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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

When University of Idaho students declare their respective majors, they are assigned academic or faculty advisors that assist them with completing the requirements of their degrees so they can successfully graduate on schedule. Similarly, U of I Career Services assists students with their professional development by providing guidance that will greatly enhance their preparedness for postgraduate endeavors.

The Pre-Health Professions Program provides a hybrid of these services by helping students explore career opportunities in healthcare; selecting academic majors that align with their individual interests and aptitudes; identifying courses that may not be required as part of their degree plans but are required to gain successful admittance to some postgraduate degree programs; preparing for any relevant entrance exams; finding and obtaining valuable experiential opportunities; navigating the application and interview processes; and making fully informed decisions when selecting a health professions graduate program.

All students are welcome to join the Pre-Health Professions Program - there is no application process, GPA requirement, or required school affiliation; however, students who want to add value to their experience in the program can sign up for the Pre-Health Preparedness Initiative. Participating students will be provided with additional skills and experiences that will enhance their preparedness for health professions graduate programs and receive recognition for their accomplishments upon graduating from University of Idaho. Students must complete the following steps to receive their certificates of achievement:

  • Take BIOL 151 Intro to Pre-Health Professions (1 cr.) before graduating
  • Take INTR 496 Pre-Health Peer Mentors (1 cr.) before graduating
  • Meet with a Pre-Health Professions Advisor once each semester
  • Attend a minimum of three (3) Pre-Health Program events each semester
  • Complete a minimum of 25 hours of volunteer service during your undergraduate career

Please contact if you are interested in joining this recognition program.

Note: Meeting and attendance requirements are effective starting Fall 2021; upper-class students are still encouraged to participate.

Students in the Pre-Health Professions Program are encouraged to meet with their assigned Pre-Health Advisor at least once each semester to create a pre-health development plan and regularly review progress. Please visit our staff webpage to learn more about the pre-health team and the pre-health cohorts they serve.

If you are interested in studying at University of Idaho, please contact the Pre-Health Professions Advisor who serves the cohort most related to your professional interests. We can answer your specific questions, review degree programs available at U of I, and outline the unique services and programming we provide to our pre-health students.

Graduate level health professions programs do not generally prefer one major over another. Instead, students at the University of Idaho are encouraged to select a major in a field in which they have a strong interest and aptitude, and then simultaneously work on satisfying their degree requirements and the prerequisites coursework for their health professional programs of choice.

Regardless of your major, you will need to take classes that fulfill prerequisites for your top choice health professional programs; however, requirements can vary greatly between programs, and it is highly recommended that students carefully research their top choice schools. Helpful links that identify the individual admissions requirements of accredited institutions can be found on each pre-health professions webpage.

GPA requirements vary greatly between schools and programs. It is important for students considering professional school to be realistic about whether their performance meets admissions expectations. Grades are suggestive of your abilities to handle a health professions school’s curriculum. In particular, students must do very well in prerequisite coursework.

It is also important to remember that health profession schools are looking at your entire application and not just your grades and test scores. There is no GPA that will guarantee being accepted or rejected by a program; however, if either your cumulative or prerequisite science GPA is less than 3.00, you may want to consider delaying your application for a year to improve your academic preparation and strengthen your application through additional work/study experiences. In some cases, this may entail enrolling in postbaccalaureate coursework or a special master’s program.

More than one. If you are an Idaho resident, we recommend that you apply to any professional school in Idaho having the particular program you desire. Students' best chances for gaining admission are often with their state schools. There also are programs where Idaho has agreements with other states for students to apply to their programs as a resident. For further information on such programs, please contact your Pre-Health Professions Advisor. Schools in other states will usually give preference to their own state's residents if they are a publicly funded institution. Private schools do not take residency into consideration, but they also tend to be more expensive. Points to consider when choosing schools to apply to: financial resources, academic qualifications, program duration, geographic location, and self-confidence in the merit of the application.

You will likely need two or more letters of recommendation from faculty members when you apply to most health professional schools.

You are encouraged to meet with your professors during office hours to become acquainted. It is not necessary to have a question about class to visit during office hours. Also, as you take upper-division courses, some classes will have smaller sizes, leading to more direct interaction in the classroom between you and your professor. Faculty may be in a better position to evaluate you if you work with them on research.

Be prepared to provide your professor with additional information about yourself.

  • Let your evaluators know the type of health professional school to which you are applying.
  • Prepare an information sheet and/or resume for your letter writers and make an appointment to discuss your career plans.
  • Tell them why you are motivated to pursue your chosen career.
  • The information sheet should include activities you have participated in, any health-related jobs, volunteering, and any other pertinent information. A professor cannot be expected to write a letter of recommendation just because you received a good grade in a specific course. If, however, you make an effort to talk with them on occasion, the professor will feel they know enough about you to write a letter of recommendation. Most professors will not agree to write a letter if they do not have enough information to write a good letter.
  • Contact a potential evaluator about providing a letter of recommendation at least three weeks before an application's deadline. Some faculty and staff members will not be comfortable providing a quality recommendation with little advanced notice.

You have the choice to waive your right to read the letters of recommendation. You choose this option within the application system you are using. Admission committees often prefer when a student waives the right to read the letters of recommendation because they assume a more complete and candid evaluation letter will be written by the professor.

Please also review our Letters of Recommendation Guidelines.

No, but admission to medical and osteopathic medical schools is quite competitive. Nationwide, about one-third of those who apply are accepted. Students accepted from U of I usually have grade point averages above 3.40 (better than "B+"), with excellent grades in the required science courses. While students must keep their grades high to be competitive, successful completion of the requirements does not guarantee admission into medical school. Many other factors, including leadership and community service, play a large part.

Shadowing a healthcare professional is an excellent way to determine whether a particular healthcare career is right for you. Many postgraduate programs also require students to have a specific number of internship/shadowing/service hours before they can apply. A good place to start is with a family friend, faculty member, or mentor. Most positions are obtained by those who take initiative, so contact individuals who may be able to connect you with someone who is willing to provide experiential learning opportunities.

An alternative to in-person shadowing is virtual shadowing. However, before pursuing this alternative, check with the admissions offices of grad schools to which you intent to apply and ask whether they accept virtual shadowing hours.

The University of Idaho Center for Volunteerism & Social Action utilizes GivePulse, an online platform to connect U of I students to more than 120 non-profit agencies and organizations in Moscow and the surrounding areas, making it easier to find service opportunities. Visit their website or schedule an appointment with a Pre-Health Professions Advisor to learn more.

You can also check out this volunteering guide for healthcare students for tips on how to get the most out of your volunteer experiences.

Pre-Health Professions Program

Physical Address:

Vandal Success Center
Idaho Student Union Building, 3rd floor

Mailing Address:

875 Perimeter Drive MS 2436
Moscow, ID 83844-2436

Phone: 208-885-5809