Build your qualifications

Explore this section of our website to find resources for building your qualifications for the professional school that you hope to enter.

What does a qualified applicant look like?

  • Prerequisite courses complete (or nearly complete)
  • Strong GPA with a broad academic background
  • Strong score on entrance exam
  • Knowledge of the profession; commitment to the profession
  • Experience in intended field
  • Commitment to serving others
  • Displays leadership, professionalism, resilience
  • Strong, diverse letters of recommendation
  • Stands out by showcasing their particular interests, skills, and experiences

Read about the core competencies for medical school from the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Tips for becoming well qualified

  • Stay informed. Sign up for the pre-health mailing list, and attend health professions workshops and events.
  • Connect. As soon as you know you have an interest in the health professions, begin a collaboration between you and your academic advisor, and your pre-health advisor. 
  • Plan. Understand the timetable for preparation; plan for fitting that timetable with your goals while remaining flexible and open to change. 
  • Fulfill prerequisites. Understand what prerequisite courses are required, and have a plan for fulfilling them in a timely manner.
  • Explore academics. Pick a major you love. Select courses from a range of academic disciplines. A liberal arts background will serve you well.
  • Write a lot. Read a lot. Speak a lot. Skills in these areas are critical and will, among other things, improve your performance on entrance exams, written applications, and interviews. Take relevant courses. Give presentations. Keep a journal.
  • Get experience in the field you hope to enter. Connect with patients and practitioners.
  • Do a research project. It doesn’t have to be in the medical field, or even science. Independent research demonstrates your problem-solving and analysis skills.
  • Become a leader on campus. Be open to things you have not previously considered.
  • Find your passion. You might pursue a passion through honors work, study abroad, summer study, internships, community service, leadership, athletics, or campus involvement – wherever your strengths and interests lie.
  • Reflect. Reflection and self assessment are critical elements of preparing for professional school. You need to understand how your qualifications are building over time, and during the application process itself it will be important to reflect on past experiences.
  • Take your time. Preparing for professional school is a marathon, not a sprint.
  • Ask for help from many sources, and meet with a pre-health advisor early and regularly.
  • International students and DACA students face a special set of challenges in gaining entrance to U.S. professional school. If one of these designations applies to you, contact the pre-health office to discuss options.