Supporting Student Success

Medical school is among the most difficult of educational endeavors.  In order to maximize our students success, we have developed many programs to support them.  In addition, many programs below are guided by the PDF icon University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine Strategic Plan for Suicide Prevention and Wellness Promotion.

Second Look Day

Offered in the spring to admitted students, Second Look Day provides an opportunity to begin making connections with the College and colleagues, and to better understand the resources available to support student success. Second Look Day includes a variety of panels and events with current students, faculty and staff aimed at easing the transition to medical school and Iowa City.  Services offered through the Medical Student Counseling Center are highlighted. About 80% of the admitted students who attend Second Look Day matriculate in August.

Learning Communities

The four learning communities were conceived as safe places where students, faculty and staff foster excellence. To that end, the communities facilitate collaborative learning and the development of leadership skills; increase opportunities for formal and informal mentoring; provide earlier recognition of problematic behavior patterns and less intrusive, more effective interventions. The learning communities serve to assist students in the pursuit of academic success, personal growth, career decisions and professional development. The faculty director, curriculum/community coordinator and secretary for each community provide support and advising. In addition, students actively mentor their peers through a variety of programmatic and informal approaches.

Learn more about our learning communities...

Promotions Policies and Procedures

Medical students are required to pass required courses, clerkships and USMLE Step 1 and Step 2, both Clinical Skills and Knowledge, to graduate from the Carver College of Medicine. In addition, students are expected to demonstrate proficiency in a variety of cognitive, problem-solving, manual, communicative and interpersonal skills. The Student Promotions Committee ensures that each person who graduates from the Carver College of Medicine has the adequate skills, knowledge and judgment to assume the responsibilities of a physician. The committee depends on the cooperation, advice and judgment of students, faculty and administration in their deliberations and performance of their duties.

Detailed promotion policies and procedures, including the make-up of the Promotions Committee and the process of appearing before the committee, are found in the Student Handbook.

Learn more about the Promotions Committee...

Introduction to Medical Education at Iowa

The Introduction to Medical Education at Iowa (IMEI) Program was designed for entering students to the Carver College of Medicine who are non-traditional, non-science majors and are new to this area of study or for those who may benefit from the additional transition time to prepare for life as a medical student. The program prepares students for the first semester of classes by focusing on academic content, study skills, time management and interpersonal connections. Students are introduced to faculty members, services and resources available at the Carver College of Medicine. As the students form relationships with their peers, they are encouraged to explore the University of Iowa and Iowa City communities. Students in this program receive a tuition stipend to cover living expenses and no tuition for the program is charged.

Learn more about the Introduction to Medical Education at Iowa Program...  

Academic Counseling

The Medical Student Counseling Center (MSCC) is designed to support the academic, professional and personal growth of medical students at the Carver College of Medicine. Counselors are available to consult with students regarding testing difficulties and lower-than-expected grades, as well as personal challenges that impact academic performance.

Learn more about the services the Medical Student Counseling Center offers.

Tutoring Program

Tutor groups are available to all medical and physician assistant students and referrals to tutor groups occur throughout the semester. Tutors are medical students who have already completed a course of study and have demonstrated their mastery of the material by obtaining Honors or Near Honors grade distinction for that course or are sponsored by the faculty director for that course.

During the first week of classes, students receive an e-mail from the MSCC office containing the names of tutors for each course and additional information to help in selecting a tutor group (e.g. meeting times, preferred tutoring style, preferred number of students in the group, etc.). The staff members of the MSCC office maintain a list of tutor groups over the course of the semester and are available to advise students if they have concerns or questions. Tutors and students receiving tutoring are encouraged to contact the MSCC counselors if they have concerns about the progress of the group. When students request academic counseling and report they are in academic distress, the counselors determine if a referral to an intensive tutoring group (three or less students per tutor) is appropriate.

Counselors use the following criteria to determine if intensive tutoring is appropriate for the student:

  1. Any student who is on academic probation.
  2. Any student with a failing average in the course after two or more exams for which they are requesting intensive tutoring.
  3. Request of the course director.
  4. At the discretion of the counseling office, a student with a marginal passing average in a course (72% or below) who has been utilizing group tutoring.

All of the above criteria assume that the student has been previously utilizing group tutoring. If a student has not yet participated, a student will generally be placed initially in a standard tutor group.

Learn more about tutoring for medical students.

Mentoring at CCOM

Mentoring programs are offered through the Medical Student Counseling Center, the learning communities, interest groups and student organizations. Interested students are matched to peers, residents, faculty members and alumni based on fit or membership in the same learning community.

Medical Student Counseling Center Peer Mentoring Program

Learn more about peer mentoring for medical students.

Learning Communities

Learn more about the Learning Communities.

Student Organizations and Interest Groups

Learn more about medical student organizations and interest groups.

Alumni Mentoring

Learn more about alumni mentoring.

Partners for Success! – University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine SNMA Mentoring Program

 Learn more about the SNMA Mentoring Program.

Faculty Involvement

Faculty members serve as mentors to students and frequently invite students who are not doing as well as they would like to meet with them individually. Some faculty members meet with students for review sessions to prepare them for exams and support them in realizing that the transition to examinations at medical school is often a challenge. The Clinical and Professional Reflections Program (CPReP) provides another opportunity for meaningful contact between faculty and students. CPReP pairs students with faculty members to enhance their professional development as students start their clinical practice.

Personal Counseling

The two licensed psychologists that staff the Medical Student Counseling Center (MSCC) provide confidential, personal counseling. Counseling is provided without cost to medical and physician assistant students and their significant others and offers both short and long-term therapy to manage and cope with the challenges in their lives and support their personal and professional success. The MSCC maintains relationships with the University Counseling Service and the Department of Psychiatry to provide appropriate resources and referrals for students within the university or community. Medical students can be referred to, and meet with, a UIHC psychiatrist free of charge (in conjunction with insurance coverage), if it appears that medication may be an appropriate course of treatment.

Learn more about the personal counseling that the Med Student Counseling Service offers.

Financial Services

The Financial Services unit of the Carver College of Medicine (CCOM) Office of Student Affairs and Curriculum (OSAC) provides services to applicants, potential applicants and current students at various forums throughout the year, including premedical conferences, admission interview days, and Second Look Day for new admits. For current students these include Introduction to Medical Education at Iowa, New Student Orientation, one-on-one advising sessions in accordance with learning community assignments, and group workshops or seminars on general financial and debt management topics offered throughout the year. Financial Services help students through the financial aid application process aid in their understanding financial aid program terms and responsibilities. They also assist students pursuing adjustments to their cost of attendance or with emergency loan programs when unanticipated expenditures arise. In addition, staff award grants and scholarships to help students minimize their debt and they make regular announcements throughout the year and encourage students to apply to various collegiate or private scholarship programs.

Financial Services is specifically involved in the awarding, disbursement and tracking of CCOM Deans scholarships and regularly meet with students who decide to extend their academic programs or who encounter academic difficulty on the implications of this on any scholarship and/or grant support they might have as well as on their overall educational indebtedness. If students lose eligibility for scholarship support after continued academic difficulty, the financial services staff seeks other financial resources (such as Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students and/or Medical Education Opportunity Program grants) to assist students in meeting their educational costs if they are meeting satisfactory academic progress guidelines.

Learn more about how Financial Services helps students.


At application, all prospective students are notified of the policy and procedure in place for obtaining reasonable academic accommodations for documented disabilities. The admissions committee does not deliberate on any disabilities or requests for accommodation and all accepted student are notified of the availability of accommodations and asked to contact the Medical Student Counseling Center (MSCC) if they have concerns or questions. Notice is again provided during fall Orientation. Students who have previous documented disabilities are reviewed by the Accommodations Committee to determine what accommodations would be reasonable in supporting the students functioning during their academic program. Students who become concerned with their academic performance while enrolled in courses are self-referred or encouraged by faculty and staff to contact the MSCC and pursue assessment if appropriate.

Learn more about accommodations for disabiities.

Career Counseling

Students are encouraged to clarify their values, interests and skills throughout their academic program to support their academic motivation, career development and decision making through faculty contact, individual career counseling at the Medical Student Counseling Center (MSCC) and computerized assessment and exploration resources. Careers in Medicine, an on-line career assessment and exploration program developed by the American Association of Medical Colleges, is available to all students to facilitate residency and specialty decisions. Students are encouraged to attend workshops sponsored by the MSCC in conjunction with this program and to consult with staff members to clarify educational goals and career plans.

Learn more about career counseling services that are available for medical students.

Writing and Humanities Program

The Carver College of Medicine Writing and Humanities Program provides individual consultations for medical students to review residency and scholarship personal statements , CVs, research papers and abstracts, patient notes, learning issues, presentations, creative writing, extracurricular materials, correspondence, recommendations, and any other form of writing. The program offers two elective courses in literature and writing. The program also coordinates extracurricular activities for medical students involving literature, music, and the visual and performing arts.

Learn more about the Writing and Humanities Program.