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S.C.A.R.F. Teen FAQ

  • I’m not sure if I’m interested in a career in medicine, is S.C.A.R.F. still right for me?"
    Yes! Our Mentorship & Career Guidance Program is right for anyone that wants to improve their professionalism, public speaking, and critical thinking skills while working to give back to their community. While you will learn a great deal about medicine and cardiology, we have had many students go on to become lawyers, engineers, or other professionals outside of medicine.
  • When is the application deadline and when will I find out if I was accepted?
    Applications for our 2024 program are due by January 19, 2024. At that time, all applications and supplemental materials (including two letters of recommendation and a transcript) must be submitted. Interviews will occur February 17 - 19th and are mandatory for first year applicants. Final decisions will be sent out on a rolling basis beginning in March.
  • What are the next steps after I apply?
    Be sure to add the following email addresses to your address book so that incoming emails are not sent to spam/junk mail:,,, and Applications are reviewed in the week immediately following the application deadline. Invitations to interview for first year students will be sent out in late January/early February with interviews taking place February 17 - 19th. If you have not received information regarding interview or next step by February 10th after applying, contact immediately.
  • I applied but I haven't heard anything about an interview or next steps. What should I do?
    Be sure to check your junk/spam inbox. Also, add the following email addresses to your address book so that you do not miss any future correspondence:,,, and If you have looked through your junk/spam and do not see any emails from the SCARF Admin Team, contact immediately.
  • What is the interview process like?
    Interview sessions are extended to first-year applicants based on review of all applications. Interview sessions will be held in February, over the President's Day holiday weekend. Please be sure to block your calendars now. Interviews are conducted in a small group setting, typically 4 - 6 students at a time. Students are expected to bring at least one parent (though both are preferred when possible) along with them for the interview session unless extenuating circumstances preclude this from happening (approval by Dr. Alfano must be obtained prior to interview date). Students are expected to dress in business professional attire and come prepared to answer questions about their background, their interest in the SCARF program, and their goals. Interviews are typically conducted in a panel style with all students and SCARF Admin Team members together in one room. You will have the opportunity to hear other students' responses to questions, just as they will hear yours. The interview session is also the time for you (and your parents) to have all questions about the program answered. You will be given a brief overview of what to expect including typical schedules, daily activities, cost, and review of requirements to participate. The interview session is the last time that the SCARF Admin Team allows parents to contact us and ask questions directly. After the interview, all further questions must come from the student directly.
  • What is the weekly schedule like?
    Students are split into 4 groups and will attend our program 2 full days per week. Clinic day: this is a full day (9 - 5:30) and will take place in our Sycamore office on Mon, Tues, Thurs or our Elgin office on Fridays. Groups will rotate which day of the week they have clinic (for example: Group A will meet Monday one week, Tuesday the next week, Thursday the next week, and Friday the next week). The clinic days are broken up into morning and afternoon clinics and the students will be given a 30 - 60 minute lunch break in between. Lunch is not provided on clinic days, so students will either bring lunch from home or are free to go out and buy lunch in the community. Wednesdays: all 4 groups will be with us in our Elgin location from 8:00am - 4:00pm. On most Wednesdays, lunch will be provided. Students will be notified each week whether or not they need to bring lunch. 2024 Mandatory Dates include: - June 26th (Pathway to Success/Pig Heart Dissection) - July 10th (Mock Interview) - July 24th (Scientific Symposium Rehearsal) - July 27th (Scientific Symposium) *** students may not miss more than ONE clinic/professional development day throughout the program. You are NOT permitted to miss any of the above mandatory dates.
  • When does the mentorship program take place?
    Generally, the program runs from the first week of June through the last weekend in July or the first weekend in August. Students should be sure that they will be able to participate throughout the program and are only allowed ONE absence. Traditionally, our program runs for about 6 - 8 weeks with students spending two days a week with us. One day is a clinic day (alternates Mon, Tue, Thu, and Fri) and the other day is a professional development day (Wednesdays). The program culminates with our Scientific Symposium/Rhythm of Life Gala. For 2024, the program will likely run from June 10 - July 27, 2024. Dates are still being confirmed.
  • Where is SCARF located?
    We are based in Sycamore, IL, and Elgin, IL and our students will be required to be at both offices throughout the program. Sycamore office - 2550 Hauser Ross Dr, Ste 350, Sycamore, IL 60178 Elgin office – 500 N McLean Blvd, Elgin, IL 60123 Professional development days are on Wednesdays and take place in our Elgin office. Clinic days are Mon, Tue, Thu, and Fri with all clinics except Friday taking place in our Sycamore office.
  • What is the daily schedule like?
    Each day will be different but can include any number of the following: Rounding with Dr. Nguyen and/or APNs in their clinics, Elite Cardiology Solutions Rounding with Dr. Rubina Nguyen at Suburban Dental Medicine Student-led mini-topic discussions on healthcare, current events, and/or ethics Guest lectures by a variety of speakers: lawyers, financial advisers, college professors, motivational speakers, health care providers, etc. In-services with medical device companies or pharmaceutical representatives Small group research working on Scientific Symposium research presentations With COVID-19 many of the outside facilities such as hospitals or nursing homes have closed their doors to outside students. This is something we are continuing to work on and we will continue to push to get our students back into these places, but it is not something we can guarantee at this moment.
  • What if I’m in summer school, can I still participate?"
    The schedule for S.C.A.R.F. is outlined above and students are not permitted to miss more than 1 of their scheduled days. If your summer school schedule will not fit within these parameters, then, unfortunately, S.C.A.R.F. will not be for you this summer.
  • Are there any other important dates to be aware of?
    There are several mandatory dates throughout the summer that ALL students are expected to attend. If you know right now that you will be unable to attend any of these dates, you need not apply/interview. Our 2024 Mandatory Dates include: - June 26th (Pathway to Success/Pig Heart Dissection) - July 10th (Mock Interview) - July 24th (Scientific Symposium Rehearsal) - July 27th (Scientific Symposium)
  • Can I still go on vacation over the summer?
    Yes! You will be provided with your exact schedule in March/April. This will list your group, group members, and your schedule for the summer. This will give you plenty of time to plan trips or other events throughout the summer. In addition, leaving time before the school year begins to plan a vacation.
  • Can I pick which group I’m in?
    No, groups are carefully arranged by the S.C.A.R.F. team to ensure that we have an even distribution of new and returning students, students of all ages, etc. We make every effort to group students based on age and location so that carpooling is an option for those that do not/cannot drive.
  • My sister/brother/cousin is also applying, will we be in the same group?"
    Most likely you will not be placed in the same group as other family members. In the past, this has led to disruption within the groups. Therefore, we try to keep siblings apart so that they are each able to focus and grow as individuals.
  • What do I need to wear to participate in S.C.A.R.F.?
    During assigned clinic days, students will be provided scrubs that must be worn. These can be worn with comfortable, neat athletic shoes or other close-toed shoes of your choosing. Scrubs will be provided on orientation day or your first clinic day. The attire for professional development days is business professional. For gentlemen, this means a shirt and tie (mandatory). For ladies, you have the options of pants/skirt with a nice blouse or a nice dress (no sundresses allowed). Skirts and dresses are not permitted to be above the knee.
  • What is the Scientific Symposium?
    This is the culmination of our internship program and is mandatory for participation each summer. You will present the research you have been working on throughout the summer. Each small group will present with a large poster and a team of judges will evaluate the information along with your knowledge and speaking skills.
  • What other events take place throughout the summer/year?
    S.C.A.R.F. hosts many fundraising and team-building events both throughout the summer program and throughout the school year. The mandatory summer events will be listed within your acceptance packet, providing you ample time to plan accordingly. Events added after the acceptance packets have been sent out in addition to extra events held throughout the school year are optional. We ask that you make every effort to attend these extra events. Your presence and support of S.C.A.R.F. outside of the summer internship is noted and taken into account when letters of recommendation are written.
  • How much does this program cost?
    The cost to host one student for the summer is typically around $8,000. However, the foundation covers the majority of this cost through donations and fundraising events. Students and their families are expected to cover a portion of the total program cost, which for 2024 will be approximately $2,500. Exact pricing will be outlined during the interview and/or with acceptance letters as this is partly determined on the fundraisers from the year prior. Payment is due at the time of acceptance into the program. We have a very limited number of needs-based scholarships available on request. Additional documentation will be required to receive a scholarship. S.C.A.R.F. has received an unprecedented number of applications to join our 2024 program. Given the high interest, no refunds will be offered this year. Please be sure of your interest and commitment to the program before accepting and paying for your spot.
  • I don’t have CPR certification. What do I do?
    CPR certification is mandatory and training will be provided by S.C.A.R.F. annually.
  • What are other requirements for participating in the S.C.A.R.F. Program?
    Students will be welcomed into real-life medical practices. Therefore, we (and our patients) expect that they are healthy, immunized, and have a clean record. The following will be required from all students to participate in the program: - up-to-date "childhood" vaccinations (MMR, IPV, PCV, etc.) - up-to-date influenza vaccination (this means dated August 1, 2023 or later) - COVID-19 vaccination (with appropriate boosters where applicable) - 2-step TB test - Background check - Drug screen It is recommended that students obtain flu vaccine ASAP if they have not already been vaccinated this year. Many places run out of the influenza vaccine by April and without this immunization, you will not be allowed in any patient encounters without this vaccination.
  • What if I test positive for COVID or have a COVID exposure during the program?
    You will be asked to provide proof of a positive test. We will also follow current CDC guidelines (note that these may change by the summer). Current guidelines recommend: People who are fully vaccinated do NOT need to quarantine after contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they have symptoms. However, fully vaccinated people should get tested 5-7 days after their exposure, even if they don't have symptoms AND should wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until their test result is negative. ISOLATION People who are in isolation should stay home until it's safe to be around others. To calculate a 10-day isolation period, day 0 is your first day of sympotms OR the day of your first positive test. If you develop symptoms after testing positive, the 10-day isolation period starts over from the day of your first symptoms.
  • I still have questions about the program, who should I contact?"
    We highly recommend that you follow us on social media (@scarfnow) as we post frequent updates about the program there. If you have additional questions about the program, the application process, the interview process, etc. you can email Dr. Sarah Alfano at
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