Pre-Medicine/Pre-Dental

The following is specifically for pre-medicine and pre-dentistry, much of it also pertains to other health professions.

What you can do your first two years at George Fox.

  • You should select a major that will challenge you not only to fulfill the basic science requirements but also aid your learning the subjects necessary for medical school.  It is important to choose electives that will demonstrate your knowledge and dedication to learning and that will be reflected in excellent performance and enhance your liberal arts background.  Even though there is no required major for medical schools, the majority of pre-med and pre-dental students major in biology or chemistry.  Select your major in what you enjoy and what you will do well in academically.
  • Get to know your faculty and speak with students who are applying to health profession schools so that you learn from their experiences.
  • Become involved in extracurricular activities of interest to you that will demonstrate your service to the community.  We also suggest performing research as well as shadowing as early and as often as possible.
  • Work as a teaching assistant for the Department of Biology and Chemistry.
  • Learn as much as you can about medicine, ethics, etc., from physicians, local hospitals, and other health professionals. Shadowing a physician, dentist, etc. can be very helpful in determining whether you would really like to have a career in that profession. A significant number of these hours are expected by admissions committees to demonstrate that you clearly understand the expectations of the profession.
  • Develop an excellent academic record.  This typically means 3.5 or above. But realize that GPA is NOT everything.
  • You should also begin developing your professional resume, experiences, and personal statement.
  • Admissions officers of the professional school you are interested in are usually willing to answer telephone questions and arrange visits. It is highly recommended that you contact the admissions office of the school that you are applying to in order to obtain the latest information.

Your Third Year 

  • Continue what you have been doing in maintaining (or improving) your high academic performance.  You should complete your personal statement and resume as well as continue shadowing and research.
  • **Important:  Discuss your relative chances of entrance to medical/dental school with the pre-professional health advisors, the pre-professional health advisory committee, and other members of the faculty who you know well.
  • Obtain a copy of the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Medical School Admission Requirements or the ADA Official Guide to Dental Schools and read thoroughly, especially making note of any changes or new medical schools.  Again see http://www.aamc.org or www.adea.org).
  • Prepare for and take the MCAT or DAT
  • If you are prepared to take the MCAT, apply in early winter to take the test given in April (http://www.aamc.org/students/mcat). If your MCAT scores are poor or only average, consider retaking the test in August. Take the DAT (http://www.ada.org/dat.aspx) in the summer following your junior year.
  • Typically you will apply at the end of your Junior year. The medical school primary application is called AMCAS (www.aamc.org/students/amcas/start.htm) for M.D. granting institutions and AACOMAS (aacomas.aacom.org) for D.O. granting institutions.  The primary application for dental school is the AADSAS (www.adea.org/AADSAS).
  • Use the early summer to complete all application forms online. Submit your application early. Admission to most of these schools is on a “rolling” admission basis. Adhering strictly to “apply by the deadline” is considered showing minimal interest and most often results in rejection.

Your Fourth Year

  • Be sure that all necessary materials have been forwarded to AMCAS, AACOMAS, or AADSAS, or directly to the medical or dental schools of your interest as requested by these organizations. (i.e., transcripts, recommendations, and MCAT or DAT scores).
  • Complete all scholarship and loan applications as soon as possible. To be eligible for financial aid, you must complete the FAFSA form. Consider other means of financing if necessary.
  • Ask faculty, and others that you want, to write a letter of recommendation if they are willing.  You must give them a minimum of three weeks.  You will also be expected to provide faculty with your personal statement and resume for letter writing. 
  • During early fall continue to evaluate your admission potential. You may decide to apply to additional medical schools. If so, be aware of their application deadline dates so that your application is eligible for consideration.
  • If you are asked for an interview, arrange with the pre-professional health advisors for a mock interview before you go to your actual interview.
  • If you are admitted to the school of your choice, make sure that you notify the other schools that you applied to that you are withdrawing your application.
  • If you are placed on a waiting list, continue to add to your record all additional credits, honors, experiences, etc to strengthen you application.

Further Information:

Steps for Admission to a Professional School

1. Your academic record

2. Your score on admissions tests

3. Your application

4. Your letters of recommendation

5. Your Interview

6. Some fields require that you have spent a specific number of hours with a practitioner

1. Your Academic Record

Know the course and GPA requirements for the professional schools you want to enter. It may be broken down into your GPA in science courses, all other courses and total GPA, year-by-year. Most admissions committees want to see evidence that you can handle a respectable load of science courses. They are very willing to take into account improvement throughout your college career.

2. Health Profession Admissions Tests

There are admissions tests for the following health professions:

Medicine MCAT

Dentistry DAT

Optometry OAT

Pharmacy PCAT

Veterinary GRE (verify with prospective school)

For some allied health professions AHPAT

The MCAT and DAT

Familiarize yourself with the details of the test itself:

The type of test: 
Does it test content knowledge, aptitude, reasoning ability, or all three? For example, the Dental test has a visual aptitude section. Most tests attempt to measure verbal and quantitative reasoning skills as well as specific content knowledge appropriate to the discipline.



The types of questions:  
All have multiple choice, in addition there is a writing sample on the MCAT



Length of exam
: Most are long. The MCAT takes nearly 6 hours

Prepare for the test!!!!!!

Long-term study What you have been doing all your life.

Cramming is not recommended
 and almost useless. It can be stressful and counter-productive.



Review booklets and practice exams.  MCAT sends a practice exam when you register. All MCAT registrants should also order the MCAT Student Manual, which explains the nature of the content areas of the test and the types of questions asked. 



Prep courses: Kaplan courses cost over a $1000. They may help those who need the discipline of an organized review.  Practice taking timed multiple choice tests. MCAT officials estimate that 70% of MCAT test-takers have taken a review course. MCAT claims that they don't help; Kaplan claims they do. You must travel to a test site on a Saturday or weekday evening for several weeks prior to the test in order to take the course. Kaplan materials are also available without taking the course.
  Much less costly and probably as effective are self-learning courses such as ExamKrackers  or The Gold Standard MCAT. 

Should I retake a health profession admission test? There is not a simple answer to this question. According to MCAR data, retakes average less than a 1-point gain. Those with low scores (<8) tended to gain more than a point.  Retake a test only if you have taken specific steps to improve your performance.

The test information booklet will tell you what to bring in order to establish your identity. Be aware of this so you won't be stressed by it.

Know how your scores are reported and scaled in relation to other test-takers: For example the MCAT content sections are scored on a number basis while the written section uses letters.

**Discuss your relative chances of entrance to medical/dental school with the pre-professional health advisors, the pre-health professions advisory committee and other members of the faculty who you know well. Be realistic! If your chances appear to be excellent, visit and talk to schools of your interest. Speak to their students to learn about the curriculum design and general attitudes. DO NOT take the MCAT or DAT just to see what it is about or “for practice.”  There are practice exams for this.  The record of your test-taking attempts follows for ALL subsequent applications

3. Your Application

Practice on a photocopy of the application.

Make sure you know the deadline, and apply early!  We strongly suggest that you apply during the summer before your senior year, assuming you plan on going to medical school the year after you graduate.

The Early Decision Program (EDP) allows applicants to apply early at one school, and, if accepted, be notified of the school's admission decision by October 1. If not accepted under the EDP, applicants will automatically be placed in the regular applicant pool by the school and may then apply to additional schools. The Medical School Admission Requirement publication provides information on which schools participate in the EDP.

Have an adviser, friend, faculty member, etc. review your application essay

Almost all U.S. medical schools belong to the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges). AAMC operates a common application service called AMCAS (American Medical University Application Service). You must first fill out an AMCAS application, send it to AAMC and designate the medical schools that are to receive it.   When the medical schools receive your AMCAS application, they will send you a secondary application of their own if they are interested in having you follow up with them. Both of these applications have fees associated with them

Some applications require you to collect your letters of recommendation in sealed envelopes and enclose them with the application. Others will want the recommender to send them directly to the school.



4. Your Interview

Seek interviewing advice from our Career Services Office.

Read the booklet "The Medical School Interview".

At the minimum, be prepared to answer questions such as the following:

Why are you interested in a career in this profession? Why do you want to become a  (fill in the blank)_ ? Your answer needs to be more sophisticated than-".... because I want to help people."
Be prepared for open-ended questions, such as: Tell me a little about yourself/your family?  What is the most important thing you learned growing up?

Be prepared to show some knowledge and understanding of major health issues, e.g., the Oregon Health Plan, Universal Health Insurance, AIDS, Death with dignity/Euthanasia, etc. Look at the editorials and letters to the editor of several issues of the New England Journal of Medicine and JAMA.

Be prepared to state specifically what you have done to find out about a given health profession and the school that offers training in that profession.



Be prepared to show that you know something about the curriculum of the health professions school.

Be prepared to show your commitment to the profession. It is a long haul and medical schools are looking for people that are so committed they will stay to the end.

Be prepared to ask questions if the opportunity arises

Dress appropriately!

You want the interviewer to have a positive image of you. At the risk of offending some who know how to do this already: Polish your shoes, iron your clothes, cut/style your hair. Men wear a coordinated coat, shirt, tie, and slacks or suit. Women wear a dress or suit, no slacks. If you wear make-up don't overdo it and don't wear flashy jewelry.

Also consider not displaying body piercings and/or tattoos.  When the entire committee considers your application file, the committee member that interviewed you will present their impressions to the committee.

5. Your Letters of Recommendation 

Give your recommenders plenty of time to write their letters, at least three weeks.

Give them a list with addresses, websites, and deadlines.  If there is a recommendation form, be sure to complete the top part and sign if requested.

Many professional schools have a form that your recommender fills out. It asks, among other things, how long we have known you and in what capacity. It may ask us to rank you in comparison to some reference group - usually all people in a given course, all majors, or all those applying to a given health profession. Many forms have a box to check Highly Recommended, Recommended, Recommended with reservations, Not Recommended.

It is essential to provide a recommender some information about yourself, your courses, activities, interests, scholarships, awards, etc. It can also be helpful to give the recommender your essay, or at least a statement about why you are interested in the particular profession.

Some Health Professions Schools require a "committee" letter. The George Fox pre-professional health advisory committee can provide such a letter.  It is not necessary to give us a stamped addressed envelope to mail the recommendation, but some faculty may ask for it.

MISCELLANEOUS DETAILS

If you are not admitted: 1) find out why; 2) try to do something to improve your chances next time, e.g. better test scores, taking additional science courses at George Fox or the medical school you wish to enter; 3) Obtain experience by working or volunteering; and 3) apply a second or third time. The need to apply more than once is becoming more and more common as the average age of medical students increases.

Work experience: Schools are looking for persons highly committed to the medical field. Thus it is always helpful if you have had some experience, paid or voluntary in the health field. It is also wise to show active involvement in organizations etc. on campus. Even though good grades are essential, demonstrating that you are a well-rounded individual with a variety of interests is also important.

Residency: You have the best chance of being admitted to a health profession program in the state where you are a legal resident. If you are claimed as a dependent of your parents' tax forms you are usually considered a resident of the state where they reside and pay taxes. It is possible to establish residency in another state, if desired.  Most state-supported professional schools will not consider residents of other states, except MD-Ph.D. applicants and under-represented minorities. OHSU will accept out of state applications.

WICHE (Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education).

Some states do not have state-supported professional schools for certain professions. Oregon, for example, has no state supported physical therapy school (the one at Pacific University is privately supported).

If there is no state-supported professional school in your state for the profession you are interested in, you may be able to apply to programs in other states through WICHE.

WICHE is essentially a reciprocal exchange agreement among several western states to accept applications from students for programs that one state has and that another state does not, and vice versa.  For example, Physical Therapy, which Oregon doesn't have as a state-supported program in exchange for Pharmacy, which Oregon does.

INTERNET RESOURCES

MD 

Association of American Medical Colleges

This site has information about he AAMCS and MCAT as well as other helpful information about getting into medical school

The National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions

This site is primarily for health advisors, but it is also very good for giving links to other helpful sites.

The Medical College Application Service

This site is where you begin the application process.

DMD

American Dental Association

Dental Admission Test

The Pre-Professional Health Professions Bulletin Board

Information regarding important Pre-Professional Health meetings, guest speakers, test dates, etc... are posted on this board.

Pre-Medical Course Requirements

Medical school admissions are shifting more towards a liberal arts education and a revised integrated science and mathematics curriculum.  Emphasis is transitioning from a prescription of courses (pre-requisites) to student demonstration of defined competencies.  Regardless of major, prior to entry to medical school students must demonstrate both knowledge and ability to use basic principles of mathematics and statistics, physics, chemistry, biochemistry, and biology needed for the application of the sciences to human health and disease.  The MCAT will also assess student knowledge in social and behavioral sciences.  Medical school admission requirements will vary considerably between different schools, thus research into specific pre-requisites at medical schools of interest should be reviewed as early as possible.

George Fox University offers all of the courses necessary to satisfy required competencies by the professional schools.  Students who wish to pursue a career in medicine frequently select a major in biology or chemistry.  It is important to consult with your academic advisor early in setting up a plan for a strong program.  Students should be aware that, in addition to meeting the minimal entrance requirements into medical school, good grades (3.5 GPA or above), and a strong performance on the national admissions tests (MCAT, usually taken in the spring of the junior year) are essential. 

This information is provided for educational purposes.  Check the programs you are interested in for current prerequisites.      

Subject Area                                     

Biology                                                                                             

 Emphasis on principles that underlie biological complexity, genetic diversity, systems physiology, human development and environmental interactions.

                        BIOL 211/212             General Biology                                4/4

                        BIOL 310                    Developmental Biology                      4

                        BIOL 333                    Advanced Physiology                        4

                        BIOL 350                    Genetics                                            4

                        BIOL 370                    Microbiology                                      4

                        BIOL 420                    Cell Biology                                       4

                        BIOL 322 or 450         Comparative or Human Anatomy      4

Chemistry

Demonstrate knowledge of basic principles of chemistry and some of their applications to the understanding of living systems.

                        CHEM 211/212           General Chemistry                              4/4

                        CHEM 331/332           Organic Chemistry                              4/4

                        CHEM 341/342           Biochemistry                                       4/4

Physics

Demonstrate knowledge of basic physical principles and some of their applications to the understanding of living systems.

                        PHYS 201/202            General Physics                                 4/4

                        OR

                        PHYS 211/212            General Physics w/Calculus              4/4

Computational Skills

 Apply quantitative reasoning and appropriate mathematics to describe or explain phenomena in the natural world, extract relevant information from large data sets.

                        MATH 201                   Calculus I                                             4

                        MATH 240                   Statistical Procedures                          3

                        CSIS 201/202             Introduction to Computer Science       3/3

 Behavioral & Social Sciences

Apply psychological, social and biological foundations of behavior, and recognize the importance of socio-cultural and behavioral determinants of health and health outcomes.        

                      PSYC 150                   General Psychology                             3

                      SOCI 150                   Principles of Sociology                          3

 Other recommendations

  • One year of analytical and critical reading (literature courses), as well as expository writing skills.
  • Fluency in English, mastery of a foreign language is valuable.
  • Courses in ethics, literature, the arts, humanities, and anthropology are encouraged.
  • Coursework should be diversely distributed within these disciplines, as admissions committees seek applicants who demonstrate evidence of a diversified academic background.

 Applicants should strongly consider volunteering or job-shadowing at a local hospital or clinic to gain practical experience in the health professions.

 ** Note: If courses are earned by CLEP and AP credits, additional upper division work in the field should be pursued.

Pre-Dentistry Course Requirements

Dentistry is the evaluation, diagnosis, prevention and/or treatment (nonsurgical, surgical or related procedures) of diseases, disorders and/or conditions of the oral cavity, maxillofacial area and/or the adjacent and associated structures and their impact on the human body. 

George Fox University offers all of the prerequisite courses required by dental schools.  Students who wish to pursue a career in dentistry usually select a major in biology or chemistry.  It is important to consult with your academic advisor early in setting up a plan for a strong program.  Students should be aware that, in addition to meeting the minimal entrance requirements to dental school, good grades (3.5 GPA or above) and a strong performance on the national admissions tests (DAT - usually taken in the spring of the junior year) are essential. 

Even though specific requirements differ with each dental school, the requirements generally include the following:

Biology                                                                                                     Credit Hours

                        BIOL 211/212          General Biology                                            4/4

                        BIOL 367 or 370      Microbiology                                                 4

                        BIOL 331/332          Human Anatomy and Physiology                 4/4

                                                OR     

                        BIOL 333                  Advanced Physiology                                 4

                        BIOL 450                  Advanced Human Anatomy                        4

Chemistry

                        CHEM 211/212       General Chemistry                                       4/4

                        CHE 321/322           Organic Chemistry                                       4/4

                        CHEM 341              Biochemistry                                                 4

Physics

                        PHYS 201/202        General Physics                                            4/4

English Composition – 2 semesters

 


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