Kirkland Pre-Med Information

Main Contact Email for the Pre-Med team:

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Kirkland's 2018-19 Pre-Med Tutors: Dawn Comstock, Gil Weintraub, Juila Pian, and Rachel Tandias

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.

Be sure to explore our links on the right for helpful handouts completing pre-medical course requirements and navigating the application process.

  • Premed coursework includes: Biology, Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physics, Math, and English
  • MCAT: 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.

Application Year

(also see docs on the right)

  • OCS:
    • The OCS is a valuable resource for prospective and current medical school applicants. Please refer to the OCS website for advising opportunities and a central repository with up to date information about applying to medical school.
    • If you are a current applicant for the 2018 cycle or an alumni planning to apply to a future cycle, be sure to subscribe to the OCS Medical School Applicant Listserv using a address (@college, @post, or to recieve important reminders and updates. 
  • MCAT:
  • Letters of recommendation:
    • Letters of Recommendation (3-6 total in your final packet):
      • Tips to share with 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"
      • Every letter must be returned with a Kirkland Confidentiality Waiver signed by you and your letter-writer, available here.
      • Check the OCS website for more advice on asking for letters of recommendation.
  • 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 step-by-step PDF for completing AMCAS (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!
    • Be sure to review the OCS Guide for personal statements
  • Preparing for interviews:
    • Look at sample interview questions, which can be found on the following website and prepare some possible answers:
    • 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!