Health Pre-Professional: Advisement Track

Our students receive the top-tier education and hands-on experience they need to enter and succeed at medical or dental schools.

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A Southern Virginia Education

Because of our focus on the liberal arts, the Core Curriculum is more than a checklist of general requirements. Our education teaches from the best sources in order to train students in effective communication, analytical thinking, and persuasive writing. These abilities are just as important for doctors or dentists as their professional training.

Our small classes also make Southern Virginia unique. With a 15:1 student-teacher ratio, each student receives individual attention and instruction. Professors know their students and can work with them to tailor their education to meet their specific professional goals.

Hands-on Experience

Our pre-health professional track is designed to provide students with the real world experience they need to be competent and competitive. There are several opportunities for real world experience. Many of these opportunities also give our students the chance to serve others both in the local community and throughout the world.

Southern Virginia offers training on campus to become certified in Virginia and nationally as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Becoming an EMT opens the door to work with the volunteer Buena Vista Rescue Squad as well as other work and volunteer opportunities to get the experience that sets our students apart.

Our students regularly serve the local community as they volunteer at the Rockbridge Area Health Center. Both our pre-medical and pre-dental students are able to work with real doctors, real dentists, and real patients.

Our medical mission trips have included month-long excursions to countries like Ecuador, Ghana, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic. In these countries, our students have been able to help some of the most needy individuals in the world while broadening their own perspectives and obtaining invaluable experience in new and challenging conditions. In many of these trips, students also develop and practice their ability to communicate in Spanish, which is increasingly important in the current field of medicine. Medical trips make a powerful difference both in the lives of our students and in the lives of those they serve.

Another way Southern Virginia students both learn and serve is through Remote Area Medical (RAM). Our students regularly volunteer at RAM clinics which are frequently hosted on campus. These clinics provide people with free medical care and provide our students with yet another chance to learn, serve, and prepare themselves for graduate school and their careers.

Preparation for Graduate School

Our faculty is dedicated to helping our students be successful. Dr. Barbara van Kuiken, who coordinates the health pre-professional program, works with students individually to make sure they are on track for their desired graduate programs. Because our professors know their students, they are eminently qualified to write powerful, insightful letters of recommendation.

Southern Virginia provides an MCAT preparation program that students undertake during their junior year. Faculty present reviews covering physics, biology, general and organic chemistry, and verbal reasoning. They also conduct drill sessions to teach test-taking strategies. Practice MCAT test sessions are held frequently. Southern Virginia students can also take advantage of Kaplan MCAT preparation courses hosted at nearby Washington & Lee University.

Pre-requisites can vary from school to school. Students participating in the pre-health advisement track fulfill the minimum requirements for their field and work with faculty members to meet the requirements for specific medical or dental schools. The following lists reflect these minimum requirements.

Minimum Requirements

2 semesters of General Biology with labs (BIO 201/202)
2 semesters of General Chemistry with labs (CHE 201/202)
2 semesters of Organic Chemistry with labs (CHE 301/302)
2 semesters of General Physics with labs (PHY 201/202)
1 semester of College Composition (ENG 120)
1 semester of English Literature (LIB 130)
1-2 semesters of Math (MAT 115, 221, or 241)

It is also strongly recommended that each serious pre-dental student take as many of the following as possible before taking the DAT and applying to dental school:
Genetics and Molecular Biology (BIO 340)
Biochemistry (CHE 383)
Physiology and Anatomy (BIO 228/328)
Cell Biology (BIO 345)
Microbiology (BIO 312)

It is also highly recommended that prospective dental students take a sculpting course (ART 317R) and refine their manual dexterity by performing tasks such as playing the piano, painting, building models, tying flies for fly fishing, etc.

Pre-Requisites Checklist

Minimum Requirements

2 semesters of General Biology with labs (BIO 201/202)
2 semesters of General Chemistry with labs (CHE 201/202)
2 semesters of Organic Chemistry with labs (CHE 301/302)
2 semesters of General Physics with labs (PHY 201/202)
1 semester of College Composition (ENG 120)
1-2 semesters of Math (MAT 115, 221, or 241)

It is also strongly recommended that serious pre-med students take as many of the following as possible before sitting for the MCAT and also before applying to medical school. These courses will help you with particular questions on the MCAT, help you prepare for medical school and help you be more competitive in your medical school application.

Genetics and Molecular Biology (BIO 340)
Biochemistry (CHE 383)
Physiology and Anatomy (BIO 228/328)
Cell Biology (BIO 345)

Pre-Requisites Checklist

Minimum Requirements

2 semesters of General Biology with labs (BIO 201/202)
2 semesters of General Chemistry with labs (CHE 201/202)
2 semesters of Organic Chemistry with labs (CHE 301/302)
2 semesters of General Physics with labs (PHY 201/202)
1 semester of College Composition (ENG 120)
2 semesters of Math (usually MAT 221 and 241)
1 semester of Psychology (PSY 201)
1 semester of Microbiology with lab (BIO 312)

It is also strongly recommended that serious pre-optometry students take:

Biochemistry (CHE 383)
Physiology and Anatomy (BIO 228/328)

Pre-Requisites Checklist

Minimum Requirements

2 semesters of General Biology with labs (BIO 201/202)
2 semesters of General Chemistry with labs (CHE 201/202)
2 semesters of Organic Chemistry with labs (CHE 301/302)
2 semesters of Anatomy/Physiology (BIO 228/328)
1 semester of College Composition (ENG 120)
1 semester of English Literature (LIB 130)
2 semesters of Math (usually MAT 221 and 241)
1 semester of Biochemistry (CHE 383)
1 semester of Economics

It is also recommended that serious pre-pharmacy students take:

Genetics and Molecular Biology (BIO 340)
Cell Biology (BIO 345)
Medicinal Chemistry (CHE 481)

Pre-Requisites Checklist

Minimum Requirements

2 semesters of General Biology with labs (BIO 201/202)
2 semesters of General Chemistry with labs (CHE 201/202)
2 semesters of Organic Chemistry with labs (CHE 301/302)
2 semesters of General Physics with labs (PHY 201/202)
2 semesters of Anatomy/Physiology (BIO 228/328)
1 semester of College Composition (ENG 120)
1 semester of English Literature (LIB 130)
2 semesters of Math (usually MAT 221 and 241)
1 semester of Biochemistry (CHE 383)
1 semester of Psychology (PSY 201)

Pre-Requisites Checklist

Minimum Requirements

2 semesters of General Biology with labs (BIO 201/202)
2 semesters of General Chemistry with labs (CHE 201/202)
2 semesters of Anatomy/Physiology (BIO 228/328)
1 semester of College Composition (ENG 120)
1 semester of English Literature
1-2 semesters of Math (MAT 115, 221, or 241)
1 semester of Biochemistry (CHE 383)
1 semester of Psychology (PSY 201)
15 Credit Hours of Social Sciences/Humanities

It is also recommended that serious pre-physician assistant students take:

Organic Chemistry (CHE 301/302)
Genetics and Molecular Biology (BIO 340)
Cell Biology (BIO 345)
General Physics (PHY 201/202)

Pre-Requisites Checklist

Minimum Requirements

2 semesters of General Biology with labs (BIO 201/202)
2 semesters of General Chemistry with labs (CHE 201/202)
2 semesters of Organic Chemistry with labs (CHE 301/302)
2 semesters of General Physics with labs (PHY 201/202)
1 semester of Biochemistry (CHE 383)
1 semester of College Composition (ENG 120)
1-2 semesters of Math (MAT 115, 221, or 241)
1 semester of Microbiology
1 semester of Genetics and Molecular Biology (BIO 340)

It is also strongly recommended that serious pre-vet students take as many of the following as possible before applying to veterinary school:

Physiology and Anatomy (BIO 228/328)
Cell Biology (BIO 345)

Pre-Requisites Checklist

Questions?

Contact Program Coordinator Dr. Barbara van Kuiken at 540-261-8597 or barbara.vankuiken@svu.edu.