Pre-Law Advisement

Pre-Health Admissions Process

Get Involved In Extracurricular Activities

Professional schools are looking for highly-motivated, committed, enthusiastic, thorough and well informed applicants. They strongly prefer people who have looked into the details of the profession and know the shortcomings, demands, and rewards of the profession through direct experience. Such people will be more realistically motivated to go through the pre-professional program, and are more likely to be accepted, all other things being equal.

Find out for yourself what the doctor-patient relationship, working conditions, life-style, and nitty gritty of health care is like. Pre-health students are also encouraged to seek experience on their own. Involvement in any activity that develops and demonstrates your interest, motivation, and experience in your chosen professional field will generally be helpful. Health-related jobs or volunteer experiences may be found in hospitals, clinics, dentist's or physician's offices, nursing homes, day care centers and a variety of other settings. They provide experience beyond the superficial aspects of the profession.

Talk to your Advisement Dean about getting involved in any of the student activities on campus for pre-health and pre-medical students. If you would like to learn more about any of the organizations below or about on-campus volunteer opportunities and community service programs, please call the Office of Student Leadership and Activities at (516) 463-6914.

Pre-Med Photos

Pre-Professional Organizations on Campus

  • Association of Pre-Professional Health-Oriented Students (APHOS)
    • This club is dedicated to educating future health professionals. It places emphasis on the professional or graduate school application process and helping members gain acceptance to graduate schools through guest speakers and programs. It seeks to represent all aspects of the health field, including allopathic and osteopathic medicine, physician assistant and nursing fields, physical therapy, occupational therapy and chiropractic.
  • Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society (SAACS)
    • The purpose of this organization shall be to get students excited about chemistry and to inform students of potential careers available to students with chemistry and biochemistry degrees.
  • Health Professions Scholars Program (HPSP)
    • The Health Professions Scholars Program gives students the opportunity to participate in experiences usually available only to advanced  medical students, interns, and residents—including access to special seminars and participation in the North Shore-LIJ Health System's Center for Learning and Innovation and the Patient Safety Institute.  These opportunities will provide students a competitive edge in the application process. HPSP members will be eligible to apply for Summer Fellowships at the Feinstein Institute, as well as for select volunteer opportunities, and will have the opportunity to work as peer teachers in the interdisciplinary science seminar program.  Finally, HPSP members will serve as student leaders, coordinating outreach and volunteer activities for Hofstra pre-health professional students.

        There are two levels of membership in the HPSP:  Associate and Full.  The only requirement for Associate membership is interest in the health professions and completion of the membership application. Full membership is available to students who meet the following requirements: successful completion of 16 credits in the basic science courses of the pre-health curriculum at Hofstra with a 3.3 GPA; completed application; references from two faculty members; interview with the program directors; 20 hours of documented community service; and attendance at a minimum of half of pre-health workshops and events.

Student Organizations on Campus

  • Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Med Honor Society (AED)
    • Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED) is a national Pre-Med Honor Society. Hofstra's chapter of AED inducts new members every spring. the international premedical honor society open to students seeking a career in the health professions. Requirements for membership include a cumulative average of 3.0 and a science grade point average of 3.0 after completion of at least three semesters at Hofstra. Transfer students, with at least one year completed prior to attendance at Hofstra, must complete at least one semester in residence. Associate Professor Clendening, Adviser.
  • Phi Delta Epsilon (PhiDE)
    • Hofstra University's chapter of Phi Delta Epsilon is a fraternity that unites students who are pursuing careers in the health professions. This organization is a gateway for students to get involved in the medical community and it serves as a great base for students to network amongst peers with similar interests. Phi Delta Epsilon has ties to various organization such as "The Children's Miracle Network". First-hand experience with such organizations enables the pre-health student to build strong ties to officials in the medical community. These experiences will help the pre-health student grow on a personal level and professionally these experiences will enhance their candidacy when applying to graduate school.
  • Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children (FIMRC)
    • FIMRC is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving pediatric and maternal health in the developing world through the implementation of innovative and self-sustainable health improvement programs. Through its network of outpatient clinics and partnerships, FIMRC asserts a multidimensional strategy that includes clinical services, extensive community outreach efforts and health education programs. Students from the Hofstra University chapter of FIMRC fundraise around campus to raise money for international relief trips to countries such as Costa Rica, El Salvador, India, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, and Uganda.

Volunteer and Internship Opportunities

Letters of Evaluation

Whether you have the intellectual capacity to do the work of your profession will become clear to the admissions committee when they receive your undergraduate transcript and the scores from your national standardized test. However, there are other qualities on which you will be judged, such as motivation, maturity, perseverance, judgment, compassion, integrity, interpersonal and communication skills, and the potential for continuing intellectual and professional growth.

You can expect that, after initial screening, admission committees will require letters of evaluation. The more personalized and specific the evaluation is, the more valuable it can be for you. Therefore, it is your benefit to get to know well a few faculty members, in order to fulfill this requirement when the time comes to apply to professional schools.

Hofstra uses a composite evaluation prepared by our health professions advisory committee. This method uses letters of evaluation from faculty members chosen by the applicant, with summary comments and ratings prepared by the Pre-Health advisor. Additionally, a waiver form should be completed by you that states you are giving up your right to see faculty member recommendations and that all were written confidentially.

For samples of the forms, go to:
 
Faculty Appraisal Form
Waiver of Access Form

In gathering your faculty evaluations, the most important factor is that your evaluator knows you well and is not going to submit a generalized, impersonal letter written for all his/her high-achieving students.

Here are some guidelines:

The LEAST helpful evaluations are those which are:

  • A repetition of information from application
  • Unsubstantiated superlatives, vague generalities
  • Descriptions of grade in ONE particular class (suggests not knowing student very well)
  • Irrelevant information (family connections, religious beliefs)

The MOST helpful evaluations are those which comment on:

  • Academic Ability
    • classroom behavior
    • work ethic
    • preparation
    • attendance
  • Personality Characteristics
    • integrity
    • honesty
    • reliability
    • professionalism
    • determination
    • leadership
    • motivation
    • common sense
    • judgment
    • problem-solving ability
  • Social Skills
    • interpersonal and communication skills
    • ability to interact in groups and establish peer relationships
    • empathy
    • altruism / service to others
  • Relevant Experience
    • exposure to the profession
  • Overall Suitability for Health/Medical Career
  • Who the applicant is as a person

As you are considering which faculty to ask for letters of recommendation, keep in mind the following:

  • Ask professors/faculty that can speak to your academic abilities and personal strengths.
  • Ensure that you have a diversity of academic fields represented among your recommenders. (i.e. make sure you ask for recommendations from professors in the humanities, social and natural sciences, etc).
  • Consider the time it will take a professor to write your recommendation, given his/her other commitments. Make sure to give your professor ample time for submission.
  • Make an appointment with the professor you intend to ask for recommendations to make sure your request has been received. Bring along your updated resume, transcript, personal statement, and any other materials that may be helpful to the professor to learn more about you and your interest in pursuing medical school.

Letters of recommendations coming from outside of campus can be mailed to:

Attn: Ellen Miller, Pre-Health Advisor
The Center for University Advisement
Hofstra University
101 Memorial Hall
Hempstead, New York 11549

Personal Statement

Writing Your Personal Statement

The information below provides basic guidelines for writing successful personal statements. The most important suggestion is making sure to obtain critical feedback about your essay from people whose judgment you trust. Ask your Advisement dean to review your application and personal statement before you submit it. The Pre-Health Advisement dean also has literature containing sample personal statements along with detailed suggestions, guidelines, and ideas for writing your personal statement. Hofstra has an excellent writing center that will also assist you in editing and revising you personal statement.

Suggestions for Writing Successful Personal Statements

Your personal statement is an opportunity to write about your particular talents, any experiences that have led you to choose a career in a medical field and the elements of your personality that make you perfect for a particular medical career. Your personal statement should demonstrate that you understand the nature of the demands of a particular career and can recognize personal attributes that would lead to success in that career. Your statement should prove to the admissions committee that you have these qualities. Demonstrating that you have a particular quality does not mean that you merely say so in your personal statement. You must prove this by writing about your accomplishments, obstacles you have overcome, experiences that have shaped your career decisions.

Your personal statement should provide information that is not found elsewhere in the application. Do not reiterate your many honors and awards. Write about your accomplishments in a way that demonstrates a particular strength or personality trait that you think is important. Depending on your academic history, irregularities in your record or below-average grades may need to be explained in the personal statement.

Allow the essay to convey your personality. You want your reader to think you are an interesting person and that you are easy to communicate with.

Often the hardest part of writing a personal essay is getting started. A good way to begin a personal statement is with a personal anecdote or description of an experience that conveys something unique about you and demonstrates one or more of the qualities you want to highlight. The anecdote can be about an experience and how you handled it in a way that demonstrates your unique talents and qualifications for a career in medicine. If you played on a high school or college sports team you can, for example, emphasize discipline and teamwork. If you devote time to a hobby you are passionate about, write about focus and organization. If there was a defining moment when you knew a career was right for you, or if there were special moments in your volunteer work, then write about it and be sure to highlight your leadership, compassion, and dedication to your service in the field. Write about an encounter with disease or injury that shaped your decision, or write about an encounter with a particular health professional who influenced your decision.

Continue your statement with the ways you have prepared yourself for your chosen career. Describe your clinical experience and community service activities. Point out how you have challenged yourself academically. Use examples that demonstrate your strengths and the qualities you want to emphasize. You should also address any significant weaknesses in your application, giving an explanation not excuses.

Five rather standard topics that pre-medical students write about are:

  • Their motivation for the particular medical career they have chosen
  • The influence of family/friends
  • The influence of experiences
  • The influence of extracurricular activities/work/volunteer services
  • Long term goals

When writing about any of these topics, use concrete examples from your life to support your statements.In the final section of the essay write about your general career goals, how you perceive the profession and what you believe you will contribute to it. Don't forget to tie this to your overall theme.

Additional Suggestions:

  • Start early and think about your future career often.
  • Choose a unifying theme for your essay and stick to it.
  • Consider who the readers of your application are.
  • Read before you write:
    • Follow the directions supplied in terms of expected content of the essay and length.
    • Be meticulous about checking for spelling and grammatical errors.

Interviews with the Pre-Health Advisory Committee

If you plan to enter a professional program directly after graduation from Hofstra University, you will need to have your pre-health file completed by the end of your Junior year.  A major component of this file will be your Pre-Health Advisory Committee Application, which MUST be completed and on file by April 15 of Junior year.  Extensions will be made ONLY for extenuating circumstances.  Applications can be downloaded from the Documents Tab under the Pre-Health Professions Group on Black Board.
Once your application is on file, you will receive a notification of when your interview with the Advisory Committee will take place.  During this interview, the Committee will review your completed application and speak with you about various experiences and events that have taken place during your years at the University.  The Committee will use this interview and your application to create a comprehensive letter of evaluation that is written for each student applying to graduate schools of the health professions.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Pre-Health Advisory Committee Process:

What is the Pre-Health Professional Advisory Committee Evaluation?
The Advisory Committee Evaluation is a composite evaluation and supporting document that is written for current students and alumni applying to graduate schools of the health professions who complete the interview process.  This evaluation is written on a student’s request and only after the student completes all application requirements.  The pre-applicant process includes submission of letters of recommendation, application materials, as well as an interview. 

Who is on the Pre-Health Professional Advisory Committee?
The Pre-Health Professional Advisory Committee is made up of faculty from the Sciences departments and the Pre-Health Advisor, Dean Ellen Miller.

How important is the Committee Evaluation?
Most professional school admissions committees place a fair amount of emphasis on these evaluations.  The admissions committees are very interested in learning more about you as a person and this evaluation can help frame some of your experiences. It is designed to be a comprehensive picture of you as an applicant.  The letter is an important part of your applicant file.  The Committee Evaluation may hold more or less weight depending on the type of professional school to which you apply.

Why does the Pre-Health Professional Advisory Committee need to interview me?
First, the interview is designed to get to know you better.  It will be an opportunity for us to clarify things that you have written about and to discuss some of your interests and experiences.  Second, the committee interview will also give you a first taste of what a medical school interview may be like.

Requirements to Sit Before the Pre-Health Advisory Committee

Only students who have at least a 3.3 overall GPA and at least 16 credits in residence will be interviewed by the Pre-health Professional Advisory Committee.  Pre-health files, including letters of recommendation, must also be completed and handed in by April 15 of the year PRIOR to entrance to Medical or other Professional  School. Failure to file all paperwork will result in the denial of an interview.

Pre-Health File

Four years may seem like a lot of time to plan for your future career in health and medical services. However, it is incredibly important to keep an eye on the suggested timeline of study if you wish to enter your desired program directly after graduating from Hofstra University. Remember, for many professional programs, applications must be completed during the summer of your Junior year; however, a complete pre-health file must be on record with the Advisement office and you must be interviewed by pre-health advisory committee before you can apply.

You can get a head start on these requirements by beginning to look at what will be expected of you in the upcoming years and what is needed to complete your pre-health files at Hofstra.

What is the Pre-Health file?
If you are planning to apply to a health professions program we will keep a file of your course evaluations, recommendations, pre-health application, resume, and transcripts in the Center for University Advisement Office. The information in your file is confidential and accessible only to the Pre-Health Committee and your advisors within the Center for University Advisement.

Why do I need a Pre-Health file?
When it is time to apply to health professions schools, we guide students through the application process. This includes providing qualified students with a Committee Letter, which is a very detailed and combined reference letter that incorporates letters of recommendation and evaluations.

Starting the file allows you to start collecting letters of recommendation and evaluations as soon as possible; when you apply you won't have to spend time trying to locate previous professors because you will have requested them when you took the course or worked with the individual.

When will my Pre-Health file be reviewed?
The pre-health files must be completed by the end of your Junior year if you are looking to begin your desired program directly after graduation from Hofstra University. At the end of your Junior year, you will sit for an interview with the Pre-Health Advisory Committee who will review your entire file and speak with you about various aspects of your three completed years at Hofstra. The Committee with then use both your interview and your pre-health file to write a Pre-Health Committee Recommendation Letter, a required correspondence that will be sent to all schools that you choose to apply to.Information and guidelines about sitting before the Pre-Health Advisory Committee can be seen below.

Standardized Tests

Standardized testing is a necessary part of admission to all types of pre-health programs. Each pre-health specialty has its own required examination.

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a standardized, multiple-choice examination designed to assess the examinee's problem solving, critical thinking, writing skills, and knowledge of science concepts and principles prerequisite to the study of medicine. Scores are reported in Verbal Reasoning, Physical Sciences, Writing Sample, and Biological Sciences. Medical colleges consider MCAT scores as part of their admission process. Almost all U.S. medical schools require applicants to submit MCAT scores. Many schools do not accept MCAT scores that are more than three years old.

Optometry Admission Test (OAT)
The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) direct the Optometry Admissions Test (OAT) for applicants seeking admission to schools and colleges of optometry. The testing program is designed to measure general academic ability and comprehension of scientific information.

Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT)
The Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) is a specialized test administered by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP). The test helps identify qualified applicants to pharmacy colleges by measuring general academic ability and scientific knowledge necessary for the commencement of pharmaceutical education.

Dental Admission Test (DAT)
The Dental Admission Test (DAT) is conducted by the American Dental Association and has been in operation on a national basis since 1950. The DAT is administered on computer on almost any day of the year. The testing program is designed to measure general academic ability, comprehension of scientific information and perceptual ability.

GRE
The GRE is the standardized exam required by most US veterinary schools and all masters in public health programs, physical therapy programs and occupational therapy programs. Most of these educational programs require only the general test, which is tailored to your performance level and provides precise information about your abilities using fewer test questions than traditional paper-based tests. The test measures verbal, quantitative and analytical reasoning skills that have been developed over a long period of time and are not necessarily related to any particular field. A few require the Writing assessment, which measures your proficiency in critical reasoning and writing. Additionally, a few veterinary schools require a subject test, which measures your achievement in specific subject areas and assume undergraduates have extensive background in those disciplines. Check the requirements for the schools to which you wish to apply.

Test Preparation Links

Centralized Application Services

There are two ways to apply to health professions schools: through a centralized application service or through direct application to individual schools. The vast majority of schools participate in centralized application services.

The centralized application services provide standardized information to participating health professions schools from a single form that you complete. The advantage of applying through a centralized service is that initially only one set of application materials and official transcripts need to be submitted, regardless of the number of schools to which you apply. The application services provide detailed admission information to health professions schools, in addition to processing the primary application. All application services require a basic processing fee, plus a sliding scale fee depending on the number of schools to which you request the application be sent. Certain fee reductions or waivers are available to students with financial need.

The lists below identify the services that oversee the centralized application processes of each professional school association. Check with the respective application service regarding which one to utilize for your intended course of study:

Deciding Where You Would Like to Apply and How You Will Finance Your Education

As you consider which schools to apply to, consider these questions:

  • What grades/scores/extracurriculars are schools looking for? Do I meet those requirements?
  • What sort of city do I want to be in for the next four years big or small?
  • Is it important for me to be near people who are my support system like family and friends?
  • If I have a strong ethnic identity, is there a community for me at the school and/or in the city where it's located?
  • What is the culture of the medical school? Are faculty members and my peers committed to my success? Does the medical school recognize the importance of the human side of medicine? Of community service?
  • What about financial considerations? Is there a state institution that provides financial benefits to its resident students?

Early management of educational loans and finance has significant long-term benefits. Your Pre-Health Advisement Dean is the best starting place for resources, help with applications, information on financial aid and other funding options, and financial aid awarding policies and procedures. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) offers several resources including information on programs such as MEDLOANS, MD2 , and DEBTHELP: http://www.aamc.org/students/financing/start.htm