Med/PA Schools Value Breadth

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If every pre-health student in the U.S. read this, we’d see less stress, more vocational clarity, and, crucially, more great doctors. It’s worth the time!

Medical/PA schools value the breadth of clinical experience, and we do that by introducing undergraduates to multiple specialties and multiple doctors. One specialty per week is the norm in Philotimo Med Abroad medical programs, and in each specialty participants generally interact with multiple doctors. This contrasts with typical shadowing, which focuses on one specialty.

At Philotimo Med Abroad we work with students interested in any and all health professions: medicine is the most popular, but we have advised future dentists, nurse practitioners, physical therapists, pharmacists, physician-scientists, and many others.

How do you know if you’re well-suited to pursue a career in healthcare?


      • You should have an intellectual interest and ability in science. Different health careers require differing amounts of science mastery.

      • You should have a deep and abiding interest in people and their problems, and a service-oriented mentality demonstrated through participation in civic engagement activities.

      • You should be ready to work in a team setting, as both a leader and a collaborator. You should be able to work with a wide variety of people as your colleagues and as your patients.

      • You should have a realistic understanding of the challenges and rewards of your career of interest gained through reading, shadowing, and otherwise learning about the day-to-day reality of the career.

      • You should be comfortable interacting with patients and others in healthcare settings gained through patient-facing volunteering or work. Some med schools will assign you to your first patients in the first week of school.


    You will prepare for health professions school throughout your time by engaging in activities, taking classes, fostering supportive relationships with faculty, and ensuring that you really want to become a health professional. The preparation for and the actual application for medical and dental school begins about two years before you want to matriculate (the timeline differs for other professions). This is an overview of what you will need to do once you have decided to apply.

    Year 1: Preparation and Reflection



        • Attend Workshop

        • Read Handbook

        • Submit Applicant Intake Form

        • Applicant Intake meeting

      Prepare Pre-application materials



          • Request letters of recommendation

          • Finalize pre-application materials

          • Craft school list

          • Attend relevant workshops 
          • Feb-Apr:

          • Pre-application interview 
          • By May: Take MCAT (score release takes 30 days) 
          • May: Primary application opens: prepare application Confirm receipt of letters of recommendation 
          • June: Submit primary application 
          • Jul-Aug: Secondary applications released: try to complete and return within two weeks of receipt
          • Aug-Mar: Interviews Sept-June: Stay engaged in activities Send updates to schools that accept them 
          • Oct-Apr: Acceptances April 30: Last day to hold multiple acceptance offers 
          • June-Sept: Medical school orientation begins fall spring summer fall & and spring med school!

          • THE STANDARDIZED TEST Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT)

          • Premedical students will take the MCAT. The test will be approximately 7.5 hours including time for breaks. The cost and exact dates of the test are released about a year in advance. The MCAT is divided into four sections and assesses a combination of science and non-science content divided between ten Foundational Concepts.

        Dental Admissions Test (DAT)

        Pre-dental students will take the DAT. The test will take approximately five hours and is offered year-round. The DAT is divided into four sections: Survey of Natural Sciences, Perceptual Ability Test, Reading Comprehension Test, and Quantitative Reasoning Test. Questions are drawn from Biology, General and Organic Chemistry, and math (through algebra). The Perceptual Ability test is unique; it tests your visual and spatial skills and is not based on subject knowledge.


        Get involved with activities that matter to you, in the community, and during your school breaks. There are seemingly endless opportunities with Philotimo Med Abroad.

        Find something you enjoy and devote time and energy to it. You will be a richer person for it and you will come to your academic work refreshed. But remember, you are a student first! Heavy participation in activities at the expense of your academic performance is discouraged.

        Health-Related & Clinical Experience

        It is essential for you to gain some real-world perspective on your profession of interest. There are many ways in which you can learn about the field.


            • Work or volunteer in hospitals or clinics

            • Pursue internships, International Internship Program

            • Shadow health professionals

            • Work on clinical trials as a research assistant

            • Serve as Nursing Assistants Seek to gain a realistic understanding of what being a health professional is like, reflect on how your career of choice might be satisfying to you, and consider ways that you will best serve your patients and the profession. This should be a top priority. Many students who do some clinical or service work during the semesters find it easier to keep the “bigger picture” in mind—you’re going into medicine to help people; helping people as you take classes can remind you of this larger goal. Also note: develop and sustain your exposure to clinical practice; do not rely on what you did back in high school or observed through family members who are in health care—you will develop as a person in college, and your perspectives will change.

          Did you know? 80% of Philotimo alumni accepted into med/PA school said Philotimo Programs strongly impacted their passion for medicine. Passion comes across in interviews, like those you do for med/PA school.

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