The Early Assurance Program (EAP) is a unique, program that allows Loyola students to gain conditional acceptance to Loyola’s Stritch School of Medicine at the beginning of their junior year. The application and interviewing process begins in the spring of sophomore year; therefore, students who are interested in the program should start researching medical schools early on in their college career. This will help them decide, why Stritch is their top choice. Since EAP applicants apply a year earlier than the regular cycle, prospective EAP applicants should ensure they have gained enough exposure to medical settings (i.e. shadowing physicians or volunteering in a clinical atmosphere) to show that they truly understand what it means to be a physician. Medical schools are looking to invest in students that know what they are getting into.

The minimal requirements for candidacy are that you must be enrolled as a full time student at Loyola, complete all science courses at Loyola, have earned a total of 60 credits by the end of your sophomore year, have a minimum science GPA of 3.5 and overall GPA above 3.5 (with no grade lower than a C), be in good standing with the university by academic and interpersonal conduct and activities, and, preferentially, have no academic irregularities (incomplete courses, withdrawals, or repeated course work). In addition, there is a certain sequence of courses that must be completed by the end of sophomore year. Meeting these requirements does not guarantee acceptance, and a more detailed list of the exact requirements and expectations can be found at: http://www.luc.edu/prehealth/studentopportunities/earlyassuranceprogram/

It is important to note that the application requires 3 letters of evaluation (two from Loyola science faculty, one from a post-secondary medical related experience, and a fourth optional letter from clinical or research involvement). The EAP is a highly competitive program; if accepted, candidates are expected to maintain the same high standards on their initial EAP application and post a minimum MCAT score of 30 (or the equivalent score on the 2015 MCAT). If the offer by Stritch is accepted, applicants will forego applying to all other medical schools; this is why it is important to consider if Stritch is the candidate’s top choice!

Although this seems like an intimidating process, the benefits of going through the application process are priceless. When posed with the question “If asked by a student, ‘Why should I consider applying to the Early Assurance Program?’” our own pre-health director, Dr. Jim Johnson, says it best when he replied, “Regardless of whether or not one earns conditional admission through EAP, it is excellent practice for one’s actual application to medical school.  Applicants have the opportunity to respond to questions drawn from previous medical school secondary applications.  A critical audience familiar with evaluating medical school candidacies will examine the responses, and applicants are able to receive feedback on their responses after the selection process is complete.  An even more valuable aspect is the ability to participate in actual interviews with faculty and staff at the Lake Shore Campus and potentially at the Stritch School of Medicine.”  Loyola students that are interested in applying to Stritch have a unique opportunity to learn about their strengths and weaknesses a year earlier than the normal application cycle, and I strongly advocate that sophomores take advantage of this.