Premedical Handbook and Self-Assessment Guide

The Premedical Handbook and Self-Assessment Guide reflects the insights of premedical advisors, successful medical students, medical school faculty, and Committee on Admissions members. Designed to organize your planning and preparation for medical school, it contains information and advice that the College of Human Medicine associates with a successful medical school application.

As you identify yourself as a possible future physician, you enter an exciting and busy time. Along with all the other joys and demands of life, it is a time to:

  • Challenge your talent and satisfaction in working with the sciences

  • Tap into your abilities and energy as you put altruism into action

  • Test your tolerance of an intellectually and physically rigorous lifestyle

  • Explore your communication skills and leadership potential

  • Engage in realistic self-appraisal and self-improvement efforts

Following these guidelines will help confirm your career direction as you prepare for the profession. The Premedical Handbook outlines the foundation for successful preparation. Following this guide and your premedical advisor’s advice will assist you in becoming a well-rounded applicant; however, it does not assure medical school admission. Some applicants apply prematurely and may not yet have the experience base or academic profile to predict success. Others may be well-prepared, yet were not selected for admission in a given application cycle. Take time to reflect on your goals and abilities as you proceed, and consider alternatives as appropriate.

If our mission is consistent with your career goals and our curriculum is consistent with your learning style, we encourage you to apply to the College of Human Medicine. Please take some time to visit the pages within our website to learn more about us.

The Self-Assessment Guide will help you evaluate your experiences and personal development. Ideally, you will begin your self-assessment early in your college experience to guide and record your preparation. Please do not assume that the order in which topics appear reflects an order of importance. We also suggest you visit the AAMC site, Considering a Career in Medicine, for additional information to think about while preparing to apply to medical school.

We encourage current applicants to review the Self-Assessment Guide as they complete secondary applications, prepare for interviews, and plan for possible reapplication. All medical school applicants should continue to develop themselves as potential medical students and future physicians throughout the application year.

Click here to download a printer-friendly version of the Premedical Handbook. Click here to download the Self-Assessment Guide. 

Premedical Handbook

General Recommendations


High School Students

Postbaccalaureate Students


American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS)

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)


Academic Preparation

Premedical Requirements


Medical/Clinical Experiences

Community Service Experiences


Group and Leadership Experiences

Research Experiences


Personal Qualities/
Professional Behavior

Letters of Evaluation


Financial Aid

Application Review Process


Scheduling an Appointment with an Admissions Counselor

Self-Assessment Guide

Assessing your Application


Personal Record of Experiences

Sample Time Line for Preparation



Medical School Application General Recommendations
  • Review your Self-Assessment Guide and work hard to develop strategies to override any deficiencies you find prior to application. If you are not initially admitted, reassess and correct your deficiencies if you intend to reapply.

  • Develop a budget and identify resources to cover medical school application expenses. Consider the cost of the AMCAS application, the MCAT, application fees for individual schools, transportation, accommodations, and wardrobe. For more information, the AAMC website discusses the The Cost of Applying to Medical School.

  • While your AMCAS application can be submitted for verification in early June, the College of Human Medicine encourages you to submit your best application to AMCAS. This may mean you will want to wait until you receive summer grades or complete summer clinical experiences or research projects. However, be aware that other medical schools do operate on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • Develop a career contingency plan for your future in case medical school is not a realistic goal for you at this time.

  • Refer to the sections of your Self-Assessment Guide that list all your activities (medical/clinical, community service, group/leadership, research, and employment) since high school. Be sure these activities are incorporated into your application.

  • Refer to the sections of your Self-Assessment Guide that list the insights you gained through your experiences. Use these to enrich your personal statement and secondary essays.

  • Take special care with your written (AMCAS and secondary) applications. Be sure there are no careless errors. Use a proofreader in addition to spell check.

  • Write your own responses for the AMCAS personal statement and secondary essays. Do not permit proofreaders to alter the content of your statements.

  • If you are a science major, be sure you have taken enriching courses in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

  • If you are a nonscience major, be sure that you have acquired science knowledge that will support success in the rigorous, fast-paced science curriculum of medical school. Required premedical science courses make you eligible to enroll, but may not be sufficient preparation.

  • Be thoughtful about medical ethics and moral problems in medicine. Take a medical ethics course, if possible, or read about medical ethics.

  • Be familiar with health care reform and the issues that health care professionals confront. If possible, take a sociology of health care systems course and/or a medical economics course, or read about these topics.

  • Be aware of current topics in the news regarding medical research.

  • Consider whether you may wish to pursue a combined degree, such as an MD/PhD or an MD/MPH.