What We Do

The Center for Pre-Health Advising (CPHA) is dedicated to inclusive, ongoing, personalized, and holistic relationships with advisees — wherever you are in the process of discovering your potential to serve others as a health care professional! We are here to support your successful pursuit of a career in healthcare. Learn more about the services and resources we offer below!

Where does CPHA fit into the overall advising landscape at UW-Madison? We are 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.

(Photos to the right: top — Molly Reinhard talking with a student; bottom — Mike Hill leading a Four Year (or More!) Planning Workshop)

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Pre-Health Orientation

“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

CPHA Newsletter

The Center for Pre-Health Advising sends a bimonthly newsletter to pre-health students. Get information about pre-health events, opportunities, resources, and recommended reading. Look for it the second and fourth Thursday every month during fall and spring semesters and once a month during winter and summer breaks. Please sign-up to receive the CPHA newsletter here.

First-Year Advising

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 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 questions@prehealth.wisc.edu!

We look forward to meeting you in-person again when it is safe to do so! Stay well and protect the health of people around you.

Applicant Advising

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 alumniMadison Writing Assistance offers individual remote appointments for you to work on your personal statement with a writing specialist.

Appointment Advising

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 questions@prehealth.wisc.edu, 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.

Drop-In Advising

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.

Alumni Advising

As a UW-Madison alum, you have access to all the advising services that The Center for Pre-Health Advising offers for as long as you want to use them. We are eager to work with you as you continue to take steps toward a health profession. Please get in touch with us! We are continuing to meet with advisees remotely as we all do our best to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of those who are mist vulnerable to this virus.

  • To make an appointment, please email us at questions@prehealth.wisc.edu, and we will help you arrange an appointment. We look forward to meeting with you remotely (by phone, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, Skype).
  • Write to our questions box at questions@prehealth.wisc.edu.
  • Enroll in an application course. Ask about this by email (questions@prehealth.wisc.edu) or in an appointment!
  • Sign up for the pre-health orientation, if health care is a new interest!

Health Professions Shadowing Program

The Health Professions Shadowing Program (HPSP) is a two-week residential program for students from groups who are underrepresented in health care. Students accepted into the program spend over thirty hours shadowing providers at UW Health and affiliated area clinics, visiting healthcare facilities and learning about current trends in health care from providers in the community. The program supports students who are first generation, ethnic and racial minorities, from rural areas or socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. HPSP takes place each year in the first two weeks of August.

Application Courses

The Center for Pre-Health Advising offers Canvas courses that provide guidance and support as you learn about and apply to health professions programs. Each course is a incredible resource library for your application. Dr. Dija Selimi writes and runs them and is available for questions through the courses. Please talk with a CPHA advisor about being enrolled. You can also email us at questions@prehealth.wisc.edu to inquire. We currently offer the following:

  • Applying to Dental Programs
  • Applying to Medical Programs (MD & DO)
  • Applying to Physician Assistant Programs
  • Applying to Physical Therapy Programs

And we are developing:

  • Applying to Occupational Therapy Programs

Pre-Health Workshops

CPHA offers workshops during fall and spring semesters for first year students and for students and alumni who are preparing for the MCAT.

Four Year Planning Workshops for First Year Students

Are you a first year pre-health student looking to make a four-year plan? Come and do that at one of CPHA’s Four  Year (and More!) Planning Workshops. You will hear a brief presentation from Mike Hill, the CPHA First Year Specialist, and then work on your plan with him and other pre-health advisors. These workshops give you time to begin to think through and learn about pre-health courses and co-curriculars (e.g., volunteering, shadowing, research, and student org involvement) with the support of pre-health advisors in the room.

MCAT Study Prep Workshops

CPHA and the UW School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) Office of MD Admissions offer MCAT Study Prep Workshops to support CPHA and SMPH’s shared vision of increasing equity and diversity in healthcare.

All students are encouraged to apply. We will also give priority to those who are from communities who are historically underrepresented and underserved in healthcare, including underrepresented students of color as well as students from first-generation, rural, and low-income backgrounds.

In addition, participants must have a minimum GPA of a 3.0 or be on track to have a 3.0 GPA by the end of the year in which they participate in the workshops.

The content of this workshop series focuses on the nature of the MCAT and resources available for MCAT study. The goal is for students who attend the workshops to prepare individualized study plans for the MCAT.

Advising & Confidentiality:

We are here to support you in reaching your goals, including navigating academic or personal challenges as they relate to pursuing professional programs after graduation. While our advisors are able to keep most conversations private in accordance with FERPA, sometimes information disclosed during advising or in personal statements requires us to communicate with other support offices on campus (such as the Dean of Students or the Title IX Coordinator).

Why are we required to discuss certain situations with other offices? Due to various federal, state, and UW policies, we are not Confidential Campus Resources when it comes to incidents such as sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, stalking, or sexual discrimination.

Two examples of Confidential Campus Resources are University Health Services and the McBurney Disability Resource Center. To learn more about efforts related to campus safety and expectations of faculty and staff, please speak with your advisors or visit the Title IX information page and Clery Act information page.

The goal of communication is to ensure a safe and healthy campus community, and to ensure that students receive the information they personally need to be safe and healthy. However, we understand that you may have questions or concerns about these policies. Please do not hesitate to bring these up with your advisor.