The summertime presents a great opportunity to get some rest after a long school year; however, it is also the perfect time to participate in summer enrichment programs. These programs serve several useful purposes such as MCAT and DAT preparation, getting you ready for next year’s science courses, or enhancing some of the things you’ve learned from your college courses already. Some of these programs also offer research opportunities and are linked to health professional schools.
You might be asking yourself, where do I start when it comes to looking for these programs?
You can ask your academic advisor about programs in which other students have participated and ask if any programs have sent information to the school. Ask if your school has a partnership or a pipeline program with schools that offer enrichment programs. Think about how many times you have walked by the bulletin board at your college without reading it, it may be helpful to check out some of those brochures about summer programs that are pinned there. I would also ask my professors or the head of the department the same questions. Do not underestimate who or what your professor knows.
If you know someone who is further along in their education, you may want to inquire about programs in which they or some of their colleagues have participated. You can also go to your favorite search engine and type in “ summer programs for medicine, dentistry, or health professions”. A list of different schools offering enrichment programs comes up after the search. If you have a school of interest, you may want to access their website to see if they offer a summer program.
One great resource is the AAMC’s summer programs web database. It lets you filter by school, state, or the specific needs you have for particular programs. One other resource isSMDEP which offers academic enrichment and research at various institutions throughout the country.
When it comes to finding a summer program, think about what you really need. Do you need research under your belt, do you need help strengthening your basic sciences, or do you need help with your test-taking skills? When it was time to start my MCAT prep, I felt like I had a bunch of books and other resources; however, I did not really have a solid plan or know where to start. My advisor directed me to a summer enrichment program, which really aided me in getting the ball rolling. Another plus that I found from the particular summer program in which I participated was how much it helped with the college courses I would be taking in the upcoming year. The enrichment program also helped me become more analytical in my thinking which helped improve my test-taking skills. The program offered a mini organic chemistry course which helped me transition into the organic chemistry course offered by my college. It provided me with a basic background which helped me in the long run.
Summer Programs Web Database – services.aamc.org/summerprograms/
SMDEP – www.smdep.org
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