FAQs

  1. What are the basic, most common pre-requisite courses required for those intending to apply to medical, dental, veterinary medical and other health professional schools?
  2. How does Puget Sound advise and support students who may be considering careers in medicine?
  3. While an undergraduate, how can I prepare myself for a health profession?
  4. Does the committee chair write letters for every student who applies?
  5. Should I take a test preparation course?
  6. I was not pre-medical while at UPS and don't have the pre-requisites. What do I do now?
  7. What will I need to do in order to get into a health professional school--particularly medical school?
  8. How will I pay for medical, dental, or other health professional school?

1. What are the basic, most common pre-requisite courses required for those intending to apply to medical, dental, veterinary medical and other health professional schools?

See Prerequisites.

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2. How does Puget Sound advise and support students who may be considering careers in medicine?

Students may participate in the University of Puget Sound's Health Professions Advising Program as a first year student, beginning with new student orientation. Regular meetings take place throughout the year for potential applicants to all health professions. We help you decide which future career may be best for you and how to meet the academic and other requirements for medical and other health professional schools. A mentorship program matches students with practicing health professionals. We offer interview workshops, practice interviews, writing workshops, and guidance through the application process. When you are ready to apply, you may choose to set up a confidential file of letters, which becomes part of the committee letter of evaluation--preferred by many health professional schools. Mock interviews are offered as part of the committee letter process. We often host health professional school representatives, and we collaborate with Career and Employment Services on a Health Professions Night.

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3. While an undergraduate, how can I prepare myself for a health profession?

Become a self-directed learner. Set goals. Become increasingly responsible. Exercise self-discipline. Diagnose, prescribe and evaluate your own learning, and use learning resources (Center for Writing, Learning, and Teaching, for instance). Recognize your own limitations. As part of the learning process, volunteer or paid work experience in the health fields is very important. You must know what a typical day is like in the life of the professional you wish to become. While grades and admissions test scores are important, they aren't the whole picture.

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4. Does the committee chair write letters for every student who applies?

The University of Puget Sound does not have an internal screening process to qualify for a committee letter. Any student, current or alum, may request a committee letter, and one will be written for all who participate in the Health Professions Advising Program. Participation includes: a Health Professions Advising interview, requesting confidential letters to be sent to the HPA office, and turning in a committee letter request form and waiver. Students whose credentials—admissions test scores and GPA—fall below those which are considered to be competitive, are counseled to discuss the weaknesses. Those students are encouraged to strengthen their application before they apply.

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5. Should I take a test preparation course?

The Health Professions Advising Program doesn't recommend that you take a test preparation course, yet many students do enroll in one. Whether it be a course which is taught in regular class sessions such as the Princeton Review or Kaplan or one that is computer-based, the choice is your to make. Puget Sound students have been successful test takers using all methods of preparation: self-study, informal groups, class-based, and computer-based.

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6. I was not pre-medical while at UPS and don't have the pre-requisites. What do I do now?

If your undergraduate record is strong and you only need the prerequisites, you may choose to do so, preferably at the four-year college or university. If your undergraduate program not only is missing the pre-requisites for a health professional school but your overall GPA is less than 3.2, you may wish to consider a post-baccalaureate program. The AAMC (American Association of Medical Colleges) provides lists of such programs.

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7. What will I need to do in order to get into a health professional school—particularly medical school?

Successful students in the past have taken the required courses and done well in them, have studied hard for the admission test required and done well, had a consistent record of community service through work or volunteer service, had some exposure to the health care environment while in college, applied in a timely manner to a reasonable mix of schools matching their interests and accomplishments, developed the kinds of relationships with professors and others that will enabled them to get good recommendations, practiced interviewing skills until they must have interviewed well, and had a clear understanding of their motivations for medicine as well as the ability to articulate this in writing and in interviews. If your preparation follows those lines you will almost certainly be considered a strong candidate for acceptance to a medical or other health professional school no matter what percentage of applicants from your college are admitted.

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8. How will I pay for medical, dental, or other health professional school?

Each professional school, as part of the application process, participates in both its own and government financial aid processes. You are encouraged to begin by filing a FAFSA application at the time of your general application. Most financial aid is in the form of loans. There are several programs, however, that offer scholarships. These most often include full tuition, books, equipment and a stipend. Most require a payback of service. Three of these programs are:

  • National Health Service Corps
    For students committed to providing primary health care in communities of greatest need.
  • The Health Professions Scholarship Program
    Full scholarships provided through the U.S. Army, Navy, or Air Force. The HPSP covers medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, physician assistant programs (depending on which branch of the service you are looking into).
  • Indian Health Services Scholarships
    Financial assistance for American Indians and Alaska Native students covers many of the health professions.
    You should also check the Puget Sound Fellowships Office website to see what might be applicable to you.

If you have any further questions or concerns feel free to contact: Kathleen Samms, 253.879.3814, ksamms@pugetsound.edu.

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