Academic preparation for medical school
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ACADEMIC PREPARATION FOR MEDICAL SCHOOL. Medicine Needs YOU. … African Americans, Latinos/as, and Native Americans comprise 25 percent of the U.S. population, but only 12 percent of US medical student graduates and only 6 percent of physicians in practice...

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Academic preparation for medical school


Medicine needs you

Medicine Needs YOU

… African Americans, Latinos/as, and Native Americans comprise 25 percent of the U.S. population, but only 12 percent of US medical student graduates and only 6 percent of physicians in practice...

So we’re offering our advice in hopes that you will be able to join the ranks and thereby increase the percentages

There is no magic formula for getting into medical school

There is no magic formula for getting into medical school

Important Considerations

  • We, University of Chicago students, didn’t have an identical journey to medical school

General pre med pointers

General Pre-med Pointers

  • Take the time to find out how you learn and to determine what mixture of studying techniques works the best for you

  • Get to know your professors

    • Helps you understand and enjoy the material more – and is a great way to begin cultivating relationships for LOR!

  • Utilize your resources! Go to office hours, review sessions and your learning center

General pre med pointers1

General Pre-med Pointers

  • Research is good to have on your application-whether it is basic science, clinical or social sciences research

  • Continuity of extracurricular activities is good to have on your application

    • Conveys passion about the activities in which you were involved

    • Being involved in some of your activities consecutive years and holding leadership positions in these activities are good ideas

General pre med pointers2

General Pre-med Pointers

  • Activities/Organizations to Consider

    • Activities in which you are genuinely interested

    • Organizations that allow you to use your talents

    • Outreach activities that acquaint you to community issues

    • Health or medically oriented programs/projects that provide or reinforce reasons for wanting to become a physician

    • Activities that allow you to add to your sense of self

General pre med pointers3

General Pre-med Pointers

  • Your success during your freshman year will not determine whether or not you are accepted into medical school

    • A strong upward trend and having a long pattern of excellence by the time you apply 

    • You can fail classes your freshman year and still go to med school 

  • Find an activity that de-stresses you and do it regularly

Freshman year

freshman year

  • Choose in which organizations you would like to be involved, and run/apply for leadership positions in them at the end of the year

  • Choose a volunteer activity about which you are passionate, and engage in the volunteer activity

  • Meet with a premed advisor and make an honest assessment of where you are in your pre-med path.

Freshman year1

freshman year

  • Determine what you want to do this summer

    • SMDEP, work in a lab, or do something different

  • Find a class that really fascinates you to take next year

  • Think about whether or not you want to go abroad

  • Choose a clinically related activity in which to get involved during your sophomore year and possibly during the upcoming summer

Freshman year2

freshman year

  • Chicago Academic Medicine Program

    • 6-week non-residential tuition-free summer program for freshman and sophomores

    • Helps students build knowledge base and academic skills for success in a pre-med program

      • Group-learning and team-building projects

      • Interactive lectures on 3 major organ systems

      • Clinical shadowing opportunities

      • Pre-medical advising

      • $1000 stipend

    • Application Deadline: Monday, March 14, 2011

Freshman year3

freshman year

  • Start saving up for an MCAT class (if you want to take one), application fees and the interview trail

    • MCAT class-$1800

    • Application Fees-$2000

      • Note: AAMC will reduce your application fees if you can show financial need

        • AAMC Fee Assistance Program (FAP) –

    • Interview-$300-$400/interview (assuming a flight and a hotel stay)

Sophomore year

sophomore year

  • Engage in a clinical experience

  • Volunteer

  • Pursue leadership positions again for your junior year

  • Decide when you want to take the MCAT

  • If you can complete the pre-med requirements early, consider taking the MCAT early (e.g. summer before junior year or during winter break of junior year)

Sophomore year1

sophomore year

  • Decide on the science classes in which you are going to obtain letters of recommendation from professors

  • Plan your junior year schedule so that you can focus on doing well in those classes

  • Plan to do something geared toward your pre-med path this summer

  • If you are interested in working in a lab, make sure you investigate summer research programs at your institution and elsewhere

Sophomore year2

sophomore year

  • Pritzker School of Medicine Experience in Research (PSOMER)

    • 8-week research, education, and mentoring experience with University of Chicago faculty

      • Research presentation at the end of the program

      • Advising sessions with Pritzker admissions officers

      • $3,200 stipend

      • Participants will live on campus

    • Projects range from basic science laboratory to clinical research projects

    • Application Deadline: Monday, March 7, 2011

Sophomore year3

sophomore year

  • Meet with a pre-med advisor and make an honest assessment of where you are in your pre-med path

  • “Developing Application Portfolio” Handout

  • Decide on additional experiences and classes that would be helpful in order be competitive for medical school

  • Consider whether or not you want to apply during your senior year or take some time off

Junior senior year

junior/senior year

  • Take the MCAT

  • Take all subjects on the MCAT-biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics-before taking the MCAT

  • Register early-spots fill up very quickly

  • Also, sign up with the AAMC Medical Minority Applicant Registry (Med-Mar) Program when you take the MCAT

Junior senior year1

junior/senior year

  • If you can afford it, consider an MCAT Class

  • Pros-

    • Structured study regimen

    • Additional resources-lectures, books, practice exams

  • Cons-

    • Costly

    • A waste if you do not apply yourself

    • Not absolutely necessary-but have to be very disciplined if do not take a class

Junior senior year2

junior/senior year

  • Alternatives to taking a class:

    • Study from review books specifically made for the MCAT as not all topics on the MCAT are covered in college courses

    • Look for summer programs or scholarships that provide free or reduced MCAT prep

    • The AAMC provides one free practice exam online  Order others for $35 each from website


Junior senior year3

junior/senior year

  • Take the MCAT during the summer or after/during a light semester

    • MCAT=2 Classes

    • Understand that preparing for the MCAT is like preparing for a marathon

  • Allot at least 3 months of intensive studying


  • Take at least 6 practice exams before you take the exam

Junior senior year4

junior/senior year

  • Obtain letters of recommendation

    • Provide your CV and personal statement to all recommenders

    • Give recommenders at least 1.5 months

    • If recommender will be mailing your recommendation, provide an addressed and stamped envelope

Junior senior year5

junior/senior year

  • Determine whether or not you want to apply during your senior year or take some time off

  • The gap year will never hurt you – it is better to apply once you're the best candidate you will be

  • “Are You Applying This Year?” Handout

    • Engage in a clinical experience

  • Volunteer

  • Application process

    application process

    • Review requirements of each school and the average GPA and MCAT scores of accepted students

    • Determine your “safety,” “feasible” and “reach” schools

    The msar aka your best friend

    The MSAR aka Your Best Friend

    • The Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR) profiles ever medical school in the US, Canada

    • Check the MSAR well before applying to see the school’s numbers , requirements, and curricula

    Another essential text msousms

    Another Essential Text: MSOUSMS

    • Review Minority Student Opportunities in US Medical Schools (MSOUSMS) – learn about recruitment, applicant and matriculant data by gender, race and ethnicity

    • Also provides descriptions of programs designed to provide opportunities for racial/ethnic groups underrepresented in medical education

      • E.g. summer programs and educational partnerships

    Application process1

    application process


      • Many schools have rolling admissions, so when you apply is very very important!

    • Submit your AMCAS primary application by July 4th

    • Obtain sample interview questions from a pre-med website

    • Do 2-3 mock interviews before you have your first interview

    Application process2

    application process

    • Research each school thoroughly before you interview

      • Write down questions that you would like to ask your interviewers

    • Try to stay with a host when you interview

    • Send thank-you cards to your interviewers after each interview

    Good luck


    Academic preparation 0bfor medical school

    • For Additional Questions: [email protected]

    • Thank You To:

      • Washington University in St. Louis College of Arts and Sciences

      • University of Pennsylvania Office for Diversity and Community Outreach

    • Powerpoint is available at

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