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The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern Undergraduate Premedical Scholars Program offers juniors early acceptance to Feinberg

Illustration by Ziye Wang
NUPSP offers students early admission into Feinberg and exempts them from taking the MCAT.

Weinberg junior Megan Gonzalez was working at a physical therapy office when a patient asked if she had heard back from the Feinberg School of Medicine. Right then, she got an email telling her she had been accepted early. 

“It was really, really amazing and also pretty overwhelming because all this work that I had put in throughout the last three years had finally come to fruition,” Gonzalez said.

Northwestern offered about a dozen juniors early admission into Feinberg last month through the Northwestern Undergraduate Premedical Scholars Program. Admitted students accept a binding offer from Feinberg and are exempt from taking the Medical College Admission Test, the standardized exam for admission to medical school. 

“(NUPSP) really forced me to get as much as I could from these (undergraduate) opportunities and figure out why I wanted to be a physician earlier than if I wanted to do a regular application,” Gonzalez said. 

Gonzalez said she found extracurricular opportunities at NU, like research and teaching elementary schoolers, that have fueled her passion for medicine.  

Students can apply for either the MD or MD/PhD program. Both require a 3.7 GPA, prerequisite coursework in various science subjects, at least three letters of recommendation, an interview and demonstrated interest in medicine. 

Applicants work with a premedical advisor and a college advisor at Health Professions Advising to plan their courses and discuss their career goals. 

For Gonzalez, NUPSP stood out when she was applying to NU, and she said she has kept the program in mind since her freshman year. 

“I was thinking about it all throughout my undergraduate career, and it was something I actually wrote about in my ‘Why Northwestern’ essay,’” Gonzalez said. “It was really stressful going into freshman year with that mindset that I needed to keep a 3.7 cumulative GPA.” 

With an acceptance letter to Feinberg in hand, Gonzalez said she plans to rest, focus on her classes and pursue extracurricular activities without the “impending doom of medical school in the background.” 

Weinberg junior Kendall Ogin said one reason she decided to apply to NUPSP was because it would allow her to reflect earlier on joining the medical field. 

“Getting started was the biggest challenge because it felt (like) so much to think about and do and on top of all my coursework,” Ogin said. 

After her acceptance, Ogin said she feels a “weight off her back” and that she will spend her free time on her research rather than studying for the MCAT. 

Because the application comes in the middle of students’ undergraduate careers, Weinberg junior Julie Paska, who was also accepted to Feinberg through NUPSP, emphasized the importance of beginning the application early. 

She said she would advise future applicants to determine their personal motivations for going to medical school.  

Paska said she found it helpful to have other applicants read over her responses and provide critiques, because they are “in the trenches with you.”

Gonzalez and Paska met while working together last summer, finding friendship throughout the application process. 

“It was really exciting to open our applications and text each other, ‘Oh my God, did you get in? I got in,’” Gonzalez said. “It was really amazing, and we’re both really excited to continue the next four years together.”

Email: [email protected] 

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