Applicant Evaluation and Decisions

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Life Experiences and Personal Attributes


The admissions committee values applicant experiences in the following areas:

Physician Shadowing

The Admissions Executive Committee feels that Physician Shadowing is a crucial experience that every medical school applicant should have. Physician shadowing is the observation of the practice of medicine by physicians outside of a classroom setting. It should include observing direct patient care and doctor-patient interactions in a hospital, clinical, and/or other healthcare setting. Applicants are expected to have at least 35 hours of U.S.-based physician shadowing before submitting their application. Shadowing with a physician in primary care and shadowing in more than one specialty is expected.

To shadow a physician at UMMC, please visit the Educational Observer website: Educational Observers

For contact information for Shadowing, please visit the Departmental Director for Shadowing: Departmental Directory for Shadowing

Health Care Exposure

Exposure to patients and patient care in a clinical setting is strongly recommended for applicants.

Some examples may include clinical training and health-related courses; volunteering or employment involving medical care or patient support (including nursing homes); clinical research; volunteering at healthcare facilities or events; patient care experiences in premedical or healthcare organizations; primary health care provider; and work with medically underserved or rural medicine programs. 

Volunteer Activities and Community Service

Applicants are expected to engage in volunteering and community service experiences. Experiences should reflect an applicant's desire to help others, especially underserved or disadvantaged populations.

Some examples may include fundraising and service projects through campus, community, and faith-based organizations; community outreach; disaster relief; mentoring and tutoring; coaching; campus ambassadors; and other volunteer experiences. 

Leadership and Initiative 

Applicants should have experiences that demonstrate evidence of leadership, initiative, and responsibility.

Some examples include class or club officer; positions in student government; supervisory roles for projects, work, or military service; team captain or coach for sports and athletics; leadership roles in community, campus, or social organizations; and mentoring, tutoring, or teaching assistant roles. 


Some exposure to library, bench, and/or clinically related research activities is recommended.

Some examples include employment or volunteer work in a basic science or clinical science laboratory; honors thesis research; and course-related research.

Varied Life Experiences

Applicants should show evidence of varied life experiences outside of the classroom. These experiences demonstrate that an applicant is well-rounded, and may also demonstrate resilience, adaptability, and the ability to effectively interact with others, including those from various backgrounds. 

These experiences may include: 

  • Employment: Any part- or full-time employment concurrent with or independent of enrollment in school
  • Athletics: Participation in intramural, collegiate, semi-or professional level athletics
  • Other Extracurricular Activities
  • Artistic Endeavors: Visual and performance arts (theater, band, orchestra)
  • Study abroad experiences and mission trips
  • Military service
  • Other major time commitments

Personal Attributes

The Admissions Committee values applicants who possess the Pre-Professional Core Competencies as defined by the AAMC. These include:

  • Commitment to Learning and Growth
  • Culture Awareness
  • Cultural Humility
  • Empathy and Compassion
  • Ethical Responsibility to Self and Others
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Oral Communication
  • Reliability and Dependability
  • Resilience and Adaptability
  • Service Orientation
  • Teamwork and Collaboration
  • Written Communication Skills

Additionally, the AEC values applicants who demonstrate initiative, motivation for medicine, and a desire to learn.

Admissions File Review Committee (AFRC)

The AFRC reviews the Work/Activities Section and the Personal Essays of the application only. AFRC final reviews are based on an applicant's experiences in each of these key areas, including the length of time devoted to each activity and the quality (or lack thereof) of each activity.

AFRC scores are used to render admissions committee decisions and guide post-application counseling for unsuccessful applicants.