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Are you interested in getting a head start on your first year of medical school and serving as an Anatomy Teaching Assistant during the fall and spring semesters? Consider applying for COMP’s Intensive Summer Anatomy Course—also known as ISAC.

The primary purpose of ISAC is to prepare a small group of first-year students to assist the anatomy faculty during gross anatomy labs throughout the regular academic year.

ISAC is beneficial to students who are accepted to the program because it allows them to complete the anatomy lab component of the first-year curriculum. It also has the advantage of a smaller class size and greater interaction time with anatomy faculty in the lab. ISAC students who perform well and who demonstrate qualities that will make them good teachers are expected to become Anatomy TAs if selected by the faculty. Teaching Assistantships are paid positions.

There are several benefits to being a TA: First, you will learn the anatomy in much greater depth because the best way to master something is to teach it. Second, being a teaching assistant allows you to work closely with faculty, which allows them to write strong letters of recommendation for you. Third, it looks good on your CV when it comes time to apply for fellowships and other competitive opportunities. Students are accepted to ISAC with the understanding that they are interested in becoming TAs. If you are not sure you want to be an Anatomy TA during the academic year, then ISAC is not right for you.

2 students working on tablet in lab

To ensure full consideration, apply by March 1st, 2023, with your formal ISAC application.


  • Application Process

    Applications will open in February, stay tuned for info from Admissions.

    The application should include the following:

    1. Your MCAT score; ISAC typically requires 67thpercentile or higher (see FAQ).
    2. Your science GPA; ISAC typically requires 3.2 or higher (see FAQ).
    3. Briefly list your previous anatomy and physiology courses, including a description of your anatomy lab experience, if any. Previous anatomy courses are strongly recommended because of the rapid pace of ISAC.
    4. Briefly summarize (no more than 250 words) your previous teaching experience (tutoring, TAing, etc.) and provide a statement about your desire to teach.

    Apply from your westernu.edu email account if you currently have access to it. If you do not have access, you can use another email account, but you will be responsible for updating your contact information when you do gain access. Failure to do so may result in missing important information that can affect your ability to accept an offer to join ISAC. It is critical that you check your WesternU email regularly.

    For Pomona DO and DPM students should contact: Dr. Jeremiah Scott at jscott@westernu.edu
    For Lebanon DO students should contact: Dr. Edie Sperling at esperling@westernu.edu

  • Important Dates & Info

    ISAC will most likely begin on Monday, June 12th and runs for 6 weeks.
    Expect to be in class every day, Monday through Friday, from 8am to 5pm. ISAC students also spend a significant amount of time outside of scheduled dissections and lectures studying in the lab, including evenings and weekends. You will receive the official schedule before the first day if you are accepted.

  • FAQs
    1. What if my science GPA and/or MCAT scores do not meet the requirement? —While we typically select students who meet these requirements, it never hurts to apply, especially if you have previous anatomy and teaching experience.
    2. What if I have a vacation planned this summer? —You will not be able to do both. ISAC is very intensive and missing days will set you back too far to catch up. Time off requests for such things will not be approved.
    3. Does completing ISAC mean I will be an anatomy TA? —ISAC students are selected to be TAs based on their anatomy practical scores, professionalism, and demonstrated skills for helping others learn. If selected, you are expected to accept the TA position.
    4. I like the idea of getting a head start on the anatomy material, but I’m not sure I want to TA. —We only accept students who are genuinely interested in assisting the faculty during the academic year.
    5. What are the responsibilities of a TA? —TAs perform two tasks. First, they assist faculty in the lab, helping to guide their peers through dissection. Second, before each anatomy practical exam, the TAs set up a mock practical exam to help students prepare for the real thing. There are six mock practical exams spread across the regular academic year.
    6. Does completing ISAC mean I don’t have to take anatomy during the regular academic year? —ISAC satisfies your anatomy lab component only. This means that if you have passed all the ISAC exams, you will not need to take the anatomy lab practical exams during the regular academic year. You will still be responsible for the lecture material and taking the didactic (written) exams in the fall and spring courses, which include anatomy questions.
    7. How much does ISAC cost? —There is no additional fee for ISAC; you simply register for medical school early.