Aerial view of campus with Williamsport, the Susquehanna River and Bald Eagle Mountain as a backdrop

Guidelines for Pre-Professional Students

Pre-Professional Students Interested in Medicine, Dentistry, Optometry, Podiatry, Veterinary Medicine, & Physical Therapy

First Year

Talk to your advisor about the importance of a liberal arts education, about balancing course work in the Humanities and Fine Arts with the Sciences; and about enjoying learning for learning's sake!

Begin to include in your course work, with the help of your advisor, some of the basic premedical science requirements from Chemistry, Biology, Physics and Mathematics (see attached list). It is recommended that no more than two required science courses be taken per semester. Typically, Lycoming students take Physics in their junior year.

Establish good study habits in order to achieve excellent grades. This is your first priority. Then, balance your academics with a social life that includes involvement in campus activities that are of interest to you.

Start to obtain health care experience. Develop a realistic view of a health profession by exploring options in the field that include on-site volunteer work in a hospital or clinical setting and exposure to laboratory/research opportunities. Many students have used the "SHARE" program to begin their exploration. Summer is also a good time to obtain relevant experience.

Sophomore Year

Continue to take course work that will fulfill the pre-professional basic science requirements.

Make an appointment to see one of the members of the Health Professions Advisory Committee to review your career aspirations and for counseling and advising with regard to your course schedule, involvement in campus life, and volunteer work. At that time an overview of the Health Professions Advisory Committee will be given: what it is, how it helps you and how to begin to prepare a personal file for the Committee's evaluation.

Declare a major at the end of the spring semester. NOTE: To be a pre-professional student, it is not mandatory to declare a science major. Declaration is made according to what subject is of greatest interest to you. You should, however, be sure that you are taking the required courses for your particular professional program. Some programs like Physical Therapy, for example, require speech!

If you wish to be considered for an early admission cooperative program in Optometry, Dentistry or Podiatry, see the Chair of the HPAC by October.

Now is the time to start your review for your particular professional entrance exam. Kaplan courses and Belt or Flowers review booklets are available to guide you. You must get serious; these exams are critical.

Junior Year (Including Post-baccalaureate Students)

Make an appointment with the Chair of HPAC in the fall semester to obtain the necessary materials that need to be completed for the Pre-Professional Committee evaluation. NOTE: All required science courses should be completed before your file can be reviewed, usually at the end of the spring term of your junior year.

The following are the required components of your HPAC Committee file:

  • Eight (8) letters of recommendation — at least two or three (2-3) from the natural sciences with others from faculty members who know you well.

    It is important to note: Information requested on the Recommendation Forms should be completed by the student before they are given to the faculty member. It is essential that you check your right to waive or to retain your right of access (under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974) to see the letters of recommendation. Your signature is mandatory. Indication of your decision to waive or retain will be attached to your Composite Evaluation letter.

  • A personal essay (approximately 1 and 1/2 to 2 pages, doubled spaced and typed) that documents your commitment to a chosen medical profession.
  • Information sheet that provides the committee members with facts about you, e.g., memberships in campus organizations, other extra-curricular activities, employment, research, volunteer experiences, and awards and academic achievement.

All materials for your pre-professional file should be completed by april of your junior year.

During the week of second semester final examinations, you will be invited to meet with the HPAC Committee to review your file and to ask any questions you might have before you actually start applying to professional schools. In the past, we have used a Wednesday Noon (11:30 - 1:30) time slot during which each student is signed up for a ten minute review. After the meeting, the Committee meets again to review your composite recommendation and vote you a level of confidence.

During the summer, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call Dr. Gabriel (321-4191) or Ms. Laura Printzenhoff (Biology Department Secretary, 321-4180).

Prepare to take the standardized examination that is required by the graduate program in your career interest, e.g., the MCAT, DAT, OAT, VAT, or GRE. Dates for these examinations are posted outside Dr. Gabriel's office in the Heim Building. If you are prepared and your schedule permits, register and take the examination at the end of your junior year. Spring is the preferred time to take the test. Applications to all health professional schools have increased substantially; therefore, it is to your advantage to take the spring examination so that your application to professional schools can be completed and reviewed as early as possible by the Admissions Committees of the graduate schools. All tests are given at least twice, in the spring and fall, yearly. Applications are available in the Career Development Center around mid-February each year.

Summer Before Senior Year

Review your selection of professional schools with the HPAC Committee. Some catalogs are available in Dr. Gabriel's office (Heim Building).

Complete and send the AMCAS (American Medical College Application Service) application* as soon as possible (AMCAS accepts applications anytime after June 15 of the year prior to your desired date of admission to medical school.) Applications are available in April of each year in the Career Development Center.

*Applications for Dental school (AADSAS), Osteopathic Medicine (AACOMAS) and Podiatry (AACPMAS) have central application services while other medical fields such as Physical Therapy, Optometry and Veterinary Medicine request that students apply directly to the schools.

When you need your composite letter sent to the professional school you have selected, please contact Ms. Laura Printzenhoff (in writing - including the exact address), Lycoming College, Department of Biology, Williamsport, PA 17701-5192.

Again, it is to your advantage to apply early once the required sciences for a given profession have been completed. After taking the required standardized tests for your area of professional interest and having the scores sent to the schools of your choice, your application will then be reviewed by these schools as a pre-screen before the selection process for interviews can begin. If a school wants to schedule an interview, contact will be made directly with you.

Complete and return professional school secondary applications by early fall, preferably soon after you receive them.

Senior Year

Take MCAT, DAT, OAT, VAT or GRE in the fall if you did not take the standardized admissions test in the spring, or if you want to improve your spring scores.

Prepare for fall and winter interviews. See the HPAC Committee members or the Career Development Center for helpful tips and practice sessions.

Expect to hear admissions decisions anytime from late fall, through winter and into late spring. Patience and a tolerance for uncertainty helps at this stage.

If you do not receive professional school interviews, it is important to talk with your Academic Advisor and the HPAC Committee to discuss optional plans. There are alternatives and some do not include future application to medical schools or professional schools. Many students have decided to complete a graduate degree in an area of their interest.

Complete your undergraduate education even though you have been accepted - it remains a prerequisite!

Adopt the attitude that your senior year will be your "best" year both scholastically and socially. Be involved and be proud of your accomplishments.