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Searching For Admission: The Smart PreMed Student's Guide
to Applying for Medical School

Review the manual online or
print it out for your own personal guide.

Click here for download


Athena Institute for Women's Wellness, Inc. is pleased to offer a valuable resource for anyone considering medical school. This manual is a clear road-map and take-home advisor to the admissions process. The manual is offered as a service without charge and is available on pdf format for download by the link below. Searching for Admission was written by one of Athena Institute's wonderful interns, Ms. Suzanne Smith. ** In 2012, Athena Institute was fortunate to have another wonderful, (smart pre-med) intern, Ms. Christine Klingaman, revise and contribute to the manual to provide the most current information for students. And in 2015 and again in 2016 the links were updated and notice of MCAT restructuring was added.

This has truly been a life saver for me being a non-traditional student looking to apply to medical school after a sea of adversity. Applaud your organization for prioritizing what really matters in medicine and healthcare and still striving to put the patient first! Look forward to this application journey and thank you again.

It would have been rather difficult given my circumstances to find a pre-med advisor or counselor while finishing up my last 2 pre-requisites at a community college. This knowledge and guidance is priceless for me and has been a huge help in getting me organized.

Appreciate all the hard work, heart and dedication!

Have a blessed weekend!


As of April 2015, the MCAT was restructured into 4 new sections.  For important details regarding the new format, please refer to the Preface in the later section, Undergraduate Year 3:The MCAT (page 21).


A Foreword by the founder of Athena Institute,
Dr. Winnifred Cutler:

Searching for admission to medical school is an arduous process made easier by having a mentor to guide a candidate through the procedures. This manual is such a ‘mentor’ and was written by Suzanne Smith (who did successfully apply to medical school). This delightful, competent, gentle and intelligent young woman worked diligently at Athena Institute in a variety of capacities during two summers, and part time throughout her senior year.

As we discussed her application journey of investigating, choosing, interviewing and submitting fees, her cheerful resolve was unshakeable: she was going to be a surgeon, But first she needed to achieve admission to medical school. Upon acceptance, Suzie reviewed with me what she wished she had known, the expenses she could have avoided, and the time she would have diverted elsewhere. Thus we conceived how to use her knowledge of the process as a gift to others… by writing a ‘how-to’ map of the application journey.

In the last 30 years I have experienced an unfortunate disparity between compassionate, intelligent young women who show promise, yet are inadequately poised for the application process. They understandably do not know how ‘search’ most efficiently, since at the same time they are immersed in their scholarly studies.

When I was a teaching fellow to premed students in the biology department of the University of Pennsylvania, I frequently saw that the most competitive students edged out the less assertive, but equally qualified students in their pursuit of admission. They insisted on getting the help they needed from advisors and professors. Became savvy. Hit the ground running and successfully gained admission

I saw more of the same at Stanford University as a postdoctoral fellow in Physiology, doing research in behavioral endocrinology from 1979 to 1980. And upon returning to co-found the Women’s Wellness Program at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, it still seemed to me that the most qualified students by their compassionate nature were not necessarily the ones achieving a place in the medical schools. Some were. But in my opinion not enough to serve the needs of women who consume this medical care.

Since founding Athena Institute in 1986, I have had the opportunity to mentor 3 to 5 young women each year. Again, I have often found that some of those who wanted to go to medical school only learned how by an inefficient trial and error process. It seemed that the gentlest of them--the ones I would want to be my physician--were least likely to receive a hand to guide them.

We want to encourage a new generation of physicians—women and men who know how to listen, who care about serving the needs of women in a compassionate way, and who respect their patients. If you are such a person, this manual is designed to help. We hope that this premed’s guide will serve to mentor those who need a mentor. We welcome feedback to improve this “work in progress”. Athena Institute has a mission to improve the quality of women’s healthcare. Let me add some thoughts to the Hippocratic Oath of “First of all, Do No Harm”: Go forth in peace and be of good spirits, support the weak, help the afflicted and honor all persons.

Winnifred B. Cutler,
President and Founder
Athena Institute for Women's Wellness

You are welcome to review the manual online or print it out for your own personal guide. Click here for download.