Jump to main content

Pre-health/Health Professions Student Resources

The Pre-Health/Health Professions advising staff is here to support you as you navigate completing your undergraduate degree and apply to healthcare professional schools.

Be sure to meet with your advisor regularly in addition to utilizing campus resources available to all UNC Bears.  

Application Review

Many professional schools use holistic review strategies — by examining students capabilities in a balanced manner, including experiences, attributes and academic metrics. 

As you prepare for professional school consider your qualifications in all areas. 

Contact Information

NHS Advising Center



Ross Hall, Room 1210

Clinical Experience

  • Shadow a medical professional 
  • Volunteer at a hospital, doctor's office and/or hospice care 
  • Become a certified nursing assistant (CNA) 
  • Become an emergency medical technician (EMT)
  • Work as a medical scribe 
  • Work as a phlebotomist 

International Experience

Become involved in medical mission trips or other international opportunities to combine travel and medical experience. The AAMC has issued guidelines for international experiences.

  • Medical Missions: Provide medical relief in developing nations

Community Service

Display your desire to help others and give back to your community. 

  • Become an interpreter 
  • Volunteer as a sports coach 
  • Tutor at a local school

Research Experience

  • Speak with UNC faculty about participating in their research projects
  • Join the McNair Scholars Program: you must be a first generation student, income eligibile or a member of a underrepresented population on campus. 

Leadership Skills

You'll need strong leadership skills and ability to work in a team no matter your profession. 

Letters of Recommendation 

The number of letters vary from school-to-school but we suggest submitting 3-5.

When asking for letters choose someone who knows you such as faculty, supervisors and mentors who can attest to your qualifications.

Asking for letters 

Ask for letters early and be specific about what you need. Give recommender a copy of your resume and personal statement to give information about your experiences and why you've choosen this career. 

If your applying to medical school use the AAMC guidelines for letter writers to help your recommender know what to include. 

Grade Point Average

Professional school look at all college level courses you have completed to calculate your grade point average (GPA). This includes transfer credits and certification processes.

Most professional schools do not do grade forgiveness or replacement. Instead they average the grades for the two completed courses.  Do not retake a course just to improve your GPA. Retake a course if you did not understand the information presented. 

Science GPA

Your science GPA (or BCPM) is the cumulative GPA of biology, chemistry, physics and math courses to determine your science abilities.

Personal statement

Personal Statements

The applications for healthcare careers require a personal statement. This is an opportunity be your own advocate and share who you are beyond test scores and GPA. 

Pick a focus

Think about life events that impacted you and who you became. Make connections between all aspects of your life that paved your path to medicine. 

Themes should flow and unite the ideas you're sharing. Explain how this theme was shaped by your experiences and how it drives your passion for medicine instead of listing your activities in chronological order. 

Avoid themes that are negative, express "I am a victim" or that you haven't considered other careers along your way to where you are now. 

Writing Tips

  • Start early 
  • Edit often 
  • Be confident 
  • Be engaging 
  • Share new information 
  • Create smooth transitions 
  • Highlight your strengths
  • Share why you're right for the field


Interviews allow programs to better understand who you are. They gain a sense of your motivation, experience  and professionalism among other skills to ensure you're prepared to excel in their program.

  • Types of Interviews

    There are different formats of interviews, so make sure you know which one you are going to before arriving:

    • One-on-one conversation with representatives 
    • Panels with interviewers asking questions
    • Group interviews with multiple students

    There are also different types of interviews:

    • Closed interviews: interviewer has not seen your application 
    • Open interviews: interviewer has access to all/some application materials
    • Multiple mini interview: Interviewee rotates stations to answer series of pre-designated questions. 
  • Appearance

    Look professional for your interview. Solid, dark suits with minimal patterns are recommended. Avoid distracting jewelry, hairstyles or brightly colored clothing. You don't want to be remembered for your clothing but for your qualifications. 

  • Substance matters

    Present yourself as a qualified applicant. Convince the admissions committee(s) you have the experience and knowledge to excel in their program. 

    Complete research about the specific program to make sure it's a good fit for you. Express to the interviewers why you are a good fit for their program.

  • Sample questions

UNC Resources

Choosing Schools

There are many factors to consider while choosing which schools to apply to. 

  • Mission

    Examine school's mission statement. Time is spent crafting the mission statement and is a reflection of the schools goals and aspirations. Pick a school that's a good match for your background and future plans.

  • State Residency

    Most public medical schools prefer applicants from their state and seats are limited for out-of-state applicants. Private institutions (typically) do not have preferences for residency. 

    For fields other than medicine the residency requirements are not as strict and vary between schools. 

  • Curriculum 

    Think about your learning style, academic opportunities and your career goals. There is variety between professional schools and the types of curricula they offer:

    • Specific coursework vs. flexibility
    • Problem-based learning vs. traditional lectures 
    • Pass/fail grading vs. individual grades and class rank 

    Also consider, class size and if specific tracks match your career goals.

  • Location 

    Beyond considering residency you should consider the location of the school. Consider new adventures and be aware of factors that are critical to your success such as:

    • Safety
    • Cost of living 
    • Recreational opportunities 
    • Proximity to family 
    • Transportation 
    • Diversity 
    • Weather
    • Culture 
    • Housing 
  • Cost

    Cost can be an important factor in your decision, consider the following early in the process:

    • How much will you owe at the end of the program?
    • Will you have a career where you can pay back the loans?
    • Are scholarships available?
    • Do students work while in the program?
  • Student Life

    The atmosphere and culture of the school can impact your success and attitude. Talk to current students, alumni and others about the program and school atmosphere. 

    • Are students extremely competitive?
    • Does the school foster a supportive, cohort attitude?
    • What fits your personality best?
    • Does the school have support services (academic and personal)?
    • Are the faculty happy?
  • Reputation 

    Consider the reputation of the school. The school should be accredited, accept federal financial aid but the ranking of the school is not always important. 

    A school's reputation is no guarantee you will be successful. For medical school the reputation can place a small role in residency placements but your priority should be selecting a school that best fits you and your needs. 

  • International considerations

    Are you an international student interested in attending a U.S. health professional school? Contact our pre-health advisors to go over potential options and specific considerations. 

    Are you a U.S. citizen considering applying to an international health professional school? Contact a pre-heath advisor to go over options and specific considerations when applying to international programs and challenges if you plan on returning to the U.S. to practice medicine.