Frequently Asked Questions

PPHS Services

Who helps me schedule my courses?

If you have a question about scheduling your courses, you need to meet with an Academic Advisor from your school or college. This is based on your major. The Office of Pre-Professional Health Studies does not process course registration but rather focuses on student preparation for health professional schools.

Review the timelines listed on our website for information about the courses you will need to enter professional school. Based on these courses and any requirements for your major, you should begin to develop a personalized, comprehensive plan on how you anticipate completing requirements for Gen Ed courses, your major, and the courses for your intended career path. Since our office does not process course registration and works with students from a number of majors and schools, meeting with your Academic Advisor from your school or college will ensure that you are satisfying all of the proper requirements for your eventual degree completion.

When should I schedule an appointment with Pre-Professional Health Studies?

All students who are new to our office are required to attend an introductory workshop so that we can answer your initial questions and inform you more about how our office works. The schedule for this can be found on our website.

We want to talk to you about your plans for preparing for professional school. In order to best do this, you should have some coursework already under your belt and have also begun shadowing, volunteering, or gaining some kind of healthcare exposure before sitting down to talk to a PPHS Advisor. If you have completed at least one semester as a Temple student, it is also helpful if you have calculated your most recent Math/Sci GPA (course work in only BIO, CHEM, MATH, or PHYS) so that we can better see where you currently stand as a future applicant.

How do I schedule an appointment with a PPHS Advisor?

During the summer, appointments are scheduled on an as-needed basis.

Feel free to stop by or call the office in order to schedule an appointment.

Our office contact information is: 1810 Liacouras Walk, Suite 100 or (215) 204-2513.

PPHS also offers Walk-In Advising during the Fall and Spring semesters every Wednesday. On Wednesdays, students may come into the office and sign up for a same day one on one, 30 minute advising appointment. The office opens at 8:30AM and the schedule generally runs in half-hour increments between 9:00 - 12 and 2 - 3:30. Appointments on walk-in days are first come, first serve.

What PPHS Workshops should I attend?

Upcoming workshops can be found on our website.

Students new to our office are required to attend an introductory workshop about your eventual path to professional school. We will give you an overview of the process and ease any initial questions that may be on your mind.

We offer many other workshops throughout the year that you are encouraged to attend. Of particular mention, it is strongly recommended that you attend our ePortfolio Workshop in your first or second year as well as an application process workshop in your third year.

What is ePortfolio?

All pre-health professional students pursuing careers in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, podiatry, optometry, veterinary medicine, physical therapy, physician assistant, or occupational therapy should prepare an ePortfolio in preparation for applying to their primary profession of choice. The ePortfolio will allow you to organize your information semester by semester as you prepare a competitive profile. Two years before you apply, you will be asked to share your portfolio for review and consideration of a committee interview. Committee interviews occur a year before you apply.

How can I start my ePortfolio or be added to the PPHS Listserv?

You can register for ePortfolio and to receive email updates via our listserv at the same time. Provide your information online and you will gain access in 5-7 days.

Coursework

How do I know which course level is required for professional schools to which I plan to apply?

Start by reviewing the timelines on our website. They are very detailed and include information on recommended course levels and specific course numbers for Temple Undergraduate Courses.

Usually when our Pre-Health Professional Timelines do not specify a course number, students have the option of taking an entry level course in that subject area to meet the requirement. When in doubt, we recommend students review the website of their intended schools for pre-requisite course descriptions.

Should I apply my AP credits in the sciences in order to pass out of undergraduate classes?

Depending on the number of AP credits in pre-requisite science courses, it may be recommended that students consider retaking courses in the core sciences rather than passing out of more than two courses. Doing this ensures that you maintain a strong background in the sciences building up to taking until you take your entrance exam for professional school. Having the ability to place out of a course means that you did very well in this subject in the past. If you are taking it at the college level, this is a great opportunity to show your mastery of the subject and maintain a strong GPA in the sciences.

You may, however, use your AP credits to pass out of a few science courses. If you choose to do so, it is recommended that you take an equal amount of credits in upper-level science electives of the same subject to demonstrate your continued understanding.

What level of Physics should I take for Med/Dent/Pod/Vet School?

Calculus based Physics (2021, 2022) is preferred. This course is required for most College of Science and Technology Degrees and may be required by some professional schools.

Algebra based Physics (1061, 1062) will be accepted by some programs, but may not be in line with your major or degree requirements. Consult your academic advisor from your school or college and look into professional programs of interest to ensure you are taking the appropriate level.

Can I schedule three sciences during the semester?

Yes, there will be occasions when you will take three science courses in the same semester. As you plan your personalized timeline however, you should not schedule three sciences in the first semester at Temple. Once you have determined your academic strengths as a college student at Temple, after the first semester, you can consider and re-evaluate how you schedule / plan your coursework in future semesters.

Can I schedule sciences courses during the summer?

Pre-requisite science courses are important to your eventual success on entrance exams as well as in professional school. These courses should therefore be kept during the regular semesters. The only exception is Calc I&II (only if students have a strong profile in Math).

I took the math placement test and it put me in a lower math. What do I do?

Depending on your Math placement, this will change how you will proceed with courses in the sciences. First, please do not think of yourself as being behind in the courses. Based on your placement, work on your timeline to determine by when you will complete the pre-requisites which will then determine by when you will submit an application to professional schools.

Do not try to rush and catch up with the requirements by taking four sciences in a semester. This will usually result in lower grades not due to lack of potential, but due to lack of time to produce your best academic work. Health professional schools will look at an overall GPA and a Science GPA (or a pre-requisite GPA for PT and OT programs). They do not focus on whether it took four or five years (or more) to complete your undergraduate education.

Is Math considered a science?

Yes. Most professional school applications will calculate math courses along with courses from biology, chemistry, and physics in the science GPA. Once an application is submitted, some professional schools may consider the science GPA calculation with as well as without math.

Do I need to take Calculus?

It is highly recommended that students take Calc 1 and Calc 2 if they are following the pre-med track. Taking these 2 courses will allow for you to take Calc based physics and in some cases, upper lever sciences courses which you may decide to take later in your undergraduate career. In addition to meeting prerequisite requirements for Temple undergrad, you will also be able to apply to a larger selection of medical schools by taking such courses.

Applying to Professional School and Profile Development

Do I have to be a science major to apply to health professional school?

No. You should select a major based on your academic strength and academic interest. You do not have to be a science major, but you do have to fulfill the course requirements for health professional school. If not majoring in a science, you will need to take upper level sciences as well in order to ensure you have a strong foundation as you prepare to enter health professional school. Note that some health professional schools do have preferences for certain majors (as an example, some dental schools prefer Biology majors). The pre-professional track in Kinesiology best prepares applicants to PT and OT programs.

How does it look to health professional schools if my transcript reveals that I have repeated or withdrawn from several courses?

If there is a pattern for repeating or withdrawing from courses, this is viewed as an inability to handle a rigorous course load. On occasion, students will consider withdrawing or dropping a course because if not, it will bring down their academic performance for all courses taken that semester. This goes back to careful planning and knowing your academic strengths as you are planning your schedule. If you do have to repeat a course, make sure you receive a strong grade the second time around.

NOTE: When you repeat a course, both are factored into the Science and Overall GPA calculations on applications to health professional schools.

How do I make my profile competitive for professional school?

A competitive applicant will have a competitive academic profile, as well as a strong profile outside of the classroom for exposure to their profession of choice, health care in general, and community service activities. The addition of research activities is also an asset, but does not replace the need for exposure to the profession.

Can you help me find somewhere to shadow or gain healthcare exposure?

We do not have a 'magic list' of where you should gain exposure to healthcare. Many of these opportunities change each year depending on funding. Also, each experience you obtain should engage you in unique and personal ways. We would not be doing students a favor by informing everyone to volunteer at the same location. Start with your own contacts (family, friends) and then begin to branch out. Google is your best friend! There are thousands of opportunities out there that will engage you in the healthcare field or the surrounding community.

While we do not have a list of activities, we do have a Health Advising listserv through which we email information on any new or upcoming events to our students. You can register for our listserv here.

I want to go abroad, how does that enhance my application?

You should enjoy your years as an undergraduate student. If for you this includes adding an experience abroad (as a study abroad course for credit, semester abroad, or as a non-credit special program summer activity) you should consider taking advantage of these opportunities. Yes, this does enhance your application because you as an applicant have been enriched by these activities. Consider these opportunities as they factor into your plans for completing pre-requisites and applying to health professional school.

What is the process for Letters of Recommendation?

Letters of recommendation are a required part of a professional application. Requirements may differ depending on the profession. Please review details regarding specific letter requirements for your profession, which can be found on page two (page four for Pharmacy) of the PPHS timelines.

How can I best prepare for the entrance exam I need to take for professional school?

The best thing you can do is start early. If you have not done so already, purchasing a new or used test prep book will greatly aid your efforts. These books will not only help your understanding of core concepts, but also increase your familiarity with the test’s format. When you sit down for your exam, you should be confidently prepared for what you are about to see.

Kaplan offers free practice tests every semester. Take advantage of this! Even if you have not taken a particular subject, you will get a good feel for the type of questions that you will be asked and the exam format. No professional school will see these scores. This is an opportunity for you to gauge what further preparations you need to make.

You must have completed all courses required for the actual exam before sitting for that exam. Admissions committees will consider this a lack of planning and/or judgment. It is not about getting minimal/passing scores; it is about reflecting your best potential.

What is new for the MCAT in 2015?

The MCAT will be changing starting in May, 2015. If you are planning to take the MCAT on or after this date, please review the changes in course content as provided by the AAMC.

Please note: All courses must be taken prior to being seated for the new MCAT exam including introductory courses in Psychology and Sociology.

Temple University
Pre-Professional Health Studies

1810 Liacouras Walk, Suite 100
Philadelphia, PA 19122
Phone: (215) 204-2513
Fax: (215) 204-2515
Email: healthadvising@temple.edu


Staff

Neida Perez | Director
Kimberly Buck-Speck | Senior Advisor
Nathaniel Leach | Associate Advisor