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Premedicine Major
PreHealth Advising

Science and PreHealth Advising Center
East Wing, 230 Ritenour Building
University Park, PA 16802
Tel: 814-865-7620

Prehealth and Health Professions Advising is available to any Penn State student who wants to explore, prepare, and apply for training in a health profession career.

Our office also provides health professions advising to any Penn State student who is interested in a career in a health profession, including medicine, podiatry, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, physician assistant, and other allied health professions.

Not all individuals elect to attend professional school directly after their undergraduate studies. Past PSU applicants have found that it can be extremely beneficial to take a "Gap Year" or more in order to finish prerequisite courses, gain essential experiences and exposures to health care, conduct research, participate in volunteer programs such as AmeriCorps or Peace Corps, or work full-time in another industry altogether. Alumni of Penn State are welcome to utilize the services of the Pre-Health Advising Center. We are happy to meet with alums through in-person appointments, over the phone, or via Skype to provide advice and support to individuals considering a health career. Alumni may also use our e-portfolio and letter collection services, and apply for our letter packet at any time after graduating from Penn State. If you are a graduate of Penn State and interested in applying to a Health Professions program, please email one of our Prehealth Advisers or call 814-865-7620 to schedule an appointment. You may also attend our virtual group advising sessions! Our Health Professions Group Advising Sessions schedule can be found below. 

 

Goals

We want to assist students with understanding:

  • Information about health profession prerequisites and expectations.
  • The demands of a health professions degree.
  • The keys to being a successful health professional school applicant.
  • Relevant courses and experiences that strengthen their application.

Advising Services

Walk-in advising is reserved for brief concerns that will take no longer than 10 minutes. If it becomes evident that you have more extensive questions or concerns than you realized, you will be asked to schedule a regular advising appointment. Examples of walk-in items include:

  • Reviews of current courses scheduled.
  • Clarification on a specific health profession requirement.
  • Discussion of whom you will ask to write letters of recommendation.
  • Brief discussions with students who do not yet have a prehealth referral. (see "Scheduling One-On-One Appointments" to determine how to earn a prehealth referral)

 

Fall 2020 Walk-in Hours:

ADD/DROP WEEK (AUGUST 24-28)

Monday - Friday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM each day

 

Walk-in Hours, August 31-December 11:

Walk-ins will be held during specified days and times. All other times will need to be scheduled through Starfish.

In response to COVID-19 distance learning, these meetings will be held remotely. Please head to Starfish to schedule same day appointments for during the times listed below. 

There will be walk-ins on the following days:

  • Monday 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM - Lucais Wallen, Joanna Maatta
  • Tuesday 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM - John Moses, Carolyn Jensen
  • Thursday 1:30 - 3:30 PM - Kimberly Johnson, Beth Johnson
  • Friday 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM - Melissa Krajcovic, John Moses

 

SPECIAL WALK-INS

Please check back for more information regarding late drop and withdrawal. 

 

FALL 2020 FINALS WEEK WALK-IN SCHEDULE 

Please check back for more information.

 

* Our office will be conducting office-hours remotely. Please schedule an appointment in Starfish in the same manner you always have, and you will receive instructions for connecting to our individual Zoom Room. If you have questions or concerns about how these remote meetings will work, please email us directly.

How to Gain Access to Prehealth Advising Appointments

To schedule an appointment with a Prehealth Adviser (outside of walk-in advising appointments), you must have a prehealth referral enabled in Starfish. To gain a prehealth referral, you can do one of two things:

1. Attend a live group advising session (via Zoom). See schedule in the "Health Professions Group Advising" tab below.

2. Join our "Prehealth Group Advising" Canvas module. Watch a pre-recorded session (preferably a Foundations Level presentation) and complete the "Post Presentation Reflection" short answer question.

After completing either of these activities, you will receive a prehealth referral in Starfish within a week. Please allow up to 5 business days for this to process. 

 

How to Schedule an Appointment with a Prehealth Adviser

Current students, to schedule an appointment with an advisor:

  1. Log into Starfish (starfish.psu.edu) and click on “Services.”
  2. Search for “PreMed and PreHealth Advising” using the small search box (top right-hand side). To find a specific advisor, use the search box to search by name.
  3. Click on the Schedule Appointment link in the service description or scroll down to find a specific advisor’s calendar under the Service Members listed. The Service Calendar (left-hand side) will show dates with scheduled appointment slots. Bold-face dates are ones with available appointment slots.
  4. Click the + icon next to your preferred appointment slot.
  5. Select a reason for the appointment.
  6. Type a detailed description for the meeting to help the advisor best prepare for the meeting.
  7. Once you create the appointment, Starfish will send you an email confirming the appointment as well as a reminder email closer to the appointment date. Your new appointment will appear in your Starfish “Dashboard.”

To cancel an appointment: Click the “X” in the upper right of the appointment block on your Dashboard. If you cancel, please do so in advance and provide reasons for why the appointment is being cancelled.

If you are unable to find a time available, please email prehealthadvising@psu.edu to request an appointment. Only students with prehealth referrals will be able to schedule this way. 

 

Alum or prospective students, to schedule an appointment with an advisor:

Please call our office at 814-865-7620. Same-day appointments will not be made. Plan to schedule appointments at least two weeks in advance.

Throughout the fall and spring semesters, our advisers offer a series of prehealth advising sessions. Students considering medical, dental, podiatry, and physician assistant professions must attend a "Health Professions Overview", "E-portfolio Overview", "Dent Prep" or "PA Prep" group advising session prior to meeting one-on-one with PreHealth Advising.

No registration is required.

 

FOUNDATIONS SESSIONS*

*intended for first and second year students who are beginning to prepare themselves for their healthcare careers.

 

HEALTH PROFESSIONS OVERVIEW

An overview of medical, dental, optometry, PA, podiatry, and more in a fun, engaging presentation. This will help students explore their options.

  • January 26, 2021 @ 6PM -- Zoom link Password: 449959
  • Please complete this form to view a previously recorded version of this session.

 

E-PORTFOLIO OVERVIEW

The Pre-Health Advising Office uses a portfolio system to help students who are preparing for future applications to health professions programs. 

  • Please complete this form to view a previously recorded version of this session.

 

ANATOMY OF AN APPLICANT

This session provides an overview for how students applying to medican school should be preparing themselves across all 15 core competencies and how to determine which experiences and opportunities to pursue to develop and demonstrate these competencies.

  • March 15, 2021 @ 6PM -- Zoom link Password: 449959
  • Please complete this form to view a previously recorded version of this session.

 

    PA PREP

    First-year and sophomore students exploring physician assistant careers will be familiarized with the coursework, experiences, and skills needed to successfully apply to physician assistant programs.The Pre-Health Advising Office will be collaborating with the Pre-PA Club to provide this session.

    • Please complete this form to view a previously recorded version of this session.

     

    DENT PREP

    First-year and sophomore students exploring dental careers will be familiarized with the coursework, experiences, and skills needed to successfully apply to dental programs.The Pre-Health Advising Office will be collaborating with the Pre-Dental Club to provide this session.

    • Please complete this form to view a previously recorded version of this session.

     

    PLANNING FOR A GAP YEAR

    It is becoming increasingly popular for students entering health professions to take a gap year before matriculating into professional programs. Learn about why one might take a gap year, and how to spend your time if you do end up taking one.

    • February 23, 2021 @ 6PM -- Zoom link Password: 449959

     

    LEVEL UP* 

    *sessions are intended for students who are preparing to apply in the upcoming application cycle. These are higher level sessions and not appropriate for students who have not engaged with our foundational sessions.*Students who have completed previous sessions of Med Prep or PA Prep are able to attend these sessions without working back through the foundations sessions.

     

    DEMYSTIFYING THE AAMC CHOOSE YOUR MEDICAL SCHOOL TOOL

    For current medical school applicants in the 2020-2021 application cycle. This session is designed to introduce you to the AAMC Choose Your Medical School (CYMS) Tool to indicate where you plan to enroll for the upcoming year. We will discuss the nuances of how and when to "plan to enroll" vs "commit to enroll", and the implications of each of these selections.

    • February 2, 2021 @ 6PM -- Zoom link Password: 449959

     

    SELECTING THE SCHOOL FOR YOU

    Choosing which professional programs to apply to can be an overwhelming decision. We will walk you through this process, highlighting areas of importance to think about when evaluating the programs you are considering.

    • February 10, 2021 @ 6PM -- Zoom link Password: 449959

     

    DEMYSTIFTYING THE APPLICATION CYCLE and ACCEPTED STUDENTS PANEL

    The application cycle is long and can be confusing. We will break it into manageable pieces and hear from successful students fresh off the previous application cycle about what did and did not work well for them.

    • February 18, 2021 @ 6PM -- Zoom link Password: 449959

     

    PLANNING FOR A GAP YEAR

    It is becoming increasingly popular for students entering health professions to take a gap year before matriculating into professional programs. Learn about why one might take a gap year, and how to spend your time if you do end up taking one.

    • February 23, 2021 @ 6PM -- Zoom link Password: 449959

     

    DEMYSTIFYING CASPA

    For pre-PA candidates intending to apply to PA programs this 2021-2022 application cycle. Learn about navigating through CASPA, the application system used to apply to PA programs across the US.

    • March 9, 2021 @ 6PM -- Zoom link Password: 449959

     

    DEMYSTIFYING AMCAS AND AACOMAS

    For pre-med candidates intending to apply to MD and or DO programs this 2021-2022 application cycle. Learn about navigating through AMCAS (MD) and AACOMAS (DO), the application systems used to apply to MD and DO programs across the US.

    • April 7, 2021 @ 6PM -- Zoom link Password: 449959

     

    DEMYSTIFYING AADSAS, OPTOMOCAS, PHARMCAS, AACPMAS

    For candidates intending to apply to dental, optometry, pharmacy, or podiatry programs this 2021-2022 application cycle. Learn about navigating through AADSAS (dental), OPTOMCAS (optometry), PHARMCAS (pharmacy), and/or AACPMAS (podiatry), the application system used to apply to programs across the US.

    • April 22, 2021 @ 6PM -- Zoom link Password: 449959

     

    E-PORTFOLIO OVERVIEW

    The Pre-Health Advising Office uses a portfolio system to help our students applying in the upcoming cycle. The portfolio helps students to prepare for their applications.

    • Please complete this form to view a previously recorded version of this session.

     

    ANATOMY OF AN APPLICANT

    This session provides an overview for how students applying to medical school should be preparing themselves across all 15 core competencies and how to communicate that through your application.

    • Please complete this form to view a previously recorded version of this session.

     

    PLANNING YOUR APPLICATION YEAR - Medical Applications

    This session provides an overview of the year-long application timeline, submission dates, soft and hard deadlines, as well as the secondary application, and interview seasons.

    • Please complete this form to view a previously recorded version of this session.

     

    PERSONAL STATEMENTS

    Almost all health professions programs require their applicants to write and provide an essay. This session will cover what admissions teams are looking for as well as strategies to meet the challenge.

    • Please complete this form to view a previously recorded version of this session.

     

    LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION

    Letters of evaluation/ recommendation are necessary for applying to health professions programs. This session will cover what types of letters to collect and who, when, and how to ask. 

    • Please complete this form to view a previously recorded version of this session.

     

    DEMYSTIFYING THE MCAT

    The MCAT exam is a marathon of an exam. This session discusses the structure of the exam, strategies that students have used in the past for success, and how to plan out your preparation for this important exam.

    • Please complete this form to view a previously recorded version of this session.

     

    PLANNING YOUR APPLICATION YEAR - Dental and PA Applications

    This session provides an overview of the year-long application timeline, submission dates, soft and hard deadlines, as well as the secondary application, and interview seasons.

    • Please complete this form to view a previously recorded version of this session.

     

    HEALTH PROFESSIONS INTERVIEWING WORKSHOP WITH MEDICAL STUDENTS

    Learn about different interview formats and practice your skills.

    We recommend this workshop for those students who are planning to interview for health professional schools during this current interview cycle (interviewing during Fall 2020 semester). We will host an additional meeting at the beginning of the Spring semester. 

    • Please complete this form to view a previously recorded version of this session.

    Prehealth Group Advising Canvas Module

    To gain a better understanding of how to prepare for a health professions program, we encourage our students to attend group advising sessions. Typically, these sessions are presented live and in person, but with changes to remote education, we have developed these modules to allow you to get the benefit of the sessions asynchronously.

    Each candidate will need to request access to the module.

     

    Canvas Health Professions School Applicants Networking Space 

    It can be intimidating to apply to a health professions program, but you don’t have to go it alone!  Join other Penn State students and alumni to help guide and encourage one another through the process of applying to a health profession program. There will be dedicated space for each health profession – and we can always add more discussion boards if needed!

    Each candidate will need to request access to the module

     

    Personal Statement Reviews

    We have not begun accepting personal statements for review for the 2021-2022 application cycle. You may still complete the modules within our Canvas course to gain a better understanding of how to write a personal statement. Our "Personal Statement Workshop" will be held on Oct 20, 2020. See "Health Professions Group Advising" tab below for more information on how to attend. Personal statement review will begin after this session. 

     

    For instructions how to write a personal statement, and how to get it reviewed by a prehealth adviser, please go here:

     http://sites.psu.edu/sciadvising/prehealth-advising/personalstatement/

    The Prehealth Advising Office is excited to begin offering an E-Portfolio for our students considering entering a health profession. This portfolio will serve as a space for students to both track their coursework and activities, and reflect on their personal journey. Through this system, we can provide  targeted guidance to help each applicant enhance their collegiate preparation, better understand the strength of their candidacy, and make informed choices when deciding to apply to health professions programs.

     

    Please follow this link for more detailed information.

     

    Contact us!

    2nd Floor Ritenour, East Wing
    Science Advising: 814-863-3889
    PreHealth Advising: 814-865-7620