I’m a Freshman undergraduate, can I apply during the fall semester or do I need to wait until I have transcripts for my first semester?

  • We recommend that you apply now and start working on getting in your recommendation letters.  Once you have transcripts from your first semester, submit them.  The national office will send out your information to the individual sites once they have your transcripts. 

I don’t know if I’m officially a sophomore or a junior.  Can I still apply? 

  • SMDEP is for freshman and sophomore undergraduates, which is defined as having 59 or less hours upon application.  So check your hours and see.  If you have 60 or more hours, consider applying for the Summer Undergraduate Research Program.

My college is on the quarter system and this overlaps with the beginning of SMDEP. Can I apply and participate?

  • This shouldn't be a problem and we have done it before. Usually the overlap is just over the last week or two. Our experience is that most professors will let us proctor your final exams for you. Talk with your professors at the beginning of the spring semester to arrange this with them. You may want to wait to apply until after you have confirmed that your current professors will accommodate the SMDEP schedule as you must arrive in Omaha at the start of the program.

I’m older than the average undergraduate freshman or sophomore, can I still apply?

  • Sure.  There is no age restriction.  Do remember, we require you to live in the dorms and abide by a  curfew during the six weeks.  That might be a limiting factor for a few with families and/or kids.

Is there really a curfew? 

  • Yes.  As we understand it, all 12 sites have a curfew.  SMDEP is an intense program and we want to increase the chances of everyone fully benefiting from the experience.  We have a fairly liberal curfew that gets more restrictive if students start having problems staying awake in class or with other required events.  

What's up in Omaha?

Omaha is quite the up and coming metropolitan city.  Being a “fly over state”, many people from the East or West Coast don’t realize that the Greater Omaha area has a population close to 1 million people.  Omaha has many great things to offer: 

  • We are the home of the College World Series (which is during SMDEP!).  We have one of the top three zoos in the United States, an amazing arts and cultural experience, a newly developed downtown area (Old Market and NoDo), and, we are one of the top 10 Indie music scenes. There is something for everyone in, and around, the city of Omaha.
  • Omaha has the highest number per capita of restaurants, millionaires, and public golf courses. 
  • Omaha factoids: 1) Omaha is the home of Berkshire Hathaway and Warren Buffet. 2) The Reuben sandwich was invented at the Blackstone Hotel.  The Blackstone doesn't serve food anymore, but you can get a Reuben at the Crescent Moon or at Barrett’s, both are close to UNMC. 3) Alexander Payne, Oscar winning film director, is from Omaha. 4) Dice, TV dinners, the bobby pin, and the pink hair curler were invented in Omaha. 5) The Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge is the longest walking bridge that connects two states.
  • Where are the tractors and cows? Tractors are for farming and rarely seen in the city. However, we are proud of our farming state. Nebraska is not only a top 5 producer of beef and pork in the world, but one of the top three producers of soybeans and white beans. We, literally, do feed the world.

How do I apply?

I have a GPA less than 2.5, can I still apply?

  • No.  The national office sets the minimum requirements for applicants.  If you have less than a 2.5 GPA, they will not send your application on to the individual sites.  However, you can always work on bringing your GPA up in the Fall semester and apply in the Spring.  Or if you are a freshman, you can apply next year. 

How many students usually apply?  How many students do you take each year?

  • For the 2011 program, we had 538 applicants.  An applicant can pick up to three schools to which to apply.  Each of the 12 sites take 60 medical students and 20 dental students.

Who should I pick to write reference letters for me?

  • This should be someone who knows your academic and personal character.  Ideally this should be a pre-health advisor and/or a college professor.  If none of these persons know you well enough, a high school science teacher or a local dentist or physician who knows you well will work.  Pick someone who can speak in detail about you.  (And don't forget to ask them if they can write you a positive reference letter!)

How do I "stand out” among the other applicants?  How can I make my application more competitive?  What does the admissions team look for in an applicant?

  • We can’t speak to the other 11 SMDEP sites, but we look mainly at your application essays and your reference letters.  Don’t just say you have an interest in working with under-served populations with your future healthcare career (anyone can do that).  Document how you have already demonstrated interest in serving this population and/or how this is something core to who you are as a person.
  • Remember, good writing is rewriting.  So spend quality time on these essays and let them fully express who you are.  Let other people read them and give you feedback.  Rewrite them a few times before you submit them. 

Can I bring my car?

  • Yes, you can drive here with your car.  You can not drive it to class or to any official, scheduled functions.  But other than that, having a vehicle will help you have a little more mobility around town.

Can I commute to SMDEP?  Do I have to stay in the dorms for the 6 weeks?

  • We do require you stay in the dorms for the 6 weeks. 

What does the schedule look like?

  • Monday through Friday 8-5 is in the classroom or lab.  Evenings and weekends have various required participation events. 

Can I have a job or take other classes during the six week program?

  • No.  SMDEP is an intense program with required events in the evenings and on the weekends.  You will not be able to keep up with a job or with taking other classes.  One-hundred percent of your focus needs to be on SMDEP when you are here. 

Can I come late or leave early from the program?

  • No.  Unless you have a medical or family emergency, you will need to be here for the entire six weeks. 

What does the schedule look like?

  • Monday through Friday 8-4 is in the classroom or lab.  Evenings and weekends have various required participation events. 

Which sites offer the largest stipend? 

  • All the sites offer the same stipend. 

Do you offer any financial assistance for travel?

  • Yes.  If you travel from more than 40 miles away, we provide up to $400 for travel expenses.  If you drive in, you can be reimbursed for your mileage at the current government rate, but not for hotel expenses.  For flights in, you can purchase your own or have UNMC’s contracted travel agency arrange this for you (for an additional $22 processing fee).  If you drive in or purchase your own airline tickets, you will not be reimbursed until after the program is over.  If you use our travel agency, the first $400 will be paid directly by us, but any amount over that will be immediately due upon reservation.    

My pre-health, pre-dental and/or pre-medical club would like to know more information about the program.  Can someone come and tell us more about it?

  • Yes, certainly.  Currently we are traveling only to states in our region set by the national office (NE, IA, ND, SD, CO, KS and MO), but if you are outside this region and still want someone to speak to your group, we can use Skype or host a webinar for you.

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