Frequently Asked Questions

About the program:

Where IS Carbondale, Illinois?
Carbondale is NOT near Chicago.
It is located approximately 100 miles south of St. Louis, 330 miles south of Chicago, and 200 miles north of Nashville and Memphis.  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 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.  If you have just one or two prerequisite courses remaining, you could probably work those into the MEDPREP curriculum.  If you have several prerequisites remaining, you should take those before entering the program.

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 could be considered as “educationally disadvantaged,” you should write several sentences about it on the MEDPREP application.

Do I have to stay in the program for two years?
The first year of MEDPREP is concentrated on MCAT/DAT preparation, and students begin taking the examination in the April following program entry in June.  Predental 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 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 students pay tuition at the undergraduate rate.  The base tuition at SIUC is $243/credit hour for Illinois residents who begin MEDPREP in Summer 2010.  Out-of-state residents pay 2.5 times that amount.  Students enroll for 6 credit hours their first summer, and 13-15 credit hours during each succeeding semester.  Additionally, campus fees at SIUC are approximately $1275/semester for full-time students.

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 availabilty 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.

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 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.

Are there grants or scholarships available for MEDPREP?
Once a bachelors 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?

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 the university.

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.

I have a prehealth 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 prehealth 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 awhile.  However, recommendations from science faculty, academic advisors, or nonscience 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.

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.

To inquire about the status of an application you have submitted, or about transcripts and recommendation letters sent on your behalf, please call or e-mail the MEDPREP Admissions Office:

CLICK HERE to email the MEDPREP Admissions Office

MEDPREP | Medical/Dental Education Preparatory Program
Southern Illinois University School of Medicine | MC 4323 | Carbondale, Illinois 62901
Phone: 618.536.6671 | Fax: 618.453.1919