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Planning for Graduate School

As you think ahead to applying to graduate school, consider some recommendations from your pre-medical/pre-health advisors:

Plan your academic career

Acceptance to medical school and other health professional programs is based, in part, on a student's overall academic performance, regardless of major, and the completion of the particular program's prerequisite course requirements.

Most programs are very competitive, so students need to maintain a strong GPA. Core prerequisite courses should be taken during a full semester at a four-year institution, rather than during the summer.

Gain Professional Experience

In addition to academic success, all health care programs want candidates that have demonstrated sustained interest and commitment to the respective profession.

Some ways this can be accomplished:

  • shadow a professional with the degree you are seeking
  • volunteer/work in the field or one that's related (3-4 hours per week)
  • service to your community other than family and friends

Demonstrate ability to work as a member of a team:

  • work in research
  • join a group and actively participate (sports, student organizations, band, etc.)
  • employment involving the general public

Demonstrate leadership. This can easily be incorporated into any of the above areas. Some ideas:

  • volunteer to chair a sub-committee, task force, or event
  • take on extra responsibility at work
  • run for elected office
  • direct an event, coach, serve as a team captain
  • organize an activity or event

Summer opportunities

UMass Dartmouth is part of the University of Massachusetts System that also includes the Chan Medical School in Worcester (UMass Chan). Chan offers several summer preparatory programs designed to give students experience in clinical research and/or allied health careers.

  • Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program. This is a ten-week summer program where successful applicants will work with an experienced researcher.
  • Summer Enrichment Program. This is a tuition-free, four-week residential program for undergraduate sophomores and juniors from under-represented and/or disadvantaged backgrounds interested in entering the healthcare field. Under-represented or disadvantaged individuals include those from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds (i.e., first-generation college graduates) or individuals under-represented in medicine (i.e., Portuguese in MA).

For more information, please contact the Office of Outreach Programs or call 508.856.2707

Visit Schools of Interest

While making a face-to-face visit to your schools of interest is the best way to assess a school, you should start by reviewing as many schools' websites as possible. Some links of interest to get you started:

  • Medical schools
    Association of American Medical Colleges
    2450 N St. N.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20037
  • Osteopathic schools
    American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine
    5550 Friendship Boulevard, Suite 310
    Chevy Chase, MD 20815-7231
  • Dental schools
    American Association of Dental Schools
    1625 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20036-2212
  • Veterinary schools
    Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges
    1101 Vermont Av NW Suite 301
    Washington,DC 20005
  • Physician assistant schools
    American Academy of Physicians Assistants
    950 North Washington Street
    Alexandria,VA 22314-1552
  • Pharmacy schools
    American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
    1727 King Street
    Alexandria,VA 22314
  • Optometry schools
    Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry
    6110 Executive Boulevard, Suite 420
    Rockville, MD 20852

Apply to Postgraduate Programs

Check each program's specific admission/application requirements, and fill out a draft application.

Most programs use a common application for their primary application, followed by an invitation to complete a secondary application. Generally, you will need the following for these applications:

  • Transcripts from all secondary schools
  • Personal statement or essay
  • Admission Test Score(s)
  • A letter of recommendation

You should prepare for these tests well in advance. It's strongly advised that you complete as many practice exams as possible before taking your test. 

  • Recommendations
    • Many students underestimate the time it takes to get these completed.Be sure to ask well in advance (at least 4-6 months) of when they are actually due.
    • Include a well written resume with your request
    • Include signed waiver form as needed
    • Provide the author with COMPLETE address information and directions, including any identification numbers and deadlines
    • Schedule an interview for preparation of a UMD Pre-Health Committee Letter
      • Contact your Pre-Health Advisor. Remember that the faculty are generally not scheduled for on-campus activities after May 31st, so should you need summer assistance, it should be scheduled before that date.
  • Submit the following
    • MCAT/standardized test scores
    • Recommendations
    • Complete transcript
    • Personal statement
    • Completed central application
    • Complete address/contact information of schools along with deadlines

Email with any additional questions.

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