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Pre-Health FAQ

  1. Q: What are some health-related graduate programs besides medical school that I can prepare for at LeTourneau University?
  2. Q: Is there a pre-medical or pre-health profession major at LeTourneau?
  3. Q: What are the considerations for admission to medical or graduate school?
  4. Q: What percentage of LeTourneau University applicants are actually accepted?
  5. Q: What are some of the special ways LeTourneau University supports students interested in gaining admission to health-related graduate programs?
  6. Q: What are graduate and medical school course requirements?
  7. Q: When should I take the entry test for my graduate program?
  8. Q: What are the advantages/disadvantages to taking the entry test more than once?
  9. Q: What is a personal statement?
  10. Q: From whom should I request letters of recommendation?
  11. Q: What grade point average and entry test score is necessary for me to get into my target graduate or medical school?
  12. Q: Is it necessary to major in a science discipline in order to apply to medical school or graduate school for other health related professions?
  13. Q: What is JAMP?
  14. Q: Should I use AP credits to fulfill my requirements?
  15. Q: Should I take prerequisites over the summer?
  16. Q: What if I'm not doing well in one of my courses?
  17. Q: In addition to taking the courses required, what should I be doing during semesters and during summer breaks?
  18. Q: How do I obtain research experience?
  19. Q: When is a good time to start gaining clinical experience?
  20. Q: What if I am not accepted by my target program?
  21. Q: What if I want to take a gap year?

Q: What are some health-related graduate programs besides medical school that I can prepare for at LeTourneau University?  Back to top
The list includes the following: veterinary medicine, physical therapy, physician’s assistant, optometry, occupational therapy, doctor of osteopathic medicine, podiatry, respiratory therapy, lab technician, nuclear medicine, health care administration, public health and speech therapy.
 
 
Q: Is there a pre-medical or pre-health profession major at LeTourneau? Back to top
Candidates for medical, dental and veterinary schools (as well as other Allied Health graduate programs) are encouraged to pursue any major while taking elective courses that meet the prerequisites for their target graduate school. Most graduate and medical schools encourage a broad base of interest in undergraduate degrees. You’ll focus on your target profession once you are in medical or graduate school.
 
There are majors which include the pre-requisites for most health related graduate schools. For example, a Bachelor of Science in Biology includes the prerequisites for most medical schools; it also includes most prerequisites for many of the other graduate programs for health-related professions such as physical therapy and physician’s assistant schools.
 
A Bachelor of Science in Chemistry with a biology concentration also serves very well. Other students interested in medical school done very well by taking an undergrad degree in biomedical engineering. Students interested in physical therapy have also done very well with an undergraduate degree in exercise science.

 
Q: What are the considerations for admission to medical or graduate school? Back to top
Considerations for admission are:

a) Academic performance in pre-med course requirements and other course work
d) Extracurricular, volunteer and research activities, etc.
b) Entry test score (MCAT, DAT etc.)
c) For medical and veterinary school - additional advanced biology courses
 
 
Q: What percentage of LeTourneau University applicants are actually accepted? Back to top
The acceptance rate of LeTourneau University graduates who have applied to medical or medically related graduate programs has consistently been over 90%.
 
 
Q: What are some of the special ways LeTourneau University supports students interested in gaining admission to health related graduate programs? Back to top
Your letters of recommendation are extremely important. At LeTourneau University, faculty work extensively with undergraduates. Lab courses are taught by faculty. LeTourneau University faculty work with undergraduates as lab assistants and lead research teams composed entirely of undergraduate students. Strong relationships are built that enable LeTourneau University faculty to write powerful and convincing letters of recommendation because we know our students well.
 
There is a Health Professions Advisory Program that helps direct students in their course selections and identification of appropriate activities to ensure preparedness for post graduate health-related programs.
 
Additionally, students interested in health professions support one another through the LeTourneau pre-health club, Hygeia, which hosts guest speakers on medical topics and preview trips to graduate and medical schools.
 
Many of our pre-health students benefit from participating in LeTourneau’s unique Global Service Learning projects, including medically related undergraduate research projects such as the Wheels project.
 
Undergraduate research opportunities enable pre-health students to do primary research and publish their findings. In so doing they begin to build relationships into the professional community.
 
Our Clinical Issues and Clinical Observation courses enable pre-health students to observe, work with and build relationships with people in their target field. We have a strong network of medical and health professionals who are happy to interact and work with LeTourneau students.
 
Many graduate and medical programs are actively seeking applicants with a strong ethical framework. With our strong commitment to Christ, LeTourneau University comes alongside students to build that framework.
 
The personal statement is an important part of any application. Graduate and medical schools are looking for applicants with a convincing commitment to their target profession and to humanitarian service. The ethical framework based on scripture and the many opportunities for global service provide a great training ground that enables students to be people who can write a deeply sincere and convincing personal statement.
 
 
Q: What are graduate and medical school course requirements? Back to top
Currently, on a national level, prerequisites for many programs including medical school are under review. Check the website of your target graduate school, or the AMCAS or TMDSAS website, for updates. Some medical and graduate schools do not accept AP credits.
 
For a general overview of medical school requirements, the list below may be of help, but each medical school is slightly different.
 
English: 6 credit hours
Mathematics: 3-4 credit hours
Chemistry: 6 credit hours of lecture, 2 credit hours of lab
Organic Chemistry: 6 credit hours of lecture, 2 credit hours of lab
Physics: 6 credit hours lecture, 2 credit hours of lab
Biology: 6 credit hours of lecture, 2 credit hours of lab 8 credit hours of upper level bio.
Biochemistry is strongly recommended
 
 
Q: When should I take the entry test for my graduate program? Back to top
Entry tests include the: MCAT (pre-medical); DAT (pre-dental); OAT (optometry); PCAT (pharmacy); and GRE (most other graduate programs).
 
In general, the entry test should be taken in the spring of your junior year. The tests can be taken later, but this delays successful application, and early applicants do, in general, have a real advantage.
 
Many students find it wise to plan to take most of their pre-requisites for their target grad school before that date if possible. They also often choose to take an online preparatory course. It’s wise to include time for entry test preparation in long-term course planning.
 
More information on each of the prep tests, including how to register for the tests and find preparatory material is available at the links above. AMCAS has published an official guide to taking the MCAT.
 
 
Q: What are the advantages/disadvantages to taking the entry test more than once? Back to top
Students should not take the test until they have done extensive preparation. Many of the preparatory courses include multiple practice tests to identify weaknesses and strengths.
 
If enough preparation has not been done, taking the MCAT another time allows for targeted preparation based on weaknesses identified (after taking the examination the first time) and the increased likelihood of improving your score. However, taking the test multiple times without improvement is frowned upon.
 
 
Q: What is a personal statement? Back to top
The personal statement is the medical school application essay. The AMCAS prompt is: "Explain why you want to go to medical school." Each applicant is given approximately 900 words to get their point across to the admissions committee members. The personal statement should reflect the student’s life to convincingly communicate the student’s passion and commitment to his or her target career. This should be supported with clinical, volunteer and research experiences acquired during their undergraduate career.

 
Q: From whom should I request letters of recommendation? Back to top
Letters should be requested from at least two science professors (biology, chemistry, math/computer science, physics, a non-science professor and/or a mentor/advisor. To request a letter of recommendation, it’s a good idea to book an appointment and bring your personal statement, résumé and waiver. Check afterward to confirm they submit the letter on time.
 
It’s important that you do sign a waiver so that the admissions committee knows that your recommenders were able to speak freely.

 
Q: What grade point average and entry test score is necessary for me to get into my target graduate or medical school? Back to top
Many medical and graduate schools post average scores of successful applicants on their websites. AMCAS and TMDSAS also have information on medical and dental school entrants. Remember that these are averages and some will have gained entry with lower scores. However, these applicants often had other unique experiences and characteristics that recommended them. For example, strong personal statements, letters of recommendation, volunteer and research experience.
 
It’s a good idea to plan on achieving 3.5 GPA or higher with especially high marks in all your required and science courses.
 
 
Q: Is it necessary to major in a science discipline in order to apply to medical school or graduate school for other health related professions? Back to top
It is not mandatory to choose a science major. However, you will need to take quite a few basic science courses to have the necessary prerequisites. These courses usually represent around 1/3 of the courses needed for graduation. If your major does not include them, you’ll need to take them on top of your other course requirements.
 
The AMCAS website includes helpful information on the majors for pre-medical students. MCAT scores and GPAs for those who gain admission to medical school who have not taken science majors are above average. These are people who have been able to do well in their own major and in the additional science courses needed for pre-med requirements.
 
For medical and veterinary school, if you choose to major in a non-science discipline, it is recommended that you take at least two more advanced biology courses beyond the medical or veterinary school requirements.
 
 
Q: What is JAMP? Back to top
The joint admissions medical program is designed to “make the path to medical school a reality." LeTourneau University has a JAMP Faculty Director and is excited to offer this opportunity to eligible LeTourneau University pre-med students. If you are a Texas resident with a FAFSA family contribution of less than $8,000, you may be eligible. Check the JAMP website and contact Karen Rispin, LeTourneau University’s JFD.
 
 
Q: Should I use AP credits to fulfill my requirements? Back to top
Advanced Placement (AP) Credit will satisfy some requirements for many, but not all, graduate and medical schools. Check your target medical/dental/veterinary/graduate school’s webpages for their AP policies.
 
Even if your target school will accept AP credit, there are several precautions. For example, if you choose to rely on a large number of AP credits to satisfy your requirements, that can leave little for an admissions committee to judge you by.
 
If you choose to satisfy the general biology and general chemistry requirements with AP credits, you may want to very seriously consider completing at least two semesters of upper level course work in each discipline to establish that you are capable of performing well at the college level in each discipline.

 
Q: Should I take prerequisites over the summer? Back to top
It is possible to take prerequisites over the summer as long as they are taken at a reputable four-year institution. However, summer courses may squeeze a semester of work into five weeks. Such a short time does not always foster the level of mastery you should achieve in the course.
 
Additionally, much of the content taught in prerequisite courses is tested on the MCAT/DAT, etc., so mastery, over the long term, is essential to you performing well in upper level course work and on whatever entrance exam you are required to take.
 
**If you decide to take a course during the summer at another institution, make sure you complete the transfer credit form prior to enrollment in that course if you are planning on using the course to satisfy degree credit/major requirements.
 
 
Q: What if I'm not doing well in one of my courses? Back to top
It is the student's responsibility to take initiative when they are struggling in a course and approach the professor immediately. At the same time, there are many reasons you could not be doing well in a class. You should also make an appointment with an advisor and discuss your options before it is too late.

 
Q: In addition to taking the courses required, what should I be doing during semesters and during summer breaks? Back to top
What you do during your breaks indicates your true interests. Admissions committees will look at how you spend your time. They also like to see that you are familiar with the challenges and joys of your chosen profession. Spend time observing professionals in your field. If possible, get a job in a clinic, lab or hospital. Whatever you do, stick with it for a period of time so that your commitment is obvious.
 
Internships in your area of interest also look great on an application. There are many great search engines online for summer internships. It’s a good idea to apply for summer internships early in the previous fall.
 
Admissions committees are also looking for evidence of humanitarian concern. Look for chances to volunteer, especially in international and health-related programs.
 
 
Q: How do I obtain research experience? Back to top
Undergraduate research experience is recommended by many medical schools and other graduate schools. At LeTourneau University, undergraduates have a unique ability to do cutting-edge research. (In fact, we even have research projects run entirely with undergraduate students). To obtain research experience, contact a LeTourneau University professor about joining their research team. Learn more about our Global Service Learning projects.
 
Research experience can also be obtained via summer internships. Search online for internships with research projects in your area of interest and apply early.
 
 
Q: When is a good time to start gaining clinical experience? Back to top
Clinical experience is necessary both for you to find out about your area of interest and to show your commitment to your target profession. Many graduate programs strongly recommend or require a certain number of hours of clinical experience.
 
LeTourneau offers unique Clinical Issues and Clinical Observation courses that facilitate clinical experience with a broad array of medical professionals.
 
It is never too early to shadow medical professionals. Shadowing shows that you have taken the initiative to gain first-hand experience in the field. Even students with high grades and good recommendations sometimes are not admitted to graduate schools if they have had no contact with medical professionals in their field the two or three years before applying.
 
 
Q: What if I am not accepted by my target program? Back to top
It’s wise to have a back-up plan in mind from the beginning of your undergraduate experience. Often, students focus on medical school and do not take into account other health-related professions that they might enjoy.
 
 
Q: What if I want to take a gap year? Back to top
Quite a few students do delay going to medical school or graduate school. These students often work in their field of interest, travel, study abroad or conduct research. If the time is spent productively, a year off can strengthen your application.
 

 

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