- Deadlines/Application Process/Status
- Academic Requirements
- Non-Academic Requirements
- About Pritzker
- International Student/Out-of-State Resident Issues
- Secondary Application
- Letters of Recommendation
- Visiting Campus
Q. When is your deadline?
A. Our AMCAS application deadline is midnight, Eastern Standard Time, October 15th. In order to have all the elements of an application (verified AMCAS application, secondary application, and letters of evaluation) included for review, they must be submitted or post-marked by midnight, Central Standard Time, December 3rd. All applications will be read and considered even if elements are not submitted. However, applications missing either the letters of evaluation or secondary application, or unverified AMCAS applications are at a significant disadvantage. Moreover, being early in the application process is advantageous since we operate using rolling admissions. Please also be aware that web sites may be heavily trafficked and very slow near the deadlines.
Q. What does “rolling admission” mean?
A. Rolling admission means that offers for interview and admission are made continuously through the application cycle. Applications are queued for reading when we have all the elements of the application—verified AMCAS application, secondary application, letters of evaluation, and fee or fee waiver. As the application cycle proceeds, there are fewer interview and admission offers remaining to be made. Submitting all the elements of the application early in the application cycle has distinct advantages.
Q. Does everyone get a secondary? How do I receive it?
A. We send secondary applications to all applicants who apply to us through AMCAS. We do not review the AMCAS application prior to sending the secondary. Within 2 business days after you submit your primary application to AMCAS you will receive an email from us with a link to our online secondary web site, which you should fill out and submit to us online. Please note that we have a new applicant website this year, so if you had a link to our secondary applications from prior years it will NOT work.
Q. How do I know when my application is complete?
Q. If I am taking another MCAT, will you review my application now or wait for the new score?
A. We will await the MCAT re-take if that re-testing is completed by September 11, 2012. You may also email us to tell that you will not be re-taking the MCAT, and we will then queue your application for review.
Q. Once my application is complete, how long will it take for me to hear back about an interview decision?
A. After all the elements of your application are received we will queue it for review. It will be reviewed within four to six weeks. Applications missing elements will be read after December 3rd and decisions may take six weeks.
Q. If I haven’t submitted all the elements of my application by December 3, what happens? Can I still send information?
A. No. We will review your application based on what we have already received plus anything post-marked by 11:59 p.m., Central Standard Time, December 3rd.
Q. Can I interview over the phone? Do you have regional interviews?
A. We do not offer either phone or regional interviews. It is just as important for you to be on-site to learn about the Pritzker School of Medicine as it is for us to speak to you in person.
Q. What are my chances of getting accepted?
A. Applying to medical school is not like playing the lottery; chance does not play a role. We read all the information you send us—the verified AMCAS application, your secondary application, and letters of evaluation—and analyze your motivation for a career in medicine, and evaluate your personal and intellectual readiness and fit for study of medicine at Pritzker.
Q. What are your average MCAT and your average GPA?
A. Our average MCAT for the accepted class entering Pritzker in 2011 is a 36. Our average GPA for the accepted class entering Pritzker in 2011 is a 3.80. We would also encourage you to consider the range of scores that were accepted. Our entering class has MCAT scores ranging from 27 through a 44, though the majority of students present scores in the 34–38 range. The range of GPAs for our entering class is from 3.0 to 4.0, with the majority of students presenting GPAs in the 3.6–3.9 range. It is important to understand, however, that the MCAT and GPA are just two components that we look at in an application. While they, along with your rigor of coursework, degree to which you challenged yourself intellectually, and breadth and depth of your course selections, can help the Committee to understand your academic readiness for medical school, these are not the only factors that are evaluated. We look throughout your application for evidence that you have explored medicine as a career, have held positions of leadership, have committed yourself to being of service to others, have a passion for your various endeavors of interest to you, and have engaged in scholarly inquiry. In short, a perfect GPA and/or a perfect MCAT score are not guarantees of admission.
Q. What is the oldest MCAT score you accept?
A. We will accept MCAT scores from 2009 forward. If you sat for an MCAT earlier than 2009 that you would like considered, you need to apply for a waiver (Scroll to bottom of page for instructions).
Q. What is the latest MCAT score you will accept?
A. The September 11, 2012 score is the latest MCAT we will accept for the 2013 Application cycle.
Q. What are the prerequisite courses that I need to take?
A. You should complete the equivalent of one year (8 semesters) of each of the following:
- Biology with lab
- Chemistry with lab
- Organic Chemistry with lab
- Physics with lab
Although not required, we also strongly recommend taking a course in biochemistry.
Q. What if I have AP Credit?
A. For applicants who earned AP Credit in college, we would expect you to take a total of 8 semesters of science courses, pursuing upper-level courses in the areas in which you were given credit for introductory level courses.
Q. What if one of my required science classes doesn’t come with a lab?
A. We would ask you to take an additional semester of a lab course in another science discipline, so that you still have 8 semesters total of lab science. In some cases, research experiences outside of the classroom can “count” for a lab course.
Q. What if I have only one semester of chemistry (or orgo, bio, physics)? Can I substitute another course for the other required semester?
A. Yes, provided it is a science course. We ultimately require a total of 8 semesters of science courses with labs.
Q. Do you require biochemistry?
A. No, but it is strongly recommended.
Q. Do I need to major in a science? Can I change majors?
A. You may choose to major in any discipline you wish. We encourage you to select a major that you find personally and academically challenging. After all, this may be your last opportunity to really engage fully in something like Romance Languages or History or Religious Studies. We have no problem with applicants changing majors, provided it is a limited number of changes. You do not wish to appear unfocused in your decision-making abilities or in your capacity to make a commitment.
Q. Do engineering courses count as sciences?
A. They very well could, depending on the overall content of the course. For example, Thermodynamics through an Engineering department could absolutely count as your chemistry course. We would encourage you to talk with your premedical advisor to gain his/her advice based on the experience he or she has had with applicants at your home institution.
Q. Do you prefer calculus-based physics or non-calculus based?
A. We encourage students to challenge themselves in their course selection but understand that calculus-based chemistry and physics courses are not the best decisions for all students.
Q. How do you look at courses taken abroad?
A. If you pursued a bachelor’s degree at an institution abroad, please jump to the section on International Students or the question below. If you took courses abroad through a Study Abroad program, we will only look at your courses if they are carried over onto the transcript of a US or Canadian institution. Otherwise, you will not report your grades to us through AMCAS, but may feel free to send a translated transcript to us directly. We do NOT recommend taking your science prerequisite courses abroad.
Q. Do I need a bachelor’s degree?
A. Applicants must have completed 90 credit hours (using the AMCAS methodology) prior to matriculation from an accredited four-year degree-granting US or Canadian college or university. A baccalaureate degree is not required but is strongly preferred by the Admissions Committee.
Q. What if I have a bachelor’s degree from another country?
A. If the country is Canada, we view your bachelor’s degree as equivalent to a US bachelor’s degree, given the strong similarities in educational structure and rigor. If your degree is from an institution outside of the United States or Canada, then we require you to complete a year of full-time coursework at a four-year institution in the US or Canada prior to applying. We strongly recommend that the coursework include several upper-level science courses, even if your bachelor’s degree was in a science discipline. If your degree was in a non-science discipline, we would strongly recommend taking all of the prerequisite science coursework at a four-year institution in the US or Canada prior to applying.
Q. Can I take my prerequisites at a community college?
A. Generally speaking, community college courses are not viewed as having a similar level of rigor as the courses provided at four-year institutions. There are certainly many reasons to pursue your first two years of coursework at a community college prior to transferring to a four-year institution. Should you choose to do so, we would recommend either holding off on taking your prerequisite science course until you transfer to the four-year institution, or taking introductory level science courses at the community college and then planning to take upper-level science courses at the four-year institution.
Q. What extracurricular activities do you recommend?
A. Whatever you feel passionate about, we want you to explore. We hope that one of those passions is medicine, and that you explore that passion through perhaps shadowing, volunteering at a nursing home or clinic, and/or working in a clinical project of some kind. We would also hope that you have a strong desire to be of service to others, and that you have exposure to those who are different than you in some way (whether socioeconomic, cultural, religious, etc.). Beyond that, we really encourage you to explore activities, organizations, experiences, and/or internships that are exciting for you and that help you to develop the characteristics detailed below.
Q. Do I have to do research to be a competitive applicant?
A. The field of medicine is constantly growing and changing, and therefore it is important for applicants to demonstrate a strong intellectual curiosity and a desire to push for new knowledge beyond what is known. This can come in the form of research (whether basic science, clinical, or completely not science-based research like a literature review or an economic study), but can also be demonstrated by perhaps creating a new student organization, or helping to write a chapter of a textbook, or creating a curriculum for at-risk kids that you tutor. Formal, structured research experience is not a requirement…but intellectual curiosity is certainly very important!
Q. What are the skills or characteristics that you are looking for?
A. Personal characteristics and learning skills are as important as demonstrated excellence in academic performance. There must be evidence of commitment, not only to acquire an excellent knowledge base but also to developing learning and problem-solving skills that will sustain life-long learning. Applicants must demonstrate a commitment to service to others and to society in general. Finally, applicants should demonstrate well-informed and carefully explored reasons for seeking a career in medicine.
Q. What are your average MCAT and your average GPA?
A. Our average MCAT for the accepted class entering Pritzker in 2011 is a 36. Our average GPA for the accepted class entering Pritzker in 2011 is a 3.80. We would also encourage you to consider the range of scores which were accepted. Our entering class has MCAT scores ranging from 27 through a 40, though the majority of entering students present scores in the 34–38 range. The range of GPAs for our entering class is from 3.10 to 4.0, with the majority of entering students presenting GPAs in the 3.6–4.0 range. It is important to understand, however, that the MCAT and GPA are just two components that we look at in an application. While they, along with your rigor of coursework, degree to which you challenged yourself intellectually, and breadth and depth of your course selections, can help the Committee to understand your academic readiness for medical school, these are not the only factors that are evaluated. We look throughout your application for evidence that you have explored medicine as a career, have held positions of leadership, have committed yourself to being of service to others, have a passion for your various endeavors of interest to you, and have engaged in scholarly inquiry. In short, a perfect GPA and/or a perfect MCAT score are not guarantees of admission.
Q. What is the oldest MCAT score you accept?
A. We will accept MCAT scores from 2009 forward. If you sat for an MCAT earlier than 2009 that you would like considered, you need to apply for a waiver (scroll to bottom of page for instructions).
Q. What is the latest MCAT score you will accept?
A. The September 11, 2012 score is the latest MCAT we will accept for the 2013 Application cycle.
Q. What does a Pass/Fail grading system mean?
A. Pass/Fail grading at the Pritzker School of Medicine is both a true pass/fail for years 1, 2, and 4. Third year—the clerkships—is a “graded” year with the grades of Honors, High Pass, Pass, Low Pass, and Fail. All four years are uncurved. You are evaluated on your master of the material, not your mastery compared to others in the class. These qualities—pass/fail and uncurved grading—result in a highly collaborative learning environment.
Q. Do you have options for dual degrees?
A. Opportunities for dual degrees abound at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. The University values interdisciplinary study and enables it wherever it can, and the immediate proximity of the medical school to the University campus makes pursuing such opportunities simple.
Q. Do you give merit-based scholarships?
A. We award $10 million of scholarhsip, including merit-based aid, to each class. This scholarship money is guaranteed to be renewed each year and remains with the recipient as long the individual is a full-time student at Pritzker.
Q. Do you have an Early Decision Program? What are the deadlines?
A. Yes, and the deadline for having all elements of the application (verified AMCAS application, secondary application, letters of evaluation, MCAT, and fee or fee waiver) submitted or postmarked is September 1. Applicants MUST have a phone conversation with one of our Directors of Admissions prior to applying Early Decision. To schedule a meeting, you must email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org and attach a copy of your CV/Resume and transcript (unofficial is okay). We will then be in touch with you to set up an appointment.
Q. Is Early Decision a good way to show my interest in Pritzker?
A. No, it is not a good strategy. Early Decision was created to allow applicants to apply to medical school who would be unavailable to interview during the usual application cycle. It compacts the application cycle into the summer and early autumn, and restricts the applicant to applying to only Pritzker. The decision for acceptance or not must be made by October 1. If the applicant is accepted, their application cycle is complete—they cannot apply to other medical schools. If they are not accepted, they are then allowed to begin applying to other schools. However, entering the application cycle in late September or early October will jeopardize the application at schools with rolling admissions. This is why we require all Early Decision candidates to meet first with a Director of Admissions to determine whether you might be a good fit for this program.
A good way to show enthusiasm for a school is to tell them why you feel so strongly motivated to become a student there, and to submit all the elements of your application promptly.
International Student/Out-of-State Resident Issues
Q. Can I apply if I am not a US citizen or permanent resident?
A. We do accept applications from international students, however, it is important to know that international students must be prepared to provide their own funding for the entire cost of their medical school education. There are no federal or institutional loan monies available for international students.
Q. Do you have different acceptance criteria for international students than for US citizens or permanent residents?
A. No. International students and domestic students are evaluated for admissions according to the same criteria. Again, it is important to note that international students must be able to provide their own funding for the entire cost of their medical school education.
Q. I completed my bachelor’s degree in another country. Will you accept those courses?
A. We ask that you complete at least a year of science coursework at a college or university in the US or Canada. If you completed your premed required courses outside of the US or Canada, then you should take at least a year of upper level science courses in a college or university in the US or Canada.
Q. How do you view a degree from Canada vs. the US?
A. We do not distinguish between degrees in the US or Canada.
Q. I’m currently transitioning from being an international resident to a US permanent resident. What would your advice be?
A. Complete your transition to permanent residency before you apply so that you can declare a state of residence and apply as a permanent resident. The status of permanent resident has important financial aid advantages. If you do not have at least a year of science at a college or university in the US or Canada, enroll in a program to give yourself that background. While taking your courses, continue exploring your motivation for your career choice through volunteer, community service and/or research.
Q. If I’m currently a student at a non-US medical school, can I transfer to Pritzker?
A. We do not accept transfer applications to the University of Chicago-Pritzker School of Medicine..
Q. Do you give preference to Illinois residents?
A. We do not have a quota of Illinois residents in our class. Illinois provides the greatest number of applicants to our school and is also the state with the greatest number of matriculants.
Q. How do I access the Secondary Application to Pritzker? Is it on your website?
A. You will receive via email a link to our secondary application within 2 business days of your AMCAS submission. You are ONLY able to access our secondary application if you have been invited to do so. Please note that we do have a new applicant system this year, so if you had our secondary web address from prior years it will NOT work this year. You must wait to receive the email from our office inviting you to complete our secondary.
Q. If I have questions about the Pritzker Online Application, who should I contact?
A. Please email your question to email@example.com or call 773-702-1937.
Q. Can you further explain what "judicial committee" means in the Judicial History section of the AMCAS? Should I report any traffic violations, too?
A. The easiest rule of thumb is that if you ever stood before a judge, jury, or needed to appear in a courtroom for any type of infraction, you should include this information in your application. Additionally, if you stood before a judicial review committee, honor code committee, or a judiciating dean for any on-campus infraction you should report this as well. Regarding traffic violations, we ask that you include any ticket of greater severity than a parking violation. If you are in doubt on any of the above, err on the side of inclusion.
Letters of Recommendation
Q. Where do I send my letters of recommendation?
A. Pritzker participates in the AMCAS Letter Service, so please send your letters through AMCAS. Should you need an alternate method of sending letters, our mailing address is: Office of Admissions, Pritzker School of Medicine, 924 E. 57th St., Suite 104, Chicago, IL 60637. Please note that you are responsible for making sure that your letters have been received by our office. You may check our online applicant system to determine whether we have recieved all pieces of your application. It is important to understand that it takes us 7-10 business days to receive your letters from AMCAS and to file them appropriately with your application. Therefore, if AMCAS confirms receipt of all of your letters on a Monday, it is not likely that they will reach your account with us on Tuesday.
Q. My college doesn’t have a premedical committee to write me a letter, but they will collect letters and send them as one packet. On your secondary application, do I say that is a committee letter or multiple letters?
A. You would indicate multiple letters.
Q. Do my “science” letters need to be from a classroom science or can they be from my research PI?
A. Our strong preference is for “science” letters to be from a professor, instructor, or teaching assistant in a science course (lecture or lab component). The reason for this is the author will most likely have taught hundreds of premedical students in his/her tenure. Think about the impact of a phrase in your letter of recommendation such as, “I have been teaching Biology 101 at this institution for 20 years and of the approximately 1500 premedical students with whom I have interacted, I would easily rank Jimmy in the top 5%”…. versus… “Of the 10 research assistants I have had in my lab in the past 10 years, I would say Jimmy is in the top 5%.”
Q. I graduated many years ago. Can I send letters from my employer instead of from faculty?
A. We always enjoy reading letters from employers because they often speak to your overall responsibility, ability to work effectively in teams, your communication skills, your leadership, etc. But what is often missing in a letter from an employer is the ability to speak specifically to your potential for success in a rigorous science curriculum. We would recommend sending 2 letters from faculty who have taught you in the sciences, and then, if you wish, sending an additional 1–3 letters from employers or others with whom you have worked.
Q. What is the minimum and maximum number of letters I can send?
A. We ask for a minimum of 3 letters. We do not set a maximum, but would not suggest sending more than 5 or 6. We prefer quality in-depth letters from people who know you well, rather than giving preference to the number of letters received.
Q. Can the letters be faxed?
A. They can, but then need to be followed up with a hard copy.
Q. If my college sends letters electronically through AMCAS, do I also need to send hard copies?
A. No. By using AMCAS, your premedical advisor has made a promise to medical schools that all letters will be authentic and from a trusted source. That is why we do not ask for hard copies with AMCAS, but we do with Faxed letters.
Q. Do you accept letters through other electronic services like Virtual Evals or Interfolio?
A. Yes, we do.
Q. Once my application is complete, how long will I need to wait before I hear a decision about an interview?
A. Your decision should be made within 4–6 weeks of the date on which your application was complete.
Q. How do I schedule an interview?
A. If you are invited to interview, you will receive an email from our office letting you know how to schedule your interview day.
Q. What if I have another interview scheduled within the city of Chicago? Can you accommodate that so I only have to make one trip?
A. We would ask that you let us know as soon as possible that you are trying to coordinate interviews. We will make every attempt to accommodate your request, but it may not be possible given the dates of our open interview slots. The sooner you can let us know, the greater the odds are that we can make it work, but there are no guarantees.
Q. What is the structure of the day? How long will I be on campus?
A. You will begin your day at 9:00 a.m. with a welcome session provided by admissions staff and faculty. Throughout the course of the day you will have three interviews: one with a member of the admissions staff, one with a faculty member, and one with a current medical student. You can expect each interview to last approximately 30 minutes. All interviewees will gather with current medical students for lunch followed by a tour of the campus. The Office of Multicultural Affairs will also host an optional breakfast session before in the morning prior to 9:00 orientation. Otherwise, you should plan to be on campus from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Please book your travel arrangements accordingly.
Q. Do you have a student hosting program? How does it work?
A. We do have a student hosting program, and would encourage you to take advantage of it. When you are invited to interview, you will receive information about requesting a student host for the evening before the interview day. The student hosting coordinators will make housing assignments within 1–2 weeks of the interview date. As you may suspect, the schedules of medical students can greatly fluctuate from one week to the next! Therefore, we make final arrangements closer to the date of the interview rather than one or two months in advance so that you will not risk having your host change multiple times prior to your arrival in the city. Due to exam schedules and fluctuating number of interviewees who would like a host, it is possible that we will not be able to secure hosts for everyone who requests it. If you would feel more reassured in doing so, you may also wish to make a hotel reservation. Most hotels do not charge a fee for canceling provided you do so 24 hours in advance.
Q. Can I find out in advance who my interviewers are?
A. We do not announce interviewers prior to the interview date. You will learn who your interviewers are at the same time as all other candidates interviewing on that day—during the morning welcome session.
Q. What is the Multicultural Affairs Breakfast all about?
A. The Multicultural Affairs Breakfast is an optional opportunity prior to our interview day. We find that many of our applicants have an interest in issues of health care disparities, cultural competence, and/or may be from a multicultural background themselves and wish to know what services or programs are available at Pritzker. These breakfasts will take place in the Biological Sciences Learning Center prior to the 9:00 a.m. orientation. This is a completely optional breakfast, and your attendance (or lack of attendance) will not in any way influence your ultimate admissions decision. The session will staffed by faculty, staff, and students from our Multicultural Affairs program and may include students from SNMA and other student organizations. You will receive more details regarding this breakfast directly from the Office of Multicultural Affairs prior to your interview day.
Q. What if I have a last-minute problem?
A. Please be in touch with us as soon as possible to let us know what has happened and what you need to do (arrive late, not be able to attend at all, etc.). We certainly understand that flights can be delayed/cancelled, and no one can control when an illness might strike. Please just be in touch as soon as you can to let us know the situation and we will work with you to either reschedule your interview day or shift back interviews if you will be arriving late. MAKE SURE you take our phone number with you to the airport. If it is after hours call anyway and leave a message so that we can start working through the problem as soon as we arrive in the office.
Q. How long after my interview will I hear a decision from the Committee on Admissions?
A. Our Committee on Admissions is most often able to render decisions approximately 6 weeks of the interview date. It is important to note that according to AAMC Guidelines, no medical school can make an offer of acceptance prior to October 15th of any given year. Also, please note that the Committee does break for Thanksgiving holiday as well as winter holidays. Therefore, if you interviewed in late October/early November your decision may take longer than 6 weeks.
Q. What are the possible decisions that I may receive from the Committee?
A. There are three possible decisions that you may receive: Acceptance, Not Accepted, or Continued. The Continued decision is the decision that often causes the most uncertainty in our applicants. Please know that this is NOT a wait-list. Our wait-list will not be formed until early June. If an applicant is Continued, it means that the Committee will continue to review that candidate's application each time they meet. Therefore, if an applicant receives the decision of Continued, it is important that he/she convey their enthusiasm to the Committee and keep the Committee updated on new activities, grades, etc. throughout the admissions process.
Q. Can I come take a tour of the Pritzker School of Medicine?
A. First, it is important to know that the process of exploring medical schools is very different than the process you may have gone through when considering undergraduate colleges. Many of you embarked on college tours perhaps during your sophomore or junior year of high school where you were able to explore a campus, meet current students, and talk with admissions representatives. Medical Schools have much smaller admissions staffs, and must focus their time on current applicants to their school. Therefore, medical schools by and large do not offer individualized counseling or campus tours. One of the unique aspects of Pritzker is our location on the main University of Chicago campus. You may wish to explore the main University of Chicago website for visitor information.
Medical schools require in-person interviews during the application process. Should you be invited to interview at a school, you will be able to meet with current students, speak with admissions representatives, and tour the facilities.
Q. So how do I learn more about a medical school if I'm not able to visit before applying?
A. Make contact with the premedical advisor on your campus. He/she has a wealth of information about various medical schools and can often put you in touch with an “alumni network” of graduates from your college who are now in medical school and have offered to speak to you about their experiences.
Subscribe to or purchase the AAMC Medical School Admissions Requirements Guidebook. This book has a 2-page description of each AAMC (American Association of Medical Colleges) Medical School which contains information about their educational goals, resources available, student life, and requirements for admission. Your premedical advisor may have a copy of this book for you to borrow or you may subscribe to it online by visiting the AAMC website.
Visit the websites of the individual schools in which you are interested. There should be a section for “prospective” students, but check out the “current” student sections as well (if able to—some are password protected) to gain a sense of the activities and interests of their current students.
Q. What PhD programs should I apply to if I am interested in MeSH?
A. Candidates with broad interests in economics may wish to consider applying to the PhD Programs in Economics, Public Policy, Health Studies, and the Booth School. Some students with policy interests may also wish to apply to the PhD program in Social Service Administration.
Candidates with broad interests in anthropology or ethnographic research methods may wish to consider applying to the PhD Programs in Anthropology, Conceptual and Historical Studies and Science (CHeSS), Sociology, the Committee on Human Development, and the School of Social Service Administration. Applications to multiple departments will increase your chances of admission to a PhD program.
Go to the AAMC website: www.aamc.org. On the right hand side of the page are links for prospective students.