Frequently Asked Questions


If you are a student that has questions regarding pre-health related fields, then you are at the right place! This page offers answer to many areas related to the health professions along with links to helpful resources! Each section answers common questions to specific topics that covers what you should know as a pre-health student so be sure to read through all the sections. Happy reading! 

Common FAQs - Starting Out

Pre-med, pre-health, pre-dental, etc are not majors but more of a track. Students can major in most subjects while completing required and recommended courses for most health professional schools. Graduate health professional schools do not have a preference for one major over another, however, a student should be able to show they are academically prepared to do well in a science heavy curriculum. We do offer a Biology Pre-Clinical Track degree that is intended for pre-health students. Common other majors include Biochemistry, Biological Chemistry, Psychology, Exercise Science, and Biomedical Engineering.  

Non-science majors are possible but may take longer to complete with pre-health required courses.  Majoring in Medical Technology or Nursing is not recommended for pre-health students. See "Can I major in nursing..." in this FAQ section. Medical technology is a different career path that requires lab based clinicals near the end of the degree. 

Students should choose a major that interests and motivates them to academically excel and prepares them for their career interest, while also considering alternative career options. The most "efficient" major for pre-health students is the BS in Biology Pre-Clinical Track as required courses are already built into the degree plan. Pre-PT and Pre-OT students typically major in Exercise Science (part of the College of Nursing).

***There is no "fastest" route to becoming a competitive pre-health student. The reasoning behind choosing a major is the important factor. THE REASONING SHOULD NOT BE BECAUSE YOU THINK "IT WILL LOOK GOOD". 

To switch majors, you will need to meet with a major advisor (links below). If you are still unsure about choosing a major, meet with the Major Exploration Team! 

Like major, there is no one "best" minor that "looks good". Students can minor in more than 1 subject and should choose one (or more) based on interest and future goals. Common minors for pre-health students include biology, biochemistry/chemistry, psychology, neuroscience, medical humanities & bioethics, or a foreign language. Most minors require 18 hours in the specific subject with 9 hours being completed at UTA and 6 hours being upper level. Requirements can vary and should be discussed with your major advisor and/or the department offering the minor. 

While it may be possible to complete some prerequisites for medical or PA school while completing a nursing degree, I typically recommend 2 options for nursing students. Since nursing courses do not count towards pre-med or pre-pa requirements (only courses for science majors are accepted) and the last 2 years are nursing clinics, students interested in applying to a graduate health program should either:

  1. Complete the nursing degree with science major (not nursing) Biology and Chemistry courses and then return to take upper level or additional science courses classes for at least 1 year while working, building an application, and preparing for the MCAT/PA-CAT or GRE


    2.  Switch to a different major – typically science based – and plan to directly apply

Students have been successful with either route; therefore, the choice is ultimately up to the student. 

Yes! It is highly recommended that you join a pre-health student organization on campus. Meetings are usually conducted biweekly. You can find information on volunteering opportunities, workshops, and guest speakers. Also, it is a great opportunity to meet students who are on the same path as you! A list of our organizations can be found near the bottom of the Health Professions Website.

Some schools do! There are helpful resources below for international, DACA, and undocumented students. Students should always check with the schools admissions website for eligibility criteria. Non-US Schools may also be an option! Visit the Non-US School section on the Post-Bacc Page for more information.

International Student Resources: 

  • DACA Student Resources:

Degree seeking pre-health students have 2 advisors. Their main advisor will be their major advisor. The major advisor removes academic holds and helps with class registration. The health professions advisor assists with information on becoming a competitive applicant for health professional schools and course recommendations when needed.

Non-degree seeking (post bacc) pre-health students have 1 advisor, the health professions advisor. Alumni are also welcome to contact the Health Professions Advisor for questions. 

We also have Pre-Health Peer Mentors and Alumni available! Prior to booking an appointment, read the remainder of this page. 

Courses and Education Requirements

The courses required vary by program. Common courses include General Biology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Statistics, Physics, Microbiology, Genetics, and Anatomy & Physiology (for science majors***-cannot be for Nursing or Kinesiology except for OT and PT). Student's should visit the admission’s website of the particular school for a complete list.

Most graduate health professional programs will accept AP credit as long as it is accepted by the undergraduate institution as credit and shown on the official transcript. There are a few that do not accept AP credit for certain requirements therefore it is important to research specific programs. Admissions committees will expect students to take additional upper level courses in the subject the student is accepting AP credit for to show competency in that subject. 

Additional information regarding prerequisites can be found by visiting your specific pre-health interest page at

***Pre-Med, Pre-Dental, and Pre-Vet students can use the TMDSAS UTA Approved Course List to see what UTA courses count towards required hours  

Most accepted students take more than the bare minimum course requirements. Taking recommended courses can better prepare you for health professional school curriculum and show admissions committees your academic ability. Behavioral and upper level sciences (3000/4000 level) such as Psychology, Sociology, Human Anatomy/Physiology, Genetics, Microbiology, Histology, Cell Physiology, Immunology, and Virology are typically highly recommended if not already required. Humanities courses such as economics, ethics, medical humanities, foreign languages, philosophy, and public speaking are also valuable. Always check with the specific professional school for the specific requirements and recommended courses.  

Not necessarily. You can complete a Bachelor’s Degree without an Associate’s Degree. If your career goal requires graduate level schooling, it may save time and money to directly complete a Bachelor’s Degree. There is a misconception that obtaining your Associate’s means you only need 2 years of University level courses to obtain your Bachelor’s. This will vary depending on your career goal, major, course load, and how transfer courses are evaluated. Scholarships are available to incoming freshman and current students. Visit our Scholarship Website.

Yes, some lower level courses (1000/2000 level) are accepted by most health professional schools. Finances certainly play a role in this decision; however, it is important to consider how taking courses at a community college can impact long term goals. Students that complete a majority of their lower level or core courses at a community college often struggle with University courses. University level courses are more rigorous due to pace and content level. This can make the transition to a University and course scheduling challenging since only "harder" classes are left to complete. Maintaining a competitive undergraduate GPA is important, especially for pre-health students. Therefore, it may be more beneficial to save some, if not all, lower level courses, especially the sciences, for UTA. If completing a majority of science courses at a community college, it is recommended to take additional upper level sciences (3000/4000 level) to show the academic ability to be successful in graduate school. It is a red flag when a student takes all the "hard" prerequisite classes at a community college or has a high GPA at the community college and a low GPA in University science courses. If a student can do well in all courses, especially the upper level sciences, where you take courses should not be an issue. Ultimately, it is up to the student to decide what works best for them. 

Most admissions committees expect (if not require) students to complete a Bachelor's Degree (US or Canada ONLY). PA schools require a Bachelor's degree. Medical, Dental, and Vet schools require a minimum of 90 credit hours, but the majority of accepted students have completed degrees. Pharmacy programs usually do not require a Bachelor's degree but most accepted students have completed a 4-year degree. Due to health professional application cycles starting a year before entry, classes can be taken while applying. I always recommend a student complete their degree to keep options open. 

Academic Ability & Experience Expectations

Most accepted students have GPAs from 3.5-3.9 with medical schools being on the higher end. It is also important to keep your science GPA (BCMP: Biology, Chemistry, Math, and Physics) high and have a high standardized test score (MCAT, DAT, PCAT, etc.) in order to be a competitive applicant. Trend is important. If your current GPA is lower than average, 1-2 years of a positive trend in difficult science courses can help. The goal is to show you are academically prepared to be successful in graduate school. Always check with the specific professional school for additional data and information. 

To view Texas medical, dental, and veterinary applicant, interview and accepted statistics visit the TMDSAS Dashboard! 

GPA Calculators: 

Every undergraduate college level course you have taken, including dual credit, will be used in the GPA calculation for most health professional schools. Repeated courses and courses with “grade forgiveness/substitution”, typically still count towards the overall GPA. Several different GPAs are evaluated, such as but not limited to: science, overall, graduate, and post-baccalaureate. A positive trend in more recent and difficult coursework can help offset a rough freshman semester.  

Most important GPA: Science GPA (BCPM)*** - Typically includes all academic Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Math courses.  (Does not include research, seminar, certain topics, or TA related courses)

To calculate your Science GPA, input only the courses from all transcripts that count towards this GPA in one of the below GPA Calculator Tools: 

***Unsure of what courses count towards the BCPM GPA? Use the TMDSAS UTA Approved Course ListAAMC's Course Classification Guide! 

One to two drops are not going to significantly impact the overall view of a student as long as the student has shown they are academically capable of handling the rigors of a health professional graduate school (trend, science GPA, course load, etc.) A student should also have a good reason for dropping a course. However, a pattern of dropping courses is considered a red flag.

The first step will be to evaluate WHY you are struggling in courses and then make a realistic plan on what you plan to do to improve. This means considering study habits, time commitments, being organized, asking for help when needed, and addressing non-academic issues that impact academics. You may need to retake and/or take additional upper level sciences. (Note: retaking courses with a 'C' or better may not be covered by financial aid and will not count towards the UTA GPA (illegal repeats) They will count towards the GPA calculated by health professional schools. 

Trend in grades is important. If you had a rough early semester but learned from it and have been doing well in more difficult classes, then you have shown a positive trend and most likely will not need to retake classes. In regards to statistics, Admissions committees simply want to see evidence that answers if the applicant has shown they can be SUCCESSFUL in a rigorous science-based program. If your GPA trend has not proven this, additional courses, retaking courses, or alternative academic enhancing should be considered. 

UTA Resources:


External resources:

YES!!! Research has shown grades and tests are not the only factors that should be considered by admission committees when selecting students for a healthcare profession. Experience in the areas listed below offer growth opportunities and help develop a well-rounded person that has the potential to be successful in healthcare. They provide evidence of goals and personal motivation through action as opposed to just words. The also help develop the CORE COMPETENCIES that are important for EVERY pre-health student. (Note - ALL pre-health students should be familiar with the core competencies)

Shadowing/Healthcare Experience - This provides insight and knowledge in the field and the healthcare system, exposes the pros and cons of the field, and builds communication skills while interacting with diverse groups of people. Watch the VIDEO - HOW and WHY to SHADOW

Volunteering - All pre-health students want to "help people". Prove it by WANTING to give your time to benefit someone or something else that means something to you. Gain an understanding of the needs and issues in the world. Volunteering DOES NOT have to only be clinical based! Explore opportunities in the community, clinics and at UTA. 

Leadership - Pre-health students, especially pre-meds, claim they want to be the decision maker or leader of the healthcare team. But how many have actually experienced being a leader and making decisions that effected others? Effective leadership is a skill that requires experience and practice. Being a SUCCESSFUL officer (not just an officer) of an organization is a good way to start but there are other ways to develop this skill. It can include supervisory roles at a job, church, or volunteer setting. 

You can't be sure of what you want to do until you actually experience it (from a non-patient point of view)! The easiest way to start is to contact local clinics and see if shadowing is allowed. Start with your own local physician/healthcare professional or other healthcare professionals you may know! Join a pre-health organization! Networking is key. 

Experiences must be post-high school (exception: pre-veterinary students) and should be started as early as possible to show consistency in motivation. IT IS NOT A CHECKBOX! You should have more than 1 experience to get a big picture view of healthcare and answer why you want to go into the field. 

Here are some suggestions for healthcare experiences: emergency medical technician (EMT), paramedic, nurse, scribemedical assistantcertified nursing assistant (CNA), emergency room technician (ER tech), patient care tech (PCT), physical therapist assistant (PTA), phlebotomistpharmacy technician, dental assisting (RDA), and clinical research assistant. Most require certification through a program, therefore getting an early start is essential!

Visit the recommended experiences section of specific pre-health pages, our Special Programs, Volunteering, Research, and Helpful Resources page, and the COVID FAQ on this page for more information.

There is typically no set quantity, however, the average accepted student does have upwards of hundreds of hours in different areas. Before stressing out, realize that hours will add up quickly with consistent experiences. Also, keep in mind it is more about the quality and not the quantity of the hours. IT IS NOT A CHECKBOX! One student that has 500 hours in shadowing may not be a better applicant than one that has 100. Each student is different and should focus on building an application that portrays a picture of who they are as a person


Volunteer and special program opportunities can be found on the Special Programs, Volunteering, and Research Opportunities Page. 


Suggested amount of consistent healthcare related hours:

Pre-Med: 250+ shadowing, direct patient care, volunteering, etc. 

Pre-Dental: 100+ shadowing, volunteering, etc. 

Pre-PA: 350+ direct patient care and shadowing (Some PA programs require a certain amount of direct patient care/healthcare experiences)

Pre-Pharmacy: 100+ hours shadowing, Pharm Tech experience, volunteering

Pre-Vet: 100+ hours under licensed Vet (required for some programs) 

Pre-PT: 150+ hours shadowing, direct patient care (Each program has some set observation hour criteria)

Pre-OT: 100+ hours shadowing, direct patient care (Each program has some set observation hour criteria)

Research experience is not required to apply for programs, however, having research experience can benefit your overall application and is a valuable learning experience. It is significant to learn about the process of being in a research lab, conducting a project, and presenting scientific data. There are several undergraduate research opportunities at UTA. If your school of interest is research heavy or you are interested in Ph.D. dual degree programs, then you are expected to have research experience. Research experience does not necessarily mean spending hundreds of hours in a lab under a PI. It can be through your own presentation or class project. 

One way is to simply contact professors! Many of UTA's professors participate in ongoing research. It is important to network and get to know your professors. Keep in mind research is important and you should not participate in research just "to be competitive". Admissions committees will notice if you used research as a valuable experience or only to “look good” for your application. It is recommended to have some understanding of the professor's research before asking to join their lab. Research experience DOES NOT have to be clinically based! You can also visit our Special Programs, Volunteering, Research and Helpful Resources Research Page for more opportunities.

Admissions Test(s) and the CASPer/Acuity Insights

It is always beneficial to start early! I recommend Pre-Med, Pre-Dental, and Pre-Optometry students start simple prep their freshman year WHILE in the classes that are topics on the test. Preparation should be spread out over several months/years. These are NOT tests you should CRAM for. Some resources used by our students are listed in the admissions test section of specific pre-health pages listed belowGetting a set of content review books early can be beneficial. "Intense prep" should start 3-6 months PRIOR to taking the test and include taking and reviewing 8-10 practice tests. The GRE is the exception as the format is similar to the SAT and should not require as intense preparation as the MCAT, DAT, or OAT.

***Also, check your emails daily as I send out test prep scholarship and discount opportunities when available!***

  • To view Texas medical, dental, and veterinary applicant, interview and accepted statistics visit the TMDSAS Dashboard! 

Most students should plan to take their test in the spring/summer of the year they are applying to their health professional schools AFTER they are done with all the classes that are topics on the test. Students must consider the year they plan on entering the professional school, application deadlines, dates the test is offered, and, most important, level of preparedness. More detailed information in these areas can be found in the admission test section of each specific pre-health page

For example, pre-med students are recommended take the MCAT by April or May of the year they are applying to medical school. (one year prior to entry year) Pre-dental students should take the DAT by mid-July if not earlier in the year they are applying. It is highly recommended to have all courses that are topics on the test completed. Most students start intense preparation at least 3-6 months in advance. Contact your health professions advisor if you are unsure when you should schedule your test.

Some health professional programs also require an assessment of an applicants personal qualities known as the CASPer & Duet. It is most commonly required for Medical, PA, and Vet Programs. This assessment is taken during the application cycle. Results are only valid for that application cycle. Students can take it anytime during the application cycle on offered dates. Typically most students take it fairly early in the cycle. Students should visit the admissions requirements of any program they are applying to verify the CASPer requirement. More information can also be found on the Acuity Insights website


Changes for the 2024/25 cycle

Although the Casper test’s format is not changing (e.g. it will still have 14 scenarios), we are adding a couple of improvements to the way applicants and programs can find information.

  • Applicant experience: We are improving the experience at so applicants can more easily find key information about taking the Casper test
  • Percentiles in Insights: Percentiles will be available for all programs that do not have access to this information yet. This gives them another way to look at how an applicant performed on Casper, in addition to their scores

 2024/25 Casper test price

  • US health professions applicants: $50 plus $16 for each program scores are sent
  • US medicine programs applicants: $85, which includes 7 score distributions ($18 for each additional program scores are sent to)
  • Applicants who have been approved for a Fee Assistance Program will have their fee waived if they provide proof of approval when reserving their test (e.g. AAMC, CASPA)

Application Process

It is best to apply when you are a competitive, prepared, and qualified candidate! (see the "Am I a competitive candidate?" section below)

The application cycles for most programs start around May or June of each year and is a year-long process. This means you must apply a year BEFORE potentially starting a health professional graduate program. This can be at the end of junior year, senior year or after. Students should become familiar with the application services their interest early. (see the "How do I apply to a graduate health professional program?" section below) 

Below is a suggested application timeline for UTSW Medical School. This application timeline can be helpful for all Texas Medical Schools and can be similar to the application process of many graduate health professional schools. (Note: dates may vary per program)

Suggested Application Timeline -UTSW

Reference: Medical School Admissions: UT Southwestern - Dallas, TX. (2018). UT Southwestern Medical Center. Retrieved 2021, from


Application Deadline: November 1

Recommended Application Timeline

Note: December - February begin preparing to apply for UTA's HPAC


January – May

  • MCAT
    Take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). If you are taking the MCAT the first time in July, August, or September, be aware that the UT Southwestern Medical School may not complete the review of your application until your MCAT score has been received
  • Prerequisite Courses
    Ensure you’ve completed or are in the process of completing any required prerequisite courses for admission
  • Application Preparation
    Start preparing your applications – Reach out to your recommenders, start writing your essays, and ensure you’re familiar with the TMDSAS and UT Southwestern application process


  • May 1
    UT Southwestern begins accepting applications. Please visit TMDSAS for application dates and deadlines.
  • CASPer examination
    Pick a date and register for the CASPer examination. Please be sure to have your scores sent to UT Southwestern. Visit the CASPer site (now Acuity Insights) for more information. If you are invited to interview, your scores must be delivered to UT Southwestern prior to your interview date.
  • Primary Application
    Complete your primary application to the Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service. The deadline to submit your primary application is November 1. Apply via TMDSAS.
  • Secondary Application
    You may submit your secondary application after we receive your primary application from TMDSAS. You will receive an email prompting you to create an account to access the secondary application once your primary application is transmitted. Please check your spam and junk folders. Once you have created your account, please access your application portal. The deadline to submit your secondary application is November 15.


  • Interview Invitations
    UT Southwestern begins extending interview invitations via email to applicants
  • Retake the MCAT
    If necessary, retake the MCAT and ensure you submit your updated scores


  • Interview Season Begins
    Watch your email for an invitation to interview


  • Oct. 15
    UT Southwestern begins extending Medical School offers of admission; Rolling admissions period begins
  • Interviews Continue
    Application review and interviews continue


  • Nov. 1
    Deadline to complete primary application
  • Nov. 15
    All supporting documents submitted to TMDSAS (transcripts, evaluation letters) for applicants should be post-marked by this date. Deadline to complete secondary application.
  • Pre-Match Offers
    Pre-match offers of admission continue through January
  • Interviews Continue
    Application review and interviews continue


  • Interviews Continue
    Application review and interviews continue


  • Interview Season Ends
    Interview season ends in late January
  • Late January
    Pre-match offer period ends


  • Mid-February
    Deadline to rank schools of preference in TMDSAS admissions match
  • MS0 Weekend
    Second Look Weekend takes place at UT Southwestern


  • Early March
    Match results announced and rolling admission period begins.


  • April 30
    Last day to resolve multiple offers. This date applies to all medical schools across the nation. It is the final day an applicant can hold on to more than one offer from an LCME accredited medical school.


  • May 15
    After 5 p.m. CT on May 15, no medical school in Texas may offer a position to an applicant already accepted by another medical school in Texas.


You will need to apply through the application service(s) of your specific pre-health interest and program:

    • TMDSAS - Texas Public Medical (MD & DO) Schools & Baylor
    • AMCAS - U.S. Allopathic Medical Schools (MD) (including TCU)           
    • AACOMAS - U.S. Osteopathic Schools (DO) (including UIW) 
    • AACPMAS - U.S. Podiatric Medicine Schools (DPM) 
    • AANMC - U.S. Naturopathic Schools of Medicine (DNM) - apply to each school separately                         
    • TMDSAS - Texas Dental Schools
    • AADSAS - U.S. Dental Schools (excluding Texas)                                             
    • CASPA - All PA Programs (PA, PA-C) 
    • PharmCAS - All Pharmacy Programs (PharmD)   
    • OptomCAS - All Optometry Programs (OD)           
    • TMDSAS - Texas Veterinary Schools (Texas Tech and Texas A&M)
    • VMCAS - U.S. Veterinary Schools                                                                 
    • PTCAS - Physical Therapy Schools     
    • OTCAS & OTACAS - Occupational Therapy & OT Assistant Schools   
    • OPCAS - Orthotics & Prosthetics                                                               
    • SOPHAS - Public Health Schools 
    • CSDCAS - Speech Pathology, Audiology/Communication Science & Disorders Programs   

Typical Applications cycle dates and important dates

  • TMDSAS- Early May thru late October
    • ***Note: Deadline mid-September for veterinary applicants
  • AMCAS- Early May thru - December BUT deadlines vary per school
  • AACOMAS- Early May thru - April BUT deadlines vary per school
  • Early August - Early decisions announced
  • Mid-October - TMDSAS Medical schools begin acceptance offers
  • Early December - TMDSAS Dental schools begin acceptance offers 
  • Early March- TMDSAS MATCH DAY!
  • AADSAS: Early to mid-May thru Feb BUT deadlines vary per school
    • Early December- Dental schools begin offering acceptance 
  • CASPA: Late April thru early October BUT deadlines vary per school 
    • Some out of state schools have later deadlines
  • PTCAS: Mid-June thru February BUT deadlines vary per school


Do you think you are ready to apply? First it is important to understand the parts of the application and why they are important. The AMCAS Application Website helps breakdown application sections AND has suggestions on how to prepare. While this is intended for pre-med students, it can be used to get an idea of the common sections of ALL Health Professional Applications. You should also meet with someone in our office to help decide if you are ready and potential areas of improvement. 

Consider and prepare for the following areas: 

  • Academic Ability: Overall GPA, Science GPA, evidence of upward trend in last 30-60 hours especially in upper-level sciences
  • Life Experiences: Clinical and Non-Clinical Experiences, Volunteering, Leadership, and Research
  • Test Prep plan - MCAT DAT, PCAT, GRE, etc.
  • Review Application Service(s) Handbooks & Guides
  • Letters of Recommendations
  • Personal Statements, Essays
  • Applying to HPAC - Committee Letter for pre-meds and pre-dental students ONLY
  • CASPer Test (needed for certain programs-Primarily medical, PA, and vet)
  • Taking admissions test and evaluating score



  1. Am I academically and mentally prepared to handle 22+ credit hours per semester of rigorous graduate courses?
  2. Is this career the best fit for my personality and interests?
  3. Can I back this answer up with evidence?


If you need to work on improving an area(s) of weakness, a gap or growth year should be considered. A growth year can be a good thing as long as there is mature thought and reasoning put into it. Many students choose to take additional classes, complete a master’s program, continue gaining healthcare experiences/volunteering, and/or dedicate more time to study for their admission exam. Just have a plan! 

Essays, Letters and Interviewing

HPAC is a committee of staff and faculty throughout UTA that provides the opportunity to receive a "committee" letter of recommendation. Most graduate health schools highly recommend (if not require) students to apply to HPAC if their school provides it. Currently, HPAC is available to pre-med and pre-dental students. The HPAC process is meant to help prepare students for their medical or dental school application. If accepted, a letter of recommendation from an HPAC member is provided. Visit the HPAC page for additional information.

Post-Baccalaureate FAQs

No. If you have graduated from an accredited U.S. or Canadian school, prerequisites can be completed as a non-degree seeking student, sometimes also referred to as a transient/transfer student. You also have the option of obtaining a second degree. The best choice will depend on your unique situation. Students should visit our Post-baccalaureate page for helpful information.

Time is certainly a factor that should be considered, especially for post-baccalaureate students, but building an overall competitive application is not a process that can be rushed. Each students timeline will be different and depend on previous classes taken, year the classes were taken, undergrad GPA, current clinical experiences, volunteering, and other experiences. Expect this process to take 1.5-2 years. Setting yourself up for success is the goal. Please review this entire FAQ page on becoming a competitive candidate.  

Most schools will be accepting courses that were originally on ground then moved "online" for 2020. Most will also accept P/F grades (for Spring 2020 only but may include Fall 2020) but would prefer a letter grade if there is an option. This will vary per school, therefore, students should continually be keeping up with updates from the schools. Some schools are not accepting P/F for prerequisites. If the course is a prereq to another course that requires a C or better, the letter grade should be taken (if at least a C). 

If schools will be accepting P grades, other areas of the applicant's transcript will be looked at more closely. Everyone's circumstances are different and each student was affected differently by the pandemic so you must make the best decision for you. It is important to keep in mind the goal is to show preparedness for rigorous courses. A 'P' grade indicates you were making a C or D in the course which may question your knowledge of that subject. 

Admissions committees understand COVID-19 has greatly impacted many students circumstances and time. Applications are looked at holistically. One to two semesters will not make or break an application! Only you know what you need to prioritize at this time. However, while most "traditional" experiences may not be available, admissions committees will be looking at the non-traditional experiences an applicant WAS doing during this time. Life has not stopped! There are still people (and animals for pre-vet students) in need and learning experiences available, even if in your own home. You are the future essential workers.Now's the time to distinguish the true pre-health students from the application checkboxers. Thinking outside the box is key. Having to work more hours to support family, taking on more family responsibility like teaching siblings or caring for a family member may be the reality for now and its ok! These are still experiences.

There are still numerous volunteer opportunities available virtually and in-person within communities. They just need to be sought out. There is not an experience that "is better" than another. It is about what you learned and contributed from that experience. 

Below are some suggestions from admissions committees, health profession advisors, and organizations:

  • For community service, how about taking that night job at HEB restocking shelves, or delivering groceries in a program that serves those who cannot get out. I predict our committee will be very enthusiastic when we see all of the creative things the applicants are coming up with. - Long SOM
  • Write letters via e-mail of support, well-wishes, prayers, poems, positive vibes, etc. to persons at retirement homes or in hospice as a community service project

  • Become a pen-pal or email-pal to people that have limited social interaction during this time

  • Take or make calls from/to residents at a local retirement or hospice community 

  • Reach out to practitioners to see if they would be willing to be "interviewed" for you to gain a better understanding of the field 
  • Check to see if Meals on Wheels needs more volunteers in your community. Inquire whether other local organizations focused on supporting the elderly need volunteers
  • Check local clinicals and nursing homes to see if volunteering opportunities are available
    • Operation Warm has a list of 35 ways to volunteer virtually
    • invites volunteers to provide online tutoring to “bridge gaps in language, higher education, and professional skills training for conflict-affected individuals”
    •’s nine places to volunteer online and make a real impact
    • If you’ve received crisis hotline training, check to see if your community’s crisis hotline could use additional phone or chat volunteers. Many crisis hotlines are overloaded right now.
    • Work with underserved and under-resourced youth - online tutoring, mentoring, etc. 
  • Research a disease and/or clinical aspect of disease 
  • If shadowing was discontinued, how about spending the time you would have been shadowing with You Tube to learn about taking a cardiac history and doing a heart exam? (Pick an organ system!)
  • Journal and reflect on clinical and non-clinical experiences 
  • Take an initiative to search or create other opportunities! Each student is unique with unique circumstances & skills! 


More information can be found on the pre-health pages below. Students should read these pages before booking an appointment.

****TIP: Most health professional schools have social media accounts. Follow their Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter!!!****

Information for booking appointments can be found on the Advising page.