This page offers you a myriad of links to:
- research the various ways to prepare a competitive application to a health professions program
- educate yourself about the professions themselves
Each link has been carefully developed to share the services of our prehealth advisors, links to information sources, contacts for the various UB student prehealth organizations, links to national sites, recommended readings, and provides a number of leads to help you secure clinical shadowing, volunteering and research opportunities. There is also a section to investigate the numerous summer clinical and research opportunities available.
- Prehealth Listserv
For frequent email updates pertaining to events of interest to UB prehealth students!
To subscribe to the prehealth listserv, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following text in the message body (not the “Subject” line – Subject should be blank):
- subscribe prehealth-list your name (example: subscribe prehealth-list Bill Jones)
Your email address will be automatically obtained from the email message and add you to the listserv.
To unsubscribe from the prehealth listserv, send an email to email@example.com with the following text in the message body (not the “Subject” line):
- unsubscribe prehealth-list
Your email address will be automatically obtained from the email message and remove you from the listserv.
Prospective students, freshmen, sophomores, candidates for Early Assurance Programs and the Combined BS/DDS Degree Program, juniors, seniors, alumni, and international students may schedule an appointment to see Amanda Sauter or Libby Morsheimer. Prospective students, freshmen, sophomores, and candidates for the Early Assurance Programs and the Combined BS/DDS Degree Program may schedule an appointment to see Amber Packard. Please set appointments by calling 716-645-6013, or by going to 109 Norton Hall between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Students are all strongly encouraged to attend a “So You Want to be a Doctor, Dentist, Vet…” workshop before meeting with a prehealth advisor. Students are also encouraged to read the UB Freshmen and Sophomore Prehealth Handbook: A Guide for College Students Just Getting Started in Their Quest for a Professional Health Career (PDF).
For general advising services, please see the Undergraduate Academic Advisement website.
Because appointments are generally 30 minutes in length and are often booked back-to-back, please consider arriving no earlier than 5 minutes before your scheduled appointment. Also, please try to arrive on time so that we might be able to address all of your concerns in the time allotted.
See the EVENTS tab for the current list of presentations.
- Prehealth Peer Advisors
Have you heard about the UB Prehealth Peer Advisor Program???
Junior and senior prehealth students are available to chat with you about your questions and concerns. Consider this a great addition to meeting with your prehealth advisor! Sign-up sheets will go out in the morning in 108 Norton Hall, but if you cannot sign up, consider just dropping by to say hello! Our peer advisors are very willing to speak to you, and you can benefit from their expertise and experience. If you have a question for the peer advisors but cannot attend their office hours you can email them during the semester at UBPrehealthPeer@gmail.com. Please note that as the peer advisors answer the emails during their office hours, it may take a few days for a response.
Peer Advisor Profiles for Spring 2017
Ming Jie Jiang: Thursday 10:00-11:00 (Physician Assistant (PA) Programs)
Ming is a Biomedical Sciences major. He has been a Certified Nursing Assistant for several months, working per diem at a nursing home helping the elderly perform their daily life activities. Prior to this, he volunteered in the Skilled Nursing Facility in DeGraff Memorial Hospital for 4 years. He also volunteers at Goodwill when he has the time. He plans to shadow a PA working in family practice and a few other fields to test out which specialty he would be most interested in.
Jon Kennedy: Thursday 4:30-5:00 (Allopathic (MD) Medical School, Osteopathic (DO) Medical School, and Early Assurance)
Jon is completing his BS degree in Biomedical Sciences. He became interested in medicine during high school, while volunteering at St. Joseph’s Hospital in his hometown of Syracuse, NY. This motivated Jon to get licensed as an Emergency Medical Technician, where he could obtain direct patient care. He has also dedicated much of his time to working with individuals with disabilities, as a counselor at MDA camp and New Visions at Onondaga Community College. While attending University at Buffalo, Jon shadowed doctors in a variety of specialties, including pediatrics, genetics, ophthalmology, and cardiology. In addition, Jon works as a medical assistant at Buffalo Medical Group P.C. and is the president of Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED) National Health Preprofessional Honor Society. Outside of academics, Jon enjoys participating in music ensembles on campus as well as playing hockey.
Taylor Lindsay: Friday 9:00-10:00 (Allopathic (MD) Medical School and Osteopathic (DO) Medical School)
Taylor is completing her BS in Biomedical Sciences this fall. Her path toward medical school began when she was a senior in high school, shadowing a family physician. She has volunteered at Buffalo Mercy Hospital since her first year at UB. Over the years, Taylor has observed physicians in many different specialties including Family Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Pediatrics, OB/GYN, General Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery, and Surgical Oncology. Taylor participated in research at UB’s Center for Children and Families while she was a junior. She also began her role as a Teaching Assistant for ANA 113 as a junior and will continue this through her senior year. While studying at UB, Taylor has kept a part time job as a Biographical Records Student Assistant in the department of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement. She has also been involved in the Association of Pre-Medical Students on campus.
Emily O’Brien: Monday 2:30-3:30 (Allopathic (MD) Medical School and Osteopathic (DO) Medical School)
Emily is completing her BS in Biomedical Sciences. She first became interested in medicine following a surgery of her own, and participated in a program her senior year of high school that allowed her to shadow various health professionals and ultimately confirmed her desire to become a physician. Since, she has continued to pursue medicine by volunteering in a hospital, shadowing various physicians, and working as a scribe in an emergency room. Emily has worked as a research assistant in a psychology lab and completed an independent research project in a nutrition and exercise science lab. She has been a teaching assistant for psychology and anatomy, and works as a tour guide for the Honors College. Emily travelled with other UB students on an alternative break trip last winter and enjoyed it so much that she will be a leader for this year’s upcoming trip.
Lauren Wager: Tuesday 1:00–2:00 (Dental (DDS) School)
Lauren is entering her senior year at UB, and she is studying both Biomedical Sciences and Psychology with plans to enter dental school in 2017. Lauren always wanted to be some sort of medical professional, and she shadowed many doctors and dentists in all different specialties over the past five years. She fell in love with the variation and intensity of procedures performed by oral and maxillofacial surgeons, and therefore decided to pursue dentistry. Since then, she has volunteered in several dental clinics, and she has come to appreciate the art of general dentistry and other specialties as well. She looks forward to eventually working as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon in a hospital setting, and being able to volunteer to give oral surgery to patients in need through free dental clinics in her spare time. Outside of school, Lauren enjoys running in ultramarathons, participating in triathlons, eating ice cream, and playing with her two puppy children.
- Prehealth Organizations
Please consider emailing any of the current presidents to be added to these organization listservs.
- Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED): National honor society, speakers, MCAT prep, community service opportunities. President: Jon Kennedy. Their national website is http://www.aednational.tcu.edu/. To add yourself to the AED listserv, go to https://listserv.buffalo.edu/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=SA-ALPHA-EPSILON-DELTA-LIST&A=1.
- Association for Premedical Students (APMS): Shadowing programs, Family Doctor-for-a-Day Program, speakers, community service opportunities. President: Jacqueline Szabat.
- Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students (MAPS): Guest speakers, community service opportunities. President: Gabriel Gomez-Chaves.
- Pre-Dental Association (PDA): Speakers, community service opportunities. President: Zack Ashkenazie.
- Pre-Meds Without Borders (PMWB): Speakers, fundraising, promotes and organizes medical mission trips. President: Neneyo Mate-Kole.
- Prehealth Committee
UB students have access to the full services of our Prehealth Committee. The Committee will provide a summary appraisal letter for use during your application process to the professional schools. Candidates must apply for a letter to be written and will be interviewed by one Committee member. Your letter file is maintained for 5+ years. Eligible students include current UB undergraduates, alumni and transfer students with 30+ credits at UB. There is a four tier recommendation system based on a student’s resume, transcripts, essay, recommendations and interview. Annual Deadlines are: Spring – March 15; Fall – September 1; Winter-December 1 for the EOPIM (PDF)
Carefully reviewing the Prehealth Committee tab on this site, watching our informational videos and attending a Prehealth Committee Information Session (listed under Events) are a must to be well informed about this process.
- Personal Statement/Essays
When you are approaching your application deadline, a prehealth advisor can critique your personal statement for you, though due to volume, our office will only do this for you one time.
- First, read and complete some of the exercises in the Essay Writing handbook available at our February workshop or in our Library Area in 108 Norton Hall. It is also helpful to read the sample statements provided. It is important to have a sense of knowing the appropriate content of your statement.
- Second, it is helpful to have your essay reviewed by The Center for Excellence in Writing in 209 Baldy Hall. You may also have an English professor of your choice review it if s/he is available.
- Third, you may email us your statement then make an appointment to meet with an advisor to review it at least 3-4 business days later. This will allow the advisor time to thoroughly review your statement before the appointment. You will then be instructed who to call to schedule your appointment.
Please go to the Student Advising Services YouTube Channel to find a series of videos relevant to being a prehealth student at UB. There are videos pertaining to general prehealth information, instructions regarding the completion of the Prehealth Committee process, why you may wish to consider a gap year and more!
Everything you need will be found in the Preprofessional Health Resource Area (108 Norton Hall) as well as on this site (release forms, request for recommendation forms, etc.).
JUNIOR/SENIOR YEAR (Dependent on year you elect to apply).
Year ONE: September-December
- Begin to review notes and textbooks for admissions exams.
- Begin or continue to collect letters of recommendation.
- Look for announcements regarding registration for spring exams (MCAT, DAT, OAT). All computerized with multiple dates of administration.
- Discuss your application with Libby Morsheimer or Amanda Sauter. Make an appointment in 109 Norton Hall or by calling 716-645-6013.
- Begin or continue to review for admissions exams.
- Determine if you are eligible for fee waivers. Apply early for them! Check relevant websites for details. Many of them are available in early January.
- Review for admissions exams.
- Check in 109 Norton Hall or through your online application, if started, to see if letters have arrived. Follow up where necessary.
- Begin to research schools: check the internet. Use resources like the Medical Schools Admission Requirement Guide (MSAR) for MD, College Information Book (CIB) for DO and American Dental Education Association (ADEA) Guide to Dental Schools for DDS.
- File your application for the Prehealth Committee Letter by MARCH 15.
- Applicants to US MD and DDS schools can now only use the spring cycle with a deadline of MARCH 15.
- Complete review and consider taking MCAT, DAT or OAT exams in April-May.
- Be sure 4-7 letters are in by April 15 for the Prehealth Committee. You need a MINIMUM of 4 letters by April 15.
- Complete your Committee interview in later April or May.
- Contact non-service schools for their applications (e.g., offshore medical schools).
- Start filling out applications for both service and non-service schools. Consider submitting by early June. Early applications are strongly recommended.
- Submit application to the centralized application services (June 1-June 30 is a good time). Applying EARLY is essential!
- Send out applications to non-service schools. Most have online applications. Promptly complete secondary applications as they come in (1-3 weeks).
- File MCAT/DAT/OAT exam applications even if you will be taking or retaking an exam. Taking the MCAT and DAT before July is strongly recommended. If you have questions, please discuss them with your advisor.
- ALL applicants submit Release Form to 109 Norton for Committee Letter and letters of recommendation to be electronically transmitted to professional schools. MOST schools accept electronically. For DDS schools, indicate we will send the letters electronically not via paper.
- Obtain and complete Committee application if you are using the Committee’s September cycle. The Committee application opens July 1.
- Check to see if your letters of recommendation have arrived. Follow up on any missing letters.
Year TWO: September
- September 1 deadline to file an application for the Committee letter.
- Complete your committee interview.
- Turn in any envelopes (if necessary) and Release Form to have letters sent. If applying US MD schools, submit AMCAS Letter Request Form as well.
- You may begin to have interviews schedule for this month and later. Do interview prep! Consult our office for information as well as Career Services in 259 Capen to schedule a practice interview session. Attend our Interview Prep Workshop scheduled each fall. Check the Events tab for the next session.
- Begin to think of possible alternatives, just in case.
- Notify us of any and all acceptances. Please speak with an advisor regarding our Winter Prehealth Committee cycle (deadline Dec 1) if you intend on applying EOPIM (PDF).
- Acquiring Clinical Exposure (Shadowing and Volunteering) and Research
- Volunteer Opportunities for Prehealth Students (PDF)
- Summer Opportunities in Health Care Handbook (PDF)
- National and International Opportunities for Prehealth Students (PDF)
- Finding Research Opportunities (PDF)
- Physician Shadowing (PDF) As requirements and deadlines for programs can change over time, please be sure to review this website thoroughly and consult a prehealth advisor for up-to-date information regarding the programs you are interested in, including Early Assurance Programs (medical and dental) and Combined BS/DDS Degree Program.
- Opportunities for Clinical Employment (PDF)
- Exploring Health Careers
There are numerous health programs to explore that may be a great fit for you! Please read Resources for Exploring Careers in Health Care (PDF) to learn more!
- Important Application Links
- Association of American Medical Colleges
- American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine
- American Dental Education Association
- American Dental Association
- Association of Colleges and Schools of Optometry
- American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges
- American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine
- Association of Chiropractic Colleges
- Physician Assistant Education Directory
- UB Health Related Links
- Prehealth Library
Please be sure to stop into 108 Norton Hall during our normal business hours (Mon-Fri from 8:30-5:00 fall and spring) and peruse all the print materials we have available! We have resources pertaining to these professional health school programs and more! You will see announcements regarding relevant educational programs, materials on public health programs, on how to finance a medical or dental education, and workshop materials from events you may have been unable to attend. Additionally, this is where our peer advisors host their weekly hours!
- Recommended Prehealth Reading
- After Harm: Medical Error and The Ethics of Forgiveness by Nancy Berlinger
- Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside by Katrina Firlik
- Better by Atul Gawande
- Body of Work by Christine Montross
- Complications: A Surgeons Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande
- Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
- Demographic changes, a view from California (report of the Institute of Medicine)
- Every Patient Tells a Story by Lisa Sanders
- Final Exam by Pauline W. Chen
- Healing Hearts: A Memoir of a Female Heart Surgeon by Kathy E. Magliato
- How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman
- How We Die by Sherwin Nuland, MD
- How We Live by Sherwin Nuland, MD
- Informed Consent: The US Medical Education System Explained by Benjamin Brown
- Intern: A Doctor’s Initiation by Sanddep Jauhar
- Match Day: One Day and One Dramatic Year in the Lives of Three New Doctors by Brian Eule
- Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present by Harriet A. Washington
- Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer
- Mountains Beyond Mountains: Healing the World: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer by Tracy Kidder
- My Own Country: A Doctor’s Story by Abraham Verghese
- On Becoming a Doctor by Tania Heller
- On Call: A Doctor’s Days and Nights in Residency by Emily R. Transue
- Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
- Parasite Rex : Inside the Bizarre World of Nature’s Most Dangerous Creatures by Carl Zimmer
- Patient by Patient: Lessons in Love, Loss, Hope and Healing from a Doctor’s Practice by Emily R. Transue
- Something for the Pain: Compassion and Burnout in the ER by Paul Austin
- The Anatomy of Hope by Jerome Groopman
- The Citadel by A.J. Cronin
- The Doctor Stories by William Carlos Williams
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lack by Rebecca Skloot
- The Scalpel and the Silver Bear by Lori Arviso Alvord
- The Soul of a Doctor: Harvard Medical Students Face Life and Death edited by Susan Pories, Sachin Jain, and Gordon Harper
- The Soul of Medicine by Sherwin Nuland, MD
- The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
- The Woman Who Decided to Die by Ronald Munson
- Uncommon Wisdom: True Tales of What Our Lives as Doctors Have Taught Us About Love, Faith and Healing by John Castaldo MD and Lawrence Levitt MD
- What Patients Taught Me: A Medical Student’s Journey by Audrey Young
- Who Shall Live? by Victor Fuchs
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is “prehealth”?
This jargon is short hand for: premed, predentistry, prevet, preoptometry, prepodiatry, and prechiropractic students. There is no prehealth major, rather a curricular program students follow to complete the requirements for entry into these professional schools upon graduation.
What do students need to do to qualify for admission into these professional schools?
To be a qualified, competitive applicant, students must do the following:
- Successfully complete their degree and major with an excellent record
- Complete prerequisite courses with superior grades
- Perform very well on admission tests
- Compile a strong record of references and a Prehealth Committee Letter
- Participate in sincere and sustained health related and service activities
Should a student major in biology or at least a science?
Maybe! Students should major in the disciplines they truly enjoy. If it includes the prerequisite courses fine, if not they will take those courses in addition to their major. Professional schools want students skilled in science, but not exclusively.
What’s a prerequisite?
These are courses required for admission and also may be the basic preparation for the admission tests. Common to all these professions are four sciences and a year of English. The science courses include the following with a year of lab in each:
- General Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
What if a student is waived out of the UB English requirements?
Students should take other higher level English courses of their choice to equal 2 semesters.
Which UB courses meet these prerequisite requirements?
- Chemistry CHE 101-102, 105-106, or 107-108 10 credits
- Organic Chemistry CHE 201-202 or 251-252 10 credits
- Biology BIO 200-201 8 credits
- Physics PHY 101-102 w/labs 151-152
- PHY 107-108 or 117-118 w/lab 158 9-10 credits
- English ENG 101-201
- (If any waived take 3 or 6 credits of English literature) 6 credits
- Mathematics MTH 121-122 OR 141-142 8 credits
Is this all?
For medicine, dentistry, and podiatry individual schools may have additional prerequisites that are required or strongly recommended. Optometry, veterinary, and chiropractic have additional requirements depending on the school:
- Chiropractic: one course in psychology
- Optometry: psychology, biochemistry, biomedical microbiology, statistics, calculus and others
- Veterinary: biochemistry, biomedical microbiology, genetics, nutrition and others
Couldn’t a student take BIO 129/130?
It is not recommended as sufficient preparation for admission tests or entrance into the professional schools.
When do students apply to these schools and what is early assurance?
Students hoping to attend after graduation usually apply in the spring and summer of their junior year, but senior year and later is appropriate for others. Very talented sophomores may apply to the Early Assurance in Dentistry if they have the following:
Dentistry: 3.5 overall and science, 3 of 4 prerequisites & English; Prehealth Letter; strong record of dental volunteer experience
When do students take admissions tests?
They can take them as soon as they have the basic prerequisites done, but the real answer is when they feel best prepared. Students hoping to start professional school the fall after graduation should plan to be ready for the tests by the spring of their junior year.
How many references do students need?
Students will need a minimum of 4 references, mostly academic and at least 2 in science. This is one of the requirements to apply for a Prehealth Committee Letter of evaluation. References can be obtained when a class is completed and need not wait till junior year when applying for the Letter. The Prehealth Advising Services office retains references for 5 years until a student applies for a letter.
How can they get them in these big science classes?
By asking!! We receive hundreds of letter each year, the majority from UB professors of large science courses. Students must take the steps to meet faculty at office hours and get to know them. This can feel pretty awkward at first, but it is part of the process and a measure of a student’s initiative.
What is the Prehealth Committee?
It is a very hard working 12-member faculty committee sponsored by the Vice Provost’s Office that assists students in gathering their references and providing a letter of evaluation. This letter and the individual references meet the professional school requirements for references.
Must a student have a Committee Letter?
Technically, no! However, professional schools usually know which schools have committees and will ask a student why they do not have one.
Should a student give up on a professional health school if they got a bad grade in a prerequisite or had a really bad semester?
Not necessarily. It depends on why, how often, and what they have done since. Obviously, it doesn’t help to have such a record, but it is recoverable depending on the circumstances and the rest of the record. However, lots of good volunteering or references will not balance out a weak or so-so overall record.
Is it true that prehealth students should never resign a class?
No, but several will be a problem. A resignation, especially early in the student’s career, is not fatal. However students unable to do two sciences in one semester will not be as competitive.
What are the required GPAs to get into professional health schools?
For better or worse there are no cut offs. The national average GPAs for admitted students:
- Medicine MD: 3.7 Overall/3.6 Science DO: 3.5 Overall/3.4 Science MCAT: 31 (Allopathic Schools), 27 (Osteopathic Schools)
- Dentistry 3.4 Overall/3.3 Science DAT: 19 (Academic Average), 19 (Perceptual Aptitude)
- Optometry 3. 4 OAT: 310
- Podiatry 3.2 MCAT: 21
- Veterinary 3.5+ (3.7 Cornell) GRE: 1320 (for Cornell)
- Chiropractic 3.0 No test required
What should prehealth students remember?
- Everything you do is a part of your permanent record so compile the record with which you will be proud to apply. Freshman year counts!
- Pick a realistic program that will prepare you for your major and complete the prehealth prereqs. Not every student can do this in four years. Don’t get caught in the “I don’t want to get behind” syndrome. Speed won’t make up for weak grades.
- Learn strategies to approach professors for references. Don’t wait until your junior year.
- Participate in service and health related volunteer work or research from early on at UB. This cannot be done authentically in the semester before your application.
- It is your job to become educated about your intended profession and how to qualify.
- Attend at least one Prehealth Workshop each semester.
Where can a student find help with these questions?
See your academic advisor today to talk about your program at UB.