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MEDPREP | Medical/Dental Education Preparatory Program

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Where is Carbondale, Illinois?
Carbondale is NOT near Chicago. It is located approximately 100 miles southeast of St. Louis, 330 miles south of Chicago, 200 miles north of Memphis and 200 miles northwest of Nashville. For general information, read about Carbondale on Wikipedia.

I am not an Illinois resident. Am I eligible for MEDPREP?
The highest priority for MEDPREP participation is given to residents of central and southern Illinois. However, many of our applicants and participants come from out of state.

I am a career changer. Can I take my prerequisite science courses in MEDPREP?
The MEDPREP curriculum is designed for individuals who have completed their prerequisite science/math courses, but need additional help to improve their science foundations in order to prepare for the medical or dental school application process. It is not designed to help non-science students complete science prerequisites. If you have just one or two prerequisite courses remaining, you may be able to complete these as part of the MEDPREP curriculum. If you have multiple prerequisites remaining that you will not be able to complete before starting the program, you are unlikely to be admitted to MEDPREP.

Am I an “educationally disadvantaged” student?
As noted in MEDPREP’s application instructions, an “educationally disadvantaged” individual comes from an environment that has inhibited obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to enroll in and graduate from a health professions school. Individuals can be educationally disadvantaged without ever thinking that they were! Upon reflection, if you feel that you could be considered as “educationally disadvantaged,” you should indicate this on your MEDPREP application. The application provides a space for you to write several sentences about your circumstances so we may better understand your background and any hardships you may have faced.

Do I have to stay in the program for two years?
We strongly encourage students to complete both years of the program. The first year of MEDPREP focuses on MCAT/DAT preparation, and students begin taking the examination in the spring following program entry in June. Pre-dental students may be able to enter dental school the following August, but MCAT scores arrive too late for premedical students to enter professional school that year. Thus, during the health professional school application year, MEDPREP premedical students take upper-level science enrichment courses to master some of the material covered in medical school. Additionally, students receive significant faculty assistance with the application process. Most MEDPREP alums report that the second year of MEDPREP greatly enhanced their success during the first year of medical/dental school.

Can I work while attending MEDPREP?
MEDPREP students enter the program for a “new start.” Many students have been hampered in their undergraduate years by the necessity of working entirely too much. Thus, MEDPREP students are encouraged to arrange their finances so they do not have to work, or so they can work a minimal number of hours (less than 10 per week).

About the cost

What does MEDPREP cost?
MEDPREP traditional students pay tuition at the undergraduate rate. MEDPREP students accepted into the Master in Public Health or Masters in Biological Sciences options will pay tuition at the graduate rate. In-state tuition is offered to Illinois residents. Additionally, SIUC offers tuition rates equal to those paid by in-state students ("in-state tuition") to residents of the neighboring states of Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Iowa and Wisconsin. Out-of-state tuition rates are 2.5 times higher than in-state tuition. All students pay fees in addition to tuition costs.

Students enroll for 6 credit hours their first summer, and 13-18 credit hours during each succeeding long semester of the program. Please utilize SIUC's online tuition and fee calculator  to receive an accurate tuition and fee cost estimate for your residency status and program goals.

You may also contact the SIUC Financial Aid Office for additional information.

What is the cost of living in Carbondale, Illinois?
Cost of living in a small town in the Midwest is generally considered to be less expensive than in a large U.S. city. However, living in a university town can cost more than one might anticipate. For apartment availability and rates, see

How can I become an Illinois resident to save money on tuition?
Out-of-state MEDPREP students generally choose to apply for Illinois residency once they move to the state. In-state residency is achieved by living in Illinois for six months and obtaining state voter registration and ID or drivers license. Information on applying for Illinois residency is provided to incoming students during the first summer.

How do I apply for a tuition waiver?
The tuition waiver application will be supplied to you after you are accepted into the program. It consists of a very short application page, but the completed application must also include a copy of your FAFSA Student Aid Report (SAR). The applications are due in early May; notification is given in early June.

What are my chances of receiving a tuition waiver?
MEDPREP’s 24 undergraduate tuition waivers are awarded based on academics and financial need. Preference is given to returning MEDPREP students (second-year students). MEDPREP has a student population of about 70 students/term. Thus, first-year students should NOT count on a tuition waiver. However, because most second-year students do not take summer courses, incoming students have a better chance at a tuition waiver for their first summer in the program. Please note that MEDPREP students in the optional MPH program are not eligible for tuition waivers after the incoming summer term, and MEDPREP students in the optional MBS program are not eligible for tuition waivers at any time.

Are there grants or scholarships available for MEDPREP?
Once a bachelor’s degree is received, the term “grant” virtually disappears from available financial aid. Most MEDPREP students finance their program participation through FAFSA loans, savings, and family assistance. Occasionally, small scholarships become available to MEDPREP students.

About applying to MEDPREP

Do I need to take the MCAT or DAT before I apply?
No. These tests are not required for admission to MEDPREP. If you have already completed one or more MCAT or DAT exam, it is required that you self-report these scores on your MEDPREP application. Because ALL test scores become part of your permanent academic record in applying to medical or dental school, you should NOT take these tests simply for the purposes of applying to MEDPREP.

How much does it cost to apply?
For the current application year, there is NO FEE to apply to MEDPREP.  If you are accepted into MEDPREP and decide to matriculate, there will be a $30 application fee due to Southern Illinois University. Students who apply to the optional MPH or MBS programs after MEDPREP entry will have to pay additional graduate school application fees.

My grades from my community college for courses I took during high school and summers show on my university transcript. Do I need an official community college transcript, too?
Southern Illinois University Carbondale requires its applicants to submit official transcripts from ALL prior colleges and universities. MEDPREP therefore requires official transcripts, which will then be submitted to university officials if you decide to enter the program.

My college offers electronic transcripts. Can I have them send my transcripts electronically?
Unfortunately, MEPDREP cannot accept electronic transcripts at this time. All transcripts sent must be printed on paper, issued officially by a college/university registrar’s office and mailed to the MEDPREP admissions office.

I have a pre-health professional committee letter on file with my undergraduate school. May I use that instead of two individual letters of recommendation for my MEDPREP application?
MEDPREP gladly accepts pre-health committee/composite letters in lieu of the requirement for two recommendation letters. At least one letter in your composite must be dated within the past year, and a minimum of two individuals must have contributed to your composite letter.

I have been away from college for some time. May I obtain a recommendation from my employer?
MEDPREP does not require academic references because many of our students are returning to school to follow their dream after being away from college for a while. However, recommendations from science faculty, academic advisors, or non-science faculty are very much appreciated by the admissions committee. Other appropriate recommenders might include: a volunteer coordinator, a work supervisor, or a health care professional or worker who appreciates your career goals.

Should I send my CV/Resume?
Should I send my AMCAS application?
Should I send a personal statement?
No. The MEDPREP application contains the same information in a format that is easily read by the committee members. Additional materials will not be considered by the admissions committee.

Should I send copies of articles I have written/co-authored?
No, but you are welcome to list them or refer to them in the short-answer portion of the application.

The MEDPREP mission is to increase the numbers of underrepresented minority and disadvantaged students from southern and central
Illinois who will enter and graduate from health professions schools and who will serve in U.S. health professions shortage areas.