As a part of the robust career advising system, career coaches are also available to assist first- and second- year students with decisions regarding specialty career choices, as well as directing them to research, networking opportunities, and other support, as appropriate. As students progress to the third and fourth years of the medical education program and have decided on a specialty, subspecialty mentors are available to provide additional support as students prepare to become residency competitive.

Building a sense of community and school spirit

Each advisory college learning community creates and builds its own identity through their assigned students. The volunteer opportunities for which they choose to serve the community and the medical school, will be determined by the students, with the primary advisors serving as a guide. The annual CMSRU Advisory College Cup Challenge (points-based challenge), includes scheduled activities and challenges (points-based) occurring throughout the academic year, culminating in a friendly activities based competition between the colleges, providing bragging rights to the college who “wins” the College Cup.