Tips for Success
Here is a list of tips and tricks that can help students prepare to become competitive applicants in applying to graduate health profession programs like medical school, dental school, or other health related programs. If you have any questions, please reach out to our office!
Communicate with your pre-health advisor often
Your pre-health advisor can help support you throughout your time preparing for a graduate program. They are dedicated to making your journey smooth and effective. They are also a great place to go to for additional resources. We recommend meeting with your pre-health advisor at least once a semester. We also recommend scheduling appointments early to accommodate for busy schedules. You can make an appointment through our contact page.
Be involved and gain experience
Involvement on your campus and in your community can help you stand out as a potential applicant. As a future healthcare provider, it is important to gain some health related experience, but also consider things like volunteer work and research! Involvement in different areas in your community and in healthcare is one of the best ways to build up your skill sets and prepare you for your future! See the extracurricular activities section for your pre-health interest.
Build and maintain relationships for strong letters of recommendation
Letters of recommendation are a critical part of any application. You want to ensure that you have connections and relationships that will provide you with meaningful and impactful letters of recommendation. Take the time to get to know professors through office hours and engagement in class. Find a provider in your field of interest and build a relationship with them. Meet with your advisor often if you plan to utilize them as a letter writer. If people do not know you, it is hard for them to write a quality letter of recommendation for you. Letters of Recommendation Guide.
Ensure that you are completing prerequisites on time
Prerequisites are a key part of your preparation for graduate programs. Prerequisites can vary from program to program, so compile a list of programs you are interested in, and use that to build a degree plan with your pre-health advisor. Sequencing is an important part of prerequisites as well, so ensure that you are course planning with your advisor to complete all the required coursework in the correct order. Check out the common prerequisites for your pre-health interest!
Be involved with clubs and our office
Being involved with our campus clubs and office events can be beneficial to students for many reasons. Club involvement is a great way to build up your experience and knowledge, as well as find a community of like minded students to gain support. Our clubs and office also organize informational sessions with professionals and workshops to help students reach their goals. Our office social media is also a great resource as we post about pre-health opportunities, events, and resources often.
Reflect on your career and major choice often
Regardless of the health profession you are interested in going into, it is a big commitment, and one that you want to make sure is right for you. By reflecting on your career interests, your motivations, and your passions often, you can ensure that you are putting your time and effort towards a career that will be fulfilling and enjoyable. The same goes for major choice. Choose a major that you are passionate about, and that will help you succeed as a person and a professional. Check out the career center for more information!
Work on all your skills, not just the academic ones
While academic skills are critical for success in healthcare, they are not the only skills you will need. Building a well-rounded set of skills including leadership, teamwork, communication, organization, time-management, resilience, ethical and cultural competence, etc. is critical for your overall success. Check out the recommended skills for your pre-health interest!
Maintain and high GPA
Most health profession graduate programs require a competitive GPA for consideration as an applicant. Programs may consider both your cumulative GPA and your science (biology, physics, chemistry, and math) GPA, so it is important to stay on top of both. If you feel like you are struggling in classes, or need support with course material, there are many resources available to you as an ISU student for free! Check out ISU’s tutoring resources!
Take the time to write a meaningful personal statement
Your personal statement is one of the opportunities that you have to tell admissions committees exactly who you are and why you want to go into your field of interest. A powerful and meaningful personal statement will help set you apart from other applicants. Show why you deserve a spot in the program. Take advantage of the Writing Center on campus! Personal Statement Guide.
Score high on your admissions test
Admissions tests are one way that programs evaluate you as a potential applicant. While this is just one part of your application, it is an important one. Take the time you need to study and prepare for the test, and make a plan for if you have to retake an admissions test. Check out our test preparation page!
Prepare for interviews
Interviews are another opportunity to show programs, and future employers, why they should choose you! By practicing interview skills, you can ensure that you are confident and prepared to succeed in these interviews. The Career Center on campus offers mock interviews and feedback to help you build this skill set. Interview Guide.