Health Beat FAQ

What is Health Beat and how can they help me?

What is Health Beat?

Health Beat - in partnership with HMP3 - is the centralized pre-health advising services at UC San Diego. Our program goals are to:

  • create a competitive pipeline of applicants for any health professional school
  • increase readiness rates for any health professional school
  • provide comprehensive advising
  • increase student satisfaction by providing ACCESS to our services

How can Health Beat help?

  • we offer online tools and resources to explore, prepare, and apply to any health professional school
  • students can seek advising via email, drop-in, and by appointment
  • we have a master calendar of all pre-health related events and programming to keep you informed
  • our weekly Health Beat newsletter provides unique opportunities, updates, and resources

What pre-requisites do I need to take for any health professional school?

Every health professional school has different pre-requisites, however Health Beat has created a comparison grid based on some standard prereqs. This is a general guideline and will give you an idea of what to expect, however please check the individual schools to see what their specific requirements are as they may vary. 

Health Professions Pre-Requisite Chart

How do I know if a health career is right for me?

 Ask yourself:

  1. Why health?
    • What kind of healthcare do I want to provide?
    • Who do I want to provide this healthcare to?
    • How do I want to provide this healthcare?
    • Where do I want to provide this healthcare?
  2. Do I have a strong scientific aptitude?
  3. What lifestyle do I envision?
  4. How long will it take?
  5. Am I competitive enough?
  6. Do I need additional training or education prior to applying?
  7. What will my return on investment be? Debt accrual vs. salary

How can I get advising?

Our goal at Health Beat is to make our advising services easily accessible to everyone!

There are several ways to seek advising. We recommend the following:

  • Website: Start here. This is a comprehensive site that offers tools, resources, videos, links, and other essential information for you to be successful and gives you immediate access to anything you want to know!
  • Email us for quick questions
  • Advising:
    • On-the-Spot Advising with Career Peer Educators (CPEP):
      For basic questions regarding pre-requisites and general health exploration information, please meet with a Career Peer Educator (CPEP) during walk-in hours (Monday-Friday 10am-3pm in the Library of the Career Center).
    • Drop-in Advising (10 minutes) with a Health Beat Advisor (check out our up-to-date calendar)


    • Advising by Appointment (juniors & seniors only): Schedule a 30-minute appointment with a Health Beat advisor via Port Triton.

What will make my application "look good?"

We discourage attempts to put something on your application so it will "look good." What makes applicants stand out is their motivation and drive to be involved in whatever they are most interested and passionate about. This could be working with underserved communities, tutoring, but could also be a sport, music, or other hobby.

Ask yourself: What would I still do or what would I still be passionate about regardless if I got accepted into a health professional school?

My classes are HUGE! How do I get to know my professors so they can write me a strong letter of recommendation?

If you are applying to any health professional schools, you will need 3-6 letters of evaluation/recommendation (LOE's or LOR's) from professors, PI's, supervisors, etc. Because classes are large at UC San Diego, it can be challenging to get to know your professors. Here are some suggestions:
  • Start by identifying mentors vs."letter writers." Approach professors with sincerity and curiosity. This will lay the foundation for an authentic professional relationship.
  • Try Coffee/Dine with a Prof! Every college gives each student 3 opportunities to invite a professor to coffee and/or a meal each quarter. 
  • Attend office hours and ask questions
  • Participate in class or ask questions after class
  • Become a Undergraduate Instructional Apprentices (UGIA's) for a course you did well in
  • Take multiple classes from the same professor
  • Take smaller classes like labs or senior seminars

When asking prorfessors to write a letter:

  • Ask in-person after you’ve spent some time with this professor. Bring your resume, transcripts, and personal statement (if written), and ask if they would be willing to write you a strong letter of support
  • If they write their letter months or even year prior to your application, have them submit to www.interfolio.com

What does it take to be a competitive applicant?

It varies from school to school, but generally the following are factors that will contribute to your success as an applicant:

  • Grades and standardized test scores
  • Health care/clinical experience
  • Volunteer/Service
  • Leadership
  • Letters of Evaluation/Recommendation
  • Personal essay (i.e. motivation, resiliency or "distance traveled," commitment)
  • Core competencies of your respective health profession

How will having AP credit impact admissions to a health professional school?

AP Credit Policy

According to the Academic Senate, UC San Diego students cannot duplicate courses for credit. Given this policy, any AP credit you receive for AP calculus, chemistry, biology, or physics means you cannot retake these courses at UC San Diego. Instead, Health Beat recommends:

  1. To only select schools that accept AP credit.  Review this information on the MSAR (Medical School Admissions Requirements, located on the AAMC website) or on the individual school's website. Here is a list from Rice University on AP Policies for medical schools.
  1. If you are interested in attending schools who do not accept AP credit, re-take the courses you received AP credit for in one of these ways (in descending order of preference):
  • Take upper-division coursework or honors courses at UC San Diego in the subjects you received AP credit for (biology, math, chemistry, physics). Keep in mind, these classes can be much more rigorous and are not prerequisites for medical school. If you feel this could affect your GPA negatively, consider the other options.
  • Take at a 4-year university's extension program (UC San Diego, SDSU, etc.)
  • Take at a community college (check the MSAR as some institutions do not accept credits from community college and many schools may see community college course work as less rigorous than at a 4-year institution). *The only exception is if you transferred from a community college to UC San Diego.