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PreHealth Student Advising

by vaughan last modified Sep 28, 2018 11:47 AM

Dr. Merriman ( advises healthcare-interested students regardless of major. This includes:
  • PreMedical (MD and DO and MD/PhD) (you are aiming for a 4-year doctoral degree after college, followed by residency of 1-7 years)
  • PreDental (you are aiming for a 4-year doctoral degree after college)
  • PrePhysician Assistant (you are aiming for a 2-year Master's degree after college)(this is probably the most competitive admission of all these programs)
  • PreOptometry (you are aiming for a 4-year doctoral degree after college)
  • PrePodiatry (you are aiming for a 4-year doctoral degree after college)
  • PreChiropractic (you are aiming for a 4-year doctoral degree after college)
  • PrePharmacy (you are aiming for a 4-year doctoral degree after college)
  • MS or PhD bound (MS is a 2-year degree, PhD can take 4-6 years)
PrePhysical Therapy is advised by Dr. Luedke of Kinesiology DPT ( (you are aiming for a 3-year doctoral degree after college).
PreVeterinary Medicine is advised by our Campus Vet & Acting Dean of COLS, Dr. McDermott DVM ( (you are aiming for a 4-year doctoral degree after college). 
Your BS degree comprises a minimum of 120 college credits that complete your undergraduate degree.  Your "Pre" will be ~30 college credits that earn you eligibility to apply to a graduate program. 
Most healthcare professional schools don't really care what your major is, as long as you completed the "Pre" credits.  However, some majors overlap very little with "Pre", and can therefore extend your time in college beyond the normative 4 years. For example, you can be a Music major and "PreMed", but it may take you 5 years to finish college.  
Here are the UW Oshkosh majors that overlap the most with current "Pre" credit requirements:
  • PreMed: Healthcare-Science emphases in Biology, Kinesiology, or Psychology.
  • PreDent: Healthcare-Science emphases in Biology, Kinesiology, or Psychology.
  • PrePA: Healthcare-Science emphases in Biology, Kinesiology, or Psychology.
  • PreOpto: Healthcare-Science emphases in Biology, Kinesiology, or Psychology.
  • PrePod: Healthcare-Science emphases in Biology, Kinesiology, or Psychology.
  • PreChiro: Healthcare-Science emphases in Biology, Kinesiology, or Psychology.
  • PrePharm: Biomolecular Science emphasis in Chemistry.
  • PreVet: Biology-Liberal Arts. 
  • MS or PhD bound: See adviser in your discipline of interest; choice of major here is NOT "one size fits all". Very important to obtain undergraduate research experience.  
YOU, the student, must research your own "Pre".  Experience shows that only those students who take ownership of their own future actually achieve it.  Don't take anyone else's word for what "Pre" is. BECOME YOUR OWN EXPERT in order to put together the strongest possible application and to give the best possible interview.  Here is how to gain that expertise (I call this assignment your "Pick 6").
  • Find a minimum of 6 schools (med, dent, whatever) that interest you.  More than 6 is fine. You have the best chance of admission in the state school where you are a resident, but pick some out of state programs also. 
  • Take careful notes of their required AND recommended applicant qualifications.
  • Make a chart comparing & contrasting those qualifications. 
  • Your schools likely require an entrance exam (MCAT, DAT, GRE, etc.) that you will take a year before your graduate from college.  Research the content areas of this exam and add them to your Pick 6 chart.  You will need to complete courses in these content areas prior to the exam, for best results.
  • This chart is now your "Pre". Bring it to EVERY advising appointment.
  • Use this chart to select a major that will help achieve your "Pre" goals. To ensure BS completion in 4 years, choose a major that overlaps a lot with your "Pre".  In the Biology Department, Biology-Healthcare-Science has been designed with this purpose in mind. However, graduate programs tend not to care what your major is. 
  • Every spring, update your Pick 6 chart, because programs can and do alter their admission criteria. 
Experience shows that successful applicants MUST have:
  • College GPA that is 3.5+ (this includes "Pre" courses and all courses).
  • Satisfactory entrance exam score (schools set their own "basement" scores). Higher is better.
  • Detailed, enthusiastic letters of recommendation from college professors and practicing healthcare providers in the field. 
  • Record of community service.
  • Job shadow and/or volunteer and/or paid patient care experiences.
  • An interesting, thoughtful personal essay where your voice comes through as does your motivation and suitability for the profession you desire.  A second round of essays are often required; these tend to be in response to specific prompts.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills appropriate for patient care. 
  • Diverse personal histories that will mesh well with the diversity of patients who will be encountered. 
Supports for admission include:
  • Prior job experience in healthcare.
  • Experience outside your cultural comfort zone (e.g. volunteering, Peace Corps, military deployment).
  • Experience in academic research, perhaps even publications as an undergraduate.
  • Experience in public health, such as an AHEC summer internship. 
Problems for admission include:
  • Bad credit score.  These graduate programs come with financial aid packages because they are costly.  The moment you are admitted, the program will run a credit check and if it's not good, you will be instantly un-admitted. 
  • Criminal background (including charges that may have been dropped or expunged).
  • Record of academic misconduct. 
  • High GPA but low exam score, or vice versa (balance is desired).
  • Waiting to complete application until late in the cycle.
  • Incompletely filled out application.
NOTE: Applicants with families, outside jobs, athletics obligations, and/or military service often do not have time for many extracurricular activities.  They worry they will be found deficient. Admissions committees understand this and allow for it, but only if your application reveals these features of your life.   Such extra-busy applicants need to work closely with advisers to ensure that the extracurricular activities they squeeze into their lives are of highest possible impact.  For example, a PrePA student should ALWAYS choose patient care experience over research experience.
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by vaughan last modified Sep 28, 2018 11:47 AM