GPA and Entrance Exams
Most health professional school look at two numbers when they first consider your application: the GPA
and the exam SCORE.
- Medical School (DO or MD): MCAT
- Pharmacy School: PCAT
- Physician Assistant School: PACAT
- Nursing School: GRE
- Physical Therapy School: GRE
- Veterinary School: GRE
- Optometry School: GRE
For all schools, the minimum numbers for that school are important and you probably will not get in if you do not have the minimum; regardless of what you have on the rest of your application.
The next most important factor for all professional schools is your experience in the field.
Answer the question: “Why do you want to become a ____(fill in your profession)?”
You cannot answer this question in the abstract; you must have some practical experience that has shown you why you want to enter the field. Most students shadow a physician, pharmacist, etc. or volunteer in the hospital for an initial experience. Ideally, you should go beyond that by trying to get some actual contact with patients. You can get a job in a physician’s office, or work as a nurse technician, phlebotomist, or patient transporter to name a few.
A majority of successful Centre applicants have done scientific research at Centre, a large university, or both.
You should not assume that you MUST do research in order to be accepted since there have been plenty of successful Centre applicants who have done no research. Nor should you assume that you MUST do SCIENTIFIC research.
You should do research if you have a true desire to learn about a discipline in a more practical setting (compared to lecture and lab). Professional schools view research experience favorably because it teaches students valuable problem-solving skills.
Besides demonstrating experience in a professional setting, you should demonstrate a commitment to service.
The health professions are service-oriented. Many successful applicants from Centre are involved in CARE, LIFT, participate in Habitat for Humanity, are resident assistants, or have significant leadership roles in their fraternity/sorority philanthropic programs. The deeper your level of commitment, the more attractive you will look. Working on one house for a couple of hours for Habitat for Humanity is not impressive.
Medical schools do look for well-rounded students (who have good enough numbers). They are interested in students who have dedicated participation in non-academic activities. Many successful Centre applicants have been varsity athletes, musicians, and campus leaders. Students who have studied abroad also tend to stand out.
The most important part of the actual application to any professional school is the personal comments section. This section is an opportunity for you to tell the medical school something about yourself
motivations to become a physician, a pharmacist, a nurse, etc. It also offered the opportunity to discuss your qualifications for professional school.
For examples: See the AMCAS Application and Personal Statement
on the Application Process webpage
Professional schools are also very interested in what other people have to say about you. How do your professors and employers evaluate your qualifications for health professional school?
The Health Profession Advisory Committee (HPAC) constructs a composite evaluation for all current Centre students applying to medical school. Most medical schools require a committee evaluation if the college or university has an advisory group. The committee evaluation is a collection of evaluations from science professors and non-science professors, staff members, coaches, or administrators. Usually the HPAC will solicit evaluations from five science professors and two non-science people. The evaluations cover academic potential, personal attributes, and professional promise. The HPAC also interviews all applicants and includes comments on the committee evaluation. (View a completed committee evaluation
.) Centre’s committee evaluations are well-respected by medical schools because they present such a thorough and honest portrayal of the applicants.
For other professional programs, most require letter of evaluations from faculty and professionals in the field as well.
After reviewing all of your numbers, application materials, and composite evaluation, a professional school will determine if you should be granted an interview. Practice interviews with the HPAC or the career development office are essential preparations for the real thing. If you perform well in the interview you have a good chance at acceptance.
Health Professional Schools have a list of required courses for admission
; beyond them, they do not care what your major is. Admissions personnel will tell you to major in what interests you. You will not be able to distinguish yourself by majoring in a non-science discipline, nor will you look better by majoring in science.
- Double majoring or minoring is something you should do if you are interested, not in order to impress the professional schools.
- If you are a non-science major you should not shy away from taking science courses.