»Pre-Med and Pre-Health Program

The Pre-Health Advising Program was created to help guide Chapman students in the coursework required or recommended by professional health schools including: medical, dentistry, pharmacy, optometry, podiatry, veterinary, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and nursing (to name a few).

What is pre-health?

This is a designation for those who seek admission to health professional programs, usually upon completion of a baccalaureate (BA, BS, etc.) degree. While the "well-known" fields including medicine and dentistry continue to draw interest, we encourage students to explore other options-- all of which lead to satisfying careers in which one can make a difference.

Two excellent starting points to explore health career possibilities are the online Occupational Outlook Handbook and the explorehealthcareeers.org web page. In the Occupational Outlook Handbook, see the occupations listed under health diagnosing and treating occupations, and health technologists and technicians.

Why choose a career in the health professions?

Students are drawn to the health professions for many reasons. Some have relatives or parents who are actively involved as physicians, nurses, researchers, optometrists, dentists, etc. Other students have an "inner call" or sense of responsibility to become caregivers and healers to those who need health assistance and direction. Still other students have their first interaction with the health professions through interaction with other students in their science majors, research experience, and the support groups/clubs associated with their majors. Many are seeking a career where they can serve their community and country as responsible citizens, and enjoy their chosen field as a day-to-day activity.

*Chapman University would like to acknowledge and thank the Ohio State University for granting permission to use some of their material for portions of this website.

+-Preparation: How to be a Competitive Applicant

Admission to the health professions schools tends to be very competitive. While there is no "magic formula" for gaining admission to a particular program, general expectations include the following:

  • A very solid academic performance, with especially high grades in science pre-requisite courses, as well as overall. As a general rule, a 3.5 or above cumulative grade point average is desirable, although each institution has different expectations.
  • Scoring highly on health professions admissions tests (MCAT, DAT, PCAT, GRE, etc.). This not only demonstrates command of the subject material, but also indicates ability to succeed on tests "down the road," including professional licensing examinations. Various test preparation strategies are available, including self-study guides and preparation courses through Kaplan, Princeton Review, or other companies.
  • Volunteer experience, including a substantial amount of exposure to the profession of interest. Professional schools expect or require this! In general, experiences:
  • Should show that you work well with a wide variety of people (leadership is recommended)
  • Should show that you like to help people (philanthropies)
  • Should show that you have learned about the profession through clinical experience with patient contact, informational interviews with practitioners, etc.
  • Extracurricular activities (e.g. student clubs, research in faculty labs - see student research opportunities)
  • Excellent letters of reference. It is important early on to get to know your professors!
  • What kind: will vary, but may include two science faculty (if you were involved in research, your research advisor should be one of these), one or two non-science faculty, and someone who has observed you doing volunteer work in the profession of your choice.
  • Well-prepared applications, including essays.
  • Being well-prepared during interviews. This will be your chance to talk with representatives of the admissions committee, - explain your motivations for entering the profession, and tell them why you will make a good practitioner. Remember: You can't just say it - you must have lived it!
  • When: autumn, winter, and spring depending on test results and the competitiveness of the application file you presented.

*Chapman University would like to acknowledge and thank Ohio State University for granting permission to use some of their material for portions of this website.

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Contact Us

Kenneth Sumida, Ph.D.
Professor of Biological Sciences
(714) 997-6995
sumida@chapman.edu