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UW pre-health advising

The UAA pre-health advising team works with students interested in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and other healthcare related careers. 

The advisers work with all UW undergraduates and alumni of our undergraduate programs to assist in the exploration of, preparation for, and application to professional healthcare programs. 

What is pre-health at UW?

We define pre-health as a process a student goes through if they intend to enter a health professional field.  Pre-health is not a “major” or “track”.  The process includes:

  1. Actively exploring a variety of health care professions and understanding the type of work (e.g. patient contact, type of facility) involved and how this matches a student’s personal strengths, motivations, and preferences
  2. Preparing for a selected health profession, this includes both academic (e.g. course planning and major selection) and vocational endeavors (e.g. job shadowing, volunteering, research, leadership, work experience)
  3. Applying to the professional schools including assessing readiness to apply, selecting schools, preparing for and taking entrance exams, and preparing a compelling application

The pre-health advisers work primarily with students seeking graduate and professional level programs such as:

Medicine (Allopathic, Osteopathic); Dentistry; Pharmacy; Physical Therapy; Chiropractic Medicine; Occupational Therapy; Physician Assistant; Veterinary Medicine

What can students expect from their pre-health advisers?

  • We guide and support students as they discuss and explore their interests and goals
  • We provide individual and group (drop-in) advising as well as workshops and classes on topics including the application process
  • We provide information and resources on how to prepare for professional school admission
  • We do not make decisions for students, but will offer guidance and support throughout the process
  • We work with all UW undergraduate students

What is expected of pre-health students as they work with advisers?

  • They will actively seek out information about their interests and goals and consult the pre-health website for guidance
  • They will work with their general or departmental academic adviser(s) in conjunction with the pre-health team
  • Prior to making individual appointments, they will complete and submit the Pre-health Reflection and Plan (online)
  • They will seek out and participate in co-curricular activities that will support their exploration and preparation (e.g. volunteering, shadowing, research, clinical exposure, service learning, work experience)  
  • They will regularly assess their academic performance and career readiness
  • They will obtain individual letters of evaluation/recommendation required for applications (UW does not have a pre-health committee to provide these letters)

What about UW’s undergraduate programs in health and health sciences?

  • The UW offers a number of majors that lead directly into healthcare careers or into a specific graduate health program (see list below).   Students interested in any of these programs may work directly with the departmental advisers.
    • Nursing (please see the Pre-nursing specialist in UAA Advising first)
    • Environmental Health
    • Health Informatics & Information Management
    • Medical Laboratory Science
    • Public Health
    • Social Welfare
    • Speech and Hearing Sciences

Choosing a career in health care is not one decision but a series of decisions based on exploration, investigation and reflection.  To successfully prepare for a health care program, students will need to continually assess their academic readiness, motivation, and skills in sciences as well as humanities and social sciences.  Getting involved in health care (volunteering and shadowing) as well as community service are essential elements to exploring what the profession is really about and if it is a good match for you.