General Orientation Photo
General Pre-health Orientation, October 24, 2018

Starting Your Pre-Health Career

Entering in Fall 2020? Thinking of a Pre-Health Career? 

View this PowerPoint presentation by Executive Director of Pre-Professional Advising Lolita Wood-Hill.

NEW! General Pre-Health Orientation (Thu Sept 10) Zoom recording of session held with Mrs. Wood-Hill and the pre-health mentors for those entering the pre-health track.

Submitting your application to any health professions program is just the last step in a long road. 

Making Your Decisions

All health professions require evidence of your solid understanding of, and consistent excellence in, your science courses.  Excellent grades in science and math, with a strong B or better GPA (3.20-4.00) will give you the greatest number of options as you consider which career you aspire to.  You must also show a commitment to health care through extracurricular activities in health care settings.  And demonstrating the personal characteristics that any health care provider should display is important.  Qualities and experiences that showcase your leadership ability, your empathy and patience, a demonstration of tenacity and resilience and your willingness and success in working in a group will be important features of your application.  Doing well on standardized exams will also be necessary.  If you feel that this is your weakest “link” begin working on this early in your college career! 

Most importantly, you will need to develop relationships with your pre-health advisor and with your science and math faculty in particular; these are the people who will be asked to assess your suitability for a graduate training in a health care field.

Ten Things To Do To Prepare For Your Health Professions Career

  1. Make an appointment to see your advisor.  With us you can develop a plan to get you to where and when you want to go!  Your advisor will help you determine the courses you need to complete and the timeline for taking any exams needed for admission.  We can also help you with the health-related experiences you will want to have before you apply.
  2. Attend career and health professions fairs. Career fairs give you the opportunity to learn about multiple schools, programs, and admissions requirements at one event. It can be expensive and time-consuming to visit every school that you are thinking about attending, so participating in career fairs can help you narrow down your medical school selections and be more cost effective.
  3. Seek out on-campus resources and mentors.  Make connections with mentors in various academic departments who can help you find opportunities for volunteering, lab work, or shadowing, or just give you their perspective on applying to graduate school.
  4. Increase your activity and responsibility in clubs. When admissions committees look at your experiences, the kinds of clubs you belong to are just one part of the equation. They also like to see growth in various areas—like activity level and responsibility. You don’t need to be the president of every club but by taking on a leadership role, planning large events, or helping to shape the direction of a club highlights your leadership abilities.
  5. Get experience in research.  This can mean working on a year long project on asthma, or it can be a genetics lab studying flies!  Research can be in psychology, religion, or any other subject.  The most important aspect of any research experience is your level of independence.  Did you design the question to be asked? Were you the one able to determine the steps needed to get to an answer?  Washing test tubes for a Nobel Prize winner is not impressive—but designing your own experiment or problem to solve is! 
  6. Shadowing.  Shadowing a health care professional gives you a better understanding of what their typical day is like, and whether it would be something you enjoy. Ask your own doctor, nurse, or physical therapist if they know of shadowing opportunities. You can also ask your peers, professors, and pre-health advisors as they might know health professionals who have allowed other students shadow them.
  7. Start Collecting Letters of Recommendation. Speak with your advisor or anyone else who you’ve asked to write a letter on your behalf (i.e. a professor you’ve had for several classes, or the person supervising your lab work ) early in order to give them time to write a letter of evaluation for you. Some programs want specific letters so you should start looking at the requirements for admission to your chosen career path early! 
  8. Think about summer plansDo you need the summers to complete required classes?  Do you need to work in the summer to earn money? Are you interested in training as an EMT or as a certified nursing assistant?  These programs are generally too intensive to complete during the school year so summer is ideal.Many schools want to see a formal summer research experience so research them early.
  9. Talk To Your Parents. Start talking to your parents about your plans and help them understand what you hope to accomplish in college.
  10. Enjoy college! This is not a stop gap between high school and your career.  College is where you will grow intellectually, emotionally, and socially.  Do not discount the experience and lose sight of its role in determining your direction.  Be open-minded and flexible and your time with us will fly by! 

Updated: February 2020