Freshman Year

Meet Academic Advisor - review course planning sheet, major choices, introduce study abroad option, summer school options. Plan to meet again before next semester registration.

Meet Premed/Prehealth Advisor - get to know advisor and resources available to prehealth students, sign up for listserve/twitter and/or facebook lists , review course planning sheet, make regular schedule of appointments each semester (1-3 times)

After attending class, select 2 faculty that you will get to know WELL this semester. (At the end of FY, you should know 3-4 faculty well and could call on them for a recommendation if need be. If you start this process NOW, you will have +/-10 faculty to PICK from once you apply to med school and need 5 recs.) 

Get into the habit of attending tutoring sessions, review sessions and office hours BEFORE you get behind or get confused. If you are on top of your work, these session will serve as a review. Consider being a tutor next year for this course. 

Investigate Career Center range of activities- resume workshops, internship fairs, research opportunities, mock interviews

Attend student activities fair - investigate 5+ clubs, join 3, actively participate in 3.

Seek clinical opportunities in community. Sign up for at least one activity this semester 2-6 hrs/wk.

Create working document for AAMC Core Competencies for Entering Medical School Students.

Always be on the look out for what you will do next summer. Deadlines can creep up on you. See Career Center, advisors, faculty, mentors for networking and ideas. See Summer and International Opportunities links on this website. 

In addition to school accounts, sign up for Facebook and/or Twitter notices for AAMCPremed, AMSA, and follow 3-5 medical schools. 

Before you leave for the summer, meet up again with your prehealth and general advisors to review your plans for the summer and if you are missing anything that needs to be addressed before/over/just after the summer (ex.: forms to be filled out for summer coursework taken elsewhere, major declaration forms). Perhaps they might remind you to research the study abroad options over the summer because applications are due in the fall. The idea is to start an ongoing relationship with your advisors and not just visit them when you have an immediate problem. They are a FOUNT of KNOWLEDGE, so get to know them and they will filter information to you. 


So what are you going to do? You have three months to fill it! You can do more than one thing. You can get a job, take a class AND volunteer as well. The more you do, the more experiences you have to reflect upon. Be busy! How about  taking a Psychology class, volunteer at your church summer camp, work with an autistic child in your neighborhood, work at a cafe (don't be afraid to make money). 

Clinical/health related experiences can come in all shapes and sizes. Think outside the box. Yes, you can work in a clinic or hospital, but also seek out other opportunities such as reading to an elderly person in the senior center, teaching dance classes to children with special needs, volunteering in a physical therapy setting or working at the local YMCA in the pool with physical therapy classes. Helping out a mom in your neighborhood with tutoring an austistic child can also be a great way to gain experience. 

Keep a document of volunteer, clinical and research opportunities. Make sure you  write down the dates worked, contact information and a short blurb about the experience including reflection on your thoughts, challenges and insights. Refer back to the AAMC Core Competencies for ideas. 


Sophomore Year

Meet with Academic Advisor

Meet with Premed/Prehealth Advisor - Check in. Get feedback on how your are progressing with your coursework, activities and how competitive do you look at this point? Do they see any weakness or areas that need attention? 

If you have not declared your major yet, seriously consider this decision. Seek advising, create preliminary course planning sheets to map out courses. This should be a priority in the fall semester.

Investigate Study Abroad deadlines.

Investigate Career Center activities, fairs and resources.

After attending class, select 2-3 faculty that you will get to know WELL this semester. (This is important because you will most certainly need a science recommendation from SOPH year for your medical school application.)

Attend Student Activities Fair. Sign up for new clubs or represent your club. Seek out leadership positions in clubs and activities that you feel passionate about. Don't always be a participant; be a leader. 

Broaden and deepen your clinical exposure. Up your volunteer hours.Keep up your regular volunteer work. Stay busy, stay balanced but not overwhelmed. 

If you have not done so already, seek out a research opportunity. Find these through your major advisor, prehealth advisor, network with your faculty, look on bulletin boards, targeted internet searches and the career center. Think broadly about research opportunities. Many universities have classes on what is research or how to do research so seek out these courses. 

Research can be scientific or not. It can be medically related or not. It can be wet or dry lab work, clinical research with patients even anthropology research related to your interests or major.The idea is that you are actively engaged in gathering data, collaborating with others on a new idea or way of thinking. The process of doing research enhances your critical thinking skills and contributes to collaborative learning.  Although research is not a requirement for medical school, it is very helpful and brings many intellectual benefits to your academic perspective.

Identify summer plans. Deadlines for competitive summer programs such as SHPEP are quite early so don't delay. Start your research in OCTOBER.

Take summer coursework if necessary. 


Continue to document your summer activities including reflection.

Consider studying abroad in the summer if you are not considering studying abroad during the academic year. Take a class. Volunteer. Collaborate with a faculty member on research opportunity abroad. Create your own opportunity abroad through your church connections, networking and faculty connections. Refer to the International Opportunities page for hints on how to conduct clinical work overseas. Remember, be creative. If the opportunity doe snot exist, make one! 








Junior/Senior  Year

Meet with Academic Advisor

Meet with Premed/Prehealth Advisor - Check in. Get feedback on how your are progressing with your coursework, activities and how competitive do you look at this point? Do they see any weakness or areas that need attention? Discuss when is the best time to apply and review timeline. 

Review courses that still need to be taken (ex.: Biology, Chemistry, Math, Physics, Psychology, Sociology, Biochemistry, English, do you have the correct number of labs, do you need any extra sciences?).

Decide when you will take the MCAT. NOTE: You need to take the MCAT BEFORE your apply so aim to take it in the spring before your apply in July. It is not a good idea to apply in July and take the MCATS, for the first time, in August.  It is ok to RETAKE them in August, however. It is always a good idea to discuss your timing and all retake ideas with your advisor or consultant. They can help you identify the possible advantages and disadvantages of your plan. 

Investigate the application process and decide when you will apply. This summer or next summer. 

UNDERSTANDING TIMING: If you submit the application in the summer following JUNIOR YEAR then you will go directly to medical school after graduation. If you apply in the summer following SENIOR YEAR then you will have a gap year to work, do research, clinicals and then matriculate one year later. The average age of medical school matriculants in 2016 was 25 so don't worry about taking a year off. Honestly, it can only enhance your application in this competitive process. 

Investigate the Fee Assistance Programs.

Apply EARLY...I can't stress this enough! Early is considered June/early July. Late is anytime after that. 

Apply when you are most ready. Don't rush an application just to apply and see how it goes. Being a re-applicant is a tough uphill battle. 





Are you applying this summer?

Meet with Premed/Prehealth Advisor - Check in. Get feedback on how your are progressing with your coursework, activities and how competitive do you look at this point? 

Do you (or you advisors) see any weakness or areas that need attention before you apply? Solicit honest feedback on weaknesses. Some can be addressed in a short amount of time while others need or require you to wait another application cycle.  

Is this the BEST time for you to apply? Is your application the strongest it could be? 

If  YES then consider the following:

1) Did you take the MCAT already? If not, when are you taking the MCAT? Are you happy with the score? Do you need to retake? 

2) Do you have +/- 5 faculty who could write you strong letters or reference?

3) How does your application look? Seek honest feedback from your premed advisor, faculty, consultant, mentors. You may feel ready to apply, but they might see some weaknesses that need to be addressed.

4) Continue your research on the application process through the AAMC resources and at your school. See the Newport Applicant page for details on application links and process. 

5) Sign upon for the MSAR and review prerequisites for each medical school you would like to apply. 

6) Determine who will write your recommendations and how they will submit them. See Career Center and Prehealth advisor for details. 

7) Create pack for each faculty writing you a reference including submission directions, deadlines, resume and motivation for medical schools/essay. Send handwritten thank you letters.

8) Request an official copy of your transcript. Review it for any mistakes and correct them ASAP. You will enter all coursework on your AMCAS using this official transcript. Unofficial ones may look slightly different than the original so work from the original.

9) In May, start looking for the new AMCAS application to open. Participate in tutorials, download the DIRECTIONS (many people skip this part but it's important), start filling it out. You can't submit yet, but chip away at the easy administrative data first, then move to the 15 activities then the essay. 

10) Print it. Proof it. Have others proof it. 

11) Submit early

12) Line up letters of rec and prepare for 

Apply when you are most ready. Don't rush an application just to apply and see how it goes.