Prehealth Evaluation Committee

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Prehealth Evaluation Committee Packet Meeting

Monday, October 20, 2014

6 pm

BNR 102

About the Committee Process:

The Health Professions Evaluation Committee Process is a service provided by Utah State University for students pursuing entrance to professional schools.  The end product of this process is a letter of evaluation that will help professional school admissions committees have a better understanding of the complexity and depth of each of our students.   It can be difficult for an admissions committee to tell whether a student has character traits such as motivation, maturity, reliability, interpersonal communications skills, integrity, and compassion that will make them a good practitioner.  Although some of your character traits can show in your application and interviews, letters of evaluation are one of the most important sources for describing and appraising these traits.  

If you choose to participate in this process you will provide background information to the committee, be interviewed by several committee members, and receive a letter of evaluation in return.  The benefit to the student is three-fold.  First, you will be able to provide your schools with a Letter of Evaluation derived from a Committee Process (most medical and dental schools expect this type of LOE if your institution provides it).  Second, you will gain valuable experience in interviews.  Finally, you will get a head start on gathering materials you will need for the your application.  Initially, these professional schools will see you on paper only, so the students that have polished their unique story over time and are able to paint a vibrant picture of what they have to offer generally have a much higher chance of success.

Timeline:

If students choose to use the Committee, the process will begin in the fall semester prior to application to professional schools.  Students are required to attend the Health Professions Evaluation Committee packet meeting that is held mid-October of each year.  You will be notified of the meeting through the prehealth listserve. Packet materials are due before winter break and your interviews with members of the committee take place during spring semester.

What you provide:

  • Autobiographical sketch - 3-5 pages

  • Personal data sheet with photo

  • Science GPA calculation sheet

  • Unofficial transcript

  • Admission sest score (if you have it)

  • Three letters of recommendation

Autobiographical Sketch

In order to help the committee understand you and your desire to practice medicine, you will prove them with a 3-5 page autobiographical sketch.  This will also be good practice for the essays you will be asked to write when submitting your primary and secondary applications.  The purpose of all of these essays is to provide information about your qualifications and uniqueness that can't be conveyed by your GPA and admission test scores. The sketch requested by the USU Evaluation Committee should be written as if you were recommending yourself as a candidate for medical, dental, and other professional health schools (done in first person).  Each paragraph should cover a particular aspect of your candidacy such as medically related experiences, outside interests, unique experiences, research, etc.  You need not be chronological in your autobiographical sketch or even within a particular paragraph of your autobiography.  For example, if you have developed a particular skill and it would sound best to describe that skill first, it really doesn't matter if the skill was acquired recently or in the past. You still possess that skill!  

Your intent should be to let people know about yourself.  The autobiography should be clear and understandable to anyone reading it—spelling, grammar, and neatness reflect on you as a person.  Use the USU Writing Center as a resource for feedback. Use active and descriptive language to illustrate why you would be a strong candidate for medical or dental school—things you have done, skills you have developed, experiences you have had, length of time you were involved with the activities you described. Use examples to illustrate!  Tell us stories about yourself and your life that are unique!  Experiences and activities at the University level are especially important.  

Most of the topics below should be included in your autobiography, but not necessarily in the same order they are listed. Most importantly, you must use descriptive examples in each area you plan to cover.

  • Why did you choose a health professions career?

  • Knowledge of professional working lifestyle of doctors and dentists.

  • Knowledge of medical/dental school lifestyle and instructional programs 

  • Health profession-related skills, experiences and duties

  • Research opportunity paid or volunteer

  • Other applicant-enhancing skills and experiences—including paid and volunteer work, etc.

  • Special and unique qualities, experiences and circumstances which may help you to stand out from other Prehealth Professions school candidates—travel, talents, exposure to the arts and social sciences.

  • Family information—members of immediate family who have had or are involved in university training, in a health related profession, or members with health related problems which may have provided you with specific insights and experiences.

  • Courses taken for enjoyment and greater background

  • How do you like to spend your free time?

  • Work ethic—all types of work and length of time involved 

  • Demonstrated service/compassion 

  • Character—“What are you really like when no one is looking?"

  • What are your strengths?  Why do you consider them strengths?

  • How would you like to be known/remembered/thought of?

 
Letters of Recommendation/Evaluation 

Professional schools receive your primary application from the application services and will perform an initial determination regarding whether or not you meet their minimum criteria.  If you meet the initial cut, you are generally sent a supplemental or secondary application with a request for additional material and a fee.  You will be asked to answer a variety of essay questions, some of which are specific to that school, call for your opinion, or deal with a controversial topic.  Some supplementary applications also request more information about your personal or academic history.  Some will inquire about why you are interested in that particular school.  Letters of recommendation are part of the secondary application.  The more personalized and specific the letter of evaluation is, the more valuable it is.  There are usually two types of letters of recommendation requested by medical and dental schools:

  1. Committee/composite letter – a letter of recommendation derived from a committee process with input from multiple people.

  2. Individual Letters of Evaluation – a letter from one individual.  The types of letters are determined and defined by each professional school.  Each prehealth professions student is responsible for obtaining the necessary letters of evaluation and investigating the requirements of each of the schools where the student plans on applying.

To participate in the Committee process you will need to provide the Committee with three supporting letters of evaluation from individuals or organizations with whom you have had a professional relationship. Information from these letters will be used by the Committee to compose a letter of evaluation for you.  For advice about who to have write your letters, visit our letters of recommendation page.

Note: Two to three letters from individuals may be requested by individual medical/dental schools in addition to the USU Committee letter. These letters should NOT be copies of the same letters sent to the USU Evaluation Committee, since the Committee may quote parts of those letters when composing the letter they send. It is alright to have the same people write letters to both the USU Committee and the separate Health Professional schools, but you should not send those individual letters to the same schools that received the committee letter.