Main Contact Email for Pre-Med:

Kirkland's 2016-17 Pre-Med Tutors: Alyssa Botelho, Mai Anh Huynh, and Sarvagna Patel

General Information:
Choosing medicine means you'll have a long road ahead of you (i.e. 4 yrs med school, 3-5+ yrs residency, 1-3+ yrs fellowship), so make sure you do your homework and know what you are getting into! Read about the profession, get involved in shadowing or volunteer experiences in medicine, have conversations with your family, friends, and advisors about the decision.


  • The OCS (Office of Career Services) hosts workshops, and has additional advising hours (including online chat hours) during the year. Please see the OCS premed website for the most up-to-date information. 


Myth 1. I have to go straight from college to medical schoolMost students take on average 1-5 years off between college and medical school, and the activities that our alumni pursue often result in even stronger medical school applications. Feel free to discuss this option with us during office hours.

Myth 2. I have to choose a science concentration or do basic science research. Apart from taking the common premedical requirements, you can do the bulk of your coursework in any department of your choice. In fact, about half of a medical school class is composed of non-science majors. You can also do research in any area of your interest (including humanities, social sciences, clinical medicine, etc.). Studying what you enjoy, rather than something you feel obligated to do, can also result in improved grades and better evaluations.

Myth 3. My GPA is so low that I should just give up now. Grades are just one component of the overall application, which includes your clinical experience, extracurriculars/work experiences, MCATs, letters of recommendation, personal statement, etc. Although getting good grades in both science and non-science classes is important to show medical schools that you can handle the academic courseload, demonstrating an upward trajectory in your grades is always helpful (so keep working hard!). There are also post-graduate academic studies that you can enroll in to demonstrate that you can handle a rigorous program of study. If you have more questions, come and talk with us about this during office hours. 

  • Premed coursework includes: Biology, Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physics, Math, English
  • MCATs: many dates to choose from, aim to do well the first time (especially if your GPA is not that strong)! Remember to respect the test; it takes practice to do well, so give yourself enough time to prepare.
  • Research: It can be in any field, and it can be in the classroom (e.g. senior thesis) or outside of it, as long as you demonstrate your ability to think independently and develop hypotheses, etc. 
  • More Tips: Remember that you can concentrate in any field/department. While you're in college, showing an upward trajectory in your grades is always helpful. You can take some of your premed requirements after graduation if you need to. You don't need a perfect 4.0 to go to med school, but showing that you can handle the academic coursework is a must.
  • Make sure medicine is for you! If you're not sure, think about starting with shadowing experiences. Email one of the premed tutors for a list of Kirkland non-resident physicians that you can shadow.
  • Get involved in service/ volunteer opportunities, they don't necessarily have to be inside the hospital. Choose activities that are appropriate for your training level and abilities (a.k.a., "first, do no harm"). OCS has a good list of clinical opportunities.
  • Do the things you love (these will make you stand out from the crowd), and pursue leadership opportunities as they arise in your extracurricular activities. It's also good to demonstrate long-term commitment.
  • More from OCS

Application Year

(also see docs on the right)

  • MCAT:
  • Letters of recommendation:
    • Letters of Recommendation (3-6 total in your final packet):
      • Tips for new letter writers on how to write recommendation letters for medical schools, as well as on asking for letters
      • Ask for letters to be printed on official stationery, addressed to "Dear Medical School Admissions Committee"
      • Waiver form (available on Resident Dean's page under "Forms...")
    • Take the MCATs (aim to do well the first time!) before or by July 2017 (for students applying summer 2017). Some  practice questions are online.
  • AMCAS application:
    • The AMCAS is analogous to an electronic Common Application for medical schools. Start filling it out early (recommended to submit in early June), and use the OCS FAQ's (specific for Harvard students) to help you with the application.
  • Personal statement:
    • Plan for about 4-6 weeks to work on your personal statement. Make sure to get plenty of feedback from your friends, family, advisors, and even strangers!
  • Preparing for interviews: (more)
    • 1) Look at sample interview questions, which can be found on the following website and prepare some possible answers:
      2) Resume: Prepare a 3-5 sentence description of each of the activities on your resume (at the level that your parents or roommate would understand). Also prepare a short story (~5 sentences) highlighting a specific example of what you did. Practice saying these out loud.