MD Program

Contact the Medical Student Counseling Center

1240 MERF
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2600
Phone:(319) 335-8056
Fax: (319) 335-8643

  • Academic Advising and Tutoring

    The Medical Student Counseling Center (MSCC) provides academic advising and tutorial services to students free of charge.  Most medical students have never or rarely used tutoring services up to this point in their education. Outside of meeting with an academic advisor during undergraduate years to determine class schedules, the majority of entering medical students have not needed to consult with an academic advisor about study skill strategies or test-taking tips.

    The demands of medical school are very different from most undergraduate experiences.  Not everyone can be at the top of his or her class, and adjusting to the volume and density of information presented in class often leaves students feeling unsure of their ability to learn and integrate it well. 

    The MSCC offers academic assistance in a variety of ways.  Basic study skill strategies, time management and organization training, and special learning techniques can be provided to help students meet the demands of coursework.  The Center has resource materials that can help students increase memory skills and make study more efficient and effective. Students who have a specific learning difficulty can be referred to a licensed psychologist at the University Counseling Service who specializes in academic performance needs of graduate students.

    Tutor groups are available to all students throughout each semester.  During the first two years of medical school most students take advantage of one or more tutor groups. Particularly during the first year of study, joining a tutor group is recommended as a preventive measure for all students; for those struggling academically, it is essential. Our tutors are medical students who have already completed a course of study and have demonstrated their mastery of the material. On occasion, graduate students and residents have also been hired as tutors. Groups are generally small (4 to 8 students), meet on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, and offer students a chance to clarify class material, ask questions, and clear up misunderstandings before exams.

    During the first week of classes students receive an e-mail 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.). However, MSCC counselors are always available as a resource, and will meet with any student to help in the selection of a tutor group based on a student’s particular concerns and needs. Listings of tutors is available in ICON as well as in the MSCC office.  

    MSCC counselors receive updated information from course directors about students' academic progress so that assistance can be offered before students get irreversibly behind in course work. Students who are at risk for failing a course are invited to visit one of the counselors. This is an opportunity for a student to express his/her concerns, and for the counselors to recommend strategies or services that might help. Tutors are recommended at this time if students are not already using them, and ongoing communication with course instructors is encouraged. Faculty consistently express an openness and willingness to meet to assist students who come to them with questions or concerns.