master of medical science student studying for the MCAT exam

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Your Terms, Your Timeline: Build MCAT Confidence at UVM

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The prevailing wisdom used to be that to get into medical school, you had to be a star student with a flawless undergraduate record – a pristine GPA, perfectly aligned coursework, and above-and-beyond extracurriculars.

And yes, medical school admissions remain notoriously competitive, with acceptance rates ranging from a super exclusive 2% to about 20%, depending on the institution.[1]

Still, it’s a new era of increased flexibility for applicants, with many schools embracing candidates coming from so-called nontraditional paths. UVM Larner College of Medicine’s Master of Medical Science degree program aims to support this movement.

“The Masters of Medical Science program helped me elevate my thought process and learning style,” she says. “It’s helped me tremendously to make connections and interpret different aspects of medicine. The MCAT gives me so much anxiety. It’s just so intimidating – but I’m more prepared than if I had come straight out of undergrad.”

Serenity Nation, UVM Master of Medical Science Online Student

A Gap Year is Not a Resume Gap

Serenity Nation always imagined that she would head directly to medical school after finishing her undergraduate degree in Biology Pre-Medicine at Xavier University of Louisiana. But in her senior year, she started to assess the reality of medical education – long hours, time away from family, and even the risk of burnout.

“I had been a student for my whole life at this point, and I decided that I wanted space to explore and be something other than a student,” she explains. “I wanted to work and to be home with my family before going to med school potentially far away.”

While she wasn’t ready to dive into the all-consuming world of medical school just yet, she still wanted to take steps to strengthen her medical school application so she would be the strongest possible applicant when the time was right.

Serenity Nation, UVM Master of Medical Science Online Student
Serenity Nation UVM Master of Medical Science Online Student

“I was looking for a program that would give me the best chance at elevating my GPA. I wanted a Masters program where I could take high level courses in a flexible way.”

Serenity Nation, UVM Master of Medical Science Online Student

The University of Vermont Master of Medical Science (MMS) degree stood out to Serenity as a program that offered the lifestyle she wanted, offering both online and on-campus options. As a Texas-based remote student, she could keep her job as a medical assistant in a multi-specialty clinic, stay close to her family, and complete her MMS coursework at the same time.

In core classes like General Biochemistry I and Integrative Physiology and Pharmacology, Serenity soaked in the rigorous course content, and also developed study habits that helped her meet the challenges of studying for the MCAT.

Two Texans Walk Into an Online Forum. And End up at UVM Together.

Like many aspiring medical school students, Serenity sought insight and camaraderie on online forums.

In one MCAT prep group, she connected with Mya Crabtree, a fellow Texan who shared her ambitions to attend medical school – just not immediately. As Mya poured herself into MCAT preparation, she couldn’t shake the feeling that she wasn’t ready. Realizing that her confidence was too low to take the MCAT, Mya started her own search for an online Master’s degree program.

Mya Crabtree, UVM Master of Medical Science Online Student
Mya Crabtree UVM Master of Medical Science Online Student

“Being in Texas and taking a Vermont-based program, it felt like I was far away, yet totally connected.”

Mya Crabtree, UVM Master of Medical Science Online Student

Mya credits her program advisor, Sarah Ringler, M.S., with building a cohesive community for her online MMS cohort, introducing everyone over email and creating regular opportunities for connection and open communication.

And when Mya started to wonder if perhaps she had bitten off more than she could chew, working full-time, studying for the MCAT, and doing her UVM coursework, her advisor introduced her to a few medical students at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont. Getting their perspective and hearing their stories – the ups and downs of their personal educational journeys – helped Mya gain clarity. Everyone has doubts, everyone has challenges. It’s normal. Now, let’s carry on.

After talking to current medical students, Mya adjusted her priorities. “I took time to think about the now, and that was the Master in Medical Science degree program. The MCAT and applying to medical school was later. After that mindset change, it was a breeze,” Mya shares.

“Just keep your head up and stop comparing yourself to others.”

It helps that both Mya and Serenity found their professors to be responsive and supportive – something that was a relief to online students who weren’t quite sure what to expect at first. “I was someone who spent a lot of time in the Resource Center in undergrad – so to be able to have that feel, but online, was wonderful,” says Serenity. “We felt like we were on campus in that we weren’t excluded.”

As these two ambitious students look toward what’s next, both have gained clarity and confidence about how far they’ve come and how to disregard the noise and anxiety that swirls around so many aspects of medical school.

“Your path is not the same as everyone else’s,” Mya says. “I know that sounds cliche, but it’s true. You’re going to do things in your time, so don’t rush it. Just keep your head up and stop comparing yourself to others.”

MCAT Preparation at UVM

The Master of Medical Science Program at the University of Vermont is excited to offer two MCAT preparation options for all UVM MMS students. We closely support students in their MCAT preparation to ensure you are as well-prepared as possible to enhance your readiness and succeed in your medical journey.

Jack Westin Live Online MCAT Prep Course

In partnership with Jack Westin, any UVM MMS student will receive partial tuition funding towards the Live online MCAT Prep Course with Jack Westin for the Fall 2024 MMS cohort. This 8-week course includes 16 classes totaling 48 hours of top-tier instruction, led by Instructors who have scored 520+ on their own exams. It covers essential content and strategy for the entire MCAT, ensuring you can apply foundational concepts on test day. Gain a competitive edge with Jack Westin’s acclaimed strategies, enhancing your skills to tackle the MCAT’s unique challenges. All UVM MMS students enrolled will have lifetime access to the Asynchronous materials related to the course. Pricing is dependent on number of registrations, so please reach out to to learn more.

Kaplan MCAT Prep Self-Paced Online Course

In collaboration with Kaplan Test Prep, UVM is pleased to offer a discounted rate for the MCAT Prep Self-Paced Online course. This comprehensive course includes a variety of study materials, practice tests, and interactive modules designed to help students master the content and strategies needed for the MCAT. The Kaplan MCAT Prep Self-Paced Online course allows you to prep for the MCAT on your schedule. Available to all UVM students at $1,080 per student, this represents a substantial savings off Kaplan’s regular rate of $1,999. There are many programs you can choose from in your MCAT preparation, and we can advocate for additional discounted rates on your behalf.

Learn more about how the online or on-campus UVM Master of Medical Science degree can help you achieve your career or academic goals.