Medical, Dental, and Veterinarian Health Professionals

Six students in surgical clothing intern at a hospital.  illustration


If you are eyeing medical schools, dental schools or veterinary schools, McDaniel offers the mentoring and ideal environment to prepare you for success.

You will be learning about a genetic disease in a classroom of 18 students, not a lecture hall of 200 students. When you raise your hand, your professor can actually see you. When you hand in a piece of work, your professor (not a graduate student) will provide 100% of the critique. When you need advice about what class to take next, your professor will actually know you well enough to construct a plan specific to you. The recommendation letter written by a professor who has become your personal mentor will make a strong impression on postgraduate admissions committees.

The McDaniel Commitment guarantees experiential learning as a core component of every student’s education. This bodes very well for our pre-med, pre-dental and pre-vet students, because student-faculty collaborative research and medically oriented internships — two forms of experiential learning — are also what is most sought after in a candidate by the postgraduate admissions committees.

McDaniel is a member of the 40 Colleges that Change Lives, a select group of liberal arts colleges that boast not just superior classroom experiences, but also exceptional guidance provided by a team of professors, deans, advisors, librarians, staff and volunteer students. Medical school is one of the most competitive career tracks available to you. It will be challenging, regardless of the undergraduate institution you choose. At McDaniel, expect not just a challenge, but our proactive support.


You are strongly encouraged to meet with one of the health professions advisor, Dr. Susan Parrish, as soon as you decide to pursue a career in the medical, dental or veterinary professions. In addition to your academic advisor in your major, you should also meet annually with your health professional advisor to ensure that the necessary prerequisite coursework, admissions tests, and appropriate health care experience is obtained to build a strong application. These regular advising meetings will also allow the health professions advisor to write a thorough letter of recommendation for you.

Experiential Opportunities

Direct patient-care experience is essential for admission to health professional schools. McDaniel College offers a January Term internship course (BIO3395)in which students work at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Other healthcare experiences could include volunteering in a health care/hospice facility, shadowing a physician or serving as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Certified Nursing Assistant (CAN) or medical scribe.

Students are encouraged to complete an independent laboratory research project with a faculty member. In addition, teaching experiences, participation in athletics, extracurricular activities, service, and study-abroad opportunities can enhance your application.

McDaniel’s Center for Experience and Opportunity (CEO) and our health professions advisors can help students identify these types of experiences.


Please remember that admissions requirements will vary by track (medical school, dental school or veterinary school), and also by different institutions within a track. The suggestions and order of items listed below are for general guidance only. Completion of these items does not guarantee that the student will meet the admissions requirement for a particular graduate program.

First Year

  • Talk with your First Year Seminar (FYS) advisor to schedule your first semester classes.
  • Close to the end of the first semester, discuss with your FYS advisor the track of your choice. Using recommended courses above as a guide, select your second semester classes in consultation with your FYS advisor. You must have completed at least 1, but preferably 2 or more, Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Math (BCPM) courses by the end of your first year.
  • Once you have garnered support from your FYS advisor for your track of choice, reach out to one of the health professional advisors to obtain further information and requirements for your track.
  • Think about potential majors and minors.
  • Maintain excellent GPA.
  • Participate in clubs and extracurricular activities; find a way to firmly root yourself socially at McDaniel.
  • Consider obtaining relevant certifications (depending on career interest) such as CPR/AED, First Aid or EMT.
  • Plan and then pursue a relevant summer opportunity (for example, working for a veterinary office).

Sophomore Year

  • Declare a major, if you haven’t already.
  • Maintain excellent GPA; if your BCPM GPA is lower than 3.5, you may need to initiate conversations considering other career tracks of interest.
  • Meet with one of the health professions advisors to discuss your track of choice and research potential graduate programs to identify specific prerequisite courses and requirements. Use this information to inform your choice of classes for the rest of your college career. By the end of your sophomore year, you must have completed at least 3, but preferably 5 or more, BCPM courses.
  • Apply for honors society memberships (such as Beta Beta Beta).
  • Consider some relevant work or internship opportunities during the semesters.
  • A high-impact summer experience at the end of your sophomore year is highly recommended (such as student-faculty collaborative research).

Junior Year

  • Maintain excellent GPA; if your BCPM GPA is lower than 3.4, you may need to initiate conversations considering other career tracks of interest.
  • Meet with one of the health professions advisors to review your plan and progress and discuss how to study for the admission test (see above) of your track.
  • As you study for the admission test, identify your weak areas and use that to inform your choice of courses for your 6th semester. By the end of your junior year, you must have completed at least 7, but preferably 10 or more, BCPM courses.
  • Consider leadership positions in extracurricular clubs or honor societies.
  • Take your respective admission test.
  • Once you have your admission test score report, formally apply to one of the health professions advisors for a decision on the endorsement of your graduate program application.
  • Apply to graduate programs of your choice over the summer.

Senior Year

  • Apply to graduate programs of your choice, if you haven’t already.
  • Maintain excellent GPA.
  • Once you have received interview invitations, make an appointment with one of the health professions advisors to receive advice regarding interviews.
  • In the meantime, apply for transitional jobs that are related to the track of your choice as a backup plan.
  • Continue to develop a philosophy for your career choice and use that to refine the personal statement of your application package.


The most important piece of advice we offer to our future pre-med, pre-dental and pre-vet students is to stay connected, open-minded and flexible. These are some of the most competitive career tracks out there; a common problem for a student with a strong academic record who is not accepted by a graduate program is that the student does not have a genuine sense of devotion to the career track, reflected by their personal statement. By staying connected to the profession through experiential learning opportunities, a student does not simply excel at the prerequisite courses, but becomes part of the profession, which is what admissions committees ultimately seek. Secondly, due to the ultra-competitive nature of these tracks, by definition many initial candidates will not be admitted in the end. By staying aware of your own GPA record and having regular meetings with the health professions advisors, you have the opportunity to modify your career plans early on, rather than coming to a disappointing realization in your senior year. Students who are more open-minded and flexible early on may find out that their passions lie in other career choices in the medical field or elsewhere, and ultimately such true passion is likely to drive them to success in whatever career track they ultimately choose.

© 2019 McDaniel College