• Academic Advising

  • PRE-HEALTH FAQs

    GENERAL 

    Q: Where is the Pre-health Office?  

    A: We are located in Furst 111, directly opposite the elevators. 

    Q: When should I meet with the pre-health advisor?   

    A: As soon as you arrive on campus you should make an appointment to meet with the advisor in Furst Hall, room 111 and you should join the pre-health listserv.  

    Q: How often should I see the prehealth advisor?   

    A: At least twice a semester and of course anytime you feel you need guidance about taking a withdrawal or a leave of absence, etc.  

    Q: My classes schedule is very tight. Will someone be able to see me late in the day?   

    A: Yes. The advisor can see students up until 5:30 most days. Later hours are available as needed.  

    Q: Should I take biology and chemistry together?   

    A: If you were a strong student in science and have AP credits for biology and chemistry, you should be able to manage both of these courses at the same time. However, you should be sure that you have the time needed to complete both courses with excellent grades! Make up a mock schedule.  

    Q: What GPA do I need to be competitive for medical school?   

    A: Over the past three years the average BCPM (biology, chemistry, physics and math) GPA has been 3.7 for accepted students.  

    Q: What GPA do I need to be competitive for dental school?   

    A: Dental schools are slightly less competitive and a GPA of 3.3 or higher in your BCPM is required.  

    Q: I am not sure I want to be a doctor. What other doctoral programs in the health field are available to me?   

    A: You can be an optometrist, a podiatrist, a physical therapist or a pharmacist. These are all doctoral level programs. Information about other health care careers can be found at: explorehealthcareers.org  

    Q: I want to take some of my science courses in the summer. Is this advisable?   

    A: It is not advisable to do science courses in the summer. One reason is that you will find it difficult to retain the information you've studied over the summer as the time period of the classes is truncated. A more important reason is how schools view these courses. Health professions schools will judge your application based on how competitive your schedule is and how well you've done in science courses. If you are a B+ student in your sciences and get two A's in summer school, schools will assume you are really only capable of B+ work. It would be better to take just one semester of a course in the summer and take the other half of the course in a regular semester if you must choose this option.  

    Q: What course should I begin with if I don't speak English well?   

    A: The first thing is to talk to the ESL advisor, Dr. Silbermintz, silbermi@yu.edu. Your first courses should allow you to practice reading and writing extensively as these skills will be needed in order to successfully manage the standardized exams required of ALL health professions schools. Math courses tend to be easier to manage while learning a new language so completing your one year of math would be a good use of your time.  

    Q: I would like to see admissions people when they come to campus. Will meetings be arranged at night or on Sunday afternoons?   

    A: Yes, we will schedule meetings with admissions people as late as possible and we will try to arrange for meetings after 3PM on Sundays. However, our ability to schedule speakers will of course depend on the speaker's willingness to visit us at these times.  

    Q: Where can I get information about volunteer opportunities?   

    A: There are volunteer offices at most hospitals. There are also spots available at nursing homes, hospices, and public health clinics. Check with the Career Development Center as well. The Pre-health office has a list of volunteer offices for the five boroughs.  

    Q: I want to do my volunteer work in Israel. Is this ok?   

    A: While volunteer work in any other country is valid, American medical schools would like to see prolonged service (at least 150 hours) in an American institution. Remember, in order to get into the schools of your choice you have to be a "unique" individual, someone whom medical schools will want to diversify their class. Experiences that are done by everyone else at YU will not give you an opportunity to "shine".  

    Q: With the dual curriculum my grades are not as strong as they could be. Will my health professions schools take this into account?   

    A: It is a buyer's market! Schools have many students they can choose from. If your grades are subpar you are likely to be rejected. You should work on getting a solid "A" average in your science/math courses for at least one complete year at YU. And you should be sure to take several upper division courses in biology or chemistry to show you are capable of the workload you will have as a medical/dental student.  

    Q: I just decided that I'd like to go to medical school and I am a senior. What are my options?  

    A: You can stay at YU and complete the courses needed. Or you can apply to formal post baccalaureate programs.  

    Q: What is required from a post baccalaureate program and where are they located?   

    A: Postbac programs allow you to complete all of the science and math requirements you need for your health professions career. They will provide you with academic guidance, course selection and scheduling information as well as write a letter on your behalf when you apply. Completing the work at YU will allow you to stay in an area you are familiar with but some of the postbac programs may be better suited to your personal circumstances. Each has its own set of admission criteria and deadline dates. 

    In NYC there are four major programs: 

     • Columbia  

     • NYU  

     • Hunter  

     • City College  

    For a complete listing of post baccalaureate programs across the country: http://services.aamc.org/postbac  

    Q: I don't have a lot of professors that know me well enough for a letter of recommendation. Can I just ask for letters from other people?   

    A: You MUST have three letters of recommendation from science and/or math faculty. Take your resume and transcripts to them and ask for a one to one meeting so you might give them information they might need to write a letter on your behalf.  

    THE APPLICATION PROCESS   

    Q: I keep hearing that the application process is long and complicated. What should I do to avoid the stresses that I see others going through when they apply?   

    A: Students should begin preparing their files at least a year before they take their professional school exams. Make sure you've kept up with asking about letters of recommendation or evaluations. Check your file once a semester to see if your requests have actually arrived in our office. Collect reading/study material you will need to prepare you for these tests. Update your resume every semester. File for your Committee letter well before the stated deadline; we will assign people on a first come, first served basis. If you wait too long and we are unable to provide a letter for you schools will ask WHY! Letting schools know that you missed important deadlines that impacted on your ability to get a letter from us will certainly harm your application.  

    YOUR COMMITTEE LETTER   

    Q: What is the Committee letter?  

    A: Your Committee letter is comprised of comments made by faculty, lab instructors and recitation instructors here at YU when they write a letter on your behalf. Your letter will also contain any letters of recommendations you may receive from outside of the school. The comments made in all of these letters are the "meat and potatoes" of your Committee letter. Too few comments will make your letter weak and ineffective. This is turn will translate into no interviews! You are responsible for gathering these letters together!  

    Q: How many letters do I need for a Committee letter?   

    A: Students need to obtain seven letters if they are pre-med, at least three of which must be from science and/or math teachers. Pre-dental students need four letters, two of which must be from science and/or math teachers. All recommendations are kept on file in the Pre-Health Office.  

    Q: I have several letters that are going to be coming in from a variety of places. I am worried that they will be lost or delayed. Are there any services I can use that will store and send these letters to your office?  

    A: You can use an electronic service such as Interfolio to collect and send your letters to our office or to other programs. However, this service is not free.  

    Q: Why do you want an autobiography?  

    A: The autobiographical packet is used for background information that we need to write your Committee letter. It is important to provide admissions offices with a Committee letter that gives a picture of you as a student, a son, a husband and/or father, as well as your role as an athlete, leader, researcher etc. This packet is and will not be mailed to the schools; it is for our internal use only.  

    Q: Why must I get copies of all transcripts when transfer courses are listed on my YU transcript?   

    A: Students must have on file any transcripts for schools they have attended other than YU. These courses may be listed on your transcript but your professional schools will want each individual transcript from every American or Canadian school you've attended. We need them as well in the event there is a problem or discrepancy that needs to be addressed. Your Israeli transcripts are not needed.  

    Q: Why do I have to have an interview with the Pre-health advisor?   

    A: The pre-health advisor meets with you to gain information not gleaned from the autobiographical packet and to provide you with practice on answering questions in an interview setting.  

    Q: What happens once I've completed all of the above?   

    A: Once we have your autobiographical packet and you've met with the pre-health advisor a letter is drafted and sent to Committee for final editing. The letter is then finalized and ready to be sent via mail or electronically.  

    Q: How soon will my letter be ready after the interview with the advisor?  

    A: It will take several weeks to finish your letter. It has to be written, discussed, and then final revisions are made. Once the letter comes back to our office in its final stage we will upload the letter to the appropriate service.  

    Q: Is there a fee for sending my letters?   

    A: No, Yeshiva does not charge you a fee for the letter service.  

    TEST SCORES   

    Q: Should I take a test prep course?  

    A: Test prep courses are expensive and often require classroom time you may be unable to spare. However, if you are someone who needs outside pressure to get your work done a test prep program may be worth the money.  

    Q: Why do I have to release my scores to the Prehealth Advisor?  

    A: Your test scores are an important part of your application. The pre-health adviser is not being nosy! By releasing your scores to our office you afford us an opportunity to help you make an informed decision about what you should be doing. We do not share the scores with others. We do not use the scores to rate you or compare you to other YU students. However, if a health professions school contacts us about your application we need to know what your scores are so we might address any concerns the schools may have.  

    Q: My test scores are bad. Should I apply anyway?   

    A: Your test scores are the biggest factor in the admissions process. If you have bad or even marginal scores your chances of success are greatly diminished. Before spending a lot of money on an application you should try and retake the exam and improve upon your performance. There is no substitute for a poor score.  

    Q: What is a good score?   

    A: MEDICAL: If you are applying to medical school the MCAT is the test you will take. The average MCAT score for accepted students in 2010 was a 31O. However, schools in the Tri-State region have significantly higher scores for accepted students. There is a chart published by the AAMC that gives acceptance rates based on GPA and MCAT scores. 

    DENTAL: Students applying to dental school take the DAT. The DAT tests your knowledge of Biology, Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Reading, and Math. Physics is required to enter dental school but it is not tested on the DAT. Accepted student scores had an average of 20 on the DAT in 2010. Top schools such as Columbia and UPenn had significantly higher scores for accepted students.  



     

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