Admissions FAQ

Admissions FAQ

​​Deadlines/Application Process/Status

Q. When is your deadline?

A. Our AMCAS application deadline is midnight (EST), October 16. 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 (CST), December 1. 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. 

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.

Q. How can I check my application status?

A. You may check the status of your application here

Q. Do you have an Early Decision Program? What are the deadlines?

A. Yes. 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 August 1. Applicants must have a phone conversation with our Senior Associate Director of Admissions prior to applying Early Decision. To schedule a meeting, you must email your request to pritzkeradmissions@bsd.uchicago.edu and attach a copy of your CV/Resume and transcript (unofficial is acceptable). 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 only to Pritzker. The decision for acceptance is made by October 1. If an applicant is accepted, the application cycle is complete — the applicant cannot apply to other medical schools. If the applicant is 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 our Senior Associate Director of Admissions to determine whether you might be a good fit for this program.

A better way to show enthusiasm for our program is to tell us why you feel so strongly motivated to become a student at Pritzker and to submit all the elements of your application promptly.

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 9, 2017. 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. If I haven’t submitted all the elements of my application by December 1, what happens? Can I still send information?

A. You may not add required elements to your application after the deadline has passed. We will review your application based on what we have already received, plus anything post-marked by 11:59 PM (CST), December 1. Updates may be sent at any time during the admissions cycle to pritzkeradmissions@bsd.uchicago.edu.


Academic, MCAT, and GPA Requirements

Q. What are your average MCAT and your average GPA?

A. Our median MCAT scores for the entering class of 2016 were a 37 on the previous MCAT exam and a 520 on the 2015 MCAT. The median cumulative GPA was 3.88. We also encourage you to consider the range of scores that were accepted. Our entering class has MCAT scores ranging from 28 - 44 (510 - 526 on the 2015 MCAT). The GPA range for our entering class was 3.38 - 4.0.

It is important to understand that the MCAT and GPA are just two of the 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 for three years.

Q. What is the latest MCAT score you will accept?

A. The September 9, 2017 score is the latest MCAT we will accept for the 2017 Application cycle.

Q. What are the prerequisite courses that I need to take?

A. Our competency-based admissions requirements emphasize not the number of courses taken, but the level of mastery that should be achieved. You can read about our entrance requirements here.

Q. Do I need to major in a science?

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. 

Q. How do you look at courses taken abroad?

A. 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 you 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 US 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.


Non-Academic Requirements

Q. What extracurricular activities do you recommend?

A. Whatever you feel passionate about is what we want you to explore. We hope that one of those passions is medicine, and that you explore that passion through activities such as 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 (this could be socioeconomic, cultural, or religious differences, to name a few). Beyond that, we encourage you to explore activities, organizations, experiences, 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 activities like creating a new student organization, 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 demonstrating your intellectual curiosity is 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. We look for evidence of commitment to acquiring an excellent knowledge base and to developing learning and problem-solving skills that will sustain life-long learning. Applicants must demonstrate a commitment to serves others and to society in general. Finally, applicants should demonstrate well-informed and carefully explored reasons for seeking a career in medicine.


About Pritzker

Q. What does a Pass/Fail grading system mean?

A. Pass/Fail grading at the Pritzker School of Medicine is 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, and Fail. All four years are uncurved. You are evaluated on your mastery 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. We value interdisciplinary study and enable it whenever we can, and the immediate proximity of the medical school to the University campus makes pursuing such opportunities simple.

Q. Do you give out scholarships?

A. We have a generous scholarship program. All admitted students are considered for scholarship awards during the admissions process. Our scholarships offers are renewed each year for students and are only conditional on the student maintaining satisfactory academic progress.


 International Student/Out-of-State Resident Issues

Q. Do you accept out-of-state residents?

A. We are a private institution and do not have a preference for in-state or out-of-state students. Tuition is the same for both Illinois residents and non-residents.

Q. Do you give preference to Illinois residents?

A. As a private institution, we do not have a quota of Illinois residents in our class. However, due to our location, Illinois provides the greatest number of applicants to our school and is also the state with the greatest number of matriculants.

Q. Can I apply if I am not a US citizen or permanent resident?

A. Pritzker accepts applications from international students and evaluates them according to the same criteria as domestic applicants. International students will also be considered for scholarship aid and our institutional loans. However, these sources of funding generally do not cover the full cost of attendance, and international students must indicate their plans for funding medical school in their secondary applications.

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 also 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.


Secondary Application

Q. How do I access the Secondary Application to Pritzker? Is it on your website?

A. You will receive a link via email to our secondary application within 2 business days of our receipt 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 each year, so if you had our secondary web address from prior years it will not work this year. 

Q. If I have questions about the Pritzker application, who should I contact?

A. Please email your question to pritzkeradmissions@bsd.uchicago.edu 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, 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. 

Q. Do my two science letters need to be from a science class 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). We would advise including your research letter in addition to these science letters. 

Q. I graduated many years ago. Can I send letters from my employer instead of from faculty?

A. We enjoy reading letters from employers because they often speak to your overall responsibility, ability to work effectively in teams, communication skills, and leadership. 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.


Interviewing

Q. How do I schedule an interview?

A. If you are invited to interview, you will receive an email from our office with information on scheduling your interview date.

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 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. Can I interview over the phone? Do you have regional interviews?

A. We do not offer 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 is the structure of the day?

A. The interview day begins at 8:00 a.m. with a welcome breakfast sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs. Throughout the course of the day, applicants will have three interviews: one with a member of the Pritzker administration, one with a faculty member, and one with a current medical student. Each interview lasts approximately 30 minutes. Interviewees gather with current medical students for lunch followed by a tour of the campus. Applicants should plan to be on campus from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and travel arrangements should be booked 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. The hosting program is a wonderful opportunity to interact with our students in a casual setting and save on interviewing expenses. You can read more about our hosting program here.

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?

A. The interview day Multicultural Affairs Breakfast is an integral part of our interview day. We find that many of our applicants have an interest in issues of diversity and health care disparities or may be from a multicultural background themselves and wish to know what services or programs are available at Pritzker. The breakfast will take place in the Biological Sciences Learning Center (Suite 104) at 8:00 a.m. The session will be staffed by faculty, staff, and students from our Multicultural Affairs program and will generally include students from the Student National Medical Association, Latino Medical Student Association, Asian Pacific American Medical Students Association, or OUTPatient.

Q. What if I will be late or am unable to attend my scheduled interview date?

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. We ask that you get 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. If it is after hours, please call anyway and leave a message so that we can begin making arrangements as soon as we arrive the next day.

Q. How long after my interview will I hear a decision from the Committee on Admissions?

A. Our Committee on Admissions will render decisions throughout the admissions cycle in October, December, and March. We will inform you on your interview day on which date you will hear back from us.


Visiting Campus

Q. Can I come take a tour of the Pritzker School of Medicine?

A. 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 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. If you would like to visit the University of Chicago to get a general feel for our institution, we encourage you to sign up for a UChicagoGRAD tour here. These tours are offered to any prospective graduate students of UChicago.

We require in-person interviews during the application process, so if you are invited for an interview, you will have the opportunity to meet with current students, speak with admissions representatives, and tour the facilities.

Q. 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(s) on your campus. They have 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 description of each AAMC Medical School and 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 online by visiting the AAMC website.

Visit the websites of the individual schools in which you are interested and read their mission statement, check out the curriculum, and learn about opportunities and student life.


MeSH

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, or Health Studies. 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, Sociology, the Committee on Human Development, or the School of Social Service Administration. Applications to multiple departments will increase your chances of admission to a PhD program.