The the most important question a prospective student interested in medicine (or another health care career) should ask is: What is the right college for me? That question is much more important than What does it take to get into medical school? and How does this college or university help? Most students who start college interested in medicine end up not even applying to medical school. At Centre College, for instance, ~100 students indicate they are interested in becoming a physician before they come to college. Centre averages ~15 applicants out of the senior class. Most students discover other career goals while they are in college. So, you should try to select a college that will give you opportunities to explore many different professions and you should be open to that exploration. Try not to worry too much about medical school when you are looking at colleges!
If you are interested in what it takes to get into medical school take a look at the Current Students web page.
Below you will find what Centre offers to students interested in the health professions. This page also contains a list of questions that you should ask when you are visiting colleges and links to the answers you will get at Centre College.
What Does Centre College Offer to
Students Interested in a Health Care Career?
Advising students who are interested in the health care field is handled by the the Health Professions Advisory Group (HPAG). The HPAG is a group of professors who advise students in specific fields (medicine, dentistry, physical therapy, etc.) Our most important duties are to be available to all students who have even the slightest interest in the health professions and to provide an honest, ongoing evaluation of a student's qualifications for a career in the health professions. Some of the important services offered by the HPAG are listed below. These services are available to current students as well as graduates.
Course Scheduling Assistance
- The HPAG helps students schedule the medical school (or other health care schools) course prerequisites throughout their careers at Centre College
- Long range course planning is especially important for students interested in studying abroad and for those who have double majors
- The HPAG works in concert with the student's academic advisor
- The HPAG works with the Pre-Health Society, career development office, and alumni association to coordinate internship and volunteer opportunities
- HPAG members can serve as internship directors
- Volunteer opportunities are available right up the street at Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center and with other physicians in Danville
- Students also work with Centre College alumni based in their hometowns
- The HPAG and the pre-med society provide practice material for the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) and other entrance tests
- Some Centre students take commercial MCAT preparation courses, but most do not. See the Application Process link for the pros and cons of test prep courses.
Assistance in the Admissions Process
- The HPAG assists students in applying to the different health care professional schools
- The most important job of the HPAG for the medical school admissions process is to compile a committee letter of evaluation for all medical school applicants
- Five science professors and two non-science professors or staff members or administrators are solicited for evaluations of the applicant's academic, personal, and professional qualifications
- The HPAG also provides an evaluation of the applicant based on an interview and review of other academic information
- The final committee evaluation provides a comprehensive portrait of the applicant; a completed composite can be seen here.
- The HPAG (and Career Development Office) offer practice interviews which provide important feedback
- Members of the HPAG also help students with their personal statements and other essays for their respective applications
Assistance in course scheduling and setting up internships are both an integral part of the Centre Commitment.
Other Important Organizations at Centre College
Pre-Health Society: An organization composed of students interested in all of the health professions. It brings in speakers and has important test preparation materials. It also organizes the annual alumni visits.
C.A.R.E.: Centre Action Reaches Everyone is Centre's umbrella volunteer service organization. The student group serves as a liaison between Centre's campus and the Danville/Boyle county area by providing an extensive variety of service opportunities for Centre students. Click here for a full description of the organization and contact information.
Here is a list of questions you might want to ask when you are visiting other colleges. Click the question to see Centre's answers.
- What percentage of your medical school applicants are accepted?
- Do you have a pre-medical advisory committee and what is its role?
- How is the committee letter of evaluation compiled?
- What are the average GPA and MCAT scores of successful applicants?
- What is the typical profile of a successful applicant?
- What types of medical experiences and research internships are available to students here?
- What other organizations on campus are available to help me prepare for medical school?
- Where do most of your students attend medical school?
Why Is All of This Important?
Centre students are very successful at getting into medical school and other health professions graduate schools. Part of their success is due to the advising system that is in place at the college. All of the professors in the HPAG are very approachable and the one-on-one advice that students receive starting in their freshman year is very valuable. As a high school student, it is vital for you to realize that medical school is very difficult to get into and that you will need to make many sacrifices to achieve that goal. There are many other professions out there that may be better suited to you, so try to come to college with an open mind. Try to figure out why you want to be a physician (or other health care professional) by getting yourself into that environment. Call your family physician and ask to shadow her for a day. Volunteer at a hospital or nursing home. Medicine is much more than liking a biology class in high school.