At Boston College, the Pre-Health Program team operates as a cohesive advising unit that closely collaborates with students and alumni during each year of portfolio development to help create a career narrative. Pre-Health students at Boston College have a number of individuals from whom they can seek advice. The Director and Assistant Directors of the program as well as members of our Pre-Health Committee, which is composed of faculty members from various academic departments, are all available to meet with students on an individual basis.
Group meetings are also held for first-year students, sophomores, juniors, seniors, and alumni. During these meetings, students are updated regarding current admissions trends and appropriate advising packets (e.g., Freshman Packet or Sophomore Packet).
Most BC applicants elect to distribute the pre-health coursework over four years of undergraduate study to apply to health professions graduate schools, including medical, dental, veterinary and other allied health programs. The average age of a student matriculating into medical school nationally is approximately 25 years old, therefore, many elect to take one or more "growth" years to explore, reflect, and take action to address any weakness to improve the competitiveness of an applicant's candidacy.
In order to matriculate to a health professions graduate school directly upon graduation from BC, the student must complete all course requirements in three years, in addition to successful completion of standardized testing.
There are many paths to a career in the health professions, and your goals at BC should be to explore and develop your academic interests and relevant experiences. Consider a major that aligns with your passions and areas in which you excel to ensure a strong performance.
Pre-Health students considering a program major are encouraged to reflect upon “The Three Key Questions” posed by Fr. Michael Himes, Professor of Theology at Boston College:
Welcome to Boston College. The Pre-Health Staff is dedicated to providing you with guidance and resources towards your pursuit of a career in the health profession. We encourage you to meet with Pre-Health Advisors throughout your undergraduate career.
Medical, dental and veterinary schools have their own centralized application services that will compute your overall and science GPA based on their calculations. To assist you in evaluating your competitiveness your BC calculated Science GPA can be found on Agora “My Services” then “Course History”.
Approximate National Mean Science GPA for Accepted Applicants:
*You can access the books at O'Neill Library or Ebooks by looking up the course by the ID BIOL1000.01 at Course Reserves
The packet reviews essential information that can ultimately help you file a successful application to the health professions graduate program of your choice.
After completing this self-assessment, we encourage you to make an appointment with a Pre-Health advisor.
For those who are currently entering the application process, all information, steps, advice, and resources can be found on our Preparing for Health Professions Graduate School page.
Health professions graduate schools vary in their attitudes toward advanced placement. The following are general guidelines, but students are encouraged to contact individual schools for clarification of policies at specific institutions.
For the student who was granted advanced placement in a science (biology, chemistry, physics), most health professions graduate schools will accept this as long as the student takes an equivalent number of courses (and laboratories) at a more advanced level within that discipline. Please keep in mind that pre-health requirements may or may not coincide with the requirements of a major.
There are pluses and minuses to taking advantage of advanced placement opportunities. On the plus side, it allows the student to get more quickly involved in intellectually challenging upper level courses. On the negative side, one's freshman year is often a significant period of adjustment. This, combined with the highly competitive nature of health professions graduate school admissions, may argue for careful course planning during one's freshman year. Below are some guidelines for the subjects in which advanced placement is commonly awarded.
The Pre-Health Committee at Boston College feels that study abroad can be a very positive and enriching experience for selected undergraduates. There are, however, several factors that should be taken into consideration before students make a final decision about whether or not to spend time abroad. The Pre-Health Committee strongly recommends that your cumulative averages (science and overall) be in the competitive range (e.g., 3.5–3.6 for medical school) before you study abroad.
If you are a pre-health student thinking about studying abroad, it is best to start planning early. We recommend you meet with a Pre-Health Advisor during the spring semester of your freshman year or fall semester of your sophomore year.
Though most health professions graduate schools accept science courses taken during summer school, the majority strongly prefer that most of your sciences be taken at your home institution during the academic year. Summer science courses should be kept to a minimum (e.g., not more than one two-semester core science course during your undergraduate career).
Health professions graduate school admissions committees generally expect a summer science course to be taken at a four-year institution, preferably at a college or university of the same selectivity as Boston College. Some institutions will not accept courses taken at community colleges.
You can take Pre-Health course requirements—except for chemistry and organic chemistry—any year and in any order. Most students spread the coursework over four years and apply to professional or graduate school as seniors or alumni. To continue on to professional or graduate school directly after graduation from BC, you must complete the required courses in three years and take the MCAT. Keep in mind some schools require specific course work beyond these basic requirements. We recommend researching schools of interest to check their prerequisite courses.