Center for High Achievement & Scholarly Engagement
Pre-Graduate and Pre-Professional Advising

Self-Assessment Tables for Pre-Health Professions Students

(Here is a printable version of the Self-Assessment.)

To be a successful pre-health student or health professional, there are certain activities that are essential, or at the very least beneficial.  Below is a self-assessment guide that you should use as a periodic tool to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses with regards to a health career. Score yourself on a scale of 1-5 with the lowest score, 1, indicating that you lack preparation, knowledge, skills, or have not participated in relevant activities, and the highest score, 5, meaning that you have attained the relevant knowledge, skills, or participated in the indicated activities.

Academics

Having a strong GPA and admission test score is necessary to get into a professional school.  In addition to working hard on your coursework and tests, you should make an effort to get to know your professors and advisors, and let them get to know you, as well.  Your professors and advisors will be able to help guide you by suggesting other courses, books and articles, research opportunities, and other activities that will help shape your undergraduate and professional career.  Also, the more they know of your academic and career interests, your intellectual abilities, and professional drive, the stronger recommendation letters they will be able to write for you.  Working on a research team can be a good way to establishing a closer, professional relationship with your professors.  Also, by engaging in research, you will be intellectually challenged and be able to apply the skills you acquire to other pursuits.  

Criteria Score Activities & Strengths Ways to Improve
Course selection      
Working with your primary academic advisor      
Working with your pre-health advisor      
Meeting with professors at office hours      
Cumulative GPA      
Practice admission tests      

Health-Related Activities

You may think that your career in the health professions starts after school, but it should have started already!  Being aware of and involved in health related issues and activities should be and will continue to be a vital part of your life.  Below are just some possible ways of being involved.  These activities will help you gain experience, choose your specific path, and add to the strength of your applications.

Criteria Score Activities & Strengths Ways to Improve
Familiarity with current issues in health care      
Volunteering/Interning in a health care related environment      
Clinical experience      
Attending pre-health professions events on campus      
Participating in pre-health related programs on campus      
Job shadowing a health care professional      
Reflection on personal motivation to pursue a health care related career      
Exploration of different health care professions      

Non-Health Related Extracurricular Activities

Here is your chance to explore different avenues. A well-rounded individual, who has engaged in various experiences and spent time with lots of different people, will be able to work and empathize with people in a variety of situations. When working with patients, it is important to connect with them on a personal level. Beyond the personal satisfaction you will derive from your extracurricular activities, they will also provide you with the means to build bridges with likeminded individuals as well as to those with whom you previously had little in common.

Criteria Score Activities & Strengths Ways to Improve
Involvement on campus      
Leadership roles on campus      
Volunteering on campus      
Volunteering off campus      
Work experience on campus      
Work experience off campus      

Communication and Interpersonal Characteristics

Working in a health related profession means working with people. You will need to build trust and rapport with your patients. You will also need to be able to work both alone and collectively to solve problems, as well as serve as your patients' advocate. The skills involved in all of the above activities are not easily gained through a specific activity. They are abilities that develop over time through a variety of experiences. Many of them can be improved by engaging in some of the activities listed in the above two tables. If you sense the need to work on any of them and are not sure what to do, consult with your advisors, friends, and family to discover new opportunities for growth.

Criteria Score Activities & Strengths Ways to Improve
Ability to present yourself in person      
Ability to present yourself on paper      
Ability to work with others collaboratively      
Ease of communicating with others different from yourself      
Curiosity in local, national, and international events      
Ability to handle successfully stressful or challenging situations      
Proactiveness      
Time management and prioritization skills      

Application Process

Needless to say, the only way to enter a health care profession is through an approved training program. Staying on top of the application process is essential. Below are the primary steps involved in putting together a complete application package. Keep in mind that all of the above activities will be reflected in different parts of the application, from your GPA and admission test scores, to your letters of recommendation, personal statement, and if required, interviews. Admission committees are looking for candidates who will have a good chance of being successful in their respective fields, and a strong showing in all of the above tables will contribute to your success.

Criteria Score Activities & Strengths Ways to Improve
Reviewed application process      
Researched potential programs      
Registered with the appropriate application service and began the application process      
Designated letter writers      
Designated committee letter author      
Taken admission test      
Progress on Personal Statement      
Prepared for interviewing process