Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Major in Pre-Health?
- No, Pre-Health is not a major. Let's say you had a degree in "Pre-Med" and, for some reason, did not get into your professional school. Then, you'd have a degree named "Pre-Med", which wouldn't help you much in the career world.
- It is also important to major in a degree with classes you'll enjoy. Now, you do not have to major in something in particular to go your professional school of choice. Major in what you are interested in.
- Majoring in something you are interested in also guarantees higher grades, which always helps with GPA requirements for professional school, as well.
Can I be a pre-med student in any of the majors?
- Yes, as long as the requirements of the professional schools are met. There is no "pre-med" major at UAH, but as long as students work together with their major Academic Advisor and the Pre-Health Advisor they can major in anything they want.
But, is there a preferred major?
- No. While some majors may incorporate several pre-requisites for medical school in their requirements, you can major in any area of interest. Many schools are interested in candidates with diverse interests and backgrounds.
- Many students major in science because they are 1) interested in science already and 2) a majority of classes required are science, but you can major in any subject - from Biology to English.
What services does the Office of Pre-Health Advising (OPHA) offer?
- My office advises all students interested in health professions after their time at UAH. Pre-health students can be any major at UAH can can include non-degree seeking students, part-time students, and alumni.
- I advise through individual appointments, workshops, a pre-health e-newsletter, a Facebook site, posts on Twitter, and advisement through MCC and AED. To set up an individual appointment, find a time that works for you on the Contact page.
- During the application process, the Pre-Health Advisor works one on one with students to ensure their file is ready for the board to review and make sure the student is ready for the application cycle. The office collects letters of evaluations for students and disseminates a committee letter, if one is written for them, to the schools they apply to. These letters are collected to help write the committee letter, not sent out to the professional school.
- In addition, the Pre-Health Advisor requires all students to have their resume and personal statement to be reviewed and will hold mock interviews for students to better prepare them for interviews.
What's the difference between my Academic Advisor and my Pre-Health Advisor?
- Your Academic Advisors assist you in staying on track to graduate from UAH. They help you register for the correct courses for UAH, your specific major, and give you access codes for registration. They also give advice and guidance on courses and education. They work closely with the Pre-Health Advisor to ensure you are both graduating from UAH and on the right track to your post-graduation goals. Your Pre-Health Advisor.
- Your Pre-Health Advisor assists in building your application to professional school. They help you stay on track to your school of choice with necessary class requirements, but also guide you in outside of class requirements, like community service and shadowing. They can provide assistance on other skills as well, like interviewing and resume skills. They also give advice and guidance on how to improve one's application and grow developmentally.
What factors affect admission into health-profession schools?
- Medical and other health-profession schools' selections are based upon several factors, including GPA, required entrance exam scores, letters of evaluation, personal history and background, interests & hobbies, motivation, dedication to field, passion outside of field, service, knowledge and involvement in the health profession, extracurricular activities, leadership skills, opportunities taken to grow and challenge oneself, and personal interview.
What should my GPA be?
- While a certain GPA will not guarantee admission, a majority of students who stand a good chance of getting interviews have a 3.5 or greater overall GPA and a 3.5 or greater science GPA. "Science" can vary by school profession, but may include biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics, also known as a BCPM GPA.
I heard the GPA is important in admissions for professional school. What if my GPA is low?
- To clarify, more weight is placed on "academic history" than the GPA. It is, however, at many schools, typically the first "filter" you may need to "pass" through. Health professional programs see combinations of courses taken and your ability to handle them. Schools know the academic reputation UAH has and are aware of standards placed on certain classes. Many things can help "balance" out your GPA, but it will never change the number. An higher than average entrance exam score, for example, can greatly help your lower GPA.
What do I need to make on my MCAT?
- While a certain score on your MCAT will not guarantee admission, a majority of students who stand a good chance of getting interviews get over a 29. Obviously, students should aim as high as they can go. Practice tests and preparation go a long way.
Does your office set up shadowing opportunities for pre-health students?
- Our office does not directly set up shadowing contacts for students for a few reasons. First of which, professional health offices change so often with patient flow, it is difficult to keep up with who is comfortable and has time to allow students to shadow. Secondly, we want you to have the first impression, so we give you the chance to show your responsibility, drive, and initiative by setting it up. If you still need help in this area, please talk to the Pre-Health Advisor, she is available.
Does your office set up volunteering opportunities for pre-health students?
- Luckily, UAH and the Huntsville community has plenty of opportunities for students to volunteer! The Pre-Health office can provide lots of resources and examples of places to get started. We also have student organizations, Medical Careers Club, Alpha Epsilon Delta, and Alabama Student Rural Health Association, promoting or occasionally going as a group to do volunteer projects like Habitat for Humanity, Helping Hands, Huntsville Heart Walk, or the Madison Street Festival. As always though, if you have your own passion, follow it and use your own initiative to get started!
When is the best time to apply to maximize my chances for admission?
- Start your application as close as possible to the date the common application service opens. It is much policy to ask "when is the earliest I can apply" instead of "when is the deadline." Many schools function under a rolling admissions perspective, which means they are operating under a set number of interview slots or seats to fill. At the beginning of the process, they can consider more students, while those applying at the end are considered for the few remaining slots, which means they must be all the more impressive.
I hear I need letters of recommendation, if so, how many?
- If you go through our board process, we require 2 character evaluations. These are letters from those you have shadowed, volunteered for, or supervisors who can speak to you character (very well) and talk about you as a person and how they feel you would do in this profession. We prefer those you have shadowed, but will accept other letters if needed.
- Even if you do not go through our board process, and you applied on your own, you would still need character and faculty evaluations.
- We also require 3 letters from faculty. Be sure to make connections with your faculty throughout your time at UAH, as they are valuable resources during your time here. Not only can they serve as great mentors, but they can help you gain research experience and serve as references down the road. You will need 2 science faculty and 1 outside of science faculty letters.
- If you are a non-science major, we can work with how many science faculty letters you acquire. Also, if you are non-degree seeking student and/or went to another school before/after/during your time at UAH, we can talk further about your letters, but you will still need 3 faculty letters total, they just might not all be from UAH.
What materials do you have for me?
- Even if I am not in the office, I have a rotary brochure holder at the corner of the hallway outside my office door and a bulletin board outside my office. Check out those two places to pick up and take with you any items you'd like to read more about. I re-stock it regularly with new items!
This is all confusing, can I have some more help?
- Absolutely! That is what I am here for! These are just a few of the Frequently Asked Questions I receive on a daily basis. Feel free to roam around the site more, explore, and find more answers. You can visit my office hours, set up an appointment, or just stop by and I'd be happy to work with you. Check out the Contact page to reach me.