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What is LEAP?

In summer 2024, the LEAP program will bring together its ninth cohort of sixteen incoming first-year students, UNC’s LEAP Scholars. The LEAP program fosters an inclusive community that provides an opportunity for you to study and learn with other students that share similar interests and pre-health goals as you do.  

LEAP is a year-long program that provides you with academic support and guidance in major and non-major classes and social support throughout your first year. Our goals is to provide you with the necessary skills and a network of support  to be successful during your time at UNC and prepare you to apply to professional schools. In addition to the variety of opportunities and benefits exclusive to LEAP, it's a great way to meet new friends and have fun!

LEAP begins with our Summer Bridge program. LEAP Scholars will join us on campus for four days and three nights in late  July  2024. Our free program will introduce you to your 2024-2025 LEAP cohort, the peer mentors, the LEAP co-Directors, biology and chemistry faculty, and the LEAP advisors. You will experience life on campus and participate in an authentic research experience and engage in fun team building activities. You'll get to meet and network with health care professionals to further explore your career goals.

Academic Support

  • Personalized and ongoing academic advising to help you achieve your goals
  • Workshops that will cover study skills, professionalism, experiences with current medical students, leadership skills, preparation for professional schools, and more
  • Academic support including a cohort format for introductory science classes, study sessions, and tutoring,
  • Access to research opportunities and connections with Biology and Chemistry faculty (links to faculty pages)
  • Connection with pre-health advisor and health care professionals as resources to help you fulfill shadowing, clinical hours, and volunteer hour requirements for admittance into professional schools.

Social Support

  • Receive support from members of past LEAP Scholars who successfully navigated their freshman year—the Peer Mentors
  • Personalized and ongoing financial and life advising and workshops to help you navigate college while balancing school and life obligations
  • Connection with campus organizations: McNair, Honors, Cultural Centers, student groups
  • Community engagement and giving back
  • Cohort community building events—ways to have fun!

Who is LEAP for?  

LEAP is a program for first-generation students majoring in pre-health biology or chemistry at UNC. (Are you a first-generation student?  You are if neither of your parents have completed a college degree).  We also support students of color and other marginalized groups. 

How do you join LEAP?  

The first step is to complete the application.  You will be asked to provide some general information and answer these three questions: 

  • Why do you want to pursue a degree with an emphasis in pre-health?
  • What do you hope to get from the LEAP program?
  • What will you give back to the LEAP Scholars Program?
  • Do you consider yourself to be a scientist? Please explain why or why not.

Your answers don’t need to be long (max 300 words) but should give us an idea of who you are. Top candidates will be contacted in early 2024 for a Zoom interview. 


Hand slap

Have Questions?

Contact us at leap.scholars@unco.edu or andrea.james@unco.edu

" LEAP helped me become accustomed to college as a first year and with their help I was able to gain momentum to achieving my goal by getting accepted to medical school. Through tutorship and mentoring me on what steps to take, I was able to achieve success.”

- Mohamoud, LEAP Scholar and Peer Mentor

“LEAP helped me build the connections I have now. They provided the support I needed the most as a first-generation college student, they helped me navigate myself through STEM.”

- Adlemi, LEAP Scholar

“LEAP was a great program to join, the cohort became a good group of friends to lean on. Taking the classes together was a huge plus since we could all study together for exams and quizzes. The summer bridge was a great way to meet each other and get to know professors before the semester began. The cookie decorating and gift exchange we did at study nights first semester were also fun!”

- Aubrey,  LEAP Scholar, Peer Mentor and Graduate Assistant

cohort groups