Qualifying for the Health Professions
Some marks of a successful pre-health student:
- Successful pre-health students are motivated by love - they genuinely care about people, feel they can make a beneficial difference in people's lives, and find satisfaction in doing so.
- Successful pre-health students are intelligent - they are knowledgeable, understanding and aware, thoughtful, quick to learn, problem solvers; they respond successfully to new situations.
- Successful pre-health students are fascinated by the biological and chemical processes of life - they are attracted to a scientific understanding of the molecular, biochemical, cellular mechanisms and the genetic and developmental processes that produce and maintain the structure and function of the body.
- Successful pre-health students are gratified by hard work - they are diligent, resourceful, committed, persistent, and resilient.
Derived from: Preparing for a Career in Medicine by Kent Shih
Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Experiences
- Earn at least a B or better in all prerequisite courses
- Score at least 25 or better on the MCAT, average 18 or better on DAT, 300 or more as the total of the percentile scores on PCAT
- Maintain an overall GPA of 3.5 or better
- Accumulate a well rounded academic record that includes the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities
- Solid evidence of a sustained commitment to a voluntary activity (e.g. humanitarian, social, talent, hobby, interest, etc.) that shows personal initiative, persistence, time management and leadership.
- Clear and substantive evidence of a commitment to help others, of empathy, of altruism, of compassion.
- Regular interaction/exposure to the health profession that includes an extended, in-depth experience (shadowing, volunteering, internship) associated with a health care professional.
- Strong letters of support from high-quality recommenders (from academics - the sciences, health fields, humanitarian, personal interaction).
- Complete a successful experimental research project under the supervision of a faculty member or research professional
- Complete an honors thesis
- Successfully complete lab-based courses in cell biology, human anatomy and physiology, genetics and microbiology.
- Complete an MCAT, DAT, PCAT, OAT prep course (i.e. Kaplan, Princeton Review)
- Have informed opinions about current issues (social, economic, political) that influence health care in the USA
- Successfully complete an academic minor in the humanities (e.g. a foreign language) or social sciences (e.g. psychology)
- Complete an academically rigorous program of studies with high GPA
Optional But Recommended
- Successfully complete CPR or EMT training
- Successfully complete a course or courses in statistics, public speaking, persuasive writing
- Successfully complete a course in histology, pharmacology, immunology, bioinformatics, molecular genetics.
- Accumulate a substantial record of volunteer tutoring or assisting teaching
- Demonstrate a highly unusual experience or notable individual achievement (e.g. missions work, recognition as an expert, travel overseas, championship competition, etc.)
Marks Of An Exemplary Health Care Professional
- Skills and Abilities
- Personal Dispositions
- Moral Qualities and Values
Skills and Abilities
- Intelligence - knowledgeable, understanding and aware, thoughtful, quick to learn
- Leader - ability to direct, guide, command
- Problem Solver
- Ability to work collaboratively - act or work together effectively with others
- Communicator - interact interpersonally, articulate, effective listener
- Common Sense and Judgment - wisdom, practicality
- Manages Time Well - set appropriate priorities, efficient
- Servant to Others - loving, altruistic
- Compassionate - having sorrow for suffering and an urge to help
- Empathetic - understanding or can identify with the feelings or ideas of others
- Cooperative - team player
- Responsible - accountable, trustworthy, dependable, reliable
- Motivated - focused, committed, determined, dedicated
- Persistent - faithful, persevering, enduring
- Overcoming - resilient, recovers from adversity
- Self Aware - can recognize strengths, weaknesses and limits of abilities; reflective
- Life Long Learner - strives for self improvement, curious
Moral Qualities And Values
- Beneficent - work for the health (or good) of the patient
- Non-maleficent - do no harm to patient
- Altruistic - commitment to advocate at all times the interests of one's patient over one's own interest
- Charitable - commitment to provide care to patients who are unable to pay and to advocate for access to health care for members of traditionally underserved groups.
- Just - treat like patients alike
- Honest and act with integrity in all interactions with patients' families, colleagues and others with whom health care professional must interact in their lives
- Respect for patients' privacy, for dignity of patients as persons
- Nonjudgmental of patient's wishes, desires, intentions