General Criteria for Admission
A Good GPA
Your GPA indicates if you are academically capable of successfully completing professional school. Admissions personnel will examine your natural science GPA, overall GPA and trends in your performance. Different health professional schools require different GPA ranges for admissions, but typically a GPA of 3.5 is competitive.
Good Admission Test Scores
Most professional schools require some sort of entrance exam, either the GRE or a specialized exam like the MCAT, PCAT, OAT or DAT. Your scores on these exams will indicate whether you are capable of meeting the academic challenges of professional school and if you will be able to pass the national board exams in your field when the time comes. These exams will typically be taken late in the junior or early in the senior year, after the core courses have been taken. Your must prepare for these exams! Please see the next section for details on admission tests.
Evidence of Commitment to Health Care
Awareness and commitment to health care as a career can be shown through first-hand experience. For example, veterinary schools look for extensive experience working with a veterinarian. Medical schools are looking for multiple clinical experiences involving patient contact. Physical therapy programs also emphasize experience. It is imperative that you find summer jobs and internships in the health professions. In addition, you should read articles on current issues, both scientific and social, in medicine and health fields.
Personal Attributes Conducive to a Career in the Health Professions
There is a universal feeling that the practice of medicine demands superior personal attributes. Integrity and responsibility are expected. Schools also look for traits such as leadership, maturity, perseverance, breadth of interests, ability to relate to people effectively, and, perhaps above all, proper motivation. A pre-health student should be very sure of his or her reasons for pursuing a career in the health professions.
Activities which involve service to others and/or those in which you have a leadership role are important. The level of participation is more important than the number of activities. Be selective and get involved, don't just be a name on a membership list.
Letters of recommendation from faculty, health care workers and HPAC will help admissions personnel get a better idea of who you are and what you have to contribute to their school and profession. Choose instructors who know you personally from courses in which you did well. Prepare a short statement of your goals and accomplishments to assist the person in writing the recommendation.
If all application material is acceptable, you may be invited for an interview at a health professional school. The interview is critical for your acceptance into the school. Be ready to answer questions about your motivation for a career in the health professions, academic performance, health-related experiences, and questions relating to issues in the field. Your ability to communicate and develop rapport with your interviewers, as well as your level of enthusiasm, poise and confidence will contribute to their perception of you. For assistance in these areas, HPAC interviews all pre-health juniors and Career Services offers interviewing techniques seminars and evaluations.