Below is a list of some of the most commonly asked questions we hear about the graduate school process and choosing a career in a health-related field. Check out the questions below and if you don't see one on the list don't hesitate to contact us.
What does pre-health mean?
Pre-Health is an umbrella term for the diverse careers in the health professions that students may pursue, from acupuncture to veterinary medicine.
What services does UW-Eau Claire offer to its pre-health students?
Whatever you're looking for, we're willing to help you find it! Here are some specific to incoming pre-health students:
- The Health Careers Center –faculty and staff who advise and support students as they clarify their health professional goals and help them reach these goals.
- The Health Careers Center Website –a wealth of information is available through our website.
- Pre-Health Peer Advisers –upper class Pre-Health students who work with other students on any of a number of issues. Peer advisors can give you their perspectives on the courses, application processes, etc.
- Health-Related Student Organizations –these student-run groups provide support, resources and programming for fellow pre-health students, and allow students to explore interests in the field.
What services does UW-Eau Claire offer to students applying to health professional schools?
As students navigate the complex process of applying to health professional schools, additional support is provided through the Health Careers Center.
- Application –timeline to help you structure the application process.
- Writing the Personal Statement –assistance with drafting a well-crafted personal statement.
- Selecting Schools
- Interviewing –mock interviews through the Health Careers Center or Career Services.
Do I have to major in a science?
No. Beyond the required science courses, a broad humanities and liberal arts background is encouraged and expected, as is majoring in the field that most interests you.
What are health professional schools looking for in applicants?
Schools are interested in well-rounded, mature, and intellectually curious applicants with excellent academic abilities, strong interpersonal skills, clear motivation for a career in healthcare, and demonstrated compassion and concern for others. We highlight five factors for admission to health professions programs: 1) a well-rounded, high-achieving academic orientation (with competitive GPA and standardized test scores); 2) meaningful co-curricular activities; 3) positive letters of recommendation; 4) deliberate timing in the application process; and 5) strong performance in the interview.
What are the course requirements for admission to health professional programs?
Most medical and dental schools require one year each of lectures and labs in General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Biology, and Physics, two semesters of English, and one to two semesters of college-level Mathematics. Other health professional schools' requirements vary, so contact the Health Careers Center early to explore these requirements.
Can I use AP credit to fulfill my pre-health requirements?
It depends on the schools and the courses. Pre-health advisers work closely with students to be sure that their coursework plans will fulfill their pre-requisites for health professions schools.
How will I get all the courses done?
Look at the information on our website and in hard copy in the Health Careers Center. Make an appointment in the Health Careers Center or meet with peer advisors to go over your own personal timeline.
What if I'm not doing as well as I thought I would in my classes?
It's fairly normal to experience some "culture shock" as you make the adjustment from high school to college. It is critical to "diagnose" any potential problems areas early and "treat" them via things like changing your study habits, visiting office hours, meeting with tutors, arranging study groups, and managing your time. Talk with an advisor to assess what steps might be best for you to take as you adjust to UW-Eau Claire. Some will discover that there are other opportunities that better suit their talents and interests, but we will help find a way (even if it isn't the way that was initially intended).
What do most pre-health students major in?
Quite a few major in the sciences because that's where much of their interest lies, but applicants to health professional school each year come from diverse disciplines.
Can I study Internationally and be pre-health?
Yes, it's a wonderful experience that shouldn't be missed, if it interests you. An International experience can complement and enhance both your general program of study and your pre-health interests. Moreover, fluency in a language other than English and cross-cultural experience can enhance your application to a health professional school. Generally, students work with the Study Abroad advisers to plan their program and with pre-health advisers to plan their pre-health prerequisite courses around their International experience.
What kinds of grades will I need to be accepted?
Currently, with an average in the 3.4-3.6 range, an MCAT in the 85th percentile ranking, and impressive non-academic experiences, are considered competitive. However, there are many individual factors that come into play in the admissions process, and there is no magic formula that will get you accepted. Health professional schools are aware of the quality of our students and academic programs, which can work in your favor as an applicant.
What percentage of UW-Eau Claire applicants get into health professional schools?
UW-Eau Claire's acceptance rate for students to medical, dental, and veterinary schools is above the national average. More importantly, our students feel well-prepared for their professional school, and do well once they're accepted.
How do UW-Eau Claire pre-health students gain health-related experience during their undergrad years?
UW-Eau Claire is an institution committed to the liberal arts and focused on the undergraduate experience. Many students volunteer at the Mayo Clinic Health System, Marshfield Clinic and Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire or gain CNA or EMT certification.
Is it okay to take time off between graduation and medical school?
Yes! Many applicants opt to take at least a year between graduation from college and matriculation to health professional school. This allows students to take the MCAT (or other standardized tests) outside the busy academic year, to have more flexibility to study abroad and engage in co-curricular activities, to gain work experience, and just to give themselves a rest between two rigorous academic endeavors. The average age of a medical school matriculant is 24 –plenty of others are opting for some time off to regroup and pursue other interests. All of the services that the Health Careers Center offers are available to you as an alumnus.
Does UW-Eau Claire offer test-prep classes?
Kaplan and Princeton Review offer classes in a number of formats. Students should research what these courses offer based on personal study habits and learning styles. Many students do well by creating a self-study program. It's a matter of personal preference –just make sure you do study!
How do I know that a health career is right for me?
Ask yourself some of the following questions: Do I care deeply about other people and their problems? Am I a good listener? Do I enjoy learning, gaining new understanding? Do I often dig deeper into a subject than my instructor requires? Do I understand the value of learning beyond just making good grades? Am I prepared to make a substantial commitment to my education? If you answered "Yes" to most of these questions, chances are you have the right kind of personality for a healthcare career.
Who can help me plan my undergraduate courses?
Students should plan their courses each semester in consultation with his/her academic adviser. Consult with the Health Careers Center to find a UW-Eau Claire faculty/staff adviser to help you. These advisers assist students with the academic, professional and personal resources that help students prepare for a health professions career.
What is the MCAT? DAT? OAT? PCAT? GRE? And how do I prepare?
These are all standardized tests required as part of the admissions process to the various health professional schools. Check out the resources page for more information about each test.
I really want a career in a healthcare field, but honestly, my chances of getting into medical school are not good. What should I do?
There are many career opportunities in healthcare. To name a few: healthcare administration, teaching (nurse educators are in especially high demand), health education, research, public health, behavioral health, social work, and many others. For more information on exploring health care fields, go to the resources page and check out the Health Career Exploration links.