Health Professions Department
Frequently Asked Questions
- What does the Pre-Professional office do for me?
- What profession does the Pre-Professional office encompass?
- How many first year students entering MC as a pre-health student finish as a pre-health student?
- Why such a large decrease in numbers from matriculation to graduation?
- What courses are required from graduate school in the health professions?
- When should I apply to professional school?
- What should I choose for my major?
- What should I do with AP credit?
- Does Muhlenberg College have any Early Assurance Programs?
WHAT DOES THE PRE- PROFESSIONAL OFFICE DO FOR ME?
At Muhlenberg College, the Pre-Professional Office is an additional resource for pre-health students. Much like the Career Center offers services for all undergraduates contemplating life after college, the PPO deals specifically with pre-health students who hope to pursue graduate professional school in the health sciences after college. Upon entering the college, you’ll make it a point to be included in the PPO database which will allow you to receive emails, information, invitations and attend programming structured specifically for pre-health students.
WHAT PROFESSIONS DOES THE PRE-PROFESSIONAL OFFICE ENCOMPASS?
Students interested in allopathic or osteopathic medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, optometry, podiatry, public health, physical or occupational therapy, nursing, pharmacy, physician assistant – all work with the PPO to glean career advice pertinent to their particular area of interest.
HOW MANY FIRST YEAR STUDENTS ENTERING MC AS A PRE-HEALTH STUDENT, FINISH AS A PRE-HEALTH STUDENT?
As one might expect, that number vascillates from year to year. For example, any given first-year class may have 100 pre-health students as of Fall freshman year. When those 100 students graduate, it is likely that fewer than 50% will go on to graduate professional school in the health sciences.
WHY SUCH A LARGE DECREASE IN NUMBERS FROM MATRICULATION TO GRADUATION?
Many factors contribute to this decline. First of all, students grow, explore, and change their minds. Perhaps they never had exposure to courses such as Philosophy or Psychology. They may have discovered that their interests/passions lie elsewhere other than in health studies. Perhaps they took advantage of opportunities to shadow or intern in their chosen field and learned in so doing that they didn’t particularly like that career as much as they might have imagined they would. Certainly there are students who change career choices because they struggle with the prerequisite science classes for the health professions. Knowing that they’ll be required to take many, many more advance science courses in graduate professional school may help them realize that they aren’t happy doing science long term.
WHAT COURSES ARE REQUIRED FOR GRADUATE SCHOOL IN THE HEALTH PROFESSIONS?
For medical, dental, veterinary, optometry and podiatry school, students need a year of Biology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, English and Physics. A semester of math is required as well and some schools mandate a full year. Both veterinary and optometry mandate a year of math
WHEN SHOULD I APPLY TO PROFESSIONAL SCHOOL?
The simplest answer is that you should apply when your academic record, standardized test scores, experience in the field, research (often optional), and personal commitment are at their strongest. Your timeline for application need not look like anyone else’s. If you were auditioning for a Broadway show or trying out for a professional sports team, you wouldn’t arrive with lines half-memorized or without knowing all the intricacies of the game. The same can be applied to your professional school application.
WHAT SHOULD I CHOOSE FOR MY MAJOR?
You need not choose a major until second semester sophomore year. You’re encouraged to explore, seek challenge and taste the liberal arts before deciding. Certainly many students pursuing a career in the health professions begin their studies as a science major. But please know that you may major in anything you like (and are encouraged to do so)! Diversity makes the world go round and the History, Spanish, Music, Religion, (and all the others omitted here!) majors are sought as much as the science majors at professional schools.
You may major in any discipline without adversely affecting admission to professional school.
Should you elect to be a non-science major, what you do need to remember is that you must perform particularly well in your requisite science classes because you’ll have fewer of them than your science major friends. Think “A” and “B+” and you’ll be on the right course. Scientific ability must also be evident in the standardized test results which accompany the given profession.
Professional schools look for well-rounded students. Some students choose to double major or minor outside the science fields. This allows one to broaden overall knowledge base while concentrating in a particular area of personal interest. Careful course planning is of greatest importance in undertaking a double major or major/minor.
WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH AP CREDIT?
College credit may be offered for some AP courses taken in high school depending upon the department under which the course falls. A foreign language or English credit may allow you to take a higher level course within that concentration. Typically, AP credits in the sciences will not satisfy pre-health requirements for admission to professional school.
DOES MUHLENBERG COLLEGE HAVE ANY EARLY ASSURANCE PROGRAMS?
Muhlenberg College does indeed, have five such programs; the first is with Drexel University College of Medicine for students interested in allopathic medicine; the second with University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine for students interested in dentistry; the third with SUNY College of Optometry for students interested in optometry, the fourth with Jefferson College of Health Professions for students interested in PT and OT, and the fifth is with Temple School of Medicine for students interested in medicine.