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Pre-Health Newsletter: July 7, 2020

Pre-Health Advising Updates

This past week I attended the virtual National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions national conference. I am sharing a lot of information, but read to the end, especially if you need to take the MCAT, DAT, OAT, or PCAT.

One theme that resonated throughout presentations is the broad and deep impact of COVID-19. Schools are forced to do a more holistic review of applications because of the impact on academics and experiences. Be prepared to speak to those impacts and what you have done to address those impacts.

In addition to COVID-19, I would argue that the death of George Floyd has helped to raise awareness of the systemic racism that exists. Many cities and counties across the country, including Hennepin County, now recognize racism as a public health crisis. Be aware and informed, especially if you want to work with underserved populations, about social determinants of health.

Please note, I am on an 11-month contract so I will be out of the office from July 20 – August 14.

Here are some conference highlights:

  1. Virtual Interviews
    1. Many programs will conduct virtual interviews this cycle. AAMC has prepared some helpful virtual interview tips and you can find some helpful Zoom interview tips as well. There’s also a video on how to look good on a webcam. In addition to your technical preparations, you still need to prepare your content as if you were interviewing in person.
  2. COVID-19 Impact in Exams
    1. Many programs have expanded eligibility requirements for fee assistance and/or extended deadlines to apply for fee assistance. The MCAT and DAT will not be offered remotely.
    2. MCAT: Medical schools have begun to update their admissions policies with COVID-19 information, so AAMC has made MSAR available without a subscription. Khan Academy has begun to focus on K-14 Their MCAT prep videos will remain free through September 2021. Access to prep materials purchased from AAMC will be extended to the end of the 2020 testing year. There will be no notation made of the shortened exams on scores. There is no plan at this time to add any additional test dates. While waiting for MCAT scores, some schools may move forward on interview decisions and some schools may request ACT/SAT scores.
    3. DAT: Prometric does temperature checks at check-in. Masks are required and will be provided if someone arrives without. Proctors will look at masks, but will not remove them. Test takers will be provided with plain scratch paper; graph paper will not be provided after the pandemic.
    4. GRE: Many schools are waiving GRE requirements. Check individual schools’ websites.
  3. Scholarship for a Kaplan Course
    1. One of the benefits of attending this conference is the opportunity for me to earn a Kaplan MCAT, DAT, OAT, or PCAT course scholarship, valued at up to $2,499, to award to a student in need. To be eligible for consideration, you must have been Pell-eligible this past academic year, have a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher, and plan to take the MCAT, DAT, OAT, or PCAT before June 30, 2021. The deadline to apply is July 13, 2020.

CGEE Online Summer Course

Spanish for Health Care Professionals – This intermediate course is designed for students in the health care fields who seek to develop strong speaking and oral comprehension skills in Spanish with a focus on the vocabulary and grammar relevant to their intended professions. Content will include common scenarios and practice cases from the different health care fields as well as an introduction to the Mexican cultural context in which health care services are provided.

Pre-req: SPA212 – Intermediate Spanish II

MCAT Program Updates

  • Registration opened on May 7 for the updated 2020 MCAT Testing Calendar.
  • Increased number of testing appointments per day while practicing social distancing: added 3 additional test dates (June 28, September 27, and September 28) and offering three test appointments per day at test centers
  • Temporarily shortening exam to 5 hr and 45 min with the tutorial replaced by an open-access interactive tool on the MCAT Preparation Hub that enables students to practice with the exam day features
  • Test will still include all four sections and students are still responsible for learning the content that is tested on the full length exam, and is still scored by one score for each of the four sections and one total score
  • MCAT scores will be reported within about two weeks (instead of the typical four weeks) for exams held between June 19 and August 1 to allow applicants to include MCAT scores in their applications earlier in the cycle

More info on COVID-19 MCAT changes

Free MCAT Resources

Altius offers the following free resources:

  1. FREE full-length COVID-19 MCAT practice exam. Click here to sign up for yours.
  2. Altius will offer FREE online MCAT Tutoring to all U.S. pre-meds. All sessions will be hosted by elite 95-100th percentile MCAT Mentors. Interested students can join these live sessions 7 days a week between 8:00 AM and 8:30 PM (PDST) from anywhere with an internet connection.
  3. Tutoring for any Medical School Pre-requisite Course: Chemistry, O-Chem, Biology, Biochem, Physics. Click here to learn more.
  4. Transition Counseling: If you have any questions or concerns, if you’re struggling to stay focused or motivated, or are facing any other challenges with your new distance learning environment, call (435) 671-5783 to speak with experienced online education experts.

Exam Krackers also offers a free MCAT coaching session as well as online classes.

AADSAS Fee Assistance Program

On May 12, ADEA AADSAS FAP became completely electronic. Applicants are required to submit their requests for fee assistance and supporting documents electronically using a secure email server. Paper documents will no longer be processed, and if received by ADEA AADSAS FAP will be destroyed and not returned to the applicant.

Applicants should read and follow the FAP Instructions carefully to ensure they understand what is required for submission. Applicants requesting fee assistance will only have one opportunity to submit their request and all supporting documents.

This is Public Health Virtual Fair

Join the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the This is Public Health Virtual Fair on July 8, 2020. Admissions Representatives will be available between 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern time) to chat about their School and programs. The MPH Program Office will be available from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. (Eastern time) to chat about the MPH program, the formats of the program, and the dual degree options for the MPH program.

Through this virtual fair, you will be able to connect with school representatives from Public Health Schools & Programs in a live virtual setting.

Learn more and register!

UMASS Medical School Info Session

The University of Massachusetts Medical School is hosting a virtual info session for their School of Medicine on Thursday, July 9th from 5-6 p.m. ET. 

They will share information about the School of Medicine at UMMS as well as provide an overview of their admissions processes. They will also talk about the upcoming admissions cycle in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.

Northwestern Health Sciences University Healthcare Careers

Curious about their healthcare offerings? NWHSU is hosting a variety of virtual webinars on a variety of careers including chiropractic, medical assisting, massage therapy, radiologic technology, Chinese medicine, and more.

Meet faculty, students, and admissions staff during these 60 to 90 minute live webinars.

Reserve your seat today!

UMN Medical School Virtual Information Sessions

The University of Minnesota Medical School Offices of Admissions on the Twin Cities and Duluth campuses are once again hosting joint virtual information sessions this summer.

Join a webinar and Q&A session for info on the application, evaluation, and interview process for the Twin Cities and Duluth MD programs.


  • July 10th 2-3PM
    • Password: 5Y5048
  • August 13th 12-1PM
    • Password: 7TpG8?

GRE Prep Night from Rocky Mountain University

When: Thursday, August 6th, 2020 | 6:30 – 8:30 pm MST

Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions in Provo, Utah is excited to present this opportunity to students who are preparing to take or retake the GRE. This event is optional for those who want to attend in person as well as online! Students will get answers to frequently asked questions about the GRE, learn tips and tricks to being successful on the test, as well as having questions answered live, and learn test strategies. Students will also have the opportunity to have free practice tests!

For any questions please reach out to!

Register here!

AACP Virtual Pharmacy School Fair

AACP is excited to announce a series of monthly Virtual Pharmacy School Fairs! Join us for one or more events between May and September to learn more about Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree programs and master’s & Ph.D. programs in the pharmacy sciences. The virtual fairs are free and offer attendees a unique opportunity to chat online with pharmacy schools across the country. Student attendees will also have a chance to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card! Winners will be randomly selected.

Virtual Pharmacy School Fairs: Click the links below to register for free!

  • Saturday, July 18, 2020
  • Tuesday, August 18, 2020
  • Wednesday, September 30, 2020


  • how pharmacy schools are adapting their admission policies in response to COVID-19,
  • about the different programs and pathways offered by colleges and schools of pharmacy,
  • how students can improve their chances for admission to a pharmacy degree program,
  • about the essential and extraordinary roles of pharmacists and pharmacy researchers,
  • about the exciting career opportunities available in pharmacy

Health Professions Week

What is Health Professions Week (HPW2020)? HPW2020 is a series of events woven together to give you meaningful insight into a path in a healthcare profession. There are many events during HPW – so you can choose what content matters to you. HPW is on-demand, so come back later when you have new questions.

When: November 14-19, 2020

Register Now

Americorps VISTA Opportunity

Impact health inequities in the Twin Cities! Build structures, programming and connect resources to increase collaboration between U of M students, healthcare centers, and underserved populations.

The Center for Health Interprofessional Programs (CHIP) and the Community University Healthcare Center (CUHCC) are currently seeking applicants for a 1-year, full-time Americorps VISTA. Learn more and apply here.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Demonstrating Competence in an Unconventional Application Year

AAMC hosted a webinar on May 22, 2020 entitled Demonstrating Competence in an Unconventional Application Year.

By listening to the recording, you will:

  • Understand the 15 core competencies for entering medical students
  • Learn about creative ways to articulate competence using your current courses and experiences
  • Consider how to use the AAMC Anatomy of an Applicant Self-Assessment Guide to support your medical school application

Find Recording Here

Changes to Fall 2021 Minnesota PharmD Application Requirements

Due to the uncertainty surrounding PCAT testing availability and safety, PCAT scores will be optional for most* Fall 2021 applications to the University of Minnesota PharmD program. Here are more details for specific situations:

  • If you haven’t yet taken the PCAT, you may choose to take the PCAT, but it is not required for applications for Fall 2021 admission.
    • Consider submitting a PCAT score (if you can safely do so) if:
      • Overall GPA is below 3.0
      • Grades in science prerequisites are a C or below
      • Science prerequisites were taken 5+ years ago
      • Grades have trended down over time
    • Not sure what to do? #1 advice: Email us or set up an individual appointment to receive personalized guidance!
  • *If you take or have already taken the PCAT, your official score is required as part of your application, and should be reported directly to PharmCAS at code 104.

Furthermore, the Admissions Committee has announced it will accept S/N (pass/fail) grades for Spring semester 2020 courses.

For more information on Fall 2021 admission, visit their website.

Virtual Learning Opportunities

Here are some ongoing learning opportunities related to the health professions.

Podcasts: Osterholm and Public Health
Osterholm Update is a new podcast featuring U of M professor and infectious disease expert Michael Osterholm. The first two episodes cover how we got here, what to expect in the weeks to come, the global response and more. The newest Heath in All Matters podcast from the School of Public Health examines Settling in for the Long Haul.

Pandemic Dialogues

Arizona State University offers the Pandemic Dialogues to provide perspective on the current civic crisis through conversations. The Dialogues are offered in two modes: a series of live webinars, each discussing a great work of philosophy or literature on pandemics and civic crisis; and, a podcast series, discussing Camus’s novel The Plague.

Johns Hopkins University dashboard of COVID-19 infections
This is the definitive source for following global cases of COVID-19 (2019-nCoV) and monitoring trends.

St. George’s University Webinars

Learn more about the School of Medicine as well as interact with one of over 1,050 newly matched SGU students.