Do you dream of becoming a physician? Does the thought of attending medical school excite you? Then the University of Florida is a perfect place for you!

With six hospitals and six health professions colleges in walking distance, UF provides students access to a comprehensive health community right on campus. This academic health center makes it “easy to work together to innovate for better healthcare outcomes for the community” said Juliet Hill, the College of Medicine’s admissions director. Patient-centeredness is what marks the University of Florida College of Medicine most. “Our goal is to train the most caring, compassionate, and culturally aware physicians,” Hill said.

When making decisions about the next class, admissions looks for a wide-ranging group of applicants who are patient-centered, team-oriented, and service-minded in their approach to medical care. “We want to see that applicants have begun patient interaction right from the beginning of their interest, that they like to collaborate for the common good, and that they have looked for ways to use their time and talents to help others in need,” Hill said.

First-year student Troy Hamner explains the many hurdles that students will need to overcome during their undergraduate career. A rigorous course load; extracurricular activities; and research, volunteer, and clinical experience will likely be found on most of the applications. UF looks for students who not only have varied medical experience but who also can demonstrate how they have developed through their experiences. “You have to be able to check the boxes using passions that bring you joy,” Hamner said.

So, what is UF’s medical school like?

The first two years are focused on didactic training and learning the basics of clinical medicine. This means classes centered on teaching medical students the foundations of human health and illness. Lectures, small groups, clinical skills activities and labs are various forms of teaching that are used. Hamner says on the weekends most students are in the anatomy lab or going over notes. He emphasized the need to study every day in order to keep up but also shared the importance of a work-life balance. He tries to maintain this by taking a half day each week just to himself.

The great thing about these first two years is the community that is formed. “Almost all [students] do well because we have built teamwork into our program,” Hill said. Classes are taken pass/fail, meaning that as long as students get a 75, they get a pass. Hamner has found that while it can be hard not to compare himself to other students, he appreciates the helpfulness of his classmates. “At UF med school, we get along so well. We are all working toward the same goal and there’s no reason to compete because you’re getting the same grade,” Hamner said.

After the first two years, students are evaluated based on their work alongside a doctor in a clinical setting. This allows students to get enough patient contact to develop exceptional bedside manner.

UF’s College of Medicine also offers a special pathway to admission called the Medical Honors Program where students can apply in the second year of undergraduate and by their fourth year be enrolled in medical school classes. For this program, it is important to have medical experience as early as high school.

Experience is key to developing your career in medicine. Hill recommends that “the day [students] decide to go into healthcare is the day they should start getting experience.”

The experiences you will get at UF medical school set them up for success as a physician. If you’re passionate about science, health, and caring for patients, learn more about the UF College of Medicine today.