Non Traditional Student Experience

Nontraditional students are generally defined as those who have taken two or more years off between undergraduate studies and matriculation to medical school.

The entering Class of 2017 at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine contains 22 (14.2%) nontraditional students, with ages that range between 25 and 31. Five have earned advanced degrees, including one Doctor of Philosophy, two Master of Science, and two  Master of Health.

Our entering nontraditional students have pursued diverse careers that range from working as a Kid's ministry teacher to an Assistant Science instructor for an elementary school. One student, an aquatic Biology Enhancement Fellowship (August, 2010-August, 2012)-grants two years of funding to a Masters student. This fellowship covers health insurance and tuition, and provides a monthly stipend. One non-traditional first-year student presented results of a needs assessment for 322 health units in Chiapas, Mexico to determine necessary amounts of medicine and supplies for effective delivery of maternal and child health services to Ministry of Health officials in Mexico. Now, all share the same passion: to pursue medicine.

Admissions Standards

Nontraditional students are required to meet the same admissions standards as traditional students unless noted otherwise on this page.

Letters of Recommendation

You are required to submit three letters of recommendation.

Option 1 Option 2 Option 3

2 Letters by science faculty members


1 Letter by science faculty member and

1 Letter by supervisor from research experience and
1 Letter by supervisor from research experience and 1 Letter by Non-science faculty member or volunteer supervisor and
1 Letter by Non-science faculty member, volunteer supervisor or employer 1 Letter by Non-science faculty member, volunteer supervisor or employer 1 Letter by volunteer superior or employer

Quantity of Letters

If you have multiple individual letters submitted for your application the first 3 individual letters submitted will be used to complete your application requirement.

Do not send more than a Committee packet or the 3 required letters prior to interview invitation. Once you receive an interview invitation, you are welcome to submit additional letters on interview day, by electronic submission or by mail to AMCAS.

Transmission of Letters

If your college's pre-health advisory office participates in an electronic submission service for letters of recommendation, then you should ask them to transmit your letters as soon as possible.

If your school does not participate in electronic service, then your letters of recommendation must be written on letterhead stationery and mailed directly to AMCAS by the school's pre-medical advising office or the author(s).

Application Evaluation

The Committee of Admissions will take into the consideration all aspects of your application when evaluating your application. We understand you may not have had the opportunity to gain certain experiences that are common for applicants to acquire coming directly from undergraduate school. You are encouraged, but not required, to volunteer in a clinical setting prior to applying to the Feinberg School of Medicine.

This page last updated Sep 25, 2013

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