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 a pre-med student while at Puget Sound, and I have not completed prerequisites. What do I do now if I want to pursue a path in medicine?
  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?
  9. What is the medical school acceptance rate?
  10. How does Health Professions Advising support pre-nursing students?
  11. Is there a pre-med major?
  12. Which medical schools have University of Puget Sound students attended?

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. 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. Regular meetings take place throughout the year for potential applicants to all health professions. 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 summary committee letter--preferred by many medical and dental professional schools. Mock interviews are offered as part of the committee letter process. HPA also hosts representatives from different health professions programs to visit with students about the admissions process and their schools. 

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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. Gain experience working with diverse populations who have identities different from your own. As part of the learning process, volunteer or paid work experience in the health fields is very important*. Engage in community service opportunities in which you have great passion, and demonstrate a sustained commitment to the activity over an extended period of time (activities do not need to be limited to the healthcare field). 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.
*Health programs look favorably upon remote/virtual opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Students can visit the HPA Opportunities webpage to explore opportunities with limited human contact. 

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4. Does the committee chair write letters for every student who applies to medical or dental school?

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 any one particular approach to test preparation. 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 yours 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 a pre-med student while at Puget Sound, and I have not completed prerequisites. What do I do now if I want to pursue a path in medicine?

If your undergraduate record is strong and you only need the prerequisites, you may choose to do so, preferably at a 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 also less than 3.2, you may wish to consider a post-baccalaureate program.

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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 done the following:
Taken the required courses and done well in them,
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 enable them to get good recommendations,
Practiced interviewing skills, and
Had a clear understanding of their motivations for medicine as well as the ability to articulate this in writing and in interviews.

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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, and 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.

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9. What is the medical school acceptance rate?

The 10 year average for University of Puget Sound is over 80% (compared to a national average of 40%), which speaks to the personalized advising support and intentional planning that Puget Sound pre-medical students receive.

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10. How does Health Professions Advising support pre-nursing students?

The Health Professions Advisors are well prepared to support students interested in nursing, including RN, BSN and MSN programs. Pre-nursing students are strongly encouraged to begin working closely with a Health Professions Advisor early in their time at Puget Sound to ensure nursing pre-requisites are fulfilled. Pre-nursing students can select any academic major while fulfilling nursing pre-requisites.

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11. Is there a pre-med major?

Beyond the required medical school pre-requisite courses (select offerings from biology, chemistry, physics, biochemistry, statistics, psychology & sociology), a broad liberal arts background is encouraged and expected, as is majoring in the field of greatest interest. When a student is “pre-med”, that typically suggests that they are completing the courses required for admission to medical school, but have selected a major in a specific subject matter.

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12. Which medical schools have University of Puget Sound students attended?

Click here to see a complete list of medical school acceptances.

If you have any further questions or concerns feel free to contact the Health Professions Advising office at 253.879.2708 or healthprofessions@pugetsound.edu

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