welcome to the center for pre-health advising!
The Center for Pre-Health Advising (CPHA) is operating remotely through Spring 2021. We are a resource for UW-Madison students and alumni who are exploring, preparing, and applying to health professional programs. We are here to support you — wherever you are on your path to serving others in health care. We have the most expertise in advising toward dental, medical, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and physician assistant careers. We also advise toward careers in allied health professions, chiropractic medicine, optometry, podiatry, public health, and veterinary medicine. Please scroll down to learn more about what we do and for information on pathways to health professions
(i.e., information about courses, applications, and careers).
“Preparing for Professional Programs in Health Care” is a great place to begin learning about all things pre-health. It is the most common way that CPHA “meets” with first year students. This online orientation (available to you as a Canvas course) introduces you to exploring healthcare careers, pre-health coursework, building experience outside the classroom, and possible timelines to health professional school exams and applications.
We designed the pre-health orientation with first year students in mind, but we encourage anyone with interest in a health profession to enroll at any point in your preparation. It is a great resource for everyone. Look for it in your Canvas course library after you sign up, which you can do here.
We are committed to providing excellent support to first year students. Mike Hill is our first year student specialist. He writes and runs the online pre-health student orientation (“Preparing for Professional Programs in Health Care”), offers virtual drop-in advising for first year students every Friday during fall and spring semesters, and also runs Four Year (and More!) Planning workshops for first year students.
Please continue to use all of the resources that we offer first year students:
- Preparing for Professional Programs in Health Care (sign up here). This orientation is a great introduction to all things pre-health.
- First Year Fridays are drop-in hours dedicated entirely to first year students. Come and talk with Mike and other pre-health advisors 9 am to 12 pm every Friday morning during fall and spring semesters! The CPHA Drop-In Advising Sign-Up form will open 10-15 minutes before each drop-in session begins, and it will close at the end of the session. The form may close prior to the very end of the session, if the number students and alumni waiting in the queue require until the end of the session to be seen. Please read the instructions in the form carefully, keep your email open, and have a great conversation with an advisor when it is your turn to talk!
- Four Year (and More!) Planning Workshops are offered fall and spring semesters as well. This is a time for you to begin planning your pre-health coursework and co-curricular experiences with the direct support of Mike and other pre-health advisors.
- Quick question? Please email us at email@example.com!
First year student? Please see the First Year Advising tab for advising options.
If you are a second year, third year, fourth year, fifth year and or transfer student, please make an appointment to talk with us about your pre-health interests and plans using Starfish. And please monitor your email as you wait for your appointment to begin. FYI: all CPHA advisors are transitioning in Fall 2020 to 45-minute appointments.
Applying to health professional programs? Please see our Applicant Advising information.
If you are an alum, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will help you arrange an appointment. We look forward to meeting with you remotely (by phone, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet/Hangouts, or Skype). Please also continue to remember that there is no time limit to our services to you. We will be here to support you for as long as you want to work with us.
If you want to talk with us about your application to health professional programs, please read all the information below. It is important that you understand how we work with applicants and the information we need from you when you make an appointment to meet with us to talk about your application.
First, if you are planning to apply to dental, medical, physical therapy, or physician assistant programs, please sign up for a CPHA Application Course. These are Canvas courses that serve as resource libraries. Each one introduces you to the ins-and-outs of applying to these programs. We hope to add to this list of application courses in coming years. Please stay tuned!
And if you want to meet with us to talk about your application:
- We will help you plan the timing of your application and reflect on what experiences you need to build before you apply.
- Application Statements
- We will meet with applicants two times to talk about your personal statement, two times to talk about work/activity statements, and two times to talk about secondaries. Please do not schedule more than two appointments with us about any one of these kinds of statements. We need to distribute our time to advisees as equally as we can. See below for opportunities to work with other writing specialists on your application statements.
- Please send us the statement(s) you want to work on at least 24 hours before your appointment.
- If you want to talk about work/activity/experience statements or school-specific secondaries/supplemental essays, please choose three to five that you want to work on and send us only those essays at least 24 hours before your appointment.
- Mock Interviews
- We offer applicants two mock interviews — one for you to practice the traditional interview format and a second for you to practice the multi-mini interview format.
- Please only make mock interview appointments after you have been invited to interview at a health professional program. When you make a mock interview appointment, please specify in your appointment note the school(s) for which you want to practice.
- If you are applying to medical school and want to practice the new VITA interview, AAMC gives you unlimited opportunities to practice. Please learn more. We are also happy to talk with you about preparing for the VITA.
Other application statement writing specialists: the UW-Madison Writing Center
- In lieu of an in-person workshop, the Writing Center has made their Personal Statements for Graduate Health Professions Programs workshop (with attendant materials) available online.
- The Writing Center also offers peer feedback groups for current students and alumni. Please sign up here.
- In addition, the Writing Center offers 45-minute appointments for current UW-Madison students for you to work on your personal statement with them. This may be done via email or video chat. Please learn more and sign up here.
- The Writing Center also offers a list of proofreaders and editors who are all graduate students or recent PhDs. They charge very low rates for their service. Check them out.
- And for alumni, Madison Writing Assistance offers individual remote appointments for you to work on your personal statement with a writing specialist.
The CPHA Drop-In Advising Sign-Up form will open 10-15 minutes before each drop-in session begins, and it will close at the end of the session. The form may close prior to the very end of the session, if the number students and alumni waiting in the queue require until the end of the session to be seen.
Please read the instructions in the form carefully, keep your email open, and have a great conversation with an advisor when it is your turn to talk!
- For first year students: FIRST YEAR FRIDAYS — Fridays, 9 am to 12 pm
- For second year (including transfer) students and up:
- Tuesdays, 1-3:30 pm
- Wednesdays, 1-3:30 pm
- FINANCIAL AID FRIDAYS. Drop-in advising with financial aid advisors who can provide guidance re: budgeting, savings, loans, financing a graduate health professional program, and all of your financial aid questions! When? 8 am – 12 pm the second Friday of every month. Please join Financial Aid Fridays here.
Health is more than the absence of disease.Dr. Joycelyn Elders
Health is about jobs and unemployment, education, the environment,
and all of those things that go into making us healthy.
The Center for Pre-Health Advising is committed to Creating Inclusion and Overcoming Bias.
Pathways to Health Professions
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Most allied health professionals work collaboratively with physicians, physician assistants, dentists, nurses, pharmacists and others to provide quality care for patients. Some allied health professionals work independently. According to the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions: Allied health encompasses a broad group of health professionals who use scientific principles and evidence-based practice for the diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of acute and chronic diseases; promote disease prevention and wellness for optimum health, and apply administration and management skills to support health care systems in a variety of settings. Learn More.
Chiropractic is based on the principle that spinal joint misaligments interfere with the nervous system and can result in different conditions of diminished health. Chiropractors provide natural, drugless, nonsurgical health treatments, relying on the body’s inherent recuperative abilities.
Physicians may be allopathic (MD) or osteopathic (DO) practitioners. There are many career paths within both. Most physicians work full-time. Many also teach, engage in research, work in administration, and contribute to health care policy.
Nurses provide direct patient care and need to be both detail-oriented and strong team players. Nurses can also specialize in a specific area of patient care (surgery, trauma, etc.) and be accredited in specialties such as ambulatory care, pediatrics, and many others.
Note: The information on these pages is for students seeking admissions to accelerated nursing programs. If you would like to complete a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) here at UW-Madison, please reach out to the School of Nursing directly. They have an amazing team of advisors who will support you on your journey to becoming a nurse!
Occupational therapists help people of all ages do everyday activities (occupations) in all the settings they inhabit (home, work, school, community).
Common occupational therapy interventions include: helping children who are differently-abled to develop social skills and participate in school, helping people recovering from injury regain function through retraining and/or adaptations, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes. Learn more from AOTA (American Occupational Therapy Association)!
Doctors of optometry (ODs/optometrists) are primary care specialists in eye care. Optometrists examine, diagnose, treat, and manage diseases, injuries, and disorders of the visual system, the eye, and associated structures. They also identify related systemic conditions affecting the eye.
Pharmacists work in a range of settings: community pharmacies, hospitals, long-term care facilities, the pharmaceutical industry, mail service, managed care, and government. They also frequently counsel patients in planning therapy regiments.
The information on these pages is for people who plan to apply to PharmD schools after graduating from UW-Madison. Some pharmacy programs do not require applicants to complete a bachelor’s degree, including the UW-Madison School of Pharmacy. However, they all require different prerequisite courses that applicants must complete at a college or university. For information on admissions at the UW School of Pharmacy, please visit their website.
Physical therapists diagnose and treat people of all ages who experience limited ability to move and perform daily function due to illness and/or injury.
PTs develop treatment plans to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. PTs also help prevent the loss of mobility through fitness- and wellness-oriented programs. They provide care in a range of settings: hospitals, private clinics, out-patient clinics, home health agencies, schools, sports and fitness facilities, work settings, and older adult care facilities.
Podiatrists are doctors of podiatric medicine (DPMs). They diagnose and treat conditions of the foot, ankle, and related structures of the leg. Podiatrists can specialize in many fields, including surgery, sports medicine, wound care, pediatrics, and diabetic care.
Public health focuses on preventative care for populations rather than curative care for individuals. There are five core areas of public health: Behavioral and Social Science, Biostatistics, Environmental Health, Epidemiology, and Health Policy and Management. In addition to these core areas, many public health professionals concentrate on specific areas, such as Community Health, Maternal and Child Health, Health Communication and Promotion, Health Disparities, Health of Minoritized Populations, and Global Health.
Veterinarians provide medical care for large and small animals, including farm animals, domestic animals, exotic animals, and working animals (e.g., those in the equine industry). They often take a holistic approach to animal welfare and human wellbeing and provide care for companion animals through private medical practices.
CPHA is one of two Pre-Professional Advising offices at UW-Madison. The Center for Pre-Law Advising (CPLA) is the other. We share a director (Molly Reinhard), office space, pre-professional expertise, and missions of increasing access and equity in healthcare and law careers. Want to learn more? Please have a look at this overview of Pre-Professional Advising at UW-Madison and meet our very own Molly Reinhard.