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Pre-Health Professions Advising Program

For information contact Dr. Audrey J. Ettinger,, 610-606-4666, ext. 3512

Program Description

The Pre-Health Professions Advising Program (also referred to as the Health Professions Program or Health Professions Advising Program) is designed to provide students with individualized assistance in preparing and applying for postgraduate education in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, physician assistant, and other health professions careers, while also exposing them to the various health-related fields.

While health professions schools require certain undergraduate courses as prerequisites (see below), they do not require or prefer a particular major. Therefore, each student should choose her major based on her interests and abilities. Students considering health professions careers should inform their academic advisors, and contact the Health Professions Advisor as early as possible. Faculty advising and support services for students enrolled in the program include course scheduling, pre-medical orientation sessions, personal statement workshops, application assistance, and committee recommendation letters (where appropriate).

Program Mission Statement

The mission of the Pre-Health Professions Advising Program is to help women interested in health professional careers find the field that is the best fit for their interests, talents, and personality. The program provides opportunities for students to explore descriptions, qualifications, and traits of different health professional fields, including: medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, physician assistant, podiatry, public health, optometry, and other health-related careers. Students can participate in individual and group advising events, and receive guidance in obtaining exposure to professional practice and gaining meaningful volunteer work. It is the goal that students will enter a health professional program and future career that is an ideal fit for them and their level of preparedness, and that contributes to the overall health of society.

Total number of credits required by program: Minimum of 62

Program Requirements

Students who wish to graduate from the Pre-Health Professions Advising Program at Cedar Crest must meet the required prerequisite courses listed below, fulfill an additional year of Biology coursework, and maintain a science and overall GPA of 3.300 or above.  Students interested in completing the Health Advising Program should use the concentration line of the declaration form. 

Course Requirements

Students should become familiar with the requirements of the particular professional school in which they are interested; each health profession and each individual school may set particular requirements in addition to those required here. The Cedar Crest courses that fulfill undergraduate requirements for most health professions schools are:

BIO 123          Foundations in Biology           4 credits
BIO 124          Principles of Cell and Molecular Biology       4 credits
Two additional courses from Biology, 6-8 credits
CHE 111         Chemical Principles     4 credits
CHE 112         Chemical Equilibrium and Analysis    4 credits
CHE 205         Organic Chemistry I    4 credits
CHE 206         Organic Chemistry II  4 credits
CHE 217         Principles of Biochemistry      3 credits
or CHE 307     Biochemistry   3 or 4 credits
PHY 101         Introductory College Physics I            4 credits
PHY 102         Introductory College Physics II          4 credits
MAT 141        Calculus I        3 credits
MAT 142        Calculus II, 3 credits
BIO 248          Biostatistics, 3 credits OR MAT 110 Probability & Statistics, 3 credits
Introductory course in Psychology, 3 credits
Introductory course in Sociology, 3 credits
Two courses of college-level English or composition, 6 credits

It is usually preferable for these courses to be taken at Cedar Crest, as part of a regular academic schedule. The Health Professions Advisor can answer questions regarding the suitability of AP or transfer credit, and part-time or summer study. 

Students are encouraged to take HLT 101 Introduction to the Health Professions and HLT 201 Health Professions II.  The sophomore biology core sequence of BIO 239 Animal Ecology, Development, and Evolution and BIO 231 Genetics are also recommended and could fulfill the two additional courses in biology.  Some medical schools may have additional coursework or minimum grade requirements. Health professional schools other than medical schools may require all or some of these courses and often require other courses.  Information is available from the Health Professions Advisor about individual schools’ admissions standards. 

Health professions education is extremely rigorous, and therefore schools expect a very strong record of undergraduate academic achievement, both in science courses and overall. Students should be aware that admission to schools in these areas is highly competitive, and participation in the Pre-Health Professions Advising Program does not imply or guarantee acceptance.

Standardized Tests

Health professions schools usually require the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), Dental Admission Test (DAT) or Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Examinations for other professional programs can vary. The appropriate test should usually be taken in the spring semester or early summer of the junior year if the student intends to enroll immediately after completing her undergraduate degree.

Additional Preparation

In addition to their academic preparation, students should have a record of experience and service demonstrating an interest in, and commitment to, their field of choice, as well as clearly articulated reasons for choosing a career in their field. A sustained commitment to a meaningful volunteer activity, exposure to professional practice, participation in Health Professions Advisor-sponsored events, and active involvement in the student Health Professions Society are highly recommended.

Application Process

The application process for health professions schools begins in the calendar year prior to the intended start date (i.e., in the spring of the Junior year for students planning to enroll immediately after undergraduate graduation). Students should consult with the Health Professions Advisor early in their college work and throughout the process. Most medical schools expect a confidential composite letter of recommendation from the Health Professions Advisory Committee, and it is inadvisable for students to apply without requesting a letter.  The Health Professions Advisory Committee requires a waiver application form for a composite letter and access to standardized test scores before being able to write a composite letter.



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