Schools accept all majors as long as you have met the prerequisites for getting into the program. Most students major in biological sciences with a prehealth concentration as this degree meets the major requirements. Major prerequisites include a year of biology with lab, a year of chemistry with lab, a year of organic chemistry with lab, a year of physics with lab and a year of English. If your major does not include these then you will need to add them to your program. Each school may have additional requirements and these vary from school to school. It is a good idea to start looking at websites of the schools to ensure that you are meeting the minimum requirements. Additional courses that will help you in standardized tests include biochemistry, genetics, psychology and sociology.
- Grade point average (GPA)- Schools will look at your cumulative college grades and your prerequisite or science GPA. Average GPA for medical schools is 3.6.
- Standardized test scores- Most schools have a minimum standardized test score. See the main pre-professional advising page for links to the test web pages.
- Volunteer and work experience- Your volunteer and work experience show the reviewers your dedication to projects and your ability to work with people. Your experiences do not necessarily have to be all in the clinical setting. In fact most schools want to see a well-rounded individual with many interests. Being a president of the chess club or soccer club can still show your leadership and organizational skills. If you are considering being a physician’s assistant, be aware that PA schools want PAID experience in the health care setting. Student pursuing this field may want to consider a CNA or EMT certification to gain paid experience.
- Personal statement- This is an essay describing why you are pursuing your career and what you hope to accomplish. It is your opportunity to show your personality and passion that is not visible in your GPA, test scores and work experience. Take some time to think about this essay and have several people read your essay critically for content and grammar before submitting it.
- Letters of recommendation- Professors will be your main source of letters of recommendation. Attending class and earning an “A” will not be enough for the professor to write a good letter for you. As you go through college, it is important to cultivate mentor relationships with at least three or four professors. This can be done through class projects, meeting with the professor during office hours, and working in a research lab. After these experiences, the professor will be able to write a detailed letter about your characteristics.
All schools are looking for applicants who are passionate about helping people. They are looking for candidates that are compassionate, problem solvers, honest, dedicated and life-long learners. Most schools have certain specialized fields or areas that they target. It is worth your time to visit some schools beforehand or at minimum thoroughly read their websites before
Your prerequisite coursework should be completed or nearly completed by the time you apply for professional school. If you are planning on four years at Michigan Tech, this means your prerequisites should be completed by the end of your third year. In the spring of your third year, you should take the standardized exam for your desired occupation. Most applications are due a year before you plan to enroll and many organizations have application services available. The application service allows you to submit your application to one place and then the application is forwarded to the schools you select. This saves you the work of having to send all your materials to each individual school. Most application services open early in the summer and deadlines for applications range from early September until January. It is to your advantage to send your application into the service as soon as possible. The deadlines are the last date the school will accept applications but their classes may be filled long before the stated deadline.