Monday, February 27, 2012


Frequently Asked Questions:

Who is eligible for PEPP?
Any graduating Kentucky high school senior may apply for the PEPP program (applications available at Preference is given to students from medically underserved counties and/or students who are members of ethnic/minority groups underrepresented in medicine (see application for details). The majority of selected participants are from an underserved area or underrepresented group. Please note that students who participate in the program go to a wide variety of undergraduate institutions both in Kentucky and out-of-state. You do not have to attend UofL for undergrad to participate in the program.

What are you looking for in applicants?
We determine admission based on the following criteria: Personal Statement Essay, Letter of Recommendation, unweighted high school GPA, ACT scores, and courses completed in high school. Above all, we are looking for a strong interest in medicine or dentistry. It is critically important that you take the time to write a thoughtful essay for your personal statement. It should be unique to you and provide a clear explanation of why you want to be a physician or dentist (i.e. give us more than "I want to help people").

Your letter of recommendation is also important, it must come from a math or science teacher. Choose one who knows you well and can provide more information than "he/she received an A in my course". It is best practice to sit down with your teacher and explain the program and why you want to participate in it before they write your recommendation. Even better, provide them with a copy of the PEPP application (with program description), a copy of your Personal Statement, and a copy of your resume or list of extracurricular activities. This will provide them with a lot more information to base your recommendation on and lead to a better letter.

Academics are also important. We are looking for a minimum of a 3.0 unweighted GPA and an ACT composite of 20. Keep in mind that the average for accepted students is much higher than these minimums. If you are near this minimum, that is even more reason to you to focus on your personal statement and recommendation letter. We also look at the courses students take in high school. We like to see students who challenge themselves in science and math courses beyond the required high school curriculum.

How many students do you take?
Each summer, UofL PEPP takes 25-30 students. The program is small by design. Students get individualized attention in the classroom and in advising. This small number allows for 4-5 shadowing rotations for each student and the ability to make better connections with program contacts and presenters. In addition, the small number allows for great group cohesion among all program participants. We also have 4 Student Development Assistants (medical and dental students) who live in the dorms, provide supervision, assist in program facilitation, and serve as mentors to the students.

What does the program cost?
Due to increased budget cuts, in 2010 PEPP instituted a fee schedule based on the student's taxable family income (after all allowable deductions). The fee schedule is further explained on the application. If the fee would prohibit you from participating in the program, simply complete a fee waiver request. We will seriously consider each request for a waiver or reduction to the PEPP fee (instuctions are in the application).

Meals are not regularly provided at PEPP, but a number of meals (around 5) will be covered during the program. Regardless of if the student is a "payer" or not, every student will receive an $80/wk stipend ($320 total) to go toward the cost of food. In addition, all program materials are provided: housing, local transportation, books, notebooks, pens, paper, etc.

What will we be doing at PEPP?
A lot! Our program is comprised of the following components: academic enrichment in freshman level math and sciences, career exploration in the health sciences, clinical observations, personal development, professional development, and hands-on experiences. Every day at PEPP is different.

Will we have free time?
Yes! While we do keep a busy schedule, there will be some downtime during the program. We will have some program organized extracurricular activities, and allow for students to do their own thing at other times.We recognize that you will be attending college in the fall and provide you with more freedom that other summer programs you may have been a part of in the past. We do allow students to leave campus and explore Louisville. You may bring a car if you wish. However, this is not an invitation for you to "sew your wild oats". We do have a very reasonable set of rules to follow for the safety of our participants and the program. We also have a curfew of midnight Sunday- Thursday, and 1:30am on Friday and Saturday.

Other questions?
Contact Katie Leslie, Program Director.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The MCAT is Changing!

While it has long been dreaded, for those who plan to take the Medical College Admissions Test in 2015 or later (most likely the first cohort will be students graduating from high school in 2012) there will be much more anxiety surrounding the exam. The MCAT will see some major changes from how it exists today. In addition to the biological and physical sciences, the exam will now cover material from the social and behavioral sciences as well as a new section that tests your critical analysis and reasoning skills. These changes will impact the courses you should take as an undergraduate to prepare you for the exam. Information on the new exam and how to prepare for it is available and will be updated at If this change will impact your MCAT, I encourage you to stay up-to-date with the changes. This is new for everyone including undergraduate pre-health advisors. As prerequisites for medical school may change along with the exam, I would recommend that you directly check with the admissions officers at medical schools of interest as to what courses are required and recommended. Below are videos from the Association of American Medical Colleges briefly discussing these changes.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Alumni Testimonials

The impact of PEPP is best expressed through the words of our alumni. Here are a few examples of the wonderful feedback we have received over the years:

“This program was amazing for me! All of the shadowing experiences, hearing the personal testimonies of doctors and students, as well as learning about my future (all the while establishing life-long friendships) could not have been better. There are very few programs that could even come close to having such an effect as this did. PEPP was extremely organized and helped me to have four of the best weeks of my life as I learned about pre-med and pre-dental both inside and outside of the classroom. It has definitely piqued my interest and will leave a lasting impression! THANK YOU!”

“PEPP is an amazing program and has definitely had a huge impact on me. I feel 1000 times more prepared for college now academically, socially, and emotionally. It helped me get to feel comfortable being independent as well as balancing my time. I believe this program helps develop students into adults, therefore, preparing them for their future.”

“I have really enjoyed my PEPP experience! I loved meeting and interacting with all the health professionals. This experience has definitely encouraged me to become a doctor and has shown me the steps on how to get there.”

“The PEPP Program was very instrumental in helping decide the career path I am best suited for. It also helped develop lifelong resources and friends that can be used for guidance and help.”

“PEPP is a once in a lifetime experience! The fact that most of us are from small, rural areas means that finding shadowing and pre-college programs is extremely difficult. The program is four weeks that alter the participants’ entire lives by helping us make huge career decisions.”

“PEPP introduced me to so many people who are living examples that the sky is the limit and in life there is no reason to settle! Also, I don’t come from a very supportive family, so I really needed this time of encouragement, support, guidance, and networking.”

“Unlike most summer programs, PEPP met and exceeded my expectations. I didn’t realize how much one could truly get out of a four well camp. I now feel better prepared for college and I have more confidence in myself for becoming a physician. Thanks PEPP!”

“PEPP has had a huge impact on my life! I feel more prepared for college and am more driven to succeed in life. Without PEPP, these things would have been difficult, if not impossible. I owe a great deal to PEPP.”

“This summer I learned a lot, but mainly I want to touch on what I learned about myself academically. It was an eye-opening trial run, which got my priorities in check. I learned that when I start college in the fall, I will definitely have to step it up! I need to make a study schedule and stick to it. About myself, I learned that my dream of becoming a physician is far greater than I realized. Being around so many physicians, med students, and residents all summer made me crave that future for myself! Because of PEPP, I know I am headed in the perfect direction for my future!”

Preparation for the Summer

Summer and the 2012 PEPP program are just around the corner! Applications are flooding in and the schedule is nearing completion. I am always excited to see how who will be spending their summers with us. I'm sure it will be a wonderful group of students, as always. While we are waiting to find out who will join us in 2012, It's fun to look back at some of the fun times our students have had in past years. In 2011, UofL was shut down for a day due to a water main break on campus. Rather than sitting around watching episodes of Grey's Anatomy, they decided to use their newly learned Basic Life Support skills to produce a spoof of the popular show. Enjoy!