Academic Summer Program Integrating Resources for Excellence (ASPIRE)


We have re-designed the program with you in mind:

  • increased access across more points along the preparation continuum
  • scheduling flexibility
  • resources delivered in a more targeted and efficient manner

ASPIRE core has not changed:

  • small group learning in a diverse and inclusive cohort
  • faculty and medical student mentorship
  • expert instruction and advising
  • mission-centric focus on social justice in medicine and health

Registration fee: $220 per week without housing or $360 per week with housing
*Full or partial scholarships are available to at-large participants based on need

Enrollment for the program is capped at 20 students per module, per session.  Students may apply for the program at-large, or be referred to a reserved seat directly by their university. 

ASPIRE Modules

Health Equity & Advocacy Leaders (HEAL)

The HEAL modules introduce students to health disparities and strategies to achieve greater health equity.  These modules are Stritch mission-focused and aim to help participants understand the need to increase justice in health, and the responsibilities of physicians as advocates and change agents. HEAL modules will cover a broad range of issues including but not limited to:

  • urban food deserts and the health consequences of lack of food access
  • racial disparities in outcomes in medical care 
  • racial and socioeconomic disparities in access to health care
  • HIV/AIDS disparities and accompanying policy aspects related to public health
  • Public aid and safety nets: structural barriers to equity
  • Affordable housing and its role in health
  • Educational disparities and their effects on communities
  • Urban violence and justice system inequality

HEAL module activities may include the following:

  • Visits to clinics and community partners
  • Lectures from faculty or community partners
  • Panels from professionals working in various fields to address inequality
  • Didactic exercises exploring identity, access, privilege, and self-awareness
  • Visits to public offices or facilities

The HEAL module is recommended for rising sophomores and above. 

MCAT Strategies for Testing and Teamwork (STAT)

The MCAT STAT module provides a strong platform for students to tackle the test by building strategic study skills both individually and in teams.  Specific focus is placed on teamwork strategies for effective study techniques.  Students are placed in communities of practice where they work together to enhance their approaches to standardized exams.  This module is designed to equip students with the following skills:

  • Concept mapping and visual study strategies
  • Content concentration and organizational study strategies
  • Question dissection for more effective testing speed & accuracy
  • An understanding of the components of the exam and how the exam is scored
  • Maximizing group study through online or in-person learning communities
  • Self-calming and visualization skills to mediate anxiety and excitement while testing
  • Strategies for adapting to time limits on exams
  • Understanding health disparities (HEAL module ½ days)

The MCAT STAT module is recommended for rising sophomores and above.

Applicant Boot Camp (ABC)

ASPIRE ABC module is an intensive experience designed to have students ready to apply upon completion.  Participants will receive support and guidance for completing their AMCAS applications and preparing for interview.  Each aspect of applying is addressed from clarifying motivation for medicine to strategies for choosing which schools to apply.  Guidance in professionalism and personal development is also offered.  ABC participants will receive:

  • AMCAS application guidance (both technical and personal)
  • Personal statement workshop
  • Interviewing skills and a mock interview with an admissions committee member
  • Application writing strategies to prepare for supplemental applications
  • Professionalism aspects of the admissions process and beyond (appropriate follow up, how to email faculty members, how to dress for interview, etc.)
  • Guidance on tailoring application toward personal mission
  • A mock selection committee meeting to better understand admissions
  • Understanding health disparities (HEAL module ½ days)

Participants must be at least rising juniors and must be applying the current cycle to participate.  Participants successfully completing ASPIRE will receive a waiver for their supplemental application to Stritch.

2016 Aspire Schedule


June 6-10

Current applicants (at least college juniors)


June 20-24

At least rising college sophomores


June 27-July 1

At least rising college sophomores


June 27-July 1

At least rising college sophomores

Interested in ASPIRE?  Please fill out this form and we’ll email you when the application opens! (usually in early January)