Science and PreHealth Advising Center
East Wing, 230 Ritenour Building
University Park, PA 16802
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.
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
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.
2nd Floor Ritenour, East Wing
Science Advising: 814-863-3889
PreHealth Advising: 814-865-7620