Portraits of Milly Tenenbaum, in a lab coat standing outside in New York City, and Tommy Joseph, holding a blue rose and two red roses, wearing a lab coat and tie, with a stethoscope around his neck, at his Adelphi graduation.
Milly Tenenbaum '23 is now a student at NYU Dental School, while Tommy Joseph '23 is at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. Both were in the Honors College at Adelphi.

Meet two students in Adelphi’s highly selective—but life-changing—Early Assurance Program. One was able to start dentistry school at just 20 years old, while the other will already be a medical resident at 24—four years earlier than average.

Milly Tenenbaum ’23 had her future in mind by the time she was 16.

“I always knew I was biology-focused,” she said. “I knew I wanted to do something in the medical field.”

When Tenenbaum was a high school senior, she learned of Adelphi’s Early Assurance Program, which could fast-track her to dental school. She knew she had found her career path.

“The program solidified in my brain that this is what I’m going to do,” she said. “It relieves a lot of stressors. You have your spot at NYU Dental School. You don’t have to go through this crazy application process and get rejections. Plus, you shave a year off your education.”

The highly competitive Early Assurance Program works like this: Incoming first-year students who have high GPAs and SAT or ACT scores can apply for early acceptance into a medical, dental or law school at the same time they apply to Adelphi. If accepted into the highly competitive program, these undergrad students get a direct path into a prestigious graduate school at a partner university. They also get dual credit for classes taken in their senior year, so they earn doctorates faster and at less cost since they’re paying for one less year of school.

“It’s helping me reach my dream of being a doctor a lot faster,” said Tommy Joseph, ’23, a participant in the Early Assurance Program who is now in his second year at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM).

Dual Credit and Extra Advising

Adelphi also offers Joint Degree Programs that fast-track students into medical, pharmacy, optometry, physical therapy, podiatry, veterinary and engineering programs. Joint Degree Programs do offer dual credit for undergrad courses that count toward professional schools if the student is admitted. These students do not have guaranteed admission to professional schools. They must formally apply to them. But Joint Degree Programs increase the students’ chances of getting admitted to partner professional schools by giving them an extra layer of advising through the Office of Pre-Professional Advising and Fellowships.

Be a Doctor at 24

Milly Tenenbaum sits at a table, wearing a yellow disposable lab coat, purple lab gloves, and a blue surgical mask. She looks at the camera while working on a dental manikin.

Milly Tenenbaum in the lab at NYU Dental.

Tenenbaum, who was a student in Adelphi’s Honors College, began her first year at NYU Dental School while she was technically a senior at the University. “I was done at Adelphi after my junior year,” she explained. She got dual credit, so her first year at NYU counted toward completion of her BS in Biology.

Tenenbaum, 22, is now in her second year at NYU Dental School and on track to receive her degree by the time she’s 24. The average age most people finish dental school is 28, according to the American Dental Education Association, so the Joint Degree Program is getting Tenenbaum into a white coat a lot faster. The program is extremely competitive. Tenenbaum snared one of 10 seats in the Early Assurance Program with NYU Dental.

Tenenbaum said there have been some odd moments being in dental school at such a young age. “When I started dental school, some of my fellow students wanted to go out and get a drink to celebrate. I was 20, so I couldn’t legally drink,” she said.

She plans on going into general dentistry because she wants to serve a broad base of patients. As part of her training at NYU Dental, she is working in student-run clinics that serve low-income patients. The experience has opened the Brooklyn native’s eyes to the need for dental care for people who cannot afford to see a dentist.

“We go on outreaches to elementary schools in low-income areas, teach them about caring for their teeth and do exams on them,” Tenenbaum said. “I like serving people who need it the most.”

A Doctor Who Can Help People Sooner

Tommy Joseph smiles for the camera after graduation. He's wearing a lab coat and tie, with a stethoscope around his neck.

Tommy Joseph

Joseph is thrilled the Early Assurance Program is helping him reach his dream of being a doctor sooner. “I was able to enter med school at 20 years old,” he said. “I always knew I wanted to enter medicine, but I wanted to do clinical medicine as fast as possible. Adelphi’s program let me override the MCAT to focus on my studies and thesis. I’m grateful to this day that I was able to pursue my interest in medicine with just three years of undergrad.”

Joseph was also in the Honors College at Adelphi and credits the support he got from faculty as well as the Joint Degree Program for fast-tracking him to medical school. Joseph made a tough cut, too. Just five students get into LECOM as first-year undergrad students through the Early Assurance Program.

Joseph was born in India and immigrated to the United States when he was 5. His family moved to East Meadow, New York, and that is where he went to high school and learned of the Joint Degree Program at Adelphi. “I knew I wanted to be a doctor very young,” he says. “I was raised as an Orthodox Christian, which placed service to the community and helping out your fellow man as the most noble acts one can do. I decided that the best thing I could do for myself and my community was to pursue medicine.”

Joseph, who is now 21, said he’ll be a resident by the time he is 24. “Considering that the average age of a medical resident in the U.S. is 28, I’m grateful I’ll have more time to decide what my specialty will be.” He’s considering cardiology, neurology and anesthesiology.

“I’m very excited by the prospect that I will be able to help patients one day, no matter the specialty,” Joseph said.

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