Preparing for Health Professions School

What are health professions programs looking for?

Health professions programs are looking for students with academic potential, robust experiences and unique attributes. First and foremost, students must demonstrate academic excellence, breadth and depth through coursework in the liberal arts and additional prerequisite courses. Seek help from academic support resources such as the Advising Center, the Writing Center and the Academic Mastery Program. 

At the same time, identify and pursue meaningful opportunities including research, volunteering in the community, shadowing, clinical interactions, internships and enrichment programs. A consistent record of involvement will help you establish a mission-based pre-professional identity, which ultimately reinforces your commitment to a health profession. Over time, as you move through these experiences, you will determine if and when you are ready to apply. 

The Holistic Review

Medical education has an obligation to prepare physicians better to deal with the dilemma of disease and disability that many Americans suffer, especially among our burgeoning minority and immigrant groups. The fact that our society is continuously reshaping itself, becoming increasingly more diverse, multicultural, multiethnic, and globally interconnected, compels us to close the diversity gap...Holistic review is such a process that allows a balance between competence and compassion so that one is not attained at the expense of the other.”

Filo Maldonado

Associate Dean of Admissions & Assistant Professor of Humanities in Medicine at the Texas A&M University College of Medicine

Beyond metrics such as GPA and standardized test scores, ideal health profession candidates should demonstrate the following 15 Core Competencies as laid out by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC):

Webinar: Demonstrating Competence in an Unconventional Application Year

Category Competencies
Interpersonal Service orientation
Social skills
Cultural competence
Teamwork
Oral communication
Intrapersonal Ethical responsibility to others
Reliability and dependability
Resilience and adaptability
Capacity for improvement
Thinking and Reasoning Competencies Critical thinking
Quantitative reasoning
Scientific inquiry
Science Competencies Living systems
Human behavior