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Frequently asked questions

A page within Pre-Health Student Resource Center


Why can't I major in pre-health/pre-med/etc.?

Your "pre-" label simply tells faculty and staff that you intend to apply to a health professions graduate program or medical school. It will help to make sure you're taking courses that are required to apply to most programs within your professional path. Keep in mind, you still need to check individual school's/program's websites, as specific pre-requisites do vary. 

What major should I choose?

Admissions committee members need to see that you can excel in difficult science coursework; however, you need to choose a major that you enjoy and will be successful in. While a biology major might align well with pre-med course requirements, for example, it's not the right major for everyone. Choosing a major that fits your interests and strengths will make you a more competitive candidate. Health professions programs tend to prefer a variety of backgrounds represented within an incoming class. 

How do I declare pre-health?

Each college now has a form you can fill out to switch to one of their majors, or add a pre-health designation. Change your program here. 

Who is my advisor?

Your advisor may be a professor, a staff member, or someone in the Pre-Health Center - it depends on your major and year in school. You can see your assigned advisor in your WINGS account. See additional info on pre-health advising here

When should I apply?

It varies from profession to profession. Many professions have a centralized application system that "opens" (starts accepting applications on behalf of many schools) on a specific date. That date is considered the start of an application cycle. Two rules are important when figuring out when to apply:

Apply early in the application period/cycle. Some students will look to apply by a deadline listed on a given school/program's website. However, by applying well before that deadline, you are among the first applications reviewed, giving you a higher likelihood of receiving an interview invite or being accepted.  

Apply only when you are ready. Just because others might be applying in the cycle after their junior year, for example, that doesn't mean you have to. It takes a lot of work to prepare yourself for the application process and then actually go through it - this time might better be used to increase your GPA, gain experience, or develop better relationships with evaluation letter writers/references. Planned "gap years" are becoming increasingly common, as they are an opportunity to increase your profile for admission. 

What is your acceptance rate to med schools/health professions programs?

The answer to this is complicated, unfortunately. Purdue University has done a nice job of explaining the situation here. Regardless, UWL has a reputation for providing a strong framework for students' future success, both academically and professionally.

Our students end up at medical schools and graduate programs across the region (including Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Medical College of Wisconsin, AT Still, Concordia) and nation (Utah, Washington, Wake Forest, Kansas State, Alabama, LSU, Nova, and many others).

What GPA do I need to get into med school/health professions programs?

It varies within different professions and among different schools. Some schools in a certain profession might accept a 3.1 GPA, if the person has a lot of impressive experience and high test scores (MCAT, GRE, DAT, etc.). Others might not look at applications with a GPA below 3.7. It is important to look at average GPAs, which are often listed on a program's website; but you can also reach out to programs to ask for advanced statistics, such as the range of GPAs for a recently admitted class. Often, graduate programs will publish their class profiles (see UWL's PA program for example).

If you are worried about your GPA come application time, apply to a variety of schools where your GPA is a fit; meet with a pre-health advisor to help you get a sense of where you might realistically apply. 

Remember that GPA isn't everything - you will need a well-rounded profile - but your "numbers" are often one of the first factors a school will take into account when reviewing your application. Shoot for straight A's, but know that they aren't always necessary to get in. 

Who do I contact for...

We created a handy list of who to contact for specific programs, located here. It's always a good idea to start with if you are unsure. 

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