Medical Students

This information has been compiled specifically for Maine residents who have an interest in pursuing a medical education.


This section takes a general approach to admissions and financial aid; therefore, specific information related to individual medical schools is not discussed. Applicants to medical school are encouraged to talk with the directors of admissions and financial aid at any of the schools where they plan to apply.


Although FAME makes an effort to keep the information up to date, readers should be aware that it is subject to change and should contact the information source for verification. 


Pre-Med Planning

High School

  • Research colleges - take note of application and financial aid deadlines.
  • Research health careers in Maine at My Health Career.
  • Course schedule should include:
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Advanced science
    • Physics
    • Foreign language (3 years)
    • Mathematics (4 years)
    • English (4 years)
    • Computer science
    • Public speaking or speech
    • Psychology/Sociology
  • Volunteer or do community service.
  • Job shadow a physician.
  • Apply to colleges.
  • Consider medical school accelerated program information and apply.
  • Take the SAT or ACT exam.

College: Freshman Year

  • Meet with pre-med advisor to obtain information on pre-med requirements.
  • Think about a major and minor course of study.
  • Plan a tentative schedule for the next 3 years.
  • Review medical school admission requirements.
  • Develop a pre-med course of study.
  • Develop study skills.
  • Maintain excellent GPA.
  • Begin extracurricular activities and participate in pre-med club.
  • Get AAMC's MCAT Student Manual for subject outlines.
  • Apply to SMDEP, if applicable.
  • Contact senior year medical students or residents and ask to "shadow" them for a shift.

College: Sophomore Year

  • Work/volunteer in medical area.
  • Meet with pre-med advisor to discuss your program.
  • Select your major and minor courses of study.
  • Maintain excellent GPA.
  • Determine entry requirements for medical school.
  • Consider participating in research.
  • Apply to SMDEP, if applicable.
  • Study for MCAT (summer before junior year if you will take the MCAT early).
  • Apply for MCAT (if you will take it early).

College: Junior Year

  • Study for MCAT (if not yet taken).
  • Apply for MCAT (if not yet taken).
  • Take MCAT:
    1. August before junior year
    2. April of junior year
    3. August after junior year
  • Meet with pre-med advisor.
  • Maintain excellent GPA.
  • Gather information about medical schools.
  • Obtain AMCAS/AACOMAS/other applications.
  • Begin preparing AMCAS/AACOMAS essay.
  • Work/volunteer in medical area.
  • Meet with pre-med committee.
  • Request reference letters.
  • Obtain, review and send transcripts.
  • Complete AMCAS/AACOMAS/other applications.
  • Apply for early acceptance program (optional).

College: Senior Year

  • Work or volunteer in medical area.
  • Take MCAT in August to improve scores or if not yet taken.
  • Confirm that medical schools have received your application materials and letters.
  • Maintain excellent GPA.
  • Complete secondary medical school applications.
  • Interview at medical schools.
  • Complete FAFSA and any additional financial aid forms that the school requires.
  • If wait-listed, send letter confirming interest.
  • Accept offer and withdraw previous acceptances.
  • Write to thank references and tell them of your success.
  • Thank pre-med advisor for all of his/her help. 


Applying to Medical School

Application Process

The application process for medical school should begin a year and a half before you plan to enter medical school. You will be required to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) and to apply to medical school using one of the following service companies:


American Medical College Application Services (AMCAS) 

American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Services (AACOMAS)


These service companies will collate materials, verify transcripts and transmit standardized information to the medical schools you select. They do not participate in the schools' evaluation or selection process.


If you are selected for further consideration, the medical school will send you a secondary application to complete and return. The secondary application will require letters of recommendation and a non-refundable fee.


Early Admissions Program (EAP) applicants agree to apply to just one medical school and attend that school if accepted. EAP applicants may not apply to any other medical school until after the acceptance decision is rendered.


General Qualifications

Applicants need to check for specific prerequisite requirements of each medical school. Students may be admitted with 3 years of undergraduate course work completed; however, schools may favor an undergraduate degree. In addition to completing pre-medical requirements, students who have health care or clinical experience (paid or volunteer) may receive preference.


Undergraduate majors are not limited to science majors as long as the general science requirements have been satisfactorily completed. A strong academic showing in science courses is beneficial. General requirements include: 8 semester hours of biology and labs, 8 semester hours of general physics and labs and 16 hours of chemistry and organic chemistry labs. Most medical schools look favorably upon students who have taken a broad and balanced undergraduate educational program. 


Grade Point Average

Variations in minimum requirements and scores between schools and disciplines may exist. Most medical schools do not publish an absolute minimum GPA as a requirement for acceptance. However, it is unusual for an applicant to be invited to interview at a medical school unless the applicant's GPA is higher than 3.2. Students who are invited for interviews typically have GPAs that range from 3.0 to 4.0, with an average of 3.3.


Personal Qualities and Critical Skills

Personal qualities are considered when applying to medical school. Schools look for maturity, integrity, personal insight, empathy, strong motivation, compassion, respect for others.


Skills and abilities, such as observation, communication, motor, behavioral and social and conceptual, integrative and quantitive, are also considered.


Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT)

The MCAT is required at most medical schools in the United States. MCAT scores and GPAs are preliminary admissions screening tools used by many medical schools. Some schools emphasize MCAT scores and others emphasize undergraduate performance under conditions of a full academic load. Low GPA and MCAT scores will hamper chances of being accepted into medical school.


The MCAT may be taken in April or August. Most allopathic schools prefer that MCATs be taken no later than April of the year of application. Some osteopathic schools have a September deadline. August scores will not reach medical schools until October or November, and schools will not take action on applications until scores are received. MCAT will forward test results to AMCAS and AACOMAS. You can request the MCAT

registration packet from your college's pre-med office or contact the MCAT Program Office.


There are four sub-tests:

  1. Physical Sciences
  2. Verbal Reasoning
  3. Biological Sciences
  4. Writing Sample

Results are reported as numerical values for the verbal, physical science and biological sub-tests and as a letter grade for the writing sample. The average scores on the MCAT sub-tests are approximately "8" among the national pool of candidates. A verbal score of less than "7" on a 15-point scale usually eliminates an applicant for further competition.



Fast Track to Osteopathic Medicine

You can complete your medical training in seven years with a new program, The Accelerated Binary Degree Program, developed by the University of Maine and the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNECOM). This program accelerates a student's undergraduate and medical studies.


For this program you must indicate your intent to participate by the end of your sophomore year to the Health Professions Office and your academic advisor at the University of Maine. You must take the MCAT no later than August preceding your junior year and you must apply to UNECOM by September 15 of your junior year.



Review this checklist and make note of the various deadlines and recommended steps.


January - Register for the April Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT).


March - The registration due dates occur in early March (for the April test) and early July (for the August test).  Additional fees may be assessed for late registration.  Registration may be completed online at


April - MCAT is administered at most schools.  (Alternate date for MCAT is August. Check your schools' deadlines.)


June 19 - Obtain early admissions application (if applicable).


June to October - File application and materials required by AMCAS or AACOMAS.


September to March - Medical school applications being given further consideration may be invited for interviews.



Financial Aid Information

Ability to Pay

The admissions process at U.S. medical schools is "need-blind."  Admissions departments and admissions committees have no knowledge of an applicant's financial status; thus, ability to pay is not a consideration in the admissions process. 


With the exception of Federal Stafford Loans, schools may continue to assess the family's ability to pay in determining "need", regardless of a student's age.  Although primary responsibility for financing medical education rests with the student and family, financial aid is available to students primarily in the form of need-based loans.  Therefore, ability to pay should not be viewed as an insurmountable barrier to attaining medical education.


Independent Student Status

Statements of parental income may be required of all applicants who wish to apply for need-based loans and scholarships.  This policy helps to insure that students are able to study medicine at most medical schools, regardless of their social and economic background.  Individuals who have been independent of their family, but whose family resources are sizeable, may find a formal borrowing program from parents, with scheduled repayment at a later date, a viable method of financing. 


Contact the financial aid office at your college or university to determine sources of financial aid for which you may qualify. 


Federal Scholarships and Loans

National Health Service Corps Scholarship

This scholarship pays full tuition and fees, a monthly stipend, and expenses for required books and supplies.  Participants must serve one year of duty for each year of scholarship assistance (exception: one year scholarship requires a two year commitment).  For more information contact the National Health Service Corps Scholarship Office


Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan Program

Federally subsidized loans are available to applicants who demonstrate financial need.  The maximum loan amount is $8,500 annually, with an aggregate limit of $65,000, including undergraduate borrowing.


Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan Program

The Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan Program is designed for student borrowers who do not qualify or who only partially qualify for federal interest subsidies under the Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan Program.  The same terms and conditions apply as the Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan Program, except that the borrower is responsible for interest that accrues while in school and during deferment periods.  A medical student's aggregate Federal Stafford Loans (unsubsidized and subsidized) may not exceed $224,000. 


Federal Grad PLUS Loan Program

The Federal Grad PLUS Loan is a credit-based loan available to students pursuing a graduate or professional degree who have reached the maximum borrowing limit for the Federal Stafford Loan.  Eligible students may borrow up to the cost of attendance minus other aid received.  The loan is not a need-based loan.  Interest accrues upon disbursement and repayment begins 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed. Students may request a deferment while they are enrolled at least half-time. 


Indian Health Service Scholarship

This program is available only to American Indians and Alaska natives.  The scholarship may pay full tuition, additional costs of medical education, and a monthly stipend.  Recipients must serve one year for each year of scholarship assistance they receive.  Interested students should contact the Indian Health Service


Primary Care Loan

The Primary Care Loan is a need-based loan.  Borrowers must agree to enter and complete a primary care residency and practice in a primary care field until the loan is repaid in full.  The borrower must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or U.S. permanent resident.


The loan has a fixed interest rate of 5%.  If a borrower fails to fulfill the primary care service obligation, the outstanding loan balance will be computed annually at an interest rate of 18% from the date of noncompliance.  There is a one-year grace period after graduation.  The loan may be deferred.  Borrowers are not able to consolidate this loan and there are no prepayment penalties.  For more information, contact the student financial aid office or visit the Bureau of Health Professions web site


Doctors for Maine's Future Scholarship 

The Doctors for Maine's Future Scholarship offers a tuition subsidy for eligible students who enroll in a qualifying Maine-based medical school program.  For more information, visit Maine Financial Aid


Health Professions Loan Program

The State of Maine offers certain repayment benefits and loan forgiveness in return for providing services in the related profession to Maine communities. 


Any Maine resident who has been admitted to a program of allopathic, osteopathic, veterinary medicine or dentistry at an institution of medical education that has been accredited by the appropriate accrediting agency. For more information, visit Maine Loan Programs.


Federal Military Medical Programs

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS)

Congress established the F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine in 1972 in order to provide the nation with career physicians dedicated to service in the Department of Defense and U.S. Public Health Service.  USUHS is a tuition-free, four-year medical school.  Students receive a salary as a medical student.  Additional military service is required after completion of medical training.  For more information visit the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences


Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program

In exchange for an active duty service obligation, this scholarship program will pay full tuition and fees, the cost of required textbooks and equipment, and a monthly stipend.  For more information, contact your local Armed Forces Recruiting office or visit Today's Military


Loan Repayment Programs

National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program

The National Health Services Corps Loan Repayment Program is a federal program that repays the educational loans of specific categories of health professionals who agree to provide primary care health service in areas of the country that are designated health professional shortage areas.


The following health professionals are eligible to apply:

  • Allopathic (MD) or Osteopathic (DO) Physicians specializing in Family Medicine, General Pediatrics, General Internal Medicine, General Psychiatry, or Obstetrics/Gynecology
  • Primary Care Nurse Practitioners
  • Certified Nurse Midwives
  • Dentists and Dental Hygienists
  • Clinical Psychologists
  • Clinical Social Workers
  • Psychiatric Nurse Specialties
  • Marriage and Family Therapists

Loan repayment recipients must agree to provide primary care services in a priority health professional shortage area for a minimum of two years.  Participants in the repayment program may extend the obligation beyond two years for one year at a time.  You must be a U.S. resident with a valid, unrestricted license and/or certificate to practice in the state where you plan to serve.  Loan repayment may be up to $50,000 for a 2-year commitment. 


For more information contact the National Health Service Corps. 


National Institutes of Health (NIH) Loan Repayment Program.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking applications for its Loan Repayment Program for Clinical Researchers.  The program provides for the repayment of up to $35,000 of educational loan debt of qualified health professionals who agree to conduct clinical research for at least two years. 


Maine Professional Associations

Maine Osteopathic Association (MOA)

The mission of the association is to serve the osteopathic profession of the State of Maine through a coordinated effort of professional education, professional advocacy and member service in order to ensure the availability of qualify osteopathic health care to the people of this state. 


Maine Medical Association

The Maine Medical Assocation is a voluntary association of more than 3000 Maine physicians serving the profession and the public since 1853.  The mission of the Maine Medical Association is to promote the health of Maine citizens, the quality of medicine in Maine, and the physicians' role as advocates for their patients.


Maine Medical Education Foundation Loan (MMEF)

The MMEF loan was established by the Maine Medical Association to make loans to Maine residents enrolled in or accepted to approved medical schools.  This loan can fill the gap between federal loan programs and the full cost of education. 


Maine residents' applications are due May 1.  Loan amounts range from $2,000 to the cost of education.  Interest does not accrue while the student is in school.  The loan principal may be deferred for up to 60 months following graduation.  Loan recipients may opt to pay interest-only payments during the principal deferment period.


For more information contact the MES Foundation


Managing Your Education Debt

Medical school costs can exceed $50,000 per year and represent a tremendous financial investment.  In order to prepare you for the financial and emotional concern of borrowing such large amounts of money, the following information should be kept in mind.


Loans to help finance medical education may include: Federal Stafford Loan Program (subsidized and unsubsidized), institutional, alternative, private, and state loans.  Though the borrower is ultimately responsible for repaying the debt, there may be options available to ease the transition from residency training to practice.  Most importantly, know who your lenders are and where you can find your loan information.  Familiarize yourself with the conditions and terms of each loan, including undergraduate debt that may be accruing interest while you attend medical school.  Ask the following questions:

  • When does repayment begin?
  • When does interest begin to accrue?
  • Does accrued interest get capitalized and become part of the principal balance?
  • What is the maximum interest rate that can be charged on this loan?

Federal Stafford Loans may be deferred, consolidated, or placed in forbearance during residency training.  Graduated or income contingent payment schedules for Stafford Loans may be available after completing medical school.  Some loans may be forgiven or repaid through specific service obligations. 


Medical schools conduct loan entrance/exit interviews. Always participate in the interview as your financial aid office can help you with your loan information, rights and responsibilities. 


Without exception, make sure that you keep in close contact with your lenders and that you complete and return any forms that your lenders may send you.


Remember - Only borrow what you need and you will be taking one of the most important steps in financing your education. 


Medical Education Resources

Maine Primary Care Association  

Maine Primary Care Association offers a number of opportunities through the SEARCH Program (Student/Resident Experiences And Rotations in Community Health) for students and residents to experience medicine in an underserved primary care setting in Maine.


Maine AHEC Network 

Maine's Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Network works with academic and community partners to provide rural, community-based clinical training experiences for medical and other health professions students; encourage Maine youth to explore health careers; and support practicing health professionals with continuing education and distance learning opportunities. 


Maine Recruitment Center 

The Maine Recruitment Center (MRC) assists hospitals and medical groups around the state in finding qualified physicians and mid-level practitioners to fill vacant positions.  Physicians planning a career in Maine may contact MRC at any time to find out about jobs in Maine, including salary guidelines, as well as assistance with preparing for interviews. 


Maine Academy of Family Physicians

The Maine Academy of Family Physicians offers initiatives and programs to provide advocacy, enhanced communication, and clinical and policy information for the specialty of Family Medicine, Family Physicians in Maine, and the citizens of Maine.


Maine-Dartmouth Family Practice Residency

The Maine-Dartmouth Family Practice Residency offers an academically rigorous, supportive and stimulating family medicine training program.  Special emphasis is placed on community medicine and training for rural practice.  The program hopes to attract physicians to practice in underserved areas by providing a comprehensive educational program. 


Maine Medical Center Family Medicine Residency Program

The Maine Medical Center Family Medicine Residency Program is devoted to providing a superior educational experience for family practice residents and students, as well as comprehensive, high quality health care to patients, families and community.  In fulfilling its mission, the Maine Medical Center Family Medicine Residency Program is committed to continuous quality improvement. 


Central Maine Medical Center Family Practice Residency Program

The Central Maine Medical Center Family Practice Residency Program prepares physicians to practice rural family medicine.  The versatility of a rural educational plan allows graduates to practice in communities from 500 to 500,000 residents. 


Eastern Maine Medical Center Family Practice Residency Program

The Eastern Maine Medical Center Family Practice Residency Program offers a strong educational environment with a focus on rural family practice.  The program includes a strong osteopathic component, credentialed for all three years of family practice residency training by the AOA, plus a fellowship in Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine. 


Maine Medical Center Internal Medicine-Pediatrics Residency Program

The Combined Internal Medicine-Pediatrics Residency Program at the Maine Medical Center offers a four-year program combining two outstanding departments.  It is the intent of both the Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Medicine to offer this new dimension in its training programs, enriching the medical community with dually-trained physicians. 


Maine Medical Center Internal Medicine Residency Program

The Internal Medicine Residency Program at Maine Medical Center provides an outstanding training environment to prepare residents for a career in general internal medicine or a subspecialty medicine. 


Barbara Bush Children's Hospital at Maine Medical Center - Pediatric Residency Program

The Pediatric Residency Program at Maine Medical Center is an ACGME-certified training site for physicians interested in practicing general or sub-specialty pediatrics.  The goals of the training program are to provide a superior educational experience for pediatric residents and to provide comprehensive high quality health care to patients, families and community.


University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNECOM) Family Practice Residency Program

The Family Practice Residency Program at UNECOM is approved by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) and the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (ACOFP).  The residency is a 24-month program following successful completion of an AOA-approved rotating internship.   Residents completing their training at UNECOM will develop a solid base in primary and preventative care.  

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  • Thursday, May 14, 2015 3:41 PM

    FAME is excited to announce that Claim Your Future® is now available to all of Maine’s middle schools free of charge. Claim Your Future is an interactive game that encourages exploration into education after high school, future careers, and money management.


  • Monday, May 11, 2015 11:54 AM

    The celebrations are designed to recognize 529 College Savings Day, proclaimed by the United States Congress as a way to raise national awareness and boost interest in Section 529 college saving programs. The events will also encourage families to think about their children’s futures and to start planning now for the costs of education after high school.

    The Future Faces of Maine events will take place in:

    • Presque Isle: At the Aroostook Centre Mall on Friday, 5/29, from 4 PM to 7PM
    • Bangor: At Eastern Maine Community College, Rangeley Hall, on Saturday, 5/30 from 10 AM to 1 PM
    • Portland: At the University of Southern Maine, Woodbury Campus Center, on Saturday, 5/30 from 10 AM to 1 PM.