Information for Pre-Health Professional Students
The health care delivery system in the United States is changing rapidly. Of the numerous traits required in successful health care providers, motivation, hard work, intelligence, and a commitment to serving others are most important. If you are considering a health profession for your life’s work, you need to begin exploring opportunities and preparing for it now, if you haven’t begun already. By exploring, we mean finding out all you can about the health professions, preferably firsthand. Find work or volunteer opportunities in the general area of your interest, and become acquainted with the challenges and activities of that health profession. Is it what you expected? Will it gratify and fulfill your needs as a vocation? Have you become aware of the seemingly limitless variety of opportunities in the profession? Does the commitment of time, money, and energy required by the profession allow for the personal growth and family role you envision for yourself? By preparing, we mean beginning to do the many things that health professional schools require as prerequisites for application for admission. These include obtaining a well-rounded college education, producing an exceptional academic record, establishing a significant record of service to others, and gaining varied and significant health care and multicultural experiences.
The Health Professions Advising Committee (HPAC) exists for the purpose of assisting those who are interested in pursuing a career in a health profession. We advise, counsel, and evaluate students applying to health profession schools. The first step toward proper preparation for a career in the health care professions is to consult with Professor Charles Swart, Chair of the Health Professions Advising Committee (HPAC).
For more information, please contact:
Charles Swart, Chair of the Health Professions Advising Committee
Senior Lecturer and Laboratory Coordinator in Neuroscience
Course selection for fall semester of the first year
It is most important that your academic schedule in the first year–particularly your first semester–match your abilities and interests. The transition from high school to college is often filled with unexpected hurdles, even for students who are used to exceptional academic achievement. For students interested in the health professions, the importance of starting off your college experience with a strong academic record cannot be overstated.
There is no preferred academic major for a pre-health profession student. A science major is not a prerequisite for health profession schools, and you should not major in science simply because you believe this will enhance your chances for acceptance. Health profession schools are most concerned with the overall quality and scope of undergraduate work. The schools also recognize the desirability of including students with a broad variety of interests and backgrounds in their classes. Non-science majors who take a minimum number of science courses to meet the health profession school admittance requirements must do particularly well in those courses, as well as their major courses, to ensure adequate preparation and favorable consideration by admission committees.
Pre-admission requirements for health profession schools
Medical schools are moving away from requiring that applicants fulfill specific course requirements for admission in favor of certain scientific and social competencies. Veterinary and dental schools, as well as other health profession schools (nursing, physician’s assistant [PA], etc.) still currently require specific courses.
Given that health care is essentially a scientifically based profession, the knowledge and ability to use the basic principles of biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics remains fundamental to successful health care providers. To begin to obtain the appropriate knowledge and ability required, students need to enroll in courses in their first semester at Trinity College based on the following “best practices” hierarchy:
CHEM 111L – Introduction to Chemistry
FYSM XXX – First-Year Seminar (or Gateway Program)
Introductory course to explore a potential major (i.e., ECON 101, HIST 102, CPSC 115L).
Highly Recommended Courses
BIOL 182L – Evolution of Life
Biology is the fundamental science of the health care professions (particularly medical school) and significant exposure to biological principles is essential for successful entry into a career in health care.
MATH 131 (or higher) – Calculus
For students who plan to major in Biochemistry, Chemistry, Physics, Engineering, or Mathematics.
MATH 207 – Statistical Data Analysis
For students who don’t plan to major in a discipline that requires calculus.
Many students will want or need to complete courses that will satisfy various requirements (RHET 103, QLIT 101, Second Language Requirement, etc.) or explore a particular discipline by enrolling in an introductory course.
For the majority of students who are interested in preparing to pursue a career in the health professions, the first semester course enrollment would consist of: FYSM XXX (or Gateway Program), CHEM 111L, BIOL 182L OR MATH 207 (or MATH 131 depending on major selection), and an elective course.
It is recommended that course selection be done in consultation with Professor Swart or another member of the Health Professions Advising Committee. Students can register for HPAC through the Health Professions Web site.