Applying to a professional health graduate program is competitive. The successful candidates for medical and other professional schools have to bring much more to the table than good grades in the pre-requisite courses and entrance exam for his/her chosen field. The student’s portfolio should include clinical experience, research experience and evidence of leadership. The University of West Florida has several special programs to assist students in attaining their goals. Students should meet with the Pre-professional Advisor early in their career at UWF to establish a path for success.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRE-PROFESSIONAL STUDENTS
The University of West Florida is dedicated to promoting the success of our pre-professional students seeking admission to medical, dental, veterinary, pharmacy, and physician assistant programs as well as other health professional schools. We offer a plethora of opportunities to assist pre-professional students in achieving this goal and we continue to develop new platforms to prepare students for admission to professional school.
Pre-Professional Advisor and the Advisory Committee
The Pre-Professional Advisor and Pre-Professional Advisory Committee serve students from all majors on campus who are seeking admission to professional schools. The Advisor provides guidance for students and evaluation of their credentials in their efforts to apply for professional schools. Students should meet with the advisor in their sophomore year to establish a path to success in their application to a health professional program. The Advisory Committee conducts “mock” interviews and writes the letters of recommendation for students seeking admission to professional schools. For contacts and additional information go to: www.uwf.edu/biology/preprofessional
Pre-Professional Student Organizations
Five student organizations focusing on pre-professional areas are available for pre-professional students. These organizations establish an atmosphere of camaraderie and provide opportunities for students to engage in health-related community service, support net-working opportunities that assist students in understanding and assessing the profession of their choice and in applying to professional schools, sponsor talks by recruiters from professional schools, as well as create a foundation for mutual support among pre-professional students regarding academic issues. These organizations include:
Alpha Epsilon Delta, the American Medical Student Association, the Pre-Pharmacy Society, the Pre-Dental Society, and the Pre-Veterinary Society.
Clinical Experience in Health Care Course
Pre-professional students must show evidence of clinical experience as part of the criteria for application to some professional specialties. At most schools each student has to identify and solicit permission to engage in a clinical experience opportunity in the health care community in order to fulfill this obligation. The UWF Department of Biology has designed a course entitled “Clinical Experience in Health Care” as an upper division elective providing clinical experience for the pre-professional student. This three credit hour course places students in clinical settings within the region to provide them with the kinds of experience that is required for application to professional schools as well as to allow them to get the feel of the real-world setting they have chosen to enter.
Some professional schools require that applicants have engaged in scientific research. Our faculty provide many opportunities for students to engage in research and are happy to have students participating in research projects for credit (Directed Independent Studies), as paid assistants or through an Honors’ Program thesis project.
Agreements Between UWF and Professional Schools
Several agreements are currently in place between the University of West Florida and professional schools that promote admission of qualified UWF graduates into the targeted professional programs.
College of Medicine at the University of South Florida
If you are entering the UWF Honors Program as a freshman and are interested in attending medical school, you have an opportunity to receive admission to The University
of South Florida College of Medicine and complete a medical degree in seven years, provided that you meet all the requirements of the program. You will do your first three years of study as an Honors student at the University of West Florida, and the fourth year at USF College of Medicine as part of your first year of medical school. You will receive your Bachelor’s Degree following successful completion of the Honors Program requirements (typically after the fourth year). You will receive the Doctor of Medicine Degree after the successful completion of the medical program.
The College of Medicine at Florida State University
If you are entering the UWF Honors Program as a freshman and are interested in attending medical school, you have an opportunity to receive admission to Florida State University College of Medicine provided that you meet all the requirements of the program. FSU COM will be recruiting and advising our students, and a close relationship between the FSU COM campus and faculty will allow interaction with prospective applicants from UWF.
Alabama Medical Education Coalition
The goal of AMEC is to train osteopathic physicians who will work in underserved regions of Alabama. Students interested in Family Practice, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology are encouraged to apply. AMEC is a dynamic partnership between The University of West Florida, 20 Alabama Colleges and Universities and 10 Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine. AMEC is a clearing house for admissions for qualified graduates from these schools into the osteopathic schools listed below. AMEC has dedicated 10 slots for qualified UWF students at partner osteopathic schools. Based on ACT and grades, students who are identified as potential applicants in their freshman year are eligible for early admission into a 7-year program in DO school.
American University at Antigua
AUA offers admission to its medical school to qualified UWF graduates, culminating in the Doctor of Medicine degree. In addition to completing one of the Approved Programs, a student also must meet the following minimum requirements in order to be admitted to AUA.
a. An overall Grade Point Average of 3.25 or higher;
b. A Grade Point Average of 3.00 or higher in pre-requisite courses required by AUA;
c. No “F” or “D” grade in any pre-requisite course required by AUA;
d. A score of 24 or higher on the Medical College Admission Test; and
e. A recommendation for admission by an AUA Admission Officer who has interviewed the applicant in person.
This program affords students who for a variety of reasons may not have been able to achieve the GPA and MCAT scores required for admission to most U.S. Medical schools, an opportunity to realize their goal of earning an M.D.
The Post-baccalaureate Pre-professional Preparation Program (P4 Program) is for students who hold a baccalaureate degree but do not have the science courses necessary to qualify for admission to a professional school. They now have a platform at UWF for taking the courses necessary to make successful application to medical, dental, veterinary, pharmacy, physical therapy and other professional schools in the health sciences arena. This is called the P4 Program. The P4 opens a broad mosaic of support for these students which include the Pre-professional Advisory Committee and Pre-Professional Advisor and the five pre-professional student organizations.
Argo-Noles Medical Mentors Program
In cooperation with the medical students at FSU College of Medicine- Pensacola campus, we have created the Argo-Noles Medical Mentors program. There are no dues for membership in this program and once each semester the med mentors will meet with all of the UWF members of the program to provide “tips” for applying to medical school, on what was most useful to them once they entered medical school, on what to expect in the clinical setting, etc. UWF program members may attend grand rounds with their med mentors, will be invited to attend lectures and case discussions at the medical school, and be provided with mock interviews by the med mentors.