Choosing an Academic Major in College
Most new students who are interested in preparing for a career in the health professions have some time to explore their options before diving into a strict program. The College encourages students to explore the liberal arts curriculum and declare a major at the end of the sophomore year. Students who are interested in the health professions will often major in one of the sciences, but many professional schools value applicants with diverse academic backgrounds, and aspiring physicians may choose to major in any discipline. Visit CC's Major Considerations and Departments & Programs pages to explore your options.
At Colorado College, pre-health students have majored in English, art, economics, history, psychology, mathematics, anthropology, political science, and philosophy, as well as biology, chemistry, and physics. Veterinary schools may emphasize a science major requirement, or they may tend to favor graduates with a science degree. Interested students should consult the admissions policy of schools of interest.
Factors That Determine Acceptance
There are five primary factors that determine the success of an application to health profession schools, particularly medical and dental schools:
- An undergraduate GPA of well above 3.0 is a must to be considered by most medical schools; however, a GPA of 3.5 is a more realistic goal for a competitive application.
- Scores on the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), Dental Admissions Test (DAT), Veterinary Aptitude Test (VAT)/GRE, or other such tests for the specific health profession school.
- Relevant experience. It is essential that applicants possess experience in community service, healthcare, and research. The number of hours can vary, but it is recommended that experience from all 3 of these categories be evident.
- Letters of evaluation from the College's health professions advising committee, faculty members, administrators or staff, as well as from persons outside the college who know the applicant well.
- The professional school interview. The GPA and the MCAT scores are usually weighted more during the initial screening, but once these two academic ability factors are deemed satisfactory by admissions committees, the letters of evaluation and interview become critical for the final committee decision.
We are launching a new electronic system in December; stay tuned for more information. In the meantime, contact Jane Byrnes in the Olin Fishbowl for the most up-to-date information.
How to Apply
Timelines for application vary depending on when a student begins contemplating a health professions career to when you begin the application process. The entire process, from beginning coursework to submitting an application, can take 3-6 years.
In order for the Health Professions Office to provide you with as much help as possible during the application process, follow the timeline suited for your plan. No matter what timeline you choose, it is generally helpful to begin during your first and sophomore years at Colorado College.
From the time you submit your application (depending upon your program of choice), plan for at least 18 months until you enter your school of choice.
Medical, Dental, Podiatry
Print and follow the checklist for complete details and instructions.
To have a complete application, you will need a letter from the Health Professions Committee and Colorado College. To request your letter, you must submit an informational packet about your experience to the HPA office eighteen months prior to when you hope to begin at your school of choice. Most often in the middle of your junior or senior year.
Your packet will include:
- Personal statement
- Transcripts from any schools other than CC
- HPA Information Packet
- Waiver for the HPA Committee Letter and Listing of Letters of Evaluation Waivers
- Evaluation Request and Waiver Form: This form should be completed for each individual writing a letter of evaluation. The form should be returned to the HPA Office along with the letter. Be sure to inform them when the letter is due to the HPA office and reiterate that this form must accompany the letter.
- Letters of recommendation are due by May 1 for MD, DO, and dental applicants.
For more information on applying to veterinary school, visit the Veterinary Medical College Application Service.
For more information on applying to PA school, visit the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants.
For more information on applying to PT school, visit the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service.
For more information on applying to nursing school, visit the Centralized Application Service for Nursing Programs.
For more information on applying to pharmacy school, visit the Pharmacy College Application Service.
For more information on applying to optometry school, Optometry Centralized Application Service.