I am an entering freshman. What courses should I take in the first year ?

If you are interested in medicine PA, or dentistry, In the first semester, you should take CHM 111 with lab.  In the spring, you should register for CHM 122.

When should I start biology courses?

If you are not planning on majoring in biology, you should begin biology with BIO 150/L in the spring of your freshman year. If you plan to major in biology, you can start BIO 150/L in the fall of your first year, along with chemistry. But this is only recommended if you are confident of your ability to excel in two college-level lab courses.

With whom should I speak if I am interested in attending a health professions program such as in medicine, dentistry, nursing, etc, after I graduate?

In addition to your academic advisor, there are eight health professions advisors who are available to consult with you on the prerequisites and application process for the various programs. You can find a list of the health professions advisors and their areas of specialty on page 7 of the in the Health Professions Handbook and on the Health Professions web page (http://college.wfu.edu/prehealth/).

How do I get an appointment with a health profession advisor?

See page 7 of this Handbook for a list of the Health Professions Advisors and contact information for making an appointment.

When should I apply?

It depends on what type of program you are looking at. Students applying to programs such as dentistry and physical therapy most often apply at the end of the third year. Physician Assistant programs have very specific requirements that most often require a year beyond graduation before applying.

Many prestigious schools have designed pre-medical and pre-dental programs that use the full four years of college to prepare their students for admission to health professions schools, so that students do not apply until just after graduation.  

The important thing is not to apply before you are ready! Professional schools are looking for students that have demonstrated that not only are they good students, but that they are committed to service and have a breadth of life experiences. Every year, you will become more mature and have more life experiences that will make you a more competitive applicant. If you wait to apply until after your fourth year, your senior year grades will be included in the consideration of your application.  By this time, you will be taking mostly courses in your major and elective courses, in which students generally do very well. This is an opportunity to maximize your GPA. 

Finally, if you are applying to medical school, an exam known as the MCAT is required for admission. It is a very difficult exam, and requires a considerable amount of intense study. If you wait until after your fourth year to apply, you allow yourself the entire summer between the third and fourth years to study for the MCAT. Taking the exam during the academic year jeopardizes both your GPA for the semester and your score on the MCAT exam. 

If I am a pre-health professions student, is it possible to study abroad?

Absolutely! Even pre-medical students and pre-physician assistant students who have the greatest number of prerequisite courses to complete can study abroad. Please see the course planning guides in the Health Professions Handbook. Whatever health profession program you are aspiring to, study abroad is possible, but it takes careful planning. Visit the Office of Global Programs and Studies in Reynolda Hall during your first semester, and begin to plan!

Is there a study abroad program that will allow me to complete prerequisite courses that I need for my health professions program?

It is difficult to find science courses in English abroad unless you study in an English-speaking country. But if you plan ahead, you can fit all of your science prerequisites in while at Wake Forest, and use your study abroad time to appreciate the art, history and culture of the country in which you choose to study.

An alternative is to study at one of the Wake Forest programs offered in London, Vienna, Venice, or Chile. Often science faculty from Wake Forest teach at these programs for a semester or in the summer, giving you an opportunity to take prerequisite courses in English. Check with the Office of Global Programs and Studies well in advance to see when science faculty will be taking students abroad, and what courses will be offered.

What else should I be thinking about besides course work to make me competitive for a health professions program after I graduate?

All of the health professions programs require that you have community service and  some volunteer clinical service hours, and that you have “shadowed” (interned with) a professional who works in your chosen profession. 

The other thing that you should be thinking about is that in three or four years you will need at least three letters of recommendation, two of which will most likely be from faculty members.  Get to know several professors. Take a professor that you have enjoyed for more than one class. Work with faculty on projects in which they are involved. Visit during office hours. Discuss your career aspirations.  Let the faculty know who you are above and beyond your performance in their class.

What is the Health Professions Committee?

The Health Professions Committee is comprised of all of the health professions advisors. Besides serving as advisors for students interested in various health professions, members of the committee evaluate and rank pre-medical and pre-dental undergraduate students as part of their application process to medical or dental school.

What is the “committee letter”?

Medical and dental schools ask for a letter from the students’ undergraduate institution that expresses the degree of support that the institution has for the student’s application and an explanation of that support.  This letter is written by the Director of Health Professions Advising, with input from the Health Professions Committee. Information on the application process and deadlines can be found in the Health Professions Handbook and online at http://college.wfu.edu/prehealth/.