To attend medical college as a minority applicant is beating the odds.

Looking to widen their chances, The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania offers a summer program to guarantee admission for underrepresented students.


The Philadelphia Inquirer reports the Penn Access Summer Scholars (PASS) program welcomes 12 students to complete two summer courses.

Once students reach the finish line, they can begin their journey toward doctorate status as long as they have also maintained at least a 3.6 GPA in college, earned 1,300 on the SAT or 30 on the ACT, and locked in recommendations.

This year, the program opened its doors to five Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) — Howard University, Spelman College, Morehouse College, Xavier University of Louisiana, and Oakwood University. 

“We are talking about identifying students who show great potential and then we provide further enrichment,” said Horace DeLisser, associate dean for diversity and inclusion, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Program

The program also offers other advantages.

Students will no longer need to take the medical college admission (MCAT) exam and 50 percent of their tuition will be covered yearly.

In addition, participants will conduct research, shadow doctors, and interact with patients. The program is free, and students will receive a $4,000 stipend to support their learning journey.

Howard students Jonathan Gaither and Danielle Johnson are participants in the program. Gaither plans to become a physician-scientist and hopes to obtain a doctorate and medical degree. Johnson returned to Penn last summer and studied chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and the experience affirmed her interest in public health.

“The research that I’ve done has really hit close to home for me,” said Johnson, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. “A lot of people in my family suffer from these chronic illnesses that we look at. It’s definitely solidified my interest in going into public health … and serving underserved communities in the future.”