Health Professions Advisory Office

General Information

The Premedical Advising Program at Vanderbilt University

Pre-medicine is not a degree at Vanderbilt, but a pre-professional intention. The Health Professions Advisory Office will assist in a number of ways in planning for admission to medical school. Liaison is maintained with a number of people and programs concerned with medical school admissions, including the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) administrators, the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS), and close contact is maintained with the chairman of the admissions committee or admissions director of several medical schools. This allows for the timely dissemination of information regarding changing policies or requirements for admission. Various registration and application forms are available from this office and assistance is available in preparation of documents required in support of application, including a composite evaluation. All serious premedical students are urged to become familiar with the services available and to make full use of this assistance.

Periodic group meetings are held for students in premedicine, usually scheduled by class. Topics of interest to the particular class are discussed and questions answered in what are essentially group advising sessions. At the spring meeting for juniors, application material is distributed and detailed instructions are given on completion of the application and the necessary supporting documents, including a composite evaluation. Meeting information will be posted on the bulletin board outside the HPAO and will be distributed by Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED), the Pre-Health Society.

All premedical students are urged to check the HPAO website at least once a week so that meetings of importance and deadlines will not be missed. This site and the related listserv are the primary means by which communication is maintained with premedical students.

Health professions students with specific questions about any aspect of preparation for medical school including but not limited to: course work, major, evaluations, preparing for the MCAT, and where to apply, are urged to make an appointment and come by to discuss the problem. It is a good idea to periodically (at least once during the sophomore year and more often during the junior year) stop by to review your record and make plans with the Advisor. Appointments may be made by email, or by calling during office hours.

The Health Professions Advisor for Vanderbilt University is Dr. Robert Baum. His office is in room 207 of the Student Life Center. He and/or his assistant will be willing to help you in whatever ways they can. The Health Professions Advisory Committee consists of faculty members from the Natural Sciences, the Humanities, and Engineering as well as Dr. Baum. The function of this committee is to assist in evaluating premedical, predental, and other pre-health professional students. It is in the name of this Committee that the official letter of recommendation from Vanderbilt University is sent to the medical and dental schools. Committee members also stand ready to help in advising pre-health professional students.

In the Health Professions Advisory Office (HPAO), room 207 in the Student Life Center, there are directories on the health professions, information on careers and programs in the health professions, the official study guide for the MCAT, the foreign medical school catalogue, the medical school curriculum directory, and an incomplete file of medical and dental school catalogues. Information on post-baccalaureate and summer programs is also available. MCAT, DAT, AMCAS, AADSAS, and AACOMAS information can also be obtained from this office. Outside the Health Professions Advisory Office there is a table with items of interest to premedical, predental, and other health-profession-oriented students. But Announcements (such as dates of interviewing teams, test dates, availability of information on any new schools and programs, special programs, summer employment, etc.) will be posted on the website as it becomes available.

It is stressed that the final responsibility for planning the academic program rests with the student and not with an advisor. The advisor should explain the options, including requirements that must be met, but the final decisions as to which courses to take and when to take them must be made by the student. Good judgement will be required, for there are many options available and many decisions to be made. Students will have as much information as possible on which to make any decision. One of the best sources of information will be your fellow students, particularly those ahead of you who have already taken the courses and are acquainted with the instructors and course content. It is usually a mistake to register for a course with no idea who will teach it and perhaps only a hazy idea of what is covered in the course. The better informed student will usually be in a much more competitive position.

Additional Premedical Resources

  • In reference in the Science Library are the AAMC "Medical School Requirements, U.S. and Canada," the ADEA "Admission Requirements, U.S. and Canadian Dental Schools," the AAMC "AAMC Curriculum Directory" the AAMC "The MCAT Student Manual," and other books about medical school admissions.

  • The Career Center, 220 Student Life Center, has an extensive collection of printed resources on health professions and up-to-date catalogues from all accredited schools of medicine, dentistry, public health, etc. Contact Mrs. Linda Bird for further information and assistance. The Eskind Biomedical Library also has extensive information on medical schools.
  • The AED, the Vanderbilt Premedical Society, is affiliated with the AMSA - The American Medical Students Association. Throughout the year, AED offers many informative events, such as speakers who are physicians, in the effort of preparing pre-health professions students for admissions and success in medical school and beyond. In addition, the AED offers many community service opportunities. See Appendix IV for further information