A student speaking with his advisor

Pre-Professional Advising Center

Assisting students interested in attending Professional Schools:

Medical, Dental, Physician Assistant, Pharmacy, Veterinary Medicine, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Optometry

Mission

The Pre-Professional Advising Center (PPAC) exists to serve UNLV students interested in pursuing a career in health-related professions. We will assist and support students through comprehensive advising, maximizing resources, and encouragement to achieve personal success and a competitive application to professional school.

Services

We are your one-stop shop for professional school help! PPAC offers the following services to students:

  • Assistance with navigating the application process for professional school
  • Providing direction on supplemental application pieces, attaining relevant experiences in community service, clinical experience, volunteering, research, and extra-curriculars
  • Comprehensive guide to what makes a well-qualified professional school applicant (personal attributes)
  • Advising appointments tailored to students’ individual needs
  • Guidance on academic requirements, curriculum, and policy information

**The pre-professional advising center is committed to serving our current UNLV students. Before making an appointment with the PPAC, you need to be admitted to UNLV. Thanks for your understanding!

***Please note: you will have two advisors as you complete your degree. Visit with your respective college academic advisor for all things related to your degree (course planning, petitions, change of majors, etc.). The PPAC will compliment your degree advising with guidance directly related to your professional school application.

To make an appointment with our advisors, please call or email:

(702) 895-2959
ppac@unlv.edu

Events

The Pre-Professional Advising Center offers many opportunities to pre-professional students to attend events, webinars, seminars, presentations, etc. These are invaluable resources to students applying to professional school! Please see our full calendar of events.

Full Calendar of Events

The PPAC will be hosting a variety of workshops for all UNLV students to aid in exploration of health careers, applying to professional school, and personal statements.

For dates and more information:

2019 - 2020 workshops

Information & Resources

Professional School Resources

  • Medical (MD/DO)
    • AAMC: www.aamc.org
    • AACOM: www.aacom.org
    • Choose DO: https://choosedo.org/
    • MSAR (medical school admissions requirements): A complete list of all medical schools across the country, their admission requirements, comprehensive data on applicants and matriculants, and information on their program, curriculum, and student life. An excellent resource for students to help decide where they are a competitive applicant. Visit: http://bit.ly/AAMCMSAR. Please note: there is a free version of MSAR and a paid version. We highly suggest paying for a yearly subscription to access all the data relative to each program!
    • CASPer: For MD, DO, and PA students. An important piece to your application process at certain MD, DO, and PA programs, familiarize yourself with CASPer! For information on the test, programs that utilize the test, dates, and registration, please visit: https://takecasper.com/
  • Dental
  • Physician Assistant
    • www.aapa.org
    • For a complete directory of PA programs, visit: http://directory.paeaonline.org/
    • CASPer: For MD, DO, and PA students. An important piece to your application process at certain MD, DO, and PA programs, familiarize yourself with CASPer! For information on the test, programs that utilize the test, dates, and registration, please visit: https://takecasper.com/
  • Physical Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Veterinary
  • Pharmacy
  • Optometry

Professional School Test Resources

Most professional school programs require an admissions test as part of the application process. It is imperative students spend ample time thoroughly preparing for this test. The results are a critical piece to the metric portion of your professional school application. Below are the required tests for each program and resources available to help students prepare.

  • Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
    • From AAMC: “The Medical College Admission Test® (MCAT®) is a standardized, multiple-choice examination designed to assess your problem solving, critical thinking, and knowledge of natural, behavioral, and social science concepts and principles prerequisite to the study of medicine.
    • There are four sections in the MCAT:
      • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
      • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
      • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
      • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skill
    • https://students-residents.aamc.org/applying-medical-school/taking-mcat-exam/about-mcat-exam/
    • Total score range is from 472-528 with 500 being the median. Scores are reported in each of the four sections using a scale of 118-132 and then one total, overall score
  • Dental Admission Test (DAT)
    • From ADA: “The DAT is a dental education admission test designed to provide dental education programs with a means to assess program applicants’ potential for success. It is administered year round by Prometric test centers in the United States, its territories (including Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands) and Canada.The DAT is comprised of multiple-choice test items presented in the English language. The test is developed according to established test specifications. The DAT consists of a battery of four tests on the following: Survey of the Natural Sciences, Perceptual Ability, Reading Comprehension, and Quantitative Reasoning. In the DAT, both the U.S. customary system and the metric system (Imperial System) of units are used.
    • https://www.ada.org/en/education-careers/dental-admission-test
    • https://www.adea.org/GoDental/Application_Prep/The_Admissions_Process/DAT_(Dental_Admission_Test).aspx
    • Scoring explained from Kaptest: “Scoring on the DAT can be incredibly confusing for the uninitiated. Performance on the test is denoted by a set of seven distinct scores. You will receive a separate score for Reading Comprehension, Perceptual Ability, Quantitative Reasoning, and each of the science disciplines tested in Survey of Natural Sciences—biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry. In addition, you will receive an Academic Average Score, which takes into account your performance on all of the sections of the exam except Perceptual Ability. Each of these scores is reported on a 1-30 scale (30 being the highest possible score). A score of 18 typically signifies average performance on a national basis. Scores are based on the total number of correct answers; so there is no penalty for guessing.”
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
    • Mostly commonly used by Veterinary, PA, PT, and OT programs. Requirement for test varies across disciplines and programs. Please research the programs you are applying to and see if the test is required!
    • Three sections in the GRE:
      • Verbal Reasoning
      • Quantitative Reasoning
      • Analytical Writing
    • https://www.ets.org/gre
    • Three scores are reported for the GRE:
      • Verbal: 130-170
      • Quantitative: 130-170
      • Writing: 0-6
  • Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT)
    • From PCAT/Pearson: “The PCAT is a specialized test that helps identify qualified applicants to pharmacy colleges. It measures general academic ability and scientific knowledge necessary for the commencement of pharmaceutical education. The PCAT is constructed specifically for colleges of pharmacy.
    • 5 subtests within the PCAT:
      • Writing
      • Biological Processes
      • Chemical Processes
      • Critical Reading
      • Quantitative Reasoning
    • http://pcatweb.info/
    • Total scaled score from 200-600, with a median of 400 (excluding writing). Each subsection will be scored separately and reported to schools. The Writing portion is score on a scale of 1-6.
  • Optometry Admission Test (OAT)
    • From ASCO: “The Optometry Admission Test (OAT) is a standardized examination designed to measure general academic ability and comprehension of scientific information. The OAT is sponsored by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) for applicants seeking admission to an optometry program. All schools and colleges of optometry in the United States and the University of Waterloo, Canada require the OAT.
    • Four tests within the OAT:
      • Survey of the Natural Sciences (Biology, General Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry)
      • Reading Comprehension
      • Physics
      • Quantitative Reasoning
    • https://optometriceducation.org/students-future-students/resources/frequently-asked-questions-about-the-optometry-admission-test-oat/
    • Total scaled score between 200-400, with the median of 300 representing the 50th percentile. Separate subscores are reported for Biology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Reading Comprehension, Physics, and Quantitative Reasoning

Several test preparation companies exist to assist students with their studying. Students should diligently research the companies to see which materials and resources will align with their learning styles and study methods to ensure success on the exams.

Experiences

Professional school programs have adopted a “holistic” admissions process, meaning you are more than just your metrics. How you demonstrate your motivation for your future profession, your personal characteristics, and the ways in which you give back to your community can make or break your application.

For more information on holistic review through the lens of the AAMC, please visit here.

It is your responsibility as a pre-professional student to understand the different types of experiences that will make you a competitive applicant to professional school. The most common classifications for experiences include:

  • Community Service
  • Clinical Experience: experiences in which you interact with patients in a clinical environment. Professional schools like to see as much hands on, direct patient care as possible!
  • Shadowing: observing a professional in the field you are interested in pursuing. This is notoriously hard to find. Start early!
  • Research
  • Involvement in student clubs/organizations on campus
  • Leadership positions
  • Direct Patient Care Hours (required for PA students- talk to a PPAC advisor for more information)
  • Animal Experience: for pre-veterinary students
  • Employment
  • Military
  • Honors/Awards

One of the most frequently asked questions is “how many hours do I have to do?” Unless you are applying to PA schools with required numbers of direct patient care hours, or PT/OT programs that commonly have a required number of shadowing hours, there is no “magic number” of hours for you to complete. Keep in mind the following for your experiences:

  • There should be a reason “why” you have chosen each experience; “check the box” mentality will NOT work.
  • They should be meaningful both on a personal level and to your professional journey. Keep in mind, you will have to write thoughtful, eloquent descriptions about your experiences so participating “just because” won’t help your application.
  • Commitment over time is important. Programs would rather see dedication over many months/years to an experience over your “experience-hopping”.
  • It is about the breadth and depth of the experience; think quality, not “quantity”

Shadowing: Shadowing opportunities are notoriously hard to find, so we advise you start early on securing a physician, denist, PA, etc. to shadow. Generally speaking, the following are the two most common ways to secure shadowing opportunities:

  • Network: ask family, friends, and colleagues if they know a professional that would allow you to shadow
  • Engage in clinical experiences first. If you are volunteering in a hospital, free/outpatient/inpatient clinic, have a job as a CNA, EMT, PT or Dental Assistant, etc., prove yourself as a competent, compassionate volunteer or employee and ask the professionals you work with from there. The more they know about your aspirations as a future doctor/dentist/optometrist/vet, etc. the more likely they are to take you on for shadowing or refer you to a colleague who will.

While the PPAC is actively working on finding professionals that will allow our students to shadow, below are a few resources that may aid in finding opportunities.

The PPAC has compiled a list of experience classifications by professional track, as well as examples of where to find these experiences in the Vegas valley here. Please keep this link bookmarked, as we are always updating!

Also, the PPAC is pleased to offer our students a virtual notebook of experiences and program information. In this notebook, you can find clinical, research, and community service opportunities, professional school program information, and national summer and research events for pre-health students. We are constantly adding to this notebook, so keep checking back! Please click here to go the notebook.

Professional School Metrics and GPA

While the professional school admission process is holistic, your grades do matter. It is extremely important to understand how professional school GPA’s are calculated, as there can be a vast difference between your UNLV GPA and your professional school GPA.

Keep in mind that while the information below is generalized to professional schools/programs and the GPA calculation process, it is the student’s responsibility to understand exactly how the programs they are applying to consider, weigh, and/or calculate their GPA.

Professional school GPA’s calculate all grades ever taken at the secondary level. This includes all transfer credit grades, repeats, remedial courses, and possibly graduate level courses. There is no “grade forgiveness” or “grade replacement” for professional school GPA - all grades count. There is also no expiration date on courses for them not to be considered for calculation; even courses you may have taken “years ago” count towards your professional school GPA.

Professional school GPA’s are also calculated in more ways than just your cumulative GPA. Your “science” GPA (or BCP/BCPM) is also a very important marker in your application to professional school. Your science GPA is your GPA calculated only with your Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and (sometimes) Math classes. The third and fourth most common calculations are your “all other” GPA, which is your GPA calculated on all courses WITHOUT your science classes, and your “prerequisite GPA”, which is your GPA calculated only on the prerequisites necessary for that particular professional school program/track.

To help you understand how your professional school GPA will be calculated, please use the resources below. Bring these GPA calculations to your PPAC appointments, as they are an important part of the discussion.

Medical School GPA’s

Dental School GPA’s

PA Program GPA’s

PT Program GPA’s

OT Program GPA’s

Veterinary Program GPA’s

Optometry Program GPA’s

Pharmacy Program GPA’s

Letters of Recommendation

General Advice

Please note: UNLV currently does not offer committee letters. Students will need to secure individual letters of recommendation. We will keep you updated as to the status of new committee letters.

When applying to professional school, you will need 3-5 STRONG letters of recommendation from writers with whom you have long-term relationships and who can address multiple competencies, such as those listed on the AAMC website. Although the competencies listed are for “pre-med” students, you will find that a majority of them apply to other pre-professional tracks as well.

The most frequent question we get asked is, “who should write my letters of recommendation?” As advisors, we aren’t here to tell you who to ask; we are here to guide you through the process of securing your letters for your application. Generally speaking, the best recommendation letter writers are those professors, mentors and healthcare professionals that you have shadowed, worked with closely, can speak to your academic abilities or humanistic side, and will write you a STRONG letter. Choose someone who can speak in concrete terms about your passion for professional school and why you will excel as a healthcare professional. The key to finding these letter writers? Start forming your relationships EARLY in your pre-professional career. Far too often, students come to us at the point of application and are still unsure of who to ask to write their letters. Asking a professor, healthcare professional, community service director, etc. “just to ask” will result in a less than stellar letter for your application and this can be detrimental in the admissions process. Remember: start forming relationships EARLY!

Make it as easy as possible for your letter writers. Schedule a meeting to address your goals. Provide your recommender with your resume, personal statement and competencies or strengths that you would like addressed in the letter. Express gratitude for their time and effort.

Respect your recommender and give him or her ample time to write your letters. Your request already imposes on your recommender’s time, and a last-minute request is an even greater imposition. Not only is it rude to ask for a letter close to a deadline, but you will also end up with a rushed letter that is far less thoughtful than is ideal. Don’t assume that it is anyone’s duty to write a letter for you, and realize that these letters take a lot of time out of your recommender’s already busy schedule.

Types of Letters

It is of utmost importance that you do your research into specific letter guidelines for the schools you are applying to, especially in regards to who the letters should be from. Schools will often require a science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) and/or non-science professor, healthcare professional, or “other”, but requirements can be different from program to program. Please pay attention to the requirements!

  • Faculty/Professor Letters

    Since many professors have hundreds of students in their classes in a given semester, it is your job to reach out to them first, build a relationship, and then ask for a letter. Letters from professors should not only address your academic capabilities but also your motivation for your chosen career. Since letters do address your academic capabilities, you should be seeking letters from professors in which you received a good grade in the class. Lastly, make sure you understand the necessary requirements regarding “science” professors. “Science” professors are often those from Biology, Chemistry, or Physics areas.

    • How to Get Strong Letters from Professors
      • Get to know your professors
      • Go to class and office hours
      • Volunteer for research or to TA
      • Take more than one class with the same professor
      • Maintain the relationship
      • Attend virtual office hours
      • Ask meaningful questions to show that you care about the course
    • How To Ask
      • Be respectful
      • Ask 2-3 months in advance
      • Request the letter via in-person meeting
      • Follow up with a scheduled meeting to review your goals & resume
      • Provide your personal statement, resume & AAMC Guidelines & Competencies
  • Medical/Healthcare Professionals

    Request your letter from a medical professional that you have developed a relationship with through multiple hours of clinical or shadowing. The letter should address your skills as a future healthcare professional.

  • Research Letters

    Letters from research professors provide another validation of your aptitude for life-long learning and research and could be especially important to programs with a heavy research mission. In projects led by a graduate assistant, you may find that most of your experience is with the Graduate assistant rather than the professor.  In this situation, the graduate assistant with whom you have worked most closely may write you a letter and have the lead professor cosign.

  • Other types of Letters

    Often students will have other letter writers that know them well and can speak strongly to the strengths and attributes. This could be a volunteer supervisor, a liberal arts professor, or family physician, just to name a few. The guidelines are the same. Provide them with the information they will need to write a strong letter. Share your passion and goals.

Who NOT to get Letters From

Yes, there are people you shouldn’t be asking for letters of recommendation. They include family members, “family friends”, patients, and, generally speaking, people who don’t know you well. Letters from family and family friends are considered bias and the admissions committees won’t give them any merit. Those from people who don’t know you well often result in “alive and breathing” letters, meaning they don’t tell the committee much of anything other than you are “alive and breathing”.

Also, many students make the mistake of getting letters from distant acquaintances who have powerful or influential positions. The strategy often backfires. Your family member’s employer may know the governor, but the governor doesn’t know you well enough to write a meaningful letter. This type of celebrity letter will make your application seem superficial.

Additional Tips

  • Electronic submission of letters is preferred by all professional schools application services. Follow specific instructions in your application on what information to provide to your letter writers to formally ask for the LOR.
    • Never physically collect a letter from a letter writer yourself!
  • If you need to collect letters early, utilize services such as VirtualEvals. Be sure to note which of these third-party services your professional school application service integrates with for uploads.
  • When asking for a LOR, it is a good idea to give your letter writers:
    • copy of your transcripts
    • your resume/CV
    • copy of your personal statement
  • Give your letter writers the general courtesy of information about the letter writing process, including deadlines, how they will upload the letter, and by telling them when you have inputted their contact information so they can keep an eye on their email for instructions.

Letter of Recommendation Requirements by Pre-Professional Track

Resources

Pre-Health Organizations at UNLV

We have many pre-health based student organizations at UNLV. These can be a tremendous asset during your tenure as a pre-professional student, providing resources, professional development and community service opportunities, and networking with your colleagues! To get involved, please visit their website or the UNLV Student Involvement Center.

Test Prep Materials- Buy and Sell!

Have you taken your professional school test and would like to sell your study materials?

Are you preparing for your professional school test and are in the market for study materials?

UNLV PPAC provides a database of materials for sale for professional school tests. Browse through and contact the seller on your own to arrange the sale.

Sellers: if you are looking to sell your materials and would like us to advertise for you, please call the main PPAC phone line at 702-895-2959.

Buyers: please click the following link to be taken to the ads! For Sale Items

**Please note: The PPAC and its staff are not responsible for any communications or transactions between the buyer and seller. We have NOT screened sellers and are not liable for any results of communication or transactions between the buyer and seller. We are only posting the ads. Buyers and sellers understand that all communication and transactions are solely between the buyer and seller and will NOT involve the PPAC in any way.

Post-Baccalaureate Pathways

The pre-professional advising center is committed to serving our current UNLV students. As such, we offer walk-in appointments for non-admitted students on Wednesdays from 1-4 p.m. at our office. Before making a scheduled 1:1 appointment with an advisor in the PPAC, you need to be admitted to UNLV. For more information on pursuing post-bac coursework, please see the PDF and list of resources below. Once admitted to UNLV, please call our main line for a scheduled 1:1 appointment with an advisor.

Post-Bac Reference Guide

Post-Bac Resources

“Is a Post-Bacc Program Right for Me?”: https://students-residents.aamc.org/choosing-medical-career/article/7-po...

Preparing for your Appointment

Students need to be prepared for their appointment with specific questions, concerns, and needed guidance relative to their professional school application.

**As of fall 2018, if you are a new incoming freshman to UNLV, you are REQUIRED to attend an “Introduction to Pre-Health” workshop BEFORE you make an appointment with the PPAC. Workshops are offered during the academic year; dates, times, and RSVP information can be found above under “Events”. After attending a workshop, please call our office to make an appointment.

**Current first and second year students, if you have not had an appointment with the PPAC, it is highly encouraged you also attend the "Intro to Pre-Health" workshop before you make an appointment.

We suggest you bring the following to your appointment with the PPAC:

  • List of experiences (clinical experience, shadowing, community service, etc.) to date, including average hours
  • Professional school cumulative and science GPA. This can be vastly different from your MyUNLV GPA and you need to know where you stand for professional school. We suggest you google “AAMC GPA Calculator” and download the excel spreadsheet titled “AMCAS GPA calculator”. Complete this and bring to your appointment. Please see “How do I complete the GPA calculator” under FAQ’s below for more information
  • General list of programs you want to apply to and requirements for each
  • For seniors getting ready to apply:
    • List of letter writers for letters of recommendation
    • Personal statement draft should be emailed AT LEAST one week ahead of appointment for feedback/review
  • A strong sense of your motivation for your desired professional school, as well as a positive attitude and professional demeanor!

If you are a post-baccalaureate student, you will need to apply and be admitted to UNLV before you schedule a 1:1 appointment with an advisor. We do offer walk-in appointments for non-UNLV pre-health students on Wednesdays from 1-4 p.m. at our office. Once you have an appointment scheduled, please have the aforementioned documentation ready for your appointment.

Remember, if you are more than 5 minutes late to your appointment, it will be cancelled. Due to high volume of student appointments, we can not accommodate late arrivals. Please research or call ahead of time if you need information on our location or parking. If your appointment is cancelled, call our main line at 702-895-2959 to reschedule.

Information & Resources

Pre-Health Organizations at UNLV

We have many pre-health based student organizations at UNLV. These can be a tremendous asset during your tenure as a pre-professional student, providing resources, professional development and community service opportunities, and networking with your colleagues! To get involved, please visit their website or the UNLV Student Involvement Center.

Test Prep Materials- Buy and Sell!

Have you taken your professional school test and would like to sell your study materials?

Are you preparing for your professional school test and are in the market for study materials?

UNLV PPAC provides a database of materials for sale for professional school tests. Browse through and contact the seller on your own to arrange the sale.

Sellers: if you are looking to sell your materials and would like us to advertise for you, please call the main PPAC phone line at 702-895-2959.

Buyers: please click the following link to be taken to the ads! For Sale Items

**Please note: The PPAC and its staff are not responsible for any communications or transactions between the buyer and seller. We have NOT screened sellers and are not liable for any results of communication or transactions between the buyer and seller. We are only posting the ads. Buyers and sellers understand that all communication and transactions are solely between the buyer and seller and will NOT involve the PPAC in any way.

Post-Baccalaureate Pathways

The pre-professional advising center is committed to serving our current UNLV students. As such, we offer walk-in appointments for non-admitted students on Wednesdays from 1-4 p.m. at our office. Before making a scheduled 1:1 appointment with an advisor in the PPAC, you need to be admitted to UNLV. For more information on pursuing post-bac coursework, please see the PDF and list of resources below. Once admitted to UNLV, please call our main line for a scheduled 1:1 appointment with an advisor.

Post-Bac Reference Guide

Post-Bac Resources

“Is a Post-Bacc Program Right for Me?”: https://students-residents.aamc.org/choosing-medical-career/article/7-po...

Preparing for your Appointment

Students need to be prepared for their appointment with specific questions, concerns, and needed guidance relative to their professional school application.

**As of fall 2018, if you are a new incoming freshman to UNLV, you are REQUIRED to attend an “Introduction to Pre-Health” workshop BEFORE you make an appointment with the PPAC. Workshops are offered during the academic year; dates, times, and RSVP information can be found above under “Events”. After attending a workshop, please call our office to make an appointment.

**Current first and second year students, if you have not had an appointment with the PPAC, it is highly encouraged you also attend the "Intro to Pre-Health" workshop before you make an appointment.

We suggest you bring the following to your appointment with the PPAC:

  • List of experiences (clinical experience, shadowing, community service, etc.) to date, including average hours
  • Professional school cumulative and science GPA. This can be vastly different from your MyUNLV GPA and you need to know where you stand for professional school. We suggest you google “AAMC GPA Calculator” and download the excel spreadsheet titled “AMCAS GPA calculator”. Complete this and bring to your appointment. Please see “How do I complete the GPA calculator” under FAQ’s below for more information
  • General list of programs you want to apply to and requirements for each
  • For seniors getting ready to apply:
    • List of letter writers for letters of recommendation
    • Personal statement draft should be emailed AT LEAST one week ahead of appointment for feedback/review
  • A strong sense of your motivation for your desired professional school, as well as a positive attitude and professional demeanor!

If you are a post-baccalaureate student, you will need to apply and be admitted to UNLV before you schedule a 1:1 appointment with an advisor. We do offer walk-in appointments for non-UNLV pre-health students on Wednesdays from 1-4 p.m. at our office. Once you have an appointment scheduled, please have the aforementioned documentation ready for your appointment.

Remember, if you are more than 5 minutes late to your appointment, it will be cancelled. Due to high volume of student appointments, we can not accommodate late arrivals. Please research or call ahead of time if you need information on our location or parking. If your appointment is cancelled, call our main line at 702-895-2959 to reschedule.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I major in?

Professional schools appreciate academic diversity amongst its applicants and matriculants. You can major in whichever field you would like! It is encouraged to select a field of study that you are interested, and will be successful in. Please note, if you are selecting a non-science major, meet with both your academic advisor and the PPAC to ensure you are meeting professional school prerequisite requirements.

What are the common prerequisites for professional school?

Please reference specific professional programs above, but generally, professional schools require:

  • General Biology: One year w/lab
    • Biol 196/197
  • General Chemistry: One year w/lab
    • Chem 121/122
  • Organic Chemistry: One year w/lab
    • Chem 241/242
  • Physics: One year w/lab
    • Phys 151/152
  • Biochemistry
    • Chem 474
  • Calculus
    • Math 181

How is my professional school GPA calculated?

One of the toughest pieces to understand about your professional school application is the difference between your professional school calculated GPA and your university GPA. There can be a difference for several reasons, including transfer credits and repeats. Generally speaking, ALL courses you have taken at the undergraduate level, from EVERY institution you have attended count towards your professional school GPA. Also, professional schools calculate your “science GPA”, which is your GPA based on grades in your Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Math classes. There shouldn’t be a big discrepancy between your cumulative and science GPA, as this may indicate to the committee that you have trouble with science rigor. For an excellent GPA calculator, google “AAMC GPA Calculator” and click the spreadsheet link.

How do I fill out the GPA calculator?

Download the spreadsheet and save to your computer. Using your transcripts from all institutions you have attended, enter each course you have taken with the title, grade, and credit hours. If it is a Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or Math course, check the box on the right side. A few tips for filling out the calculator:

  • Remember to enter ALL grades, even repeats. Professional schools count all grades from every course you have taken in to your GPA
  • Remedial courses/grades need to be entered into the calculator, as they count towards your GPA
  • You do not need to enter grades of S/U as part of this particular GPA calculator
  • If you would like an accurate trend line, ensure you are correctly adding courses by freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year

How do I apply for professional school?

Each professional school has its own application process. For a quick overview, read:

At-A-Glance

For more specific information, visit the following websites:

What test is required for professional school and when do I take it?

Students generally take their respective professional school test the spring of the year they are applying. The PPAC encourages all students to study for at least 3-4 months ahead of taking the test. The PPAC has resources available for students to aid in studying and can help develop an appropriate study plan. For more information about each required test, visit the websites below:

What are good upper division classes to take for professional school?

A robust upper division science schedule is crucial for showing admissions committees you can handle rigor of professional school. A vast majority of professional schools recommend students take a variety of upper division science classes that will not only prepare them for their professional school test, but also the difficult professional school curriculum. The following are recommended classes for students to take:

  • Cell Physiology
  • A & P (Biol upper division sequence)
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Histology
  • Statistics
  • Calculus
  • Animal Science based (for pre-vet)

How do I prepare a personal statement?

Your personal statement is a key piece to your application. It can make or break your admission. It is important that you allow ample time to draft your statement (at least 3-4 months). This isn’t something that should be written overnight! You will want to start on your statement at least 3-4 months ahead of when you want to apply. For help, come to a workshop! The PPAC holds monthly personal statement workshops in the spring that provide pivotal information on how to write your personal statement. You can also work with the Writing Center on campus or a faculty member who has experience in pre-professional advising. Once you have a more finalized version of your statement, the PPAC is happy to review and provide feedback. Please allow at least two weeks for review.

Who do I ask for letters of recommendation?

You need to reference your specific programs for their requirements on letters of recommendation, as they vary school to school. Typically, you will want to have 3-5 letters of recommendation for your file. You should have one letter from the practicing professional you have shadowed or done ample clinical experience with, one from a professor (usually science, but again, check the requirements), and one humanitarian letter. If you have done research, it is important to also have a letter from the PI or lab coordinator.

Begin asking your letter writers for letters in the spring of the year you are applying. Ensure you are giving them enough time- at least 4-6 weeks. Writers will submit their letters to either the application service directly or a third party letter collection agency such as Interfolio. If you use an outside agency, ensure your application service accepts letters through that particular avenue.

How do I know what programs to apply to?

Research! Visit each professional school's respective website (referenced above); they have tons of tools for prospective students!

Generally, students should consider the following when deciding where to apply:

  • Mission statement and focus
  • Programs offered (MD, dual degree, research)
  • Curriculum and teaching methods
  • Support and wellness structures in place for students
  • Preparation of students for USMLE, graduation; where do students match and in to what residencies?
  • GPA/test score requirements
  • Specific or unique prerequisites
  • Location
  • Size and demographics
  • Cost to attend; scholarships

For a template to help with your research, please click here

**Disclaimer: All information given through the PPAC is only intended for general guidance on applying to professional school programs. It is a student's responsibility to attain specific information for all pre-professional requirements.

Staff

Ashley Sylvester

Director

Ashley Sylvester.
Office: CDC-02 205
Mail Code: 5017
Phone: 702-895-1809

Melyssa Barrera

Senior Advisor

Melyssa Barerra
Office: CDC-02 203
Phone: 702-895-3998

Sherry Herington

Senior Advisor

Sherry Herington
Office: CDC-02 201
Phone: 702-895-5818

Debra Coleman

Administrative Assistant IV

Debra Coleman
Office: CDC-02 209
Phone: 702-895-3982

Contact Pre-Professional Advising

Address
Pre-Professional Advising Center
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Box 455017
4505 S. Maryland Pkwy.
Las Vegas, NV 89154-5017
Phone
Hours
Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Walk-In Hours: Wednesdays from 1-4 p.m. Advisors will be available to answer quick questions (15 minutes or less) regarding your professional school application.
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