Summer Programs: Yale SMDEP

This is an interview of Ms. Jade Avery (University of Chicago Class of 2013). She participated in the Yale SMDEP program during Summer 2010. You can contact her via email with any further questions.


What is the name of your summer program?

The Summer Medical and Dental Education Program at Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.


Please give a brief summary of the program

(Taken from website) The Yale SMDEP is an intensive six-week summer program for highly motivated college students who are considering a career in medicine. The Yale SMDEP has five primary objectives:

  • Expose students to a problem-based learning model of science education that is similar to that used in medical school
  • Offer students workshops/seminars that will improve reading and writing skills, including developing a personal statement for applying to medical school
  • Provide a clinical-exposure experience that gives students an opportunity to develop an understanding of the doctor-patient relationship
  • Provide practical and detailed advice/guidance about the medical school application process, including financial aid and financing a medical school education
  • Provide students with an understanding of the breadth of career opportunities available in medicine through a series of lectures by Yale faculty from the clinical and basic science departments.

The program application becomes available November 1st. Applications returned by February 1st are replied to by February 15th. Applications returned by March 1st are replied to by April 1st.

Essentially the Yale SMDEP’s main goal is to provide enrichment and exposure to the medical field in order to give students an understanding of what it means to be a physician as well as the resources necessary to gain admission into medical school.

Please give a brief summary of your experience with the program

During my time at the Yale Summer Medical and Dental Education Program I was exposed to various aspects of the medical field. From shadowing physicians in the Emergency room and HIV suite to attending various panels held by minority medical students and residents, I gained a comprehensive understanding of what it meant to be a physician. Through the weekly seminars on Public Health, various fields’ research, financial planning and many other useful workshops, students also gained a diverse array of knowledge on other aspects of the medical field beyond just medical school admissions.


If you want to devote six weeks of your summer to an extraordinary program where you will gain immeasurable knowledge and resources while meeting wonderful and highly influential people who will be friends and resources for a lifetime, the Yale Summer Medical and Dental Education Program is undoubtedly the place for you!!

Could you talk about the good/great/amazing things about your program?

One of the greatest things about the Yale SMDEP was that it was not only simply an academic program, but also place of tremendous social growth and just good ole fun! One of my favorite things about the program was definitely the people! Coming from a vast collection of colleges and universities, all seemed to have one agenda—“work hard and play harder.” Do not get me wrong, in the classroom, everyone was focused and ready to learn, but outside the classroom, there was much fun to be had (don’t forget its summer people)!

In addition, when speaking of the incredible people at the Yale SMDEP, I am also including the fantastic medical school students and other program administrators as well as the Yale community as a whole.


To say this with the utmost sincerity and honesty, you will not find a more supportive, encouraging, and compassionate group of people than those at the Yale University School of Medicine. All biases aside, I must say that they are beyond AMAZING. They are probably the happiest and accommodating medical school community that I have come into contact with. Furthermore, minority students are cherished and supported beyond measure! Everyone is there to help everyone else succeed! The Yale University School of Medicine community is truly beautiful, inside and out.

What about things in the program that could have been better?

Like I stated previously, the Yale SMDEP site was a fantastic site, so I do not have too many, if any, complaints. One issue would probably have been the amount of time that students spent in lectures, seminars, and workshops. Due to the fact that they had so much information and resources that they wanted to provide, we spent a tremendous amount of time in class/ lectures, nearly close to eight to nine hours a day. So my only suggestion would have been for them to limit the amount of time that spent in lectures. But otherwise no real complaints whatsoever!

Anything really important that you learned there that you want to share?

The one thing that I learned leaving the Yale SMDEP was to simply BE YOURSELF!!! Going into the program, I like many others, had this inaccurate interpretation of what a pre-medical student needed to be like, and what they needed to do to get into medical school. It wasn’t until I came into contact with the medical schools as well as my peers, that I realized that there is no perfect formula or recipe for being a pre-medical student! Talking to the medical students at Yale, most, if not all, stressed to me that when applying to medical it is extremely important stay true to who you are, and to not turn into someone who you think the admissions committee wants to see. So in essence, BE YOURSELF and do what you want to do and study what you want to study. If you want to major in Art, do it! If you want to do research in something other than biology, do it! If you want to study other things before you go to medical school, do it! Have fun with your classes and look at the path to medical school as a something enjoyable and fun! Do what you want to do and the rest will follow suit!

Could you explain how you found out about the program, the application process and any tips for students interested in the program?

I found out about the Yale SMDEP through a Summer Opportunities panel held by the “oh so wonderful SNMA-MAPS”. Many of the SNMA members had participated in SMDEP so they were great resources for informing us about the program and what it entailed. The application process is fairly simple; you go onto the website, fill out the application, write a personal statement as well as an additional essay, and apply to three different sites (universities)!

Top 5 Tips for getting into the Yale SMDEP!

1.) Like I said early, BE YOURSELF: The admissions people are human like us! They can tell if you are trying to be someone who you aren’t or if you are not telling the truth! So just stay true to yourself and always always be honest. Lying will get you nowhere.

2.) PERSONAL STATEMENT: This is by far the most important thing on your application. Put A LOT of time and effort into this because this is the only way that they are going to learn about you as a person. Make it interesting/fun/playful/serious or whatever! Just make sure that you devote the necessary time into it, it will pay off I promise!

3.) APPLY EARLY: Though I do not know the exact statistics of what applying early can do to your acceptance into the Yale SMDEP, I can most certainly say that it does not hurt! Apply early people; you have nothing to lose and so much more to gain!

4.) DON’T SELL YOURSELF SHORT: I cannot stress this enough, you are basically applying to a program along with thousands of other students. Please do not sell yourself short! If you did something in high school that you think is worthy of being on your application then put it on there! And when including things do not simply write, “I volunteered at a nursing home.” ELABORATE! Explain what you did…how it made you feel…how much time you spent…, something— anything! You’ve worked hard, make sure that you demonstrate that to them!

5.) GRADES/RECOMMENDATIONS: Okay, if your grades are not up to par do not stress! STILL APPLY! You never know, you may have a great personal statement! So don’t stress about the grades, just apply and see what happens! And as for recommendations! Please ask someone who will write you a GOOD recommendation. If you skip a person’s class, or are not doing well in their class, please do not ask them to write you a recommendation because it will be a bad one. Ask a professor who you are doing well in their class or someone that knows your character and that likes you! Recommendations are very important, a good one will take you a long way, while a bad one will simply land your application in the trash can.

So these are the tips on gaining admission into the Yale SMDEP! I hope you all found my review of the Yale Summer Medical and Dental Education Program to be helpful! If you have ANY questions or just want to talk about SMDEP please email me at I look forward to talking with you all! Have a great summer.


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