Weekend Inquiry: Studying Abroad in Undergrad


Dear Naomi,
I am a high school senior, have been accepted to where I want to go* and want to plan all four years of college because I hate not having a plan, I want to know exactly what I am going to take, when and why.
I am completely confused on whether or not a study abroad program would fit in with my undergraduate requirements for medical school. I have read on google that the AMCAS only records grades from study abroad programs as pass/fail, but I have also read that some programs will be excepted as normal grades. i have always wanted to do study abroad and thought it would even help my application if I could do some hospital volunteering in the country I end up in, which at the moment would be England.
I would greatly appreciate any thoughts you may have on the matter.

* I have been accepted to Florida Atlantic University and decided on this school because it is close to my home and I have a full-ride there.
*The study abroad program I was looking at was at NYU, I am going to put the web page below-please read the small passage on the top right just under the “apply now” button.


Sorry for such a large amount of crap but I would really appreciate some help here 🙂
I know what you are thinking… freshmen these days.. lol

Hey Joanne,
I can feel your excitement and ambition through the text: it’s great! I think a study abroad option is always a good thing. It boosts your resume for medical schools big time, and it is a great life experience. You don’t need to be worried too much about the grades you get there, especially if AMCAS only looks at it as pass/fail; I think the reason medical schools aren’t too concerned about what grades you get abroad is because they look at the program as an experience. I know there are plenty of study abroad programs in England where grades do transfer over though, so be sure to put in your best in class, as well.

England obviously isn’t a third-world country, which are often the places where students can make a big difference when studying abroad, so make sure you connect with some organization in England. Try and find a non-profit medically related program or a hospital you can volunteer in regularly (weekly) while you’re there. Medical schools will love that, and so will you! Don’t forget to keep track of your hours and write down any really touching or obscure experiences – they may make it into your personal statement or be topic for discussion at your medical school interview a few years from now!

Congrats on getting a full-ride to Florida Atlantic University! Make sure to keep that scholarship, if possible, because that’s an awesome resume booster. The program at NYU looks excellent. You could call them to ask how transferable their program credits are and whether or not they know if medical school applications see individual grades. It looks like you could do a year or just one semester, so keep in mind that pre-med requisites in undergrad usually build on themselves and may only be offered sequentially and in just the Fall or just the Spring (e.g. Organic Chemistry 2 is taken after 1 and may only be offered in the Spring). You’d have to choose the right semester to do this program, but I definitely encourage applying at the least.

Best of luck,