(Read the information on this page to learn how to prepare for and schedule an appointment or attend a drop-in advising session.)
For those seeking to make an appointment with a pre-health advisor, please read the following:
To talk with Natalie (Pre-Med, Bio BS), click here
To talk with Ashley (Pre-Med, Microbiology, Phil minor), click here
UCSB Health Professions Advising provides information and resources to students who are preparing for careers in various areas of healthcare. Whether you hope to become a physician, dentist, veterinarian, nurse, physician assistant, or other healthcare professional, we offer curriculum and academic guidance, including course selection and scheduling as well as career and admissions counseling.
UCSB Health Professions Advising Staff
Advising is a crucial component to every pre-health student’s preparation for professional school. Our advisors are all members of the National Association of Advisors for Health Professions (NAAHP) and participate in annual professional development events that allow them to stay current with changes and best practices in advising pre-health students.
In order for our advisors to fully understand each student’s individual needs and provide the highest quality advising to them, we recommend students adhere to the following guidelines.
Prepare questions ahead of time by utilizing the wealth of resources and information available on the Health Professions Advising website and Gold to review your degree progress and general academic requirements.
Reflect on your current progress in both your major and in meeting the requirements of your pre-health track by asking yourself, “Is this major/track still right for me?”, “Am I competitive?”, and “What are my barriers to success and how can address them?”
Discuss your plan with your pre-health advisor, major advisor, and other mentors you have both on and off campus.
Below are general guidelines for pre-health advising at each level starting during the freshman/first year through senior year.
Incoming/Newly Admitted Students: First, congratulations on your acceptance to UCSB! We understand that you are anxious to learn about issues related to course scheduling for the Fall Quarter and ways that you can prepare to hit the ground running once you get to campus; however, we ask that you please refrain from scheduling an appointment with our advisors just yet, as we are extremely busy assisting current students, especially during the spring quarter (Preparation for the upcoming professional school application cycle!). Instead, we encourage you to first review the information provided within the Prospective Students and Parents section of our website, as it provides an overview of the services we provide and information on other important resources. Once you've reviewed this section, please feel free to explore other sections of our website, but pay particular attention to the FAQ documents that can be found at the bottom of most pages. Lastly, we ask for your patience and understanding, and we also want to reassure you that many of the questions you have will be answered during New Student Orientation during the summer. Thank you, and we look forward to meeting you at orientation!
First-Year/Freshman Advising: Starting your pre-health track on the right foot is incredibly important to us, which is why we recommend that freshman/first-year students and those students who are newly considering careers in healthcare consider first taking advantage of the tools and resources offered through Career Services. Career Services has a number of assessments and tools that students can utilize to help them gain a better understanding of their personal strengths, interests, and values. We also encourage students to meet with a Career Services Counselor who can then help students understand how their current knowledge, interests, and skills might lend themselves to a variety of careers, including those in healthcare. Once students begin to settle on a career (or careers) in healthcare that they feel is right for them, we encourage them to meet with either a staff or peer pre-health advisor at least two times during their first year at UCSB, ideally during the fall quarter and prior to the end of the spring quarter. During these initial meetings we will discuss your overall experience at UCSB, help find student organizations and other meaningful activities to take part in, and keep you aware of your competitiveness. We start to discuss how you are or will address the questions “Can I do it?” and “Should I do it?” You should begin a journal in which you document and reflect on your experiences as an undergraduate pre-health student. You will add to this journal throughout your time at UCSB. Lastly, you may schedule an appointment or attend drop-in advising hours.
Second-Year/Sophomore Advising: By this time, students should have met with a staff pre-health advisor at least once during their first year, have taken the first sequence of introductory science courses (typically the General Chemistry series), and have begun to get involved on campus. Additionally, many students will have--or will soon--spent time shadowing a professional in their intended field or volunteered in a clinical setting. While it is difficult to plan out an individualized academic plan that will not change in future quarters, we will discuss current and remaining prerequisite course requirements and review progress toward completing remaining General Education courses. Lastly, we will discuss extracurricular experiences that you are considering (shadowing, clinical experiences, volunteering, research). Continue to add to and reflect on your experiences in your journal.
Third-Year/Junior Advising: By your junior year, you should have had several meetings with a pre-health advisor and should also have a good understanding of your level of competitiveness as an applicant (based on grades and extracurricular involvement up to this point). This year, you will begin to self-assess and determine, with the suggestions of your pre-health advisor, your readiness for your entrance exam and application to professional school. Part of this conversation will be focused on whether or not you want to or should take a gap year (or more) and requesting letters of recommendation.
Fourth-Year/Senior Advising: During these meetings, your pre-health advisor will help you prepare for interviews, decide on acceptance offers, or plan out experiences for a successful gap year.
Types of Advising Appointments
Health Professions Advising utilizes two types of advising appointments to address students' needs: Scheduled Appointments and Drop-In Meetings.
Scheduled Appointments are typically 30 minutes long and should be utilized by students who would like to discuss issues such as discuss taking time off, long-range planning, returning from an absence, to assess current level of competitiveness as an applicant, career counseling, and preparation for entrance exams and the application process.
Peer advisors are available for thirty minute appointments using the L&S Appointment System. We highly recommended scheduling an appointment with our peer advisors as a first stop for your pre-health related questions.
For our staff advisors: When scheduling an appointment, be sure that the appointment does not conflict with classes and other commitments. If an appointment needs to be canceled, please try to do so as far in advance as possible. Missed appointments without proper cancellation or notification will be noted.
Drop-In Meetings typically last no longer than 10-15 minutes and are meant for questions that can be answered fairly quickly, without the need for lengthy discussion. Reasons that students should utilize drop-in meetings include discussing choosing/changing a major, considering a double-major, whether or not to add, drop/withdraw, or repeat a particular course, taking courses outside of UCSB, quick checks on academic and extracurricular progress, and of course, to share with their advisors the great things they are accomplishing while at UCSB.
Health Professions Advising utilizes the Qless system to check students in for drop-in meetings. Qless will hold a student's place in line and summon them when a pre-health advisor is ready to meet. This means you can keep studying in the library, grab a quick snack, or just relax elsewhere until you are "summoned" to your meeting.
To join the waiting list, please select this link (Click Here).
Note: When you receive the "summon" that an advisor is ready, you will have 5 minutes to come to 2105 North Hall for your meeting. If you do not make it, you will dropped from the waiting list.
PRE-HEATLH ADVISING FAQ
Q. What is Pre-Health Advising?
A. Pre-health advising is academic advising that focuses on the unique needs of students who are interested in applying to health professions graduate programs after they complete an undergraduate degree at UCSB.
Q. Where do I go for pre-health advising located?
A. Most pre-health advising and drop-in advising appointments take place in the Pre -Professional Advising Office, located in 2105 North Hall. Please see our home page for advising hours and to schedule appointments, as availability changes from quarter to quarte. Scheduled Appointments: Pre-health Appointments scheduled with Dave Lawrence, Yessica Vazquez Arroyo, Dr. Blain, and the pre-health peer advisors will take place in 2105 North Hall, phone, or via Zoom
Q. What services do pre-health advisors provide?
A. Pre-health advisors help pre-health students understand the academic and extracurricular requirements that they must meet in order to prepare for create a competitive application to professional school. This includes helping pre-health students understand the prerequisite course requirements (and UCSB degree requirements), connect them to resources for obtaining shadowing, clinical, research, volunteer, and other experiences, helping them self-assess their competitiveness as applicants, and connecting them to resources to prepare for entrance exams and the application process.
Q: How do UCSB students fare when it comes to applying to medical school, dental school, and other health professions programs
A: Quite well. You can see data on this by visiting our homepage and scrolling down until you find the "heat map." There are also a number of hyperlinks that offer more detailed information on our students, to include what they majored in, what their GPAs were, how they did on boards, and even where they wound up attending school.
Q: How many UCSB students apply to professional schools every year?
A: Historically, between 250-280 UCSB students/graduates apply to medical schools (MD) annually. PA is our second most "popular" pre-health track, with about 100 students/year applying. Dentistry typically comes in third, with about 50 applications per year on average.
Q: Do I have to major in biology in order to go to medical school, dental school, etc.
A: No. Most professional schools are not concerned with what your undergraduate major is; rather, they want to ensure you've taken the appropriate prerequisites for their program (and that you have a record of demonstrable academic excellence). Having said that, most of our pre-health students are biology majors, because a great many of the courses that are required for that major also happen to coincide nicely with pre-health course requirements. Also, it can be difficult to get into some chemistry and biology courses as a non-STEM major.
Q. Is there a difference between general advising and pre-health advising?
A. Yes; the primary focus of the pre-health advisors is ensuring pre-health students are meeting the unique requirements that health professions graduate programs expect of applicants. The pre-health peer advisors can help students with scheduling questions and general questions about pre-health requirements.
Q. How can I schedule an appointment?
A1. Pre-Health Drop-In Advising: Students do not need to schedule an appointment to see a pre-health advisor during drop-in hours. Drop-in appointments are meant to be brief (10-15 minutes) and address student issues/concerns regarding academic probation, add and/or drop a course, withdrawing form a course, repeating a course, changing/adding/dropping major or minor, transferring colleges (L&S→ Engineering) or to a new institution, studying abroad.
A2. Pre-Health Scheduled Appointments: Scheduled appointments run 30 minutes and are meant to address issues/concerns that require more in-depth discussion, which cannot be sufficiently addressed during a drop-in. Students should schedule an appointment with a pre-health staff or peer advisor (Typically, peer advisors meet with 1st and 2nd year students.) to discuss topics including, but not limited to, choosing a major or exploring a pre-health career, considering a double-major, senior checks, degree/progress check, discuss taking time off, long-range planning of extracurricular experiences, discussing competitiveness as an applicant, questions regarding the application process, questions regarding entrance exams.
Q. How can I get pre-health advising if I have already graduated, and is there a "statute of limitations"?
A. We love working with UCSB grads to help them achieve their health profession dreams, regardless of when they graduated from UCSB. Send an email to email@example.com to schedule a phone, Zoom, or in-person meeting.
Q. How should I prepare for my advising appointment?