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Premedicine Major

PreHealth Advising

Welcome to Prehealth Advising at Penn State

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.

 

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

Drop-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 drop-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)

 

Drop-In Advising (AUGUST 30 - DECEMBER 10, 2021)

Virtual drop-in advising sessions will be held during the specified days and times below. All other times will need to be scheduled through Starfish.

Thursdays, 1:30PM - 3:30PM EST

Fridays, 10:00AM -12:00PM EST

Join our virtual Kiosk! 

Please view Starfish for appointments with your prehealth adviser. You may also email an adviser for times to meet if you cannot find any available. 

* 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 to find an appointment with any prehealth advisor.
  2. To find a specific advisor, and see our service page, click here.
  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.

*Due to low attendance, these sessions will now be held exclusively virtually. In-person presentations will not be held, except where listed below. 

 

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.

  • September 1, 2021 @6PM -- Zoom link Password: 449959

 

PROFESSIONALISM

Join the Pre-Health Advising Office as we discuss the expectations for professional behavior prior to, during, and after health professions applications, school, and professional training.

  • October 4, 2021 @6PM -- Zoom link Password: 449959

 

SOPHOMORE CHECK-UP WORKSHOP

If you are a sophomore student, join us for a conversation on your progress towards application readiness.

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

    • In person location - 111 Wartik Lab

 

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.

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

 

HEALTH PROFESSIONS PORTFOLIO OVERVIEW

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

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

 

    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.

     

    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.

     

    PLANNING FOR A GAP/GLIDE YEAR(S)

    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.

    • Presented during Spring semester.
    • Please complete this form to view a previously recorded version of this session.

     

    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.

    *Due to low attendance, these sessions will now be held exclusively virtually. In-person presentations will not be held, except where listed below. 

      E-PORTFOLIO, COMPREHENSIVE INTERVIEW, & PSU LETTER PACKET 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. Once the portfolio (and portfolio checklist) is complete, applicants can schedule a comprehensive interview and obtain a letter packet from Prehealth Advising.

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

          • In person location - 111 Wartik Lab

         

        HEALTH PROFESSIONS INTERVIEWING WORKSHOP WITH MEDICAL & DENTAL 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 2021 semester). We will host an additional meeting at the beginning of the Spring semester. 

        • September 20, 2021 @6PM -- Zoom link Password: 449959

          • In person location - 262 Willard Building

         

        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.

        • September 30, 2021 @6PM -- Zoom link Password: 449959

         

        PROFESSIONALISM

        Join the Pre-Health Advising Office as we discuss the expectations for professional behavior prior to, during, and after health professions applications, school, and professional training.

        • October 4, 2021 @6PM -- Zoom link Password: 449959

         

        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. 

          • October 12, 2021 @6PM -- Zoom link Password: 449959

           

          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.

          • October 20, 2021 @6PM -- Zoom link Password: 449959

           

          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.

          • November 1, 2021 @6PM -- Zoom link Password: 449959

           

            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.

            • November 4, 2021 @6PM -- Zoom link Password: 449959

             

            PLANNING YOUR APPLICATION YEAR - Dental 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.

             

            PLANNING YOUR APPLICATION YEAR - 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.

             

              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.

              • Presented during Spring semester. 
              • Please complete this form to view a previously recorded version of this session.

               

              PLANNING FOR A GAP/GLIDE YEAR(S)

                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.

                • Presented during Spring semester.
                • Please complete this form to view a previously recorded version of this session.

                 

                CASPA OVERVIEW

                For pre-PA candidates intending to apply to PA programs this 2022-2023 application cycle. Learn about navigating through CASPA, the application system used to apply to PA programs across the US.

                • Presented during Spring semester.
                • Please complete this form to view a previously recorded version of this session.

                 

                AMCAS & AACOMAS OVERVIEW (MD/DO)

                For pre-med candidates intending to apply to MD and or DO programs this 2022-2023 application cycle. Learn about navigating through AMCAS (MD) and AACOMAS (DO), the centralized application systems used to apply to MD and DO programs across the US.

                • Presented during Spring semester.
                • Please complete this form to view a previously recorded version of this session.

                 

                DENTAL, OPTOM, PHARM, PODIATRY, ETC APPLICATION SERVICES OVERVIEW

                For candidates intending to apply to dental, optometry, pharmacy, or podiatry programs this 2022-2023 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.Many health professions programs use a centralized application platform (Liaison) - this session will cover the essentials!

                • Presented during Spring semester.
                • Please complete this form to view a previously recorded version of this session.

                 

                  AAMC CHOOSE YOUR MEDICAL SCHOOL TOOL

                  For current medical school applicants in the 2021-2022 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.

                  • Presented during Spring semester.
                  • Please complete this form to view a previously recorded version of this session.

                   

                  SCHOOL CHOICE: WHERE DO I APPLY?

                  Choosing which professional programs to apply to can be an overwhelming decision. There are hundreds of schools and the average student will apply to around 15 institutions. This session will discuss strategies for strategically determining where you will apply during your cycle.

                  • Presented during 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 - Pre-Physician Assistant students 

                  We have opened the personal statement module in Canvas for Pre-PA students (and allied health fields) to begin working on their personal statement. Students may submit their personal statements for review between Nov1-12 and we will provide feedback shortly after that time period. You may complete the modules within our Canvas course to gain a better understanding of how to write a personal statement. 

                  Personal Statements for medical, dental, optometry, and podiatry programs will be reviewed during the comprehensive interview process.

                   

                  For instructions how to write a personal statement, and how to get it reviewed by a prehealth adviser, please go request access to the module.

                   

                  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.

                   

                  Applying to the health professions as an alum?

                  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, 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 Zoom 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.

                   

                  We want to assist alumni 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.
                  • Application assistance and candidacy evaluation.
                  • Comprehensive Interview and Cover Letter for health professions applicants.

                   

                  If you are a graduate of Penn State and interested in applying to a Health Professions program, please email prehealthadvising@psu.edu or call 814-865-7620 to schedule an appointment. You may also attend our virtual group advising sessions! View our Health Professions Group Advising Sessions schedule above to join in the live sessions. Alumni may also join any of our Prehealth Canvas Modules linked in the material above. This provides access to recorded sessions, health professions resources, timely announcements, and more.  

                  Contact us!

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