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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 apply for a committee letter 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. If you are within the region, please know that informative evening group advising sessions are offered several times every semester to smoothly guide your planning and application processes. 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.

 

COVID-19 MESSAGING TO PRE-HEALTH STUDENTS:

Spring 2020 Grading Scheme Update:

  • The policy is still being developed.
  • Students may opt to receive quality (letter) grades OR utilize the satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading option for the Spring 2020 term after seeing their grade for the semester.
  • We will continue to keep you updated as more information is shared with us.

 

What does this mean for me as a pre-health student? 

As the Spring 2020 semester progresses with courses being taught remotely, combined with the news that Penn State students will have the option to complete courses using a modified satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading option, pre-health students and advisers are wondering what this means for completeing pre-health pre-requisite courses. The PSU Pre-health Office is monitoring communications from health professions schools regarding whether SA/UN grades will be accepted in place of letter grades for pre-req courses, and will share relevant updates as they become available. Please keep in mind that the Penn State grade policy has yet to be finalized and may still undergo some changes. 

If you are wondering about completing courses as SA/UN, keep this in mind: as a pre-health student, you are going to face tremendous challenges in a health professions school, residency, and medical practice where you will not have the SA/UN option. You will have to perform in situations where human well-being is the priority, not a grade. You will be required to operate under unexpected stress, such as during an acute emergency or extended pandemic. As your pre-health advisers, we encourage all pre-health students to endure and persevere. Stay motivated and remain focused so you can perform your at your best. Strive to complete Spring 2020 courses for a grade; doing so will minimize/eliminate any potential confusion about whether schools will accept the courses. While it is uncertain how SA/UN grades will be evaluated, a SA/UN grade will likely not be factored into your science GPA. 

In the end, though, some students might face unavoidable obstacles to continued academic success. The Penn State Pre-health Advising Office is here to support students in navigating the remainder of this semester and beyond. If your personal wellness or grades suffer from any aspect of the remote learning experience, or if you have any remaining questions or concerns, please reach out to us for assistance. Our best wishes and thoughts are with you all! 

 

Resources for Pre-health students during Spring 2020

Remote Opportunities

The NAAHP "clearinghouse page" for information from professional school associations regarding entrance exams and applications

 

Committee Interview and Letter Process COVID-19 Response

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Penn State Committee Letters for 2021 matriculation will be based upon a remote (Zoom) meeting with the applicant. Supporting documents are still required. 

For students requesting interview dates, we are reducing the number of required letters of recommendation to 2*, rather than the usual 3. We recognize that getting LOR from a health professional or faculty member could take longer than usual. Please be in touch after April 15th if you are still having difficulty getting letters.

To schedule your interview, on or after April 1, please call either 814-863-3889 or 814-865-7620.

*This does not change the number of letters that should be submitted with your medical/dental school application.

Advising Services

Committee Letter

For instructions how to obtain a committee letter or to receive an updated committee letter, please go here:

https://science.psu.edu/premed/applying-to-medical-school/committeeinfo

 

Personal Statement Reviews

We are now actively reading and evaluating personal statements. Please complete the modules within our Canvas course to gain a better understanding of how to write a personal statement, and to have it reviewed by a member of the prehealth advising team. 

Check out our Other Group Advising Sessions below to see information on our Personal Statement Workshop on February 6!

 

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/

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.

 

Spring 2020 Walk-in Hours:

Walk-in Hours, January 21- May 1:

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 check-in at the time you wish to meet (during the following days and times).

There will be walk-ins on the following days:

  • Monday 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM - Melissa Krajcovic, Joanna Maatta
  • Tuesday 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM - John Moses, Sharon Fong
  • Wednesday 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM - Lucais Wallen and one of either Kimberly Johnson, Melissa Krajcovic, or John Moses
  • Thursday 1:30 - 3:30 PM - Sharon Fong, Lucais Wallen
  • Friday 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM - Carolyn Jensen, Kimberly Johnson

*** Our office will be conducting office-hours remotely. If it is during one of the times listed above, please go to Starfish, and schedule an appointment during the specified block (15 minutes only). Once you have scheduled your time, copy the link to the Zoom Room and paste it into your browser. You may then enter the Zoom Room. If your adviser is currently meeting with another student, you will be directed to the waiting room. Your adviser will be with you as soon as they are available. ***

 

SPECIAL WALK-INS

FOR DISCUSSIONS ABOUT LATE DROPPING A CLASS ONLY: Friday, April 10, 9:00-11:30am & 1:30-5:00pm

FOR WITHDRAWING FROM SPRING SEMESTER ONLY: Friday, May 1, 10:00am-12:00pm, 1:30-5:00pm

 

SPRING 2020 FINALS WEEK WALK-IN SCHEDULE 

*To be posted the week before finals week.

 

* 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.

 

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.

 

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 Med Prep or PA Prep group advising session prior to meeting one-on-one with PreHealth Advising.

No registration is required.

Our office will not be holding these meetings in person while the university is closed to students, but will likely be hosting these meetings virtually via a Zoom session. Please check back for more information. 

Med Prep

First-year and sophomore students exploring medicine, dentistry, and podiatry will be familiarized with the coursework, experiences, and skills these health profession schools require of their applicants.

  • Wednesday Mar. 25, 12-1 PM, Zoom Session
    • Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://psu.zoom.us/j/217090641
    • Dial:    +1 646 876 9923 (US Toll)
    • Meeting ID: 217 090 641
  • Thursday Apr. 23, 6PM, 102, Zoom Session
    • Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://psu.zoom.us/j/448759536
    •  Dial:     +1 312 626 6799 (US Toll)
    •  Meeting ID: 448 759 536

 

Medical Applications

Junior and senior students applying for medical, dental, or podiatry school will be introduced to application timelines and strategies needed to compete successfully in the current application cycle.

  • Monday Apr. 6, 6PM, Zoom Session
    • Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://psu.zoom.us/j/700827438
    • Dial:     +1 312 626 6799 (US Toll)
    • Meeting ID: 700 827 438

 

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.

  • Monday Apr. 27, 6 PM, Zoom Session
    • Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://psu.zoom.us/j/246450938
    • Dial:     +1 312 626 6799 (US Toll)
    • Meeting ID: 246 450 938

 

PA Applications

Junior and senior students applying for physician assistant programs will be introduced to application timelines and strategies needed to compete successfully in the current application cycle.

  • Wednesday, Apr. 15, 6PM, Zoom Session
    • Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://psu.zoom.us/j/296415092
    • Dial:    +1 312 626 6799 (US Toll)
    • Meeting ID: 296 415 092

 

Please see our "Other Group Advising Sessions" below for more sessions including Interviewing, Personal Statement, Gap Year and other sessions and workshops. 

Several sessions on special topics related to health professions are offered only once per semester or once per academic year. Topics may change from semester to semester.

Our office will not be holding these meetings in person while the university is closed to students, but will likely be hosting these meetings virtually via a Zoom session. Please check back for more information. 

Demystifying the MCAT

We recommend this workshop for those students who are planning to take the MCAT this year (2020). Here, we will discuss generalized preparation for the MCAT, how much it costs, resources available, when to take it, and tips from some Penn State students who performed well on the MCAT.

  • Thurssday, January 16, 6:00 - 7:00 PM in 362 Willard

 

Health Professional School Interviewing

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 (Fall 2019 semester). We will host an additional meeting at the beginning of the Spring semester. 

  • Wednesday, January 22, 6:00 - 7:15 PM in 102 Thomas

 

Personal Statement Workshop

Strategies and tips for statement prompts - bring your writing tools!

We recommend this workshop for those students who are currently beginning their process of applying to health professional schools.  

  • Thursday, February 6, 6:00 - 7:15 PM in 112 Buckhout

 

Gap/Glide Year Seminar

Options for how to spend your time before starting a health professional program

  • Tuesday, March 24, CANCELLED - please check back for more information regarding this topic

 

Post-bacc 101

Learn about post-graduate programs for academic enhancement toward health professional schools

  • Look for dates in the spring!

Contact us!

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