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 biweekly meetings of the Minority Association of Pre-Health Students (MAPS)
  • 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


The application for the Fall 2019 PAWS cohort closed on February 15, 2019.

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 to:


Susan Geisert, MedOpp Program Manager
attn: PAWS Program
214 Lowry Hall
Columbia, MO 65211


For any questions, contact Ms. Susan Geisert at or 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.