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 and not only to fulfill the basic science requirements, but also aid your learning of 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 will do well academically.
  • Get to know your faculty and speak with students who are applying to health profession schools and 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-med committee, and other members of the faculty who you know well.
  • On the Association of American Medical Colleges website, read the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Medical School Admission Requirements or on the American Dental Education Association website, read the ADA Official Guide to Dental Schools. Make note of any changes or new medical schools. 
  • 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. If your MCAT scores are poor or only average, consider retaking the test in August.
  • Take the DAT in the summer following your junior year.
  • Typically you will apply for admission at the end of your junior year. The medical school primary application is called AMCAS for MD granting institutions and AACOMAS for DO granting institutions. The primary application for dental school is the 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 if they would be willing to write a letter of recommendation. You must give them a minimum of three weeks.  Follow the procedure for requesting letters of recommendation from faculty. This must be completed prior to faculty writing you a letter of recommendation. Follow the steps outlined on this document,  Pre-Med Letters of Recommendation Process & Requirements.
  • 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 your application.

Steps for Admission to a Professional School

Know the course and GPA requirements for the professional school. 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.

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 AHCAS

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:  Explore the AAMC website and take advantage of the study tools provided.

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

Other options for preparing for the MCAT are tutoring and study courses. Sites such as  Tutor the People offer one-on-one help and study materials that are personalized for each student. Please note: these services can be expensive.

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-med 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 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 you for ALL subsequent applications.

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 advisor, 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.

We have established a procedure for requesting letters of recommendation from faculty. This must be completed prior to faculty writing you a letter of recommendation. Give your recommenders plenty of time to write their letters,  at least three weeks. Follow the steps outlined on this document, Pre-Med Letters of Recommendation Process & Requirements.

Things to do prior to your medical school interview:

  • Seek interviewing advice from the IDEA Center on campus.
  • Arrange for a mock interview with the pre-professional health advisors before you go to your actual interview. Be prepared to answer questions such as:
    • 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 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. When the entire committee considers your application file, the committee member that interviewed you will present their impressions to the committee. 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
  • Don't wear flashy jewelry
  • Consider not displaying body piercings and/or tattoos

Further Information

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 at the medical school you wish to enter
  3. Obtain experience by working or volunteering
  4. 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, 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-PhD 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. 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.


Association of American Medical Colleges

This site has information about the 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.

American Medical College Application Service

This site is where you begin the application process.


American Dental Association

Dental Admission Test

Pre-Health students

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), 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.

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

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

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

PHYS 201/202 General Physics 4/4


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

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
  • 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), 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:

BIOL 211/212 General Biology 4/4
BIOL 367 or 370 Microbiology 4
BIOL 221/222 Human Anatomy and Physiology 4/4


BIOL 333 Advanced Physiology 4
BIOL 450 Advanced Human Anatomy 4
CHEM 211/212 General Chemistry 4/4
CHEM 331/332 Organic Chemistry 4/4
CHEM 341 Biochemistry 4
PHYS 201/202 General Physics 4/4

English Composition – 2 semesters