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 helping to increase access to and equity in healthcare and law careers.

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

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Pre-Health 101 Online Orientation

“Pre-Health 101” 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 for Pre-Health 101.

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.

Subscribe to our Newsletter Read our Latest Newsletter

First Year Advising

We are committed to first year students! And Mike Hill is our first year student specialist. He writes and runs the online pre-health student orientation (“Pre-Health 101”), offers drop-in advising for first year students every Friday during fall and spring semesters, participates in the UW Major Discovery Week, and runs First Year Planning sessions.

Please use all the resources we offer first year students:

  • Pre-Health 101. This online orientation is a great introduction to all things pre-health. Sign up for Pre-Health 101!
  • First Year Fridays are drop-in hours for first year students only. They take place every Friday of fall and spring semester from 9 am to 12 pm.
  • First Year Planning Sessions 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. Learn more.
  • Quick question? Please email us at questions@prehealth.wisc.edu!

Applicant Advising

If you want to talk with us about your application to health professional programs, please read all the information below.

First, if you are planning to apply to a health professional program in the coming year, 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 programs.

Common Applicant Advising Conversations:

  • 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.
    • Need a mock interview and can’t find a time on Starfish? Email us at questions@preheatlh.wisc.edu!

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. All appointments are 45 minutes.

Applying to health professional programs soon? Please also 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 (Zoom, MS Teams, phone, etc.). Please also continue to remember that there is no time limit in our services to you. We will be here to support you for as long as you want to work with us.

Drop-In Advising

CPHA is committed to making drop-ins as accessible as possible for all UW-Madison undergraduates and alumni. We look forward to seeing you in-person or virtually!

The drop-ins sign-up form  will open 10-15 minutes before the drop-in session begins, and it will close at the end of the session. To attend drop-ins in person or virtually, sign in using the sign-up form and follow the instructions on the form. Please read the instructions carefully and keep an eye on your email. Thank you!


Fall 2023 Drop-in Hours

2nd Year+ (including transfer students and alumni) Drop-in Advising 

  • Tuesdays 1:00 to 3:30 pm
  • Wednesdays 1:00 to 3:30 pm

First Year Drop-in Advising (First Year Fridays)

  • Fridays 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

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!

  • 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 (e.g. phone, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, or Zoom).
  • Enroll in a free, self-paced “Applying to Programs” Canvas course.
  • Sign up for Pre-Health 101, our free online 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 give guidance and support as you learn about and apply to health professional programs. Each one is an incredible resource library for you as you apply. Dr. Dija Selimi writes and runs them and is available for questions through the courses. Please sign up here for guidance applying to:

  • Dental programs
  • Medical programs
  • Occupational Therapy programs
  • Optometry programs
  • Physical Therapy programs
  • Physician Assistant programs
  • Public Health programs
  • Veterinary Medicine programs
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.

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