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

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.

Keep Current

As a pre-health student, it is important for you to keep current with the ever-changing healthcare landscape. Below are blogs, podcasts, etc. that may be useful in understanding the world of healthcare.

Blogs:

Podcasts:

Reading Material:

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.

Health Professions Scholarship Program

For future and current MD, OD, PA and Dental school students, the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) offers two-, three- and four-year military scholarships. The HPSP covers civilian medical school tuition, pays for fees, provides a monthly living stipend and includes a signing bonus under certain conditions. This scholarship is offered by the Army, Navy and Air Force, and the benefits are the same across all three Services.

  • Start applying at the same time you apply to medical schools. You can wait to apply, but you may wind up competing with more people for fewer slots, and each branch takes only about 300 students per year. Keep in mind that the acceptance process generally takes about three months.
  • Contact a recruiter for each Service that interests you. You can apply solely to the Services that interest you, or you can apply to all three — Army, Navy or Air Force. Fill out a separate application for each Service that interests you.
  • Once you are accepted to an accredited program, your recruiter or recruiters will finalize your application for review by the selection committee. Keep in touch with your recruiter during the process.

*If you are an active-duty commissioned service member or in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) or a Service academy, your application process will be the same as for civilians, except you will need to request a contingent release from active duty to apply to the HPSP from your Service branch. ROTC also requires an education delay form. If you are an active-duty enlisted service member, you will also need a LOA from your commander. Finally, if you are in the Reserve, you will need to request permission from your commanding officer.

When accepted and, as an HPSP scholarship participant, you will be an officer in the Individual Ready Reserve. For that reason, your requirements and benefits differ in some respects from service members on Active Duty. You do not wear a uniform to your classes, you are not eligible for active-duty pay unless on training orders and you are expected to attend officer training if you can fit it into your academic schedule. In the third year of medical school, you will start interviewing for residency positions, and you will participate in a military match process and possibly a civilian match process, which will determine where you go for residency.

For more information please click here

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

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.
Follow Us: