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, Law, and Optometry

Mission

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

Vision

The Pre-Professional Advising Center is focused on learning, growth, and success. Through a collaborative, student-centered approach, the PPAC will guide students through development and implementation of academic and holistic plans to achieve their personal, educational, and professional goals. We will provide advice and guidance to help students gain the necessary coursework, clinical and service experiences, and research for professional school applications. With an emphasis on responsibility, integrity, and professionalism, we will also help students define and understand personal attributes and competencies essential to be accepted to professional school.

Services

We are your one-stop shop for professional school help! Please watch this short video to see all we offer:

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.). We can not sign off on SAP appeal forms, VA forms, 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

Accessing Remote Drop-in Hours

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 and law careers, applying to professional schools, and personal statements.

For dates and more information:

2022 - 2023 Workshops

Information & Resources

Professional School Self Assessment

The PPAC has created a professional school self-assessment tool, for healthcare related tracks, that is a centralized document for you to keep everything related to your professional school journey. There are tabs and spaces allocated to application timeline, pre-requisite course completion, keeping track of experience hours, personal statement notes, etc. This document will give you a holistic view of your application components all in one place! The best part is you can share this with your PPAC Advisor and any other trusted mentors and peers. For a copy, please email the PPAC at: ppac@unlv.edu.

Professional School Data

The PPAC has compiled five years of data showing applicant numbers, matriculants, average GPA and professional school test scores, and schools that UNLV students have matriculated to. For more information on pre-professional students’ statistics, please see the links below.

Please note:

Not all application services provide information back to advising offices at UNLV, or don’t have five full years of data available. The data shown is based on what PPAC has access to. Also note:

  • Information provided above includes all students affiliated with UNLV, not just graduates.
  • Data provided is self-reported by students (for healthcare tracks).

As a result, numbers may not be an accurate representation of who is attending professional school.

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.

Please visit our PPAC Resource Board for volunteer, clinical, shadowing, etc. experiences, as well as examples of where to find these experiences in the Vegas valley. Please keep this link bookmarked, as we are always updating!

Are you applying and needing help with writing your experience descriptions? The PPAC has put together information and resources to guide you. Please visit our Writing Experience Descriptions document to start!

Pre-Health and Law Organizations at UNLV

We have many pre-health and pre-law 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.

Pre-Law

Keep Current

As a pre-professional 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

Post-Baccalaureate Pathways

UNLV does not have a formal Post-Baccalaureate Program for healthcare related professional schools through the university. The PPAC offers an informal pathway to students interested in pursuing post-bac coursework; however, this is not a formal program or certificate.

Please note: Law school admissions does NOT count post-bac work (undergraduate or graduate) towards your LSAC calculated GPA. As a result, the following information is for students pursuing healthcare-related professional school programs only.

Please know the PPAC is committed to serving our current UNLV students. 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

Pre-Dental Post-Bac Programs

Preparing for your Appointment

The PPAC encourages students to be prepared for their appointment with specific questions, concerns, and needed guidance relative to their professional school application. If you are a freshman or sophomore, we encourage you to attend an “Introduction to Professional School” or “Intro to Pre-Law” workshop before you make an appointment with the PPAC. Workshops are offered year-round; dates, times, and RSVP information can be found above under “Events”.

**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 prospective students quick phone calls with the Director on Tuesday afternoons. Please call the office at 702-895-2959 to schedule. 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 canceled. 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 canceled, call our main line at 702-895-2959 to reschedule.

PPAC Handouts

For any copies of the handouts received during your appointment, in a workshop, etc. please email ppac@unlv.edu and we will send them within 2-3 business days.

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 professional 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 ask your PPAC Advisor for the most recent military recruiter contact information.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I major in?

Whether health or law related, 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 in which you are interested, and will be successful in. Please note for health-related professional school tracks: if you are selecting a non-science major, please 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, health-related professional schools require:

  • General Biology: One year w/lab
    • Biol 190/191
  • 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

Law schools do not require certain pre-requisites!

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, health-related professional schools calculate your “science GPA”,which is your GPA calculated 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 email the PPAC at: ppac@unlv.edu

**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.
Phone: 702-895-1809

Melyssa Barrera

Senior Advisor
Melyssa Barerra
Phone: 702-895-3998

Rosalyn Jimenez

Senior Advisor
rosalyn picture
Phone: 702-895-5818

Contact Pre-Professional Advising

Address
Pre-Professional Advising Center
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Mail Stop: 5017
4505 S. Maryland Pkwy.
Las Vegas, NV 89154
Campus Location
Phone
Hours
Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
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