Build your qualifications

If you are interested in pursuing a career in the health professions, then you’ve come to the right place! Mount Holyoke College offers top-notch academic preparation, research and internship opportunities. A liberal arts education is valued by health profession schools, and MHC has a well-deserved, excellent reputation. The Office of Pre-Health Programs provides information, resources, events, and advising to support you in your choices and through the application process. This document is designed to introduce things you should consider as you plan for a career in the health professions. We work with students interested in all the health professions, and thus our recommendations here are general. Speak with an advisor about your specific interests and questions.

Envisioning the future:  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
  • Research experience
  • Leadership skills
  • Strong, diverse letters of recommendation
  • Stands out by showcasing their particular interests, skills, and experiences

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, and plan for fitting that timetable with your goals, while remaining flexible and open to change. 
  • 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.
  • 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 a 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.
  • 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 face a special set of challenges in gaining entrance to U.S. professional school. If you are an international student, contact the pre-health office to discuss options.