Lyon College’s med school acceptance rate exceeds national average

Almost every Lyon student who took the Medical College Acceptance Test (MCAT) last cycle will be attending med school in the fall.

Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Alexander Beeser said nine out of 11 applicants were successful this year. Although the number of applicants varies year to year, Lyon significantly exceeds the national percentage average of student applicants matriculating into M.D. and D.O. programs.

Melanie Beehler, McKinley Fox, Thomas Maloney, Allison Mundy, Sean O’Leary, Zach Poe and Emerson Smith will all be attending the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). Hannah Zang will attend the Duke University School of Medicine, and Tressa Asbury will attend Kansas City University- Joplin Medical School.

Allison Mundy, ’21, of Bryant, said she was “over the moon” when she found out she was accepted into UAMS. She was initially on the alternate list and was waiting for a call when graduation came around.

“Saturday, I graduated with a B.S. in biology. Sunday, I got engaged to Zachary Ward, ‘21, and Monday I got the call I was going to medical school!”

Mundy continued, laughing, “I had quite the whirlwind of emotions in just three days!”

Hannah Zang, ’21, of McKinney, Texas, was “absolutely ecstatic” when she got accepted into Duke.

“It was such a long process. When I got the call, I was in complete shock,” Zang said. “I immediately called my mom afterwards crying, and we both celebrated over the phone. It absolutely made my day!”

“I am thrilled at the success of Lyon students this cycle,” said Beeser. “I think it speaks to how well Lyon academically prepares students, and the skills students obtain during their time here.”

How does Lyon achieve such high acceptance rates?

Melanie Beehler, ’20, of Pea Ridge, believes the rigorous academic curriculum and dedicated faculty prepare students for the medical school application process.

“Lyon gave me the confidence to succeed in my future goals,” she said.

Mundy agreed, saying she knew Lyon would prepare her for the academic challenges of being a physician because the College is known for its academic rigor. In addition to the foundational knowledge she received from the biology department, she said the College’s liberal arts approach pushed her to “be a better person both in and out of the classroom.

Associate Professor of English Dr. Wesley Beal and Professor of Philosophy Dr. Martha Beck helped Mundy develop communication and public service skills.

“Being a physician is much more than just knowing your sciences,” Mundy said. “You must also know how to communicate with people and learn how to meet them where they are. [Beal and Beck] taught me how to be a better local and global citizen.”

Not only does the coursework at Lyon prepare students for the MCAT, Zang said, but the College also has structures in place to help students with the entire application process, such as the Career Center and the pre-health professions program. She said Beeser was incredibly supportive in his role as the Pre-Health Profession Advisor.

“I’m lucky to have such a great mentor in my life,” Zang said.

Thomas Maloney, ’21, of Jonesboro, said the classes at Lyon may be challenging, but they forced students to develop good study habits.

“Take as many classes as you can that are related to courses on the MCAT,” he said. “Personally, I would say don’t put so much stress on whether you make an A or B in a certain course.”

Maloney continued, “It is more important that you retain the information you learn long term so you can use it to prepare for the MCAT.”

Beehler advises current students interested in medical school to find an older mentor to help them through the application process, such as understanding prerequisites and how to enhance their personal statements.

“Remember why you started the pre-med journey when it gets tough,” she said.

Zang encourages current students to explore the resources available to them, find a great support system and try new opportunities. She also recommends that they shadow physicians or volunteer at the White River Medical Center in Batesville and take the Health Coaching course at Lyon.

“The admission process is grueling, but Lyon provides all of the tools necessary to succeed,” she said.

“There is no such thing as a perfect application,” Mundy added. “There are one thousand things that ‘look good’ on an application, but it’s impossible to do them all.” 

She concluded, “You probably have achieved more than you think you have, so don’t be humble when filling out your application.”

“As the pre-professional health advisory chair, I know all of these students and am convinced they will make excellent physicians,” Beeser said.

He concluded, “This year is, by far, the largest number of students who worked exceedingly hard to get into medical school, and I could not be prouder of their accomplishments.”