Are you an undergraduate student or post-baccalaureate graduate with a strong interest in Family Medicine?

The WAFP PRE-MED STUDENT MENTORSHIP PROGRAM connects students with a physician mentor who can offer discussion and advice, and may provide real-time observation in an actual clinic. The mentorship experience may be a phone conversation, a meeting for coffee or a meal, or a more comprehensive series of shadowing experiences. The point of the program is to facilitate one-on-one communications between family physician and student.


If you are interested in applying for a mentorship opportunity, please click here for a full application and further instructions.


Pre-Med Mentorship applications are evaluated and matched on a quarterly basis. If you miss the deadline, your application will be considered in the following quarter.

Desired Dates
of Student Mentorship
Application & Letter of
Recommendation Deadline
October – December September 1
January – March December 1
April – June March 1
July – September June 1


What is the mentorship program?

The Washington Academy of Family Physicians (WAFP) Pre‐Med Mentorship Program operates primarily as a referral service to pre‐med students seeking to learn more about family medicine by connecting qualified candidates to family physicians in communities throughout Washington State. The purpose of the program is to give pre‐med students with a strong interest in pursuing a medical career exposure to the life and practice of a family physician by providing opportunities to meet with a physician one‐on‐one.

What kinds of mentorship experiences can I expect?

The program is flexible and designed to give the student and physician mentor the ability to customize the experience so that it meets the interests and needs of the student while enabling the mentor to volunteer for what is realistic in the context of his/her practice. The mentorship can be a phone conversation, a meeting for coffee or a meal, or a more comprehensive series of shadowing experiences. The point of the program is to facilitate one-on-one communications between a family physician and interested student.

Who can participate and what are the pre-requisites?

Applicants interested in a career in Family Medicine, who intend to enroll in medical school within the next 3 years, can apply to participate. Applicants may be either an undergraduate student enrolled at a Washington State school, or a post-baccalaureate graduate residing in Washington. Students should also have completed at least one year of laboratory science.

How long does the mentorship experience last?

The pre-med mentorship experience is a short-term opportunity for participants. The exact length of your experience will be determined between you and the physician with whom you are matched.

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How do I apply?

Fill out the mentorship interest form online. Once your expression of interest has been received, an application and instructions will be sent to you via email. All applicants must complete the following:

  • Pre-Med Mentorship Application Form
  • A letter of recommendation from the pre-med advisor or professor at your university. (Post-baccalaureate students may substitute with a letter from a current employer.)

Letters of Recommendation:

  • A letter of recommendation is expected with every application and should be sent directly from the recommender or the school.
  • The letter is expected to convey the sincerity of the applicant’s interest in medicine and their general work/study ethic as well as their demeanor/attitude.
  • Ideally the letter of recommendation should be geared specifically toward the Pre-Med Mentorship program. A letter written in support of a student’s medical school application and held on file at the student’s university is acceptable IF it was written within the past 12 months.
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I have applied, now what?

Mentorship applications are evaluated and matched on a quarterly basis (see schedule below). Once your application form and letter of recommendation are received, they will be held by the WAFP until the closing date for the quarter that you have applied for.  The applications will be qualified by WAFP staff, and successful applicants will be notified of their acceptance within a couple weeks of the closing date. Approved student applications are grouped by geographical region, and an email request is sent to available mentors in the areas indicated on the applications. Matches are then made according to city/neighborhood request and as to when the completed student application was received. Please note that the matching process can take 2-4 weeks.

Once matched, the successful applicant’s contact information will be sent to the doctor, and the doctor will either contact the student or request that the student initiate contact. The scope and scheduling of your mentorship experience will be determined directly between you and your mentor.

Note on scheduling: we encourage you to take the initiative with scheduling your mentorship experience. Once you are matched and the physician provides you with general schedule availability, it is up to you to pursue and schedule exact days and times with the physician.

At the end of the quarter in which you participated, we will send you an evaluation form. This is an opportunity for you to provide feedback which helps us to improve and refine the program. It is our expectation that all participants complete this evaluation form.

When are matches made? When should I apply?

Mentorship applications are evaluated and matched on a quarterly basis (see schedule above). If you miss the deadline, even by one day, your application will be considered for the following quarter. An application without a letter of recommendation is considered incomplete and will not be considered for participation.

Since applications are matched once per quarter it is a good idea to plan ahead. Matches are made according to city/neighborhood request and date the completed application was received. We do our best to match all approved applications within the quarter for which they applied. However, we often have more applicants than available physician mentors in a given area, and may need to postpone to the next quarter or until a physician mentor becomes available.

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How likely am I to be matched with a family physician mentor?

Of the approximately 300 initial inquiries the WAFP Pre‐Med Mentorship Program receives each year, 34% of these students complete the application process. Of those that completed the process, 55-60% are matched with a family physician.

If I am accepted, where will the mentorship be conducted?

When you apply to participate in the mentorship program, you are asked to list cities, geographic areas and/or neighborhoods you would prefer to have your mentorship experience conducted. We then contact WAFP member physicians in that area who have offered to be a mentor. Your willingness to be flexible and/or to travel will increase the likelihood that you will be matched.

I need to satisfy shadowing requirements for medical school; can I do that through this program?

Many of our volunteer family physician mentors are able to provide at least a few hours of job shadowing experience. The exact length of time and frequency will be dependent upon the practice environment and stated policies of the individual clinic or hospital.

Those family physicians that cannot provide shadowing at this time, can still offer a wealth of insight into the field of Family Medicine, and are a wonderful resource for your questions. Many of them may be willing to meet for coffee or a meal, or be available for mentoring on a longer-term basis via email/phone.

Some medical schools require that pre-med students receive at least 40 hours of shadowing experience before applying to the medical school. In most cases, achieving 40 hours of shadowing time within our Pre-Med Mentorship Program will not be possible. We would also note that admissions committees typically like to see that you have had a variety of shadowing experiences versus all 40 hours with one physician. We suggest that students who need to acquire 40+ hours of shadowing find additional shadowing opportunities elsewhere.

A list of other resources for pre-med shadowing can be found here (on the last page of the PDF).

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Are there additional requirements once I am accepted into the mentorship program?

  • Whether in a hospital, clinic, or physician’s practice, dress professionally. This means:
    • Wear flat comfortable shoes, but avoid sandals and open-toe or athletic shoes.
    • Men should wear nice dress pants and a pressed shirt. Shirts should be tucked in. Ties are optional.
    • Women should wear below the knee dresses or dress pants and a conservative top.
    • Avoid clothing that is revealing or exposes undergarments.
    • Avoid excessive jewelry or fragrances. Please be showered, shaved, and wearing deodorant.
  • Come prepared with questions to ask the physician mentor.
  • Document Your Hours. Any documentation of shadowing hours is the responsibility of the student. A sample documentation form will be provided when you are matched. You are also strongly encouraged to keep a journal of your experiences. This can be a great way to connect with your mentor, and the details you write down can be used for medical school applications later.
  • Complete an exit survey/evaluation for WAFP. This is a simple questionnaire that can be completed in less than ten minutes.
  • Compliance with health/privacy policies. In some cases, the clinic or hospital in which you will be shadowing may have pre-requirements to comply with privacy and health laws. Do exactly what your physician mentor or the staff asks you to do. Respect patient confidentiality and privacy. Do not talk about the patient or their information at any time. Not only is it unethical, but it is also illegal. The physician and/or the clinic’s HR department will let you know of any specifics. Possible pre-requirements may include:
    • Completing confidentiality/HIPAA paperwork
    • Providing proof that you are up to date on your immunizations
    • TB Test
    • Criminal background check
  • Each practice situation is different. We encourage you to promptly complete whatever the physician/clinic requires so you can shadow. In the event that you are unwilling to sign forms required by the hospital/clinic or fail any other screening, you will not be permitted to participate in the program within that hospital/clinic.
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