- Ryan Donaldson ’15
- Hometown: North Canton, Ohio
- Major: Medical Technology
When I graduated from high school, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the medical field. I was interested in becoming a medical technologist, and heard that Mount Union had an outstanding medical technology program.
Pre-Medical and Pre-Health Major Frequently Asked Questions
- What does it take to get in?
- What specific course requirements are there?
- What should I major in?
- What about Mount Union's Pre-Medical and Pre-Health Professions Committee?
- To what schools should I apply?
- What do I do if I don't get in?
- What is the average percentage of Mount Union Students accepted at Health Professions Schools?
- What is the difference between Allopathic Medicine and Osteopathic Medicine?
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. It takes an excellent undergraduate profile to be successful in admission to any of 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.
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 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.
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. Mason, is willing and able to assist you in the process. Please contact him as early as possible in your academic career at the University of Mount Union to get the most help possible.
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. Mason will convey information about your potential to the schools of your choice in the form of a committee letter.
You should apply first to schools in your state of residence. The reality is that 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.
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
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. At Mount Union over the last 10-15 years or more, 80+ % of our graduating seniors who apply to health professional schools are accepted in the year of their graduation. This percentage is the same for medical schools specifically. Of course, this is not the same as the acceptance percentage of the freshmen who came to Mount Union as "pre-meds" four years earlier. We believe we have our excellent record because of our rigorous program, our conscientious advising and our reputation among the various health professions schools. Having said this, however, it is also the case that you will not get into any health professional school because you attend Mount Union (or any other school for that matter). You will get in or not depending on how you interact with our curriculum, the opportunities we offer and the admissions profile you generate during your undergraduate years here. If you attend Mount Union, you will find that we will provide what you need to reach your goal.
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.