Does Wittenberg have a strong Pre-Health professions program?
Yes! Wittenberg is a nationally ranked liberal arts institution with a particular strength in the sciences. One reason that our program is so strong is that our students prepare for a health profession in the liberal arts context. At Wittenberg, you will learn to think critically, write clearly, and speak effectively. While most of our students opt for a major in Biology, Biochemistry/Molecular Biology, or Chemistry, students can choose any of the 20+ majors offered at Wittenberg as long as they take the prerequisite courses for their particular health professional program.
What makes Wittenberg’s Pre-Health program distinctive from programs at other schools?
Wittenberg’s pre-health program has a broad base, and active support is offered for students planning to attend a variety of health professional schools. The program is overseen by the Pre-Health Advisor, who has an up-to-date understanding of the requirements and trends for the typical four year programs like medicine, dentistry, optometry, veterinary medicine, chiropractic medicine, and podiatric medicine in addition to Master’s and Doctoral programs in nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician assistant, pharmacy, and public health.
One of the main differences between Wittenberg and other schools is the formal opportunity for regular meetings with a Pre-Health Advisor to chart your progress in academics, extracurricular, medically related experience, and research (all of which can be important factors in your acceptance to these professional programs). The Pre-Health Advisor will help you track your progress each year and offer suggestions intended to help you become the most well-rounded applicant possible. These meetings give you time with the Pre-Health Advisor to assess your progress toward your individual goals, ask questions, and build rapport for letters of evaluation that many students eventually request.
The Wittenberg Pre-Health program also offers support for students taking standardized tests for a health professional school in their junior and senior years. Kaplan courses have been offered on campus regularly, and the Pre-Health Professions Club sponsors a test preparation series with faculty in Biology, Chemistry and Physics that covers the basic science for which students are held responsible on the MCAT, DAT, OAT, and PCAT. In addition, the Pre-Health Professions Club offers free, full length practice MCAT exams each year to help you learn to manage your time and mental energy, and find your rhythm on the 6.5 hour test.
What opportunities will I have to distinguish myself while at Wittenberg?
Beyond academics, health professional schools are interested in three defining characteristics: medically-related experience, committed leadership, and intellectual inquiry. Participating in the Pre-Health program at Wittenberg will help you to demonstrate these qualities, and to gain the experience that you will need to be a meaningful candidate.
Many students at larger schools do not seek out medically-related experiencesduring their undergraduate years, which take a toll on their application and ability to answer questions during interviews at the health professional schools. Wittenberg has one hospital and three nursing homes within easy walking distance from campus, providing ample opportunity for you to gain medically-related experience as early as the first year of college. Many students have chosen to volunteer in the local hospitals and practitioner’s offices, hospice centers, dialysis centers, parent-infant centers, and our local sliding scale pediatric clinic. Some have taken courses to become certified EMTs and state certified nursing assistants. These students are paid while they gain medically-related experience in local fire departments, as patient care technicians or phlebotomists in hospitals, or as nursing assistants in nursing homes.
Health professional schools are also interested in your demonstrated commitment and leadership positions in organizations outside of the classroom. They are looking for students who excel in the classroom but also have good time management and social skills. Wittenberg offers more than 180 campus organizations in which you can gain leadership experience, develop social interactions, and display empathy.
Wittenberg’s Pre-Health Professions Club brings together students with diverse interests in the health fields. The club provides you the opportunity to build a support network of peers who strive for the same goals. You can get involved in the club easily in your first year by attending informative meetings related to the health professions and by volunteering to hold one of approximately 40 seats on the club’s committees. Upperclassmen have plenty of opportunity to sharpen their leadership skills as they can be elected to chair position for one of eight pre-health committees or serve as a club officer. Recent activities of the club include providing opportunities for club members to obtain CPR and first aid certification, participating in the SMILE letter writing campaign with children in one of Columbus’ cancer hospitals, inviting health professionals to meetings to interact with our students, sponsoring trips to All-Ohio Pre-Med Day and other events off campus throughout the year, and much more.
A third characteristic that some students use to distinguish themselves is conducting independent research. Health professional schools, particularly medical schools, like to see research on your resume because it demonstrates intellectual curiosity, perseverance, and time management skills. The Wittenberg faculty is active in research and looking for students to participate in projects both during the academic year and in the summer. Most schools appreciate your research efforts, but do not require them for admission to their program.