Pre Medical and Health Professions Program
Pre Medical and Health Professions Program
Mission: The Pre-Health Professional Program serves all students and alumni seeking entry into health professional schools by providing individualized guidance and resources supporting individual student goals. We take the time to learn each student’s aspirations and aptitudes in order to help them identify and gain entry to a suitable career in a health profession.

Pre-Professional Health programsThe College of Science offers pre-medical and healthcare profession programming to prepare students for professional studies in a healthcare-related career other than nursing. The Pre-Health Profession Program is designed for students interested in gaining admission to a health profession school after college. Our Allied Health programs are designed for entry into healthcare careers with a specific curriculum in the BA in Biology program with clinical partners. See the lists of options on this page for further exploration.

Unsurpassed academic programs, expert advising and guidance, and relationships with regional healthcare facilities ensure that Benedictine graduates are among the most sought-after candidates by nationally-recognized professional schools or healthcare employers.

Pre-Health Profession Program: We prepare students for successful entry into medical, veterinary, dental, optometry, chiropractic, pharmacy, physician assistant, physical therapy, and occupational therapy programs. Students on a pre-health profession plan can earn a bachelor's degree from any College at Benedictine University. The BenU pre-health program in the College of Science is responsible for advising and guidance of students of baccalaureate degree programs who are interested in health profession preparation. This office also coordinates all health science practica and is responsible for clinical affiliationsAllied Health with the university's pre-professional health programs. These clinical affiliations provide access to clinical environments for our students to shadow practitioners (often Benedictine graduates), and gain valuable experience in the world of healthcare.

Allied Health Programs: Through partnerships with clinical programs, the allied health progeams allow students to complete their degrees as they complete a clinical program at area hospitals, health care facilities and universities. All of the allied health programs with which Benedictine University partners are accredited and meet the highest professional standards. Students earn their B.A. in Biology from Benedictine, and a certification, degree, or licensure with our partner institutions.


Why Benedictine?

The Benedictine Benefit

Birck Hall of Science
Benedictine University has a tradition of excellence in science programs. The College of Science at Benedictine offers specialized advising for all students interested in a healthcare profession, regardless of their major. Our nationally-recognized faculty enjoy engaging students at all levels in investigative research in their laboratories, often presenting their work at national, professional conferences. Our students are active in the many student organizations on campus, athletics, and campus ministries, all of which contribute to a broadly fulfilling college experience.
Frequently asked questions

Do I have to complete all the prerequisite courses before applying to a medical or health professional school(s)?
It is recommended that students complete the basic science sequences (biology, general and organic chemistry and physics) before applying to a medical or health professional school. But, students can complete non-science and upper-level science requirements during the application year, as long as all required courses are completed before starting professional school.

What are medical and health professional schools looking for in applicants?
Schools are interested in applicants with excellent academic abilities (as shown in grades and standardized admissions exams), strong interpersonal and communication skills, and clear evidence of commitment to the health profession, and demonstrated compassion and concern for others.

What are the course requirements for medical and health professional schools?
Specific requirements can vary by school. Some courses are listed as required, and others recommended. In our experience, courses listed as recommended are important preparation for standardized admission exams, and admissions committees can use these to separate excellent students from those that are simply acceptable. In other words, if you just do the minimum requirements, your chances of admission are minimal.

Can I use AP credit to fulfill my prerequisite courses?

This varies significantly by school and profession. Even if BenU accepts the AP credit toward your degree, some medical or healthcare professional schools may require additional coursework for admission. We can help you navigate this issue.

Do I have to take my required premed courses at Benedictine?
Transfer students who have started elsewhere, will of course have some of those classes from their previous institution. While most medical and health professional schools accept community college coursework to satisfy prerequisites, we highly recommend that you take required courses here at Benedictine. There are a few facts that must be considered as you make your plans:

  • All medical schools, and many health professional schools, require applicants to provide transcripts from all schools attended. They will use the information to calculate a complete GPA based on all grades received, and use this in their deliberations.
  • Medical schools look for patterns-
    • It is expected that sequence courses will be taken at the same institution.
    • Repeated incidents of course withdrawals are detrimental. You should choose courses carefully, and follow through with them whenever possible.
    • If you have taken classes before you transferred or if you take one or two courses at a community college, then that is fine- as long as you are doing well at Benedictine. If you consistently take courses at a community college when you could take them here, then you may be considered less competitive during the medical school admissions process.
  • Some schools state very clearly that some courses, often the science courses, must be taken at an accredited 4-year institution. This can vary considerably.
  • You will need solid letters of recommendation from faculty, two of whom should be in the sciences. Taking classes with BenU faculty is the important first step in getting to know faculty.

Which courses count toward the science GPA?
The science GPA consists of all biology, chemistry, physics and math (BCPM) courses.

What percentage of Benedictine students get into medical school each year?
People want to know, “If I go to BenU, what are the chances that I’ll get into a medical or other health profession school?” The answer to this question for any undergraduate college is really, “That depend more on you than on us.” We provide the tools to success. It is up to each individual to take advantage of our tools to success:

  • Academic performance- GPA counts! We provide outstanding education. It is up to you to put in the necessary effort to learn and earn good grades.
  • Knowledge of the profession- personalized guidance about volunteer work, shadowing, and other experiences are provided. You have to do the work.
  • Demonstrated Engagement, commitment, and passion. We will encourage you to get involved, take on leadership roles, and engage in community activities that you would enjoy.
  • Personal connections- Health professional schools are seeking letters of recommendation from faculty who know you beyond their classroom. We help you learn the best ways to take advantage of our warm, personal faculty that will help you later, and make you feel part of the BenU family.

Can I study abroad?
Yes, it's a wonderful experience that shouldn't be missed, if it interests you. Medical schools like to see that students have had broad, interesting college experiences, and studying abroad demonstrates that you can get along in a culture different from your own. Visit our Study Abroad website.

Can I take premed requirements abroad?
No, do not take any of the required premed courses abroad.

What kind of extracurricular experiences should I seek?
You should pursue anything that interests you. Medical schools are interested in students who have been active contributors on campus, and who have a range of interests. You should choose a few things to do meaningfully and well, rather than dabble in a long list of activities. Community service is an important way to demonstrate your concern and compassion for others. Visit our student organizations website.

Do I need to have healthcare-related experiences?
Yes, it is important that you involve yourself meaningfully in a clinical setting, to show professional schools that you have observed clinical life practice first-hand. Students do this through volunteer work in hospitals and clinics, serving as CNAs or hospice volunteers, summer jobs, internships, formal premed summer programs, or shadowing physicians at work, either during the school year or during school vacations. We offer a health science practicum for students who meet the GPA and course pre-requisite qualifications, and have documented relationships with over 15 sites in our region.

Do I need to do research to get into medical school?
No, unless you think you may be interested in pursuing an MD-PhD. However, investigative research is a valuable experience that some medical schools view as a plus. In addition, it helps to develop critical thinking skills. We have research opportunities with professors during the school year and offer the Natural Sciences Summer Research Program in the summer. Applications for summer research are usually due sometime in February.

What are “standardized admissions exams?”
These are the admissions tests required by most medical and health profession schools. You should prepare thoroughly to take the appropriate exam, and do so when you are ready. Many health professional schools take all scores, not just the most recent, nor a “superscore.”

  • MCAT- Medical College Admissions Test: Required by all allopathic and osteopathic medical schools; preferred by schools of podiatry; sometimes accepted by Physician Assistant programs.
  • DAT- Dental Admissions Test
  • PCAT-Pharmacy College Admission Test
  • OAT- Optometry Admissions Test
  • GRE- Graduate Record Exam: used by health professional schools other than those listed above. Also used by graduate programs.

What can I do if I'm determined to be a doctor, but my grades aren't good enough?
Many applicants take a few years after graduation to strengthen their academic records. They may choose to take additional science courses or to enroll in our Master’s in Integrative Physiology, Master’s in Clinical Exercise Physiology, or other post-baccalaureate program. There are many formal and informal programs in the Chicago area that offer post-baccalaureate Master’s programs with heavy emphasis on science that can strengthen your academic credentials.

Is it okay to take time between college and medical school - a gap year?
Yes, an overwhelming majority of applicants in the US opt to take at least a year between college and medical school. Medical schools often like older applicants because of the maturity and life experience they bring to their applications. Here are some of the more popular reasons:

  • Prepare for a standardized admissions test (eg: the MCAT)
  • Improve your GPA (Check out our graduate programs!)
  • Focus on medical school applications
  • Acquire work experiences
  • Pursue travel/other interests
  • Organize finances for medical school

When should I meet with the Pre-Health Professions Advisor?
Ideally, you should meet with the BenU pre-health Professions advisor starting spring of your freshman year to make sure that you are on track to finish your academic requirements in a timely fashion and that you have appropriate community and clinical involvement.

Resources and Guides

Career preparation and testing

  • AAMC
    The Assciation of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) provides a wealth of information, tips, guides and recommendations about applying to medical school.

    The Association of American Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) provides insights about osteopatic medicine, and provides information about applying to DO medical schools.

  • CASPer Test
    The CASPer (Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics) test is an online assessment tool designed to evaluate key personal and professional characteristics that make for successful students and graduates. Medical schools are increasingly requiring this test as part of your secondary application. For additional information, please visit the CASPer website.

Pre-Health Profession Student Organizations

Pre-professional clubs are a great way to earn volunteer hours and gain valuable knowledge. Please consider joining the following Student Clubs:

Pre-Optometry Club 2016-2017

HPRC logo 

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Yvonne Kumon
Assistant to the Dean
(630) 829-6084

Bonnie Beezhold, Ph.D.
Associate Dean
(630) 829-6528

Cheryl Mascarenhas, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Science & Health
(630) 829-6587