What is Pre-Health?

Pre-Health is a track not a major. In addition to the courses required for your major, there are certain academic requirements you must meet as a student on the pre-health track.  Please review our student guide for details.

Who is a Pre-Health student?

A student who is interested in pursuing a professional career in one of the pre-health fields: medical, dental, veterinary, optometry, podiatry, or chiropractic medicine.  Students looking to pursue careers in nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and pharmacy should contact the School of Nursing and Health Studies.

Is there an orientation session for Pre-Health students?

Yes.  Before the start of each academic year the Office of Pre-Health Advising and Mentoring holds an orientation session for incoming and new Pre-Health students during the university's orientation week. 

What is a pink sheet?

The pink sheet is an evaluation of your professional suitability based on a UM course instructor/faculty member’s observation.  It consists of a table where you are ranked superior, very strong, strong, average, poor, or no observation in the following categories:  character, emotional balance, maturity, motivation, communication skills, intellectual ability, judgment, and perseverance.  A pink sheet request form is submitted by the student to the Office of Pre-Health Advising and Mentoring.  Our office then sends the pink sheet to the evaluator for the evaluator to complete and return to the Pre-Health Office along with a letter of evaluation. Both are placed in the student’s pre-health file and posted on Blackboard upon receipt.

What is the total number of letters included in my committee or cover letter packet?

A maximum of six individual letters of evaluation are submitted as part of your committee or cover letter packet.  For committee letter packets, six individual letters of evaluation are required.  Three of these must be from science faculty, one from a non-science faculty member, one from a health professional, and one “wild card” letter (i.e. research mentor, employer, etc.).

How do I know what courses qualify as a science?

Generally, courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and math count as science.  But there are exceptions.  Faculty members who teach the following courses count as science faculty:  BIL, CHM, PHY, MTH, BMB, MIC, NEU, BME, HCS [except for 202, 206, 306 and 317], some engineering [IEN 311, 312], some kinesiology [KIN 221, 222, 232, 233, 234, 246, 321, 322, 365, 366, 421] and some psychology courses [PSY 220, 291, 292, 403, 425, 491, 520].  All Exercise Science (ESS) majors please consult with the Pre-Health Director or Assistant Director via e-mail or at the information sessions about using certain courses. 

The American Medical College Application Service has a course guide which outlines their specifications for science course listings.  Please click here to view AMCAS’ classifications.

Can I request a letter from a faculty member I am currently taking a class with?

Yes. However the evaluator should wait until the end of the course to submit the letter and pink sheet evaluation to the Office of Pre-Health.

If I reapply, can I use the same letters?

Yes, but you also may request new or updated letters.

How should my letters be submitted to the Office of Pre-Health Advising and Mentoring?

Each letter should be on the evaluator’s official letterhead, signed and dated by the evaluator.  The letter should include your full name and C number and should comment on your suitability for professional school.  Letters must be submitted directly by the evaluator to the Office of Pre-Health Advising and Mentoring as a pdf attachment via email to prehealth@miami.edu, fax (305-284-8278), or mail (1365 Memorial Drive, Ungar Rm 103, Coral Gables, FL 33146).  Please note that email is the preferred method of letter submission.

Where do I get clinical experience?

Students should seek out varied clinical experience.  In addition to shadowing health professionals, you may volunteer at hospitals, clinics, private offices, institutions, nursing homes, hospice care facilities, and blood drives.  You may want to get certified as an emergency medical technician (EMT) or become a licensed certified nursing assistant (CNA).  Or you may want to participate in a medical mission trip.  We suggest students contact any of the pre-health clubs’ shadowing coordinators for opportunities.  Click here to visit our clubs’ page. Network and use your family contacts. What is most important in all these activities is to have patient contact.

How much shadowing do I need?

Shadowing is a key component of your application, particularly medical, dental, and veterinary schools. Here are the basics:

  •   You can shadow anywhere; it does not have to be in Miami
  •   Patient contact is key
  •   We recommend a minimum of three, 40-hour shadowing experiences
  •   We suggest one shadowing experience with a general practitioner and two with specialists

When is the best time to take the standardized test (e.g. MCAT, DAT, etc.)?

It is recommended that you take the appropriate test in the calendar year prior to the year that you plan to enter professional school. June and July are the most popular testing months; you will need to sign up well in advance. 

For the Medical College Admission Test dates and information, click here
For the Dental Admission Test, click here
For the Graduate Record Examination Test, click here

How should I prepare for the standardized test (e.g. MCAT, DAT, etc.)?

Because students have different study methods, the Pre-Health Office does not endorse any one study method or prep program.  Some students choose to study independently, others in groups, others with a private tutor.  A student may elect to take an online or in-person course through an organization such as Kaplan, Princeton Review, or Examkrackers.  Students who are planning to take the MCAT should use the resources put out by the AAMC.  All students should make sure to take many practice exams to get a feel for how questions are phrased and the length of the exam.

If I take a standardized test multiple times, what score do they look at?

Most schools generally look at the best overall score but they will receive all scores. Try to take your professional school entrance exam only once and at most twice.

How do I choose which schools/programs to apply to?

Do your homework.  Review schools’ official websites.  Keep in mind that public schools give preference to in-state applicants.  Private schools do not.  You may want to utilize the following resources:

Allopathic Medical Schools (M.D.) – The Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR) resource updated annually by the AAMC provides profiles of each U.S. and Canadian allopathic medical school.  You may purchase the MSAR for $20 on aamc.org.

Osteopathic Medical Schools (D.O.) – Download a free copy of the Osteopathic Medical College Information Book updated and released annually by aacom.org.

Dental Schools – The ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools is updated annually and provides profiles for the 76 U.S. and Canadian dental schools.  It is available for purchase for $15 at adea.org.

Veterinary Schools – The Veterinary Medical School Admissions Requirements (VMSAR) resource updated annually by the AAVMC provides profiles of each U.S. and Canadian veterinary medical school. You may purchase the VMSAR for $35.

Optometry Schools – Refer to the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry website www.opted.org which occasionally releases a freely downloadable admission requirements information book.

Podiatry Schools – Download a free copy of the Podiatric Medical College Information Book updated and released annually by aacpm.org.

Chiropractic Schools – Refer to the American Chiropractic Association website www.acatoday.org for information on accredited U.S. chiropractic colleges.

What if I’m an international student?

Not all U.S. health professional schools accept international students.  Make sure to carefully review each school’s policy on this.

Will professional schools accept AP/IB credit?

Some do, but not all.  Contact individual schools on their policies regarding AP and IB credit.

Will professional schools accept online classes?

Some do, but not all.  Contact individual schools on their policies regarding online courses.

Can a pre-medical student submit the AMCAS application without an MCAT score?

Yes.  If you have an MCAT test date enter in your anticipated test date.  If you have recently taken the test and have not yet received a score, enter in your test date.  Schools will automatically receive the score once it is released by the AAMC.  If you retake the MCAT, enter the new test date and resubmit the AMCAS application.  You will not have to repay the application fee.

When should I submit my application (AMCAS, AACOMAS, AADSAS, TMDSAS, etc.)?

You should aim to submit your application no later than August 1 of the year prior to intended matriculation.  The earlier the better!er!

When should I submit my secondary applications?

Again, the earlier the better! We suggest submitting secondaries within three weeks of receiving them.

What do I do if I’m a re-applicant?

If you have a cover letter packet on file that you want the Pre-Health Office to re-submit, you must complete the re-applicant request form.  If you have a committee letter packet on file, we highly suggest that you schedule a 15 minute update interview with Prof. Gaines during the committee letter interview period February-May (professional business attire is not required for an update interview).  The update interview may be in person in the Pre-Heath Office or via Skype for individuals no longer in the Miami area.  Committee letter re-applicants must call the Pre-Health Office to schedule the update interview (adhere to the interview dates), and then make sure to complete and submit to the Pre-Health Office the re-applicant request form, an updated curriculum vitae, and an updated professional development activities form at least 48 business hours before the scheduled update interview.  If you are requesting a cover letter packet for the first time, follow the cover letter packet procedures.  If you are requesting a committee letter packet for the first time, follow the committee letter packet procedures.

How do I get my committee or cover letter packet submitted to health professional school?

Once you submit your primary application to the application portal (AMCAS, AACOMAS, TMDSAS, AADSAS, etc.), you must provide a copy of your complete submitted primary application to the Pre-Health Office.  The portal allows you to save your application as a pdf file.  Once you save the application as a pdf file you may email it to prehealth@miami.edu or print it and drop it off at the Office.  If you are applying to AMCAS, you also must provide the Pre-Health Office with the AMCAS letter request form.  You may save the form as a pdf file and email it to prehealth@miami.edu or print it and drop it off at the Office.  When we receive the application, we will check your pre-health file for all required documents, including your six individual letters that will be part of the packet.  If we have all the required documentation, you will receive an email notification from the Pre-Health Office that you have been placed in queue for submission of your committee letter packet.  The length of the queue varies.  We cannot tell you your place in the queue.  Please be patient and keep in mind that the earlier you submit your paperwork, the higher your position in the queue.  We work as quickly as we are able to submit your letter packet.  You will receive email notification once your packet has been submitted.  Additional instructions for applying to AMCAS, AACOMAS, TMDSAS and AADSAS are provided on our website.

A note on saving your AACOMAS application as a pdf file:  The AACOMAS portal will generate one application for each osteopathic medical school you apply to.  The Pre-Health Office needs a copy of only one of your submitted applications.  For example, if you apply to ten osteopathic medical schools, send us your application for just one of those schools.  To do so, go to Manage my Programs - Program status - Blue download button.

A note on saving your AADSAS application as a pdf file:  Click the “Print Application” button on the “My tools” menu. This will open the application in a web page. Then save the web page as a pdf by selecting print and then selecting Adobe as the printer.

Can my committee letter packet be submitted without a standardized exam score?

Yes.  Applicants who are applying to medical or dental school with a committee letter packet do not have to have received their MCAT/DAT score prior to the committee letter packet being submitted to individual health professional schools or application portals.

Can my cover letter packet be submitted without a standardized exam score?

Yes.  Applicants who are applying to medical or dental school with a cover letter packet do not have to have received their MCAT/DAT score prior to the cover letter packet being submitted to individual health professional schools or application portals.

Can I send my transcripts before I submit my professional school application?

Yes.  As soon as you create an online account and receive a personal identification number you can begin requesting your transcripts.  However, if you currently are taking classes at an institution wait until you have received your semester grades to submit that school’s transcript.

How do I submit my transcripts requests?

Request transcripts directly from the registrar’s office at every institution you have received credits from.  Most schools allow you to do it online, while you may need to speak to the school’s registrar office at others.  The institutions will send the transcripts directly to the schools.  The Pre-Health Office does not process transcript requests.

UM transcripts are processed by a third party company called Credentials Solutions 847-716-3005.  Students have the option to request an e-pdf transcript (which is sent electronically to AMCAS) or paper copy (which is mailed via USPS).  All requests must be made through Canelink.  Students will be prompted each step of the way during the ordering process.  Students requesting to have their transcript sent via e-pdf to AMCAS must enter their 8 digit AAMC ID # and Transcript ID/Code.  Students requesting to have their transcripts sent via USPS mail, at the end of the order the system will automatically generate a pre-populated Fax Note which will need to be faxed directly to Credentials for processing. 

Where can I learn about financial aid options for health professional school?

Generally, institutions will offer financial aid in the form of grants and scholarships to select students.  But this type of aid is limited.  Students should look into outside fellowships, scholarships, and service commitment scholarships.  Below are some resources for exploring financial aid opportunities.

  •   fafsa.ed.gov
  •   finaid.org
  •   nslds.ed.gov
  •   studentaid.ed.gov
  •   nhsc.hrsa.gov/scholarships
  •   explorehealthcareers.org/en/careers/funding
  •   aacom.org/InfoFor/students/finaid/
  •   goarmy.com/amedd/education/hpsp.html
  •   airforce.com/opportunities/healthcare/education
  •   navy.com/joining/college-options/hpsp.html
  •   www.ihs.gov/scholarship/index.cfm

When should I expect an interview invite from a health professional school?

You may receive an invite for an interview as early as August.  Remember, the earlier you submit your primary and secondary applications, letter packet, transcripts, and take the standardized entrance exam, the earlier health professional schools will review your application and the better chance you have of getting interview invitations. 

How should I prepare for an interview at a health professional school?

Preparing for interviews can be stressful and intimidating.  Schedule a mock interview with the Toppel Career Center.  Keep in mind the following points:

  •   Research the school/program’s interview format
  •   Research the school/program’s curriculum
  •   Familiarize yourself with the school’s mission statement
  •   Know where to go for the interview and when – Be on time
  •   Prepare answers to expected questions including those related to current medical/ethical topics
  •   Dress professionally
  •   Make eye contact
  •   Communicate clearly
  •   Ask questions
  •   Be respectful
  •   Be yourself
  •   Smile!

What if I am applying to off-Shore of international Medical Schools?

The Request for Packet Submission to Off-Shore and International Medical Schools Form must be completed and submitted to the Pre-Health Office before the Office will submit your committee or cover letter packet to the designated schools.  No payment to the Office is required.  Please note that this form is not used for the following schools which instead utilize AMCAS and letter packets are submitted via the AMCAS Letter Writer Application: Ponce Health Sciences University School of Medicine, San Juan Bautista School of Medicine, Universidad Central del Caribe School of Medicine, and University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine.