Who's Getting In?

  • Fifty-five Brandeis alums shared over 120 acceptances to medical, dental and veterinary school in Fall 2007.

  • They studied abroad during the academic year (in locations including Denmark, Israel, England, Germany and France). 

  • They had leadership positions on campus as Community Advisors, Undergraduate Department Representatives, Orientation Leaders, Roosevelt Fellow Peer Advisors, Teaching Assistants, Peer Tutors, athletic team captains, and newspaper editors.

  • They participated in on-campus health-related groups including the Pre-Health Society, Foundation for the International Medical Relief of Children, Student Global AIDS Campaign and Brandeis Emergency Medical Corps.

What do health professions schools want?

The environment in which health professionals work demands a high level of intellectual and interpersonal ability. This means that admissions committees at health profession schools evaluate applicants in a multifaceted way. While no two schools or programs look for exactly the same things, some of the broader characteristics can be broken down as follows:

  • Academic ability.  Admissions committees want to be sure that the individuals they accept into their schools can survive the rigorous curriculum, which will include a more difficult science course load than most students are exposed to as undergraduates. 
  • Orientation to learning.  Students who are intellectually curious and adept, can solve complex problems, and are interested in lifelong learning will fare well in the health professions – with the rapid advances in technology, facts learned in a health professional school education are practically obsolete as soon as they are learned; you have to learn how to learn, and be interested in continuing to do so. 
  • Interpersonal skills/Ability to work with others.  You should be able to relate well to a broad spectrum of people. People often engage largely within certain groups of others, where they are most comfortable. As a health professional, you need to be able to treat all of your patients with respect, empathy, and compassion; with an open mind and a willingness to help.  Think about what groups of people you may have had limited exposure to, or feel uncomfortable with, and how you will learn to care for them.
  • Motivation for your future career.  It is expensive to educate a health professions student, and it is also a big responsibility for schools; they want to accept students who will enjoy their careers, and who will be leaders within their fields.
  • Intangible qualities.  There is no particular "ideal" candidate for health professions schools, but there are some personal qualities that tend to lead to success in the health professions.  For example, according to the 2004-2005 edition of Medical School Admission Requirements (the official admission guide of the Association of American Medical Colleges), these include:
    • maturity
    • concern for helping others
    • character and integrity
    • intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm
    • self-discipline
    • motivation and persistence
    • judgment
    • resilience
    • empathy
    • leadership skills
    • communication skills
    • experience with, and knowledge of, medicine