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Pre-Pro Health Advising Checklist

Pre-professional health students are encouraged to meet regularly with a pre-professional advisor to discuss their plans and important considerations for their undergraduate work.  The following is a checklist of topics for students and advisors:

1. Become familiar with the 15 Core Competencies for Entering Medical Students.  These competencies are universal across all pre-professional health fields and represent the categories that students will be evaluated on during their graduate school admissions process.  Choose volunteer work, courses, research projects etc. that will help you build your competencies in these areas.

2. Connect with your pre-pro health peers and become active on campus.  Professional schools expect to see undergraduates connecting with their future colleagues during their undergraduate years as it demonstrates a student's commitment to collaborating with peers in gradute school and beyond.

3. Research and visit open house events at the professional schools that you're interested in applying to. Become familiar with each school's pre-requisite courses. (Some professional school admissions talks are available online.)

4. Use social media to stay informed on what's happening in your field.  Work to inform yourself on the basic facts of your chosen field. 

5. Know the name of your field's professional college association and follow them on Twitter or Facebook (AAMC - MD; AACOM - DO; ADEA - DMD & DDS; AACP - PharmD; ASCO - OD; PAEA - MPAS; AAVMC - DVM; APTA - PT). Join the national student organization in your field if one exists.

6. Maintain a strong GPA.

7. Seek out opportunities for leadership experience and public speaking.  Keep a journal and/or a spreadsheet to track these hours and reflect on your experiences.

8. Engage in ongoing volunteer work and community service projects. Keep a journal and/or a spreadsheet to track these hours and reflect on your experiences.

9. Seek out opportunities to gain clinical experience and shadow a diverse group of health professionals. Keep a journal and/or a spreadsheet to track these hours and reflect on your experiences.

10. Stay engaged in extracurricular activities and hobbies that you enjoy and that help you manage stress outside of your respective health field and academic work.

11. Seek out summer internships and prep programs.

12. Engage in academic research projects and work to share your findings through publications, conferences and poster presentations.

13. Spend a lot of time drafting your personal statement.  Get feedback from faculty, mentors, and advisors, and continue to re-write and improvement it.

14. Determine when you will take your admission test (MCAT, DAT, OAT, PCAT, or GRE) and take several practice versions of it. Plan out how much time you will need to dedicate to studying for it and follow through on your plan.

15. Pre-medical/dental/optometry students should plan to interview with the University Pre-Professional Health Advisory Committee the spring that they apply to graduate school to obtain a committee letter of evaluation to support their applications.

16. Work to connect with your professors, volunteer contacts, and health professionals who you have shadowed to build your network and help you develop strong letters of recommendation.

17. Investigate the application cycle dates of your field and top pick of schools and be sure to have all of the required materials, information, test scores, background checks, immunizations, etc. completed by the time your field's cycle opens. (Links are included on the pre-medical, pre-PA, pre-dental, pre-optometry, and pre-pharmacy pages on this site.)

18. Work to develop your interview skills. Review this comprehensive list of questions to help you prepare.

19. Plan out your gap year if you're taking one.

20. Develop a back-up career plan.  This will help you prepare for the possibility of not being admitted to a professional school on your first try as well as be a more comfortable and confident applicant during your admissions interviews.

21. Seek out help from friends, family, mentors, advisors and the EKU Counseling Center when you're feeling overwhelmed. Preparing for professional school is demanding and burnout in professional health fields is high.  Establish the wise practice now of taking care of yourself and asking for support when you need it.

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