Pathways to Success (PAWS)

PAWS is a partnership program between the MedOpp Advising Office and the MU School of Medicine aimed at assisting minority students and economically disadvantaged students on their path to a career in medicine. The program provides students with support through various means designed to assist in building a well-rounded candidacy. Successful program participants will create a competitive medical school application and have the opportunity to interview with the MU School of Medicine for admission.

PAWS participants will receive:

  • Tutoring and academic support
  • Informational workshops and one-on-one advisement
  • Schedule planning
  • Assistance in application preparation
  • Research opportunities
  • MCAT prep*
  • Access to healthcare and volunteer experiences
  • Interview with MU School of Medicine Admissions**


In order to be eligible to apply for PAWS, you must:

  • Be an incoming freshman or a current freshman interested in a career in medicine
  • Be enrolled full time at the University of Missouri
  • Be a minority and/or economically disadvantaged student
  • Demonstrate potential for strong academic performance (3.3 minimum cumulative GPA)

    students eating around a table
    The 2018 PAWS inaugural class meets with physician and medical student mentors at the MU School of Medicine.

If you are accepted into the Pathways to Success Program, you will be required to:

  • Attend monthly PAWS meetings.
  • Attend PAWS study sessions.
  • Participate in the shadowing/volunteering experiences set up by PAWS.
  • Incoming Freshmen: Be enrolled in the PAWS Pre-Med Freshman Interest Group (FIG) and live in the designated residence hall of the FIG.
  • Participate in MedPrep I & II offered through the MU School of Medicine.


To apply for the PAWS program, follow the link below. Please be aware that you must finish the application in one sitting and click “submit” in order for it to be complete.

To facilitate completing your application, you will need the following information ready:

  • Contact information, including your school and personal email addresses
  • High school cumulative GPA
  • College cumulative GPA (if applicable)
  • Three personal essays (500 word maximum each). Prompts:
    • Please submit a personal statement explaining why you are interested in pursuing a career in medicine.
    • What experiences have you had thus far that have confirmed medicine is the right choice for you?
    • What do you hope to gain from this type of experience, and what you think you can contribute to the program?
  • The name of one recommender who will write a letter of support for your application.

Applications are due by February 15, 2020.

Apply Here

Letter of Recommendation

You must have one letter of recommendation in support of your application. The letter may be from a teacher, administrator, employer, physician, or other professional acquaintance. Your recommendation writer will send the letter


For any questions, contact Dr. Laura Henderson Kelley at

*To qualify for free MCAT prep through the PAWS program, you must be in good standing with the PAWS program and have a 3.3 minimum GPA at the end of your second year at MU.

**To qualify for an automatic interview at the MU School of Medicine through the PAWS program, you must be in good standing with the PAWS program, be a full-time student, have a minimum 3.3 math and science GPA at the time of application, and have a minimum 503 MCAT total.