Ellis Beardsley ‘17

Major: Biochemistry and Pre-Health
Hometown:Warren, PA

The community aspect of Mount Union is what sets it apart from other schools; here at Mount Union everybody wants to succeed and see others do the same.

Pre-Medicine & Pre-Health Program: Frequently Asked Questions

Looking to participate in the Pre-Medical and Pre-Health Professions Program? Here are some frequently asked questions from interested students.

  1. Is pre-med a major?
  2. What does it take to get accepted into health professional schools?
  3. What are the requirements to get accepted into a health professions school?
  4. What should I major in?
  5. How can the Pre-Medical and Pre-Health Professions Committee help me?
  6. What is the Pre-Health Professions Club?
  7. What is a health coach?
  8. How do you prepare students for graduate school?
  9. What graduate schools should I apply to as part of the program?
  10. What do I do if I don't get in?
  11. What is the average percent of Mount Union students accepted to health professions schools?
  12. What is the difference between allopathic medicine and osteopathic medicine?
  13. Who do I contact if I have questions about the Pre-Health Professions Program?

Is pre-med a major?
No. There is a common misconception that pre-med is a major. The Pre-Medical and Pre-Health Professions Program is not a formal degree, but instead a flexible curriculum designed to prepare students for professional schools in health-related fields. This pre-professional program is designed to prepare students for the requirements of their future careers as doctors, dentists, pharmacists, optometrists, physical therapists, physician assistants, veterinarians, podiatrists and chiropractors. Students in the program can benefit from a unique and tailored plan that fits their background and future aspirations. While there is no preferred major, a majority of pre-med students major in biology, biochemistry, chemistry, exercise science or athletic training.

Learn more about the learning objectives of the program.

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What does it take to get accepted into health professional schools?
Admission to health professional schools is extremely competitive. Each year, medical schools receive thousands of applications for 100 or 200 seats. It is similar with the other health professions, and it takes an excellent undergraduate profile to successfully be admitted to these professional schools.

Science GPA and Cumulative GPA of successful Ohio medical school applicants average 3.3-3.5 and higher. GPAs for the other types of health professional schools listed above are nearly as high.  Standardized tests are required for most programs, and these tests gauge an applicant’s basic understanding of science compared to peers from across the country. In addition to an excellent academic record and good test scores successful applicants also have meaningful letters of evaluation, experience with independent research, first-hand experience in health-care situations, documented participation in service activities and other evidence of being a well-rounded person.

Mount Union provides a place where the opportunity to be successful in all these areas is available. However, in the end it takes a dedicated student with a true love for the profession and with priorities appropriately established early to be successful in health professional school admission.

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What are the requirements to get accepted into a health professions school?
Required courses for medical school admission vary little between schools and professions. In general, all medical schools require a minimum of a full year in biology, a full year in inorganic (freshman) chemistry, a full year in organic chemistry and a full year in physics. Many schools require a full year of college level mathematics. Requirements for the other professions above are basically the same with, perhaps, some other specific courses named. For example, OSU Vet School also specifically requires genetics, molecular and cellular Biology, microbiology and biochemistry.

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What should I major in?
Many professional schools do not require specific majors, and some professional schools do not even require an undergraduate degree at all. Each field has specific course requirements, and different institutions in the same field often require different curricula.

A more helpful question to ask is, “What course of study will make me the best candidate for professional school?” An advantage to attending the University of Mount Union is that we offer program tracks that will prepare you well for the program of your choice while being flexible enough to recognize you as an individual. We have outlined a number of detailed tracks that will guide you to success, but you are still free to choose from these tracks and tailor them to meet your needs. The liberal-arts nature of Mount Union's curriculum will provide you with the non-science courses you will need to become the well-rounded student that professional schools are looking for.

You won’t be left alone to weigh the pros and cons of various curricula. The Pre-Medical and pre-health professions advisor, Dr. Scott Mason, is willing and able to assist you in the process. Please contact him as early as possible in your academic career at Mount Union to get the most help possible.

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How can the Pre-Medical and Pre-Health Professions Committee help me?
The Pre-Medical and Pre-Health Professions Committee can help you in a variety of ways including mentoring you during your academic career at Mount Union, providing you with a mock professional school interview, continuous feedback,

The successful professional school applicant must receive high recommendation from his or her undergraduate institution. To get the best recommendation possible, you must develop close professional relationships with your professors. At Mount Union, you will have the opportunity to interact on a personal level with your class instructors. Furthermore, you will need to develop deeper relationships with some instructors through opportunities such as lab assisting or undergraduate research. These instructors will all offer unique insight into your suitability to your future career choice.

A committee representing many departments across campus will contribute to writing an accurate letter of evaluation for you based on information you have submitted as well as personal observations of committee members and other evaluators of your choosing. As the Pre-Medical and pre-health professions advisor, Dr. Scott Mason will convey information about your potential to the schools of your choice in the form of a committee letter.

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What is the Pre-Health Professions Club?
Students seeking additional support and preparation for a future career in Pre-Medical and other pre-health professions fields may find involvement in Mount Union’s Pre-Health Professions Club to be extremely beneficial. From guest speakers to professional school application preparation, the club offers future healthcare practitioners resources, tips and hands-on experiences in the pre-medical and pre-health professions, allowing them to explore what their future may hold first hand. The Pre-Health Professions Club is a student-led organization on Mount Union’s campus. Students pursuing a variety of majors with an array of career goals make up its membership. The common goal that ties them together is a desire to make a difference in the lives of others as future members of the healthcare professions.

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What is a Health Coach?
The University of Mount Union’s health coach internship allows students to be involved with the healthcare of the future by regularly meeting with patients experiencing chronic conditions who have a history of frequent hospitalizations. Health coaches serve a preventive role by helping patients to maintain their current medications, adhere to testing regiments and, possibly, find other underlying causes for the patients’ problems. The students become part of the Alliance Community Care Network, an Alliance Community Hospital-wide effort comprised of a physician-directed team of nurses, counselors, social workers, nutritionists and ancillary support personnel. The goal of the program is to reduce hospital stays and emergency room visits by these “high-risk” patients.

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How do you prepare students for graduate school?
For many students, applying and interviewing for professional school can be both stressful and intimidating. At the University of Mount Union, our Pre-Med and Pre-Health Professions Committee prepares you to approach this process with confidence and composure. In fact, during a student’s junior year, he or she has the opportunity to participate in a professional school mock interview, which is when members of the Pre-Med and Pre-Health Professions Committee simulate what a professional school sit down interview would be like. Students who are interested in continuing their education by attending professional school, whether it be to medical, optometry, pharmacy, dental or veterinarian school, can take advantage of this practical and invaluable preparation.

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What graduate schools should I apply to as part of the program?
You should apply first to schools in your state of residence. The reality is, most medical schools are state-supported and give preferential admission to residents of that state. For example, in 2009, Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine (now NEOMED) admitted 98 Ohio residents and 9 out-of-state students (out of 1899 total applicants). Private schools tend to do this to a lesser degree. For example, at Case Western in 2009, there were 29 Ohio and 160 out-of-state students admitted (out of 5556 applicants); at Northwestern (Illinois) the numbers were 35 and 123. Also, tuition differs greatly for in-state vs. out-of-state students or public vs. private schools. Tuition (alone) at Ohio State for a year (2009-2010) was $29,403 for an Ohio resident and $44,913 for an out-of-state student. At CWRU, tuition was $45,970 for everyone. Keep in mind though, that there are lots of ways to pay tuition at this level, and finances should not inhibit your sincere interest in applying to the state, out-of-state or private school of your choice.

Of course there are many other reasons to decide to apply to a particular school. Some of these might be reputation, emphasis and excellence in a particular area of medicine, type of curriculum (e.g. a "problems-based" program or a "systems-based" approach), the possibility for mission or international work, or an MD/PhD program. You will need to do your homework, make lots of visits and decide for yourself where you feel it best for you to apply or attend. We will help in your decision, but you will make the final choices. After all, you will be the one going to school there.

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What do I do if I don't get in?
In the unfortunate event that a student is rejected, a careful assessment needs to be made about why this was the case. Part of this would include consulting the schools in question. Admissions officers are more than willing to discuss an individual student's application once the busy admission season is over. They can be most helpful in pointing out deficiencies so that a possible subsequent application might be successful. Graduate work, health-care experience or just better MCAT scores may be the thing to better a rejected student's profile, but the remedy would be particular for each student. It may be the case that a particular student will not be able to reach a particular admissions goal. Perhaps a goal with less rigorous admissions criteria but that still matches a student's interests needs to be established. Alternative health careers may provide this. Graduate work and research in the health field could be appropriate for some. For others, careers in non-lab or non-patient care professions such as Public Health, Hospital/Health Care Administration or Health Communication might be good options. At Mount Union we try to work closely with our students, assessing their chances, discussing options and helping them define and reach their future goals. Hopefully options would be explored prior to the senior year so that upon graduation each student is comfortable and well-positioned to take the next step in reaching their personal career-goal.

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What is the average percent of Mount Union students accepted to health professions schools?
This is perhaps the most frequently asked question, and certainly the one with the most answers.  Remember you can drown in a stream that averages two feet in depth. You’ll be prepared, no matter what your next step may be, as our track record shows. Over the past decade, more than 80% of our graduating seniors who apply to health professional schools have been accepted in the year of their graduation. This percentage is the same for medical schools specifically.  We believe we have our excellent record because of our rigorous program, our conscientious advising and our reputation among the various health professions schools. If you attend Mount Union, you will find that we will provide what you need to reach your goal.

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What is the difference between allopathic medicine and osteopathic medicine?
Of course, the actual name of the degree is different, MD vs. DO, but the real difference is one of philosophy. The philosophy behind osteopathic medicine has historically been more one of holistic medicine, i.e. considering wellness, prevention and personal interaction along with the actual diagnosis and treatment of disease. Osteopathic physicians have tended to practice more in primary care fields because of this philosophy. The reality is that today there really is not much of a difference. Osteopathic physicians may specialize to every degree that allopathic physicians do, and allopathic physicians have become more holistic than in the past. Most large group practices would have both types of physicians working together. Patients would not know the difference unless they looked carefully at the graduation or certification certificates on the waiting room wall. A student should think about his or her own personality and personal philosophy and then at least consider schools of both types for their future training.

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Who do I contact if I have questions about the Pre-Health Professions Program?
If you have questions about the program, please complete the form on the Pre-Medical and Pre-Health Professions Program page.

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