Now that you are at Centre, it is time to start thinking seriously about what you need to do to get into Health Professional School.

If you have not done so already, you should schedule an appointment with the appropriate HPAG faculty advisor. In addition, take a look at information tab below to learn more about different things to consider as you move forward in your career.  

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 and your 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. 

The Typical Successful Centre Applicant

  • The average GPA is 3.69 with no significant difference between the science and non-science GPAs.
  • The range of GPA’s is 3.0–4.0
  • The average MCAT score is 509.5 (83rd percentile) (13% took the exam twice). The range is 503-519 (63rd-99th percentile).
  • 94% studied abroad at least one term
  • 90% participated in at least one scientific research project at Centre or another institution
  • 78% were members of a Greek organization
  • 56% were varsity athletes in at least one sport.
  • 43% took at least one year off before entering medical school.
  • The major breakdown was: 29% BMB; 12% CHE; 22% BIO; 3% BNS; 24% non-science majors; 10% double majors.

Centre alums are currently at the following allopathic medical schools (MD):

  • Louisville
  • Kentucky
  • Dartmouth
  • Indiana
  • Emory
  • Louisiana-Shreveport
  • Rochester
  • Toledo
  • Cincinnati
  • Texas-Galveston
  • Stanford
  • Tennessee
  • UNC Chapel Hill
  • Wake Forest

and the following osteopathic medical schools (DO):

  • Pikeville
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Lake Erie
  • New York
  • Ohio University

*Data for the last five years, 84% acceptance rate for first time applicants allopathic medical schools, 66 applicants; 93% acceptance for re-applicants

How should I be preparing for medical school as a first-year, second-year, third-year, or fourth-year?


The best advice is to concentrate on course work during your first term at Centre. The first term in college is very difficult because of the adjustment from high school. Make sure you are doing well in your courses before you volunteer for a lot of extracurricular activities. You should probably do just ONE extracurricular activity. Poor grades in one term are not impossible to overcome, but it may be very difficult to raise your GPA. Make sure that you attend all of the Pre-Health Society meetings and visiting speakers associated with medicine [contact Adam Clark (, the Pre-Health Society President, to get on the email list]. Take the time to get acquainted with the HPAG member in your area of interest. Try to consult with that advisor about scheduling or other concerns—friends or upperclass students are not always the best source of information. You should get into the habit of getting to know your professors. At some point, seven of them are going to be evaluating you for medical school (fewer for other professions). They will be evaluating more than your academic abilities; personal characteristics and professional promise are the other big areas. If you are planning to study abroad for a long term, it is essential to start planning your course schedule for the next few years. You should explore other areas in the health professions (see the Useful Links webpage). The summer between your first and second years is an excellent time to start getting some experience in your chosen health care field. If you are interested in medicine, try to shadow a physician or get a job in a hospital. You also need to learn about the direction medicine is heading. Keep up with the current health care debates by reading newspapers, magazines and books. Follow the healthcare platforms of the current presidential candidates. Many students applying to medical school often struggle to answer the question “What is your opinion of the current state of health care in the U.S.?”. You should not be one of those students. Write a two-page, single-spaced personal statement about why you want to become a physician. Revise it every year.
The first thing to do before you start your second year is to have a reality check. Does your GPA from your first year indicate that medicine is a realistic area for you? If your GPA is significantly below a 3.0, the answer is probably “No”. If your GPA is around a 3.0, you definitely have time to raise it, but you will have to work hard to do so. Remember that it is very rare for a student to get into medical school from Centre with a GPA below a 3.4. In order to raise your GPA you might have to make some significant sacrifices. For instance, can you continue to be part of that volunteer organization or athletic team? Should you get rid of your gaming console or limit your time on Facebook? Academic matters aside, second year is a good time to get some experience in medicine. You can volunteer at Ephraim McDowell, shadow a local physician, or set up a formal internship with a physician. You should increase your participation in service activities. Planning for summer research can also be a priority, especially if you are interested in attending a research-oriented medical school (read about the differences between public and private medical schools on the Med School Application Process webpage). Centre students have obtained paid summer research positions at medical schools and in the basic sciences (chemistry, biology, biochemistry etc.). Revise your personal statement to reflect changes from the previous year.
Third year is the time when many students begin the application process to medical school. Many of you will also be taking the MCAT sometime near the end of your third year or the summer after it. Before you start the process it is vital to talk to Dr. Workman to find out if it is realistic for you to apply. Be sure to look at the application web page to fully understand the timing of the process. If you plan on taking the MCAT in your junior year, you should at least look at a MCAT review book in the summer after your second year. It is also very important to continue working on your personal statement in the fall. Start reviewing for the MCAT in earnest in the fall. For detailed information on the MCAT and application process, visit the Med School Application Process webpage. There are deadlines that you must meet and meetings you must attend if you are going to apply to medical school. Your third year will probably be the final time to get some medical experience and volunteer service activities before your application. The summer after your third year is an excellent time to get research experience at a large research university. Many summer research programs are offered specifically for students finishing their second or third year. One excellent site for finding summer research positions is the NSF-REU webpage which is updated every November. View a huge listing of medical summer internships on the Rochester Institute of Technology website.
If you are starting the application process during your fourth year, you will follow the same directions as the juniors. You might still be unsure about your future—get some advice from the HPAG. If you applied to medical school over the previous summer you should have completed all of your secondary applications before the middle of September, if not sooner. Remember that you are competing for interview slots and the earlier you are the less competition. The HPAG and Career Development Office are available for practice interviews. You are also welcome to contact the HPAG after you have graduated from Centre.