If you are absolutely certain that you want to pursue a medical education, applying to early admissions programs (EAPs) can give you the freedom to pursue any major. The Icahn School of Medicine’s FlexMed Program accepts students in the second semester of their sophomore year from all majors—the more diverse, the better.
- 2 semesters of college biology, or
- 2 semesters of college chemistry, or
- 2 semesters of college physics
You don’t need to take any additional prereq courses or the MCAT. FlexMed does use SAT and ACT scores to evaluate students and high school transcripts as well as any grades you’ve earned so far in college.
The program is only open to sophomores. If you already have a Bachelor’s Degree, you are not eligible to apply. You can take one or two years off before starting medical school. Foreign applicants are welcome to apply, but there is no financial aid available to you.
To gain an acceptance to an EAP, including Icahn’s FlexMed, here are three tips:
- Highlight your experience with collaboration and team building.
Showcase team sports, debate teams, or any other form of collaboration to illustrate how well you work with others. Medicine is like a team sport. It’s very much about being able to communicate quickly and effectively with people of all backgrounds, ethnicities, languages, religions and sexualities. Any way that you can demonstrate your sensitivity to others and the success of your collaborations can help you become a more competitive applicant.
- Seek as much clinical experience as possible in different areas of medicine.
It is absolutely necessary to demonstrate your commitment to medicine. The best way to do so is to gain lots of valuable clinical experience. Shadowing is considered the most passive form of clinical experience. Look for more active forms of clinical work. You can teach nutrition to middle school children, educate high school students about safe sex, or volunteer in a hospital. There are many different types of clinical experience; they don’t have to be in a hospital setting to be considered clinical. By exploring as many different areas as you can, you will not only be gaining valuable information about the areas you prefer, but also you will be able to prove by your years of service that you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.
- Demonstrate a commitment to academic excellence.
EAPs evaluate applicants based on the strength of their academic record as well as their SAT scores. Once accepted into a program, one of the requirements is that you maintain a GPA of 3.5 or higher, for most programs including FlexMed. Since they accept students of all majors, your grades will hold that much more weight. You can also improve your application by winning academic awards or recognition, by completing research projects or publishing articles, or by pursuing special interests in related fields.
To review, EAPs are looking for candidates who:
- Are certain about a career in medicine
- Can demonstrate diversity through ethnicity, background or fields of study
- Have significant clinical experience
- Are team players
- Excel academically
Using these three strategies will significantly improve the strength of your application. For more assistance, you are welcome to contact me or one of my colleagues to assist you on an individual basis.
EAPs offer wonderful opportunities to broaden your interests while working towards your medical degree.