In addition to your GPA and admission test scores (MCAT, DAT, etc.), professional health school admission officers are interested in applicants who show their care and concern for others, leadership, diversity of interests, motivation and commitment.
Participation in enrichment activities that include experience in the health care field, community service, leadership, and research experiences are a critical part of becoming a competitive applicant to professional health schools.
Resources for locating opportunities:
- Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement – health care and community service opportunities in the Lansing area.
- Science Research – information on how to find science research opportunities at MSU.
- Venture – database of undergraduate research opportunities for MSU students.
- Off-Campus Summer Research and Clinical Opportunities – AAMC Summer Undergraduate Research Programs and Explore Health Careers Resources.
Selecting an Undergraduate Academic Major
Upon achieving junior status (56 credits), a preprofessional student will need to declare an academic major. The selection of an undergraduate major should be a carefully considered decision. Students who select a major solely or primarily because they perceive that it will enhance their chance of acceptance to professional school are not making a decision that is in their best interest.
A preprofessional student can elect to major in ANY area that is of interest to them. Overall, professional schools are most concerned with the quality and scope of an applicant’s undergraduate work, particularly with regard to required prerequisites. Students need to demonstrate strong academic performance in the required preprofessional coursework in order to ensure adequate preparation and favorable consideration by the admission committee.
Study Abroad for the Preprofessional Student
While Study Abroad can be a personally enriching and rewarding experience, the preprofessional student must be particularly careful in planning coursework to be taken abroad. Not all medical schools will accept coursework taken abroad as courses which meet admission requirements. Students are wise to plan for all required science coursework to be taken in the United States (or Canada) or to take an equivalent number of semesters of supplemental/upper-level coursework in biology, chemistry, or physics if any is taken abroad.
Should a student elect to spend a semester abroad, taking classes other than science courses required for admission to professional school, it is critical to meet with a preprofessional advisor, as this could affect course sequences, timing of the MCAT and application to professional school.
While students are certainly encouraged to choose a Study Abroad program that is of personal interest, the following are MSU Study Abroad programs that focus on health care delivery and comparative analysis of health care systems. Preprofessional students are also encouraged to seek out internship abroad experiences through the College of Social Science, as they frequently find placements in health care settings for MSU students.
- Healthcare in Brazil
- Medical Ethics & Health Policy in London England
- Healthcare in Ghana: A Public Health Perspective
- Pre-Clinical Observation, Culture & Medicine in the Dominican Republic
- Communication Disorders – United Kingdom
- Costa Rice: Development, Health, and Environment
- Forensic Anthropology and Human Identification in the United Kingdom
- Community Medicine in Yucatan, Mexico
- Global Health Education – Understanding Turkish Cultures and Health Care Delivery System
- MSU International Internships
What to do When You Are Not Admitted to Professional School?
Career Planning for the Non-Admitted Applicant
Students who have applied, but not gained admission to a professional school may find the following questions helpful in assessing their candidacy and formulating a plan to make career decisions.
- How do my grades and admissions test scores compare to the class average of the professional schools to which I have applied?
- How much time and effort am I willing to spend to strengthen my candidacy to professional school?
- How have I demonstrated a commitment to this profession? How willing am I to take steps to show further commitment?
- How have I demonstrated a foundational knowledge of this profession? Am I willing to build upon this knowledge?
Frequently, the decision to continue to pursue a professional school education involves the assessment of graduate school programs, foreign medical schools, alternate careers in human health requiring associate degrees or certificate training, and review of strengthening one’s candidacy through post baccalaureate programs.
Many professional school admissions officers are willing to review a candidate’s application and provide feedback if requested, either personally or via phone. Such feedback is invaluable information to the candidate who intends to reapply.