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Pre-health FAQs

Beren Campus Academic Advising

The Beren Campus Pre-health Advisement office

We are located on the Beren Campus in 215 Lexington Avenue, Room 614.

As with the General Advisers, the goal of the Pre-health Adviser is to help you succeed in your future career. Advisers are available to answer your questions at any point in your YU experience, from selecting courses, finding summer internships, extracurricular activities and submitting your application.

Students who are pre-med, pre-dent, pre-opt:

In your first year on campus, you must meet with Dr. Chaya Rapp (who also serves as a pre-med, pre-dent and pre-opt adviser). Please email her at to set up an appointment.

In subsequent years you meet with Dr. Brenda Loewy. Please email her at to set up an appointment.

If you are interested in Nursing, PA, PT or OT you must meet with Mr. Mollin. Please email him at

 Yes. Please email us and we will try to accommodate your schedule.

The First Steps

There are various components to being a strong candidate:

  • Coursework: taking the courses required for medical and dental schools as well as courses that we highly recommend which will prepare you best for the MCAT and the DAT
  • Clinical experience in medical or dental settings; shadowing doctors or dentists and interacting with patients (hospitals, EMT dental practices)
  • Research experience
  • Involvement in extracurricular activities both on and off campus
  • Community service for diverse populations

Medical and dental schools look at both your overall GPA and your science GPA (BCPM) which consists of all your grades in Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Math. (Dental schools do not include math in their science GPAs.) Calculate your science GPA here.

Medial MCAT Scores for NY and NJ Schools

The average BCPM GPA for MD medical schools in the tri-state area has been 3.7 for accepted students.  For DO schools in the Northeast, the average BCPM has been 3.5 for accepted students

The average BCPM GPA for dental schools 3.3 or higher.

Individual medical and dental programs list their minimum requirements on their school’s website.

MEDICAL: If you are applying to medical school the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) is the test you will take. The average MCAT score for accepted students in 2018 was a 509 with at least 125 in every section. However, schools in the tri-state region have significantly higher scores for accepted students (512 and above with 128 in each section). There is a chart published by the AAMC that gives acceptance rates based on GPA and MCAT scores. The average for Einstein is 516.

DENTAL: Students applying to dental school take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT). The DAT tests your knowledge of Biology, Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Reading, and Math. Physics is required to enter dental school, but it is not tested on the DAT. For 2015 the accepted student scores had an average of 20 on the DAT (with no less than 18 on any individual section). Top schools such as Columbia and UPenn had significantly higher scores for accepted students. 

When you apply, your numbers (GPA and MCAT/DAT scores) are considered very closely by the programs. However, medical and dental schools also look for a host of other traits such as responsibility, integrity, teamwork, interpersonal skills, cultural sensitivity, and passion for the profession which can be show through your outside activities such as extra-curriculars and volunteering. Please consult the link for “What Medical and Dental Schools are Looking For” for more information.

Medical and dental schools aren’t for everyone. You can be an optometrist, a podiatrist, a physical therapist, and occupational therapist, a nurse, a physician assistant or a pharmacist. The Pre-health Office can discuss your other options, or you can find more information on alternative health care careers on Allied Health Careers website.


No matter which major you chose, there are many courses in both the medical and dental track that you need to take in order to pass the MCAT/DAT and to meet the program’s requirements. Click for required pre-med courses or required pre-dent courses.

We recommend taking Biology Principles and General Chemistry in your first year on campus. If you are a strong student in science, you should be able to manage both courses at the same time. However, be sure that you have the time needed to complete both courses with excellent grades.

It is not advisable to do more than one science course in a summer for the length of your college career. We advise not doing any science courses in the summer. One reason is that you will find it difficult to retain the information you’ve studied over the summer as the duration of the class is truncated.

A more important reason is how schools view these courses. Health professions schools will judge your application based on how competitive your schedule is and how well you’ve done in science courses. If you are a B+ student in your sciences and get two A’s in summer school, schools will assume you are only capable of B+ work. Also, summer is the opportunity to be involved in a variety of clinical and research internships which require a full-time commitment.

Letters of Recommendation

After reviewing your GPA and MCAT/DAT scores, medical and dental schools like to see the “person behind the numbers.” The recommendations provide an objective view of your strengths in a variety of academic or non-academic settings. Talk to your professors!

Medical and dental schools need to know that the recommendation has been confidential, so each letter requires a FERPA Waiver signed by the author.

The letters should be sent to The letters must be SIGNED and on LETTERHEAD.

You do NOT have to wait until your junior year to request letters. You can have them sent to the Pre-health Office at any point and we will keep them until you are ready to apply.

Always plan ahead and ask for letters early since professors may retire, move on to other jobs, be on sabbatical, or otherwise be difficult to reach when you are ready to apply.

For faculty, you should ask professors you know well and with whom you have developed a relationship. Please note that many professors request a background essay or face-to-face meeting before they write this letter. Others only write letters for students who have taken more than one class with them. You must abide by whatever rules the professors set.

For outside activities, extracurricular activities, clinical experience, research experience, you should ask from someone you worked closely with who can speak to the issues the medical and dental schools are looking for such as reliability, dependability, teamwork, good interpersonal skills, cultural sensitivity and passion for the profession.

Guidelines for Writing a Recommendation may be given to the author for guidance.

You MUST have at least three letters of recommendation from science and/or math faculty as well as at least two letters from non-science faculty. Take your resume and transcripts to them and ask for a one-to-one meeting so you can give them information they need to write a letter on your behalf.
Plan ahead so that you are not searching for recommenders as you approach the application cycle.

Preparing for the MCAT or DAT

Most applicants take the MCAT or DAT in January, March, April, May or June of the year they apply in their junior year. Naturally, taking the test earlier is better. If you find you will not be able to take the test until late summer or fall of the year you apply, you should consult with the Pre-health Adviser to discuss your options.

Test prep courses are expensive and often require classroom time you may be unable to spare. However, if you are someone who needs outside pressure to get your work done, a test prep program may be worth the money.  It is a personal decision that each applicant must consider.

Your test scores are an important part of your application. The Pre-health adviser is not being nosy! By releasing your scores to our office, you afford us an opportunity to help you make an informed decision about what you should be doing. We do not share the scores with others. We do not use the scores to rate you or compare you to other YU students. However, if a health professions school contacts us about your application, we need to know what your scores are so we can address any concerns the schools may have.

Your test scores are the biggest factor in the admissions process. If you have bad or even marginal scores, your chances of success are greatly diminished. Before spending a lot of money on an application you should try and retake the exam and improve upon your performance. There is no substitute for a poor score. 

The Application Process

You apply to medical and dental schools during the spring of your junior year or, if you are considering take a year off, you can apply the summer you graduate from Stern College.

It is an 18-month process from the time the online applications open in June until you matriculate to the program the following fall. This includes submitting your application, completing secondary applications, interviewing, and making your final decisions.

The American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS),  AADSAS (Associated American Dental Schools Application Service) and ACCOMAS (The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service) are the clearinghouses which administer the online applications. Foreign and Israeli schools have individual applications and may require additional fees.

The actual online application is only one part of the complete application. It also includes transcripts from each post-secondary school you’ve attended, the Committee Letter, as well as every MCAT or DAT score.

Once you submit your online application, it does not go directly to the medical or dental programs. AMCAS, AADSAS and ACCOMAS take approximately six weeks to confirm all your grades and process your test scores and committee letter. 

Students must have on file any transcripts for schools they have attended other than YU. These courses may be listed on your transcript, but your professional schools will want each individual transcript from every American or Canadian school you’ve attended. We need them as well in the event there is a problem or discrepancy to be addressed. Your Israeli transcripts are not needed.

The key to reducing the stress of the applying is to prepare ahead of time.

  • Students should begin preparing their files at least a year before they take their professional school exams. 
  • Collect reading/study material you will need to prepare for the tests.
  • Update your resume every semester. 
  • Make sure you’ve kept up with asking about letters of recommendation or evaluations. Check your file once a semester to see if your requests have actually arrived in our office.    

(Question and answer provided by Princeton University.)

With less than 40% of applicants getting into medical school nationally, it isn’t as simple as taking the classes, applying, and being accepted. We try to set you up for the best shot at getting in the first time because it’s stressful, time-intensive, and expensive to go through the application process. We will support anyone whenever they choose to apply, but we feel that you’re best served by going through the application process once, when you feel confident that you can meet your goals and move forward.

Of course, we can’t 100% predict who’s going to get into medical school in any given year. There are way too many schools and way too many factors at play. But, based on data and our own experience, we do know that there are certain actions that applicants can take to optimize their chances and one is to apply earlier rather than later in the application year. The application can be submitted on or around June 5 and our advice is to aim to submit within around two weeks of that opening date. Here are some of the reasons:

  1. There is a significant lag time between the time that you submit your common application and the time that arrives at schools (due to processing time that you can’t control). Applying earlier will reduce that lag time and give you the chance to get evaluated, interviewed, and accepted earlier.
  2. Many schools operate on rolling admissions policies. This means that they will start letting students in early and will continue to do so until they have filled their class. The earlier you’re in the applicant pool, the more shots you have at getting one of those acceptances.
  3. Schools that don’t operate on rolling admissions still offer interviews over a set range of dates with the bulk of interviews in early September through early January. Based on our data from recent years, about 50% of interview invitations went out in August and September, and only about 20% in December and later. So if you submit your application in November, you’re vying for fewer interview slots than those who had applied earlier.
  4. Applying early reflects well on your professionalism: it can give the impression that you were well organized, punctual, managing your time well, and committed to the application process. Applying right at the deadline could give the impression, whether it’s true or not, that you were unsure of your candidacy or your interest in medicine, or otherwise unprepared to apply.
  5. Knowing you’ve done everything you can do to apply early can give you a sense of control in a process where you often don’t feel in control.

The Committee Letter

The Committee letter is an extensive letter from the Pre-health Adviser comprised of comments made by faculty, lab instructors and recitation instructors at YU when they write a letter on your behalf. Your letter will also contain any letters of recommendations you may receive from outside of the school. This is in ADDITION to the mandatory 1-hour meeting with the Pre-health Adviser in which the applicant’s background, motivations and experience are discussed in depth. The comments made in all of these letters are the “meat and potatoes” of your Committee letter. Too few comments will make your letter weak and ineffective. This is turn will translate into no interviews! You are responsible for gathering these letters together!

The more personalized the Committee letter, the more useful it is to the Admissions Offices at medical and dental schools. The Pre-health Adviser meets with you to gain information not learned from the autobiographical packet and to provide you with practice on answering questions in an interview setting and to complete a highly personalized Committee Letter which essentially introduces the applicant to the Admissions Committee of the schools they select.

Once we have your autobiographical packet and you’ve met with the Pre-health adviser, and all the letters of recommendation from all of your references are in your file, a letter is written and transmitted after you have submitted your online application.

No, Yeshiva University does not charge you a fee for the letter service.


The Pre-health Listserv is an important source of information for both medical and dental students to keep up to date on events, volunteer opportunities and other information. You should join the listserv early in your freshman year. 

To join the Pre-health listserv please email Dr.Loewy at and provide her with the email you want included in the listserv.

While volunteer work in any other country is valid, American medical schools would like to see prolonged service (at least 150 hours) in an American institution. Remember, in order to get into the schools of your choice you have to be a “unique” individual, someone whom medical schools will want to diversify their class. Experiences that are done by everyone else at YU will not give you an opportunity to “shine.”

It is a buyer’s market! Schools have many students they can choose from. If your grades are subpar you are likely to be rejected. You should work on getting a solid “A” average in your science/math courses for at least one complete year at YU. And you should be sure to take several upper division courses in biology or chemistry to show you are capable of the workload you will have as a medical/dental student.

You can stay at YU and complete the required courses needed. (More information on the required courses is available on this website in “Starting Your Pre-Health Career.”) Or you can apply to formal post-baccalaureate programs.    

Postbacc programs allow you to complete all of the science and math requirements you need for your health professions career. They will provide you with academic guidance, course selection and scheduling information as well as write a letter on your behalf when you apply. Completing the work at YU will allow you to stay in an area you are familiar with, but some of the postbacc programs may be better suited to your personal circumstances. Each has its own set of admission criteria and deadline dates. These are some programs in NYC: 

  • Columbia
  • NYU
  • City College
  • Hunter
  • New York Medical College
  • NY COM
  • Lehman 
  • Adelphi
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