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 17 Core Competencies as laid out by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC):

Webinar: Demonstrating Competence in an Unconventional Application Year

Category Competencies

Service orientation

Cultural humility and awareness

Teamwork and collaboration

Oral communication

Empathy and compassion


Ethical responsibility to self and others

Reliability and dependability

Resilience and adaptability

Commitment to learning and growth

Thinking and Reasoning Competencies

Critical thinking

Quantitative reasoning

Written Communication

Scientific inquiry

Science Competencies

Living systems

Human behavior

Contact Pre-Health Advising
Hameetman Career Center

Room 109G
1600 Campus Road
Los Angeles, CA 90041