Center for Career Development – University of Tennessee

University of Tennessee – Center for Career Development

Arts & Science: Healthcare Careers

Frequently Asked Questions

What major should I choose?

Pre-health is not actually a major at UT. There is no major specific to the majority of these fields. For admission to professional programs you only have to complete a set of pre-requisites (typically in the sciences) that are predetermined by the professional schools to which you will apply. Therefore, you may choose any major as long as you also complete those prerequisites. Obviously, a science major is more likely to include those prerequisites than an English major. You should choose an area of study that you like and have a strong interest in.

You should choose the major that will provide the lifestyle you would like to become accustomed to IF you don’t get admitted! Explore Plan B options should your first choice not work out.

Keep in mind that you need to excel in those science pre-requisites since they are given more weight in admissions, therefore you may want to choose a major that will allow for that. Regardless of your major, you should schedule an advising appointment with a Pre-Health Advisor in the College of Arts & Sciences Advising Services immediately in order to learn the “process” and ensure you stay on track.

How can I gain experience?

There tend to be few true clinical internships at the undergraduate level. However, that does not mean you will not need to get some level of experience for your resume and applications.

  • Clinical Experience
    • Clinical experience is very important for any program and can come in a variety of forms. You can look into formal programs utilizing resources such as:
    • Other options include gaining experience that is related to the population or field in which you have interest. Some examples include:
      • Pediatrics or gerontology: consider volunteering in various environments with these populations, such as the Boys and Girls Club or a nursing home.
      • Physical Therapy/Athletic Training: look into volunteering or working with an athletics team or in a health gym.
      • Pharmacy: consider the Pharmacy Technician certificate offered at many pharmacies such as Walgreens, CVS, etc.
      • Consider Informational Interviewing and shadowing with the professional of interest.
      • Work as a Personal Assistant (PA) to a disabled member of the local or campus community.
      • Choose to become certified as a CNA, EMT, or PharmTech.
  • Research
  • Volunteerism & Leadership
    • Volunteerism is another factor for admissions. The health profession is a helping profession. Health professions require practitioners to be giving and generous with their time. This also shows your initiative and commitment to the community. In addition to volunteering in a healthcare setting, there are many organizations that coordinate volunteer opportunities.
    • Leadership can let admission committees know how well you work with others. Get involved with your residence hall, honor society, Greek organization, athletic group, or tutor students. You do not have to join every group on campus, but make your mark in the groups that interest you. You may want to become more than just a member of the organization and take on an officer role within the group.

I need help with my application process for Graduate/Professional School

  • Graduate School Admissions Information
  • Personal Statements
    • We work in conjunction with the Writing Center to assist with these essays. We focus on “content” while the Writing Center is able to help more with “style.” We do not rewrite but rather help you develop your theme and outline for the content in relation to the questions that are being asked by the program. Here are some helpful links to help you with writing your personal statement:
      • Essays
      • Books in the Career Exploration Center:
        • Graduate Admissions Essays
        • How to Write a Winning Personal Statement
  • Resumes
    • There are no specific resume formats for pre-health. The Resume Writing page has information on resume writing and to view resume examples.
  • Practice Interviews
  • Admissions Tests
    • The Center for Career Development does not provide tutoring or training on any admissions tests. You can visit our Graduate School page for more information on the various tests and where you can find courses and other resources for preparing and taking admissions tests.
  • Letters of Recommendation
    • Arts and Sciences Advising Services offers a system for submitting faculty letters of evaluation for students applying to medical schools. This service provides a means for a faculty member to supply one letter of evaluation which can be forwarded to as many professional schools as you request. When you are ready to set up your pre-professional file, call 974-4481 to arrange a meeting.
      • Two of the letters should come from faculty members teaching in science-based disciplines.
      • Once your file is complete, the staff in Arts and Sciences Advising Services require at least three business days to release your file to a third party.
  • Formal Application
    • Many programs require a student apply through a centralized application services, such as AMCAS for Medical School or PharmCAS for Pharmacy. Other programs have their own admissions process. You should make sure to research the requirements for your programs of choice and meet with a Pre-Health Advisor for more assistance.
    • AMCAS – Medicine
    • PHARMCAS – Pharmacy
    • AADSAS – Dental
    • CASPA – Physician Assistant
    • AACOM – Osteopathic Medicine

I didn’t or don’t think I will get in. Now what?

As mentioned, pre-health fields can be very competitive. The first option is to explore other areas in the healthcare realm.

Consider taking one of the assessments offered by our office to learn more about your interests, personality, skills, and values. After taking one or more assessments, meet with your CAS Consultant to discuss your results and generate ideas for majors and careers to research. Keep in mind that no single test can tell you “what you should be” and that successful career planning will likely require more than one appointment.

Related Resources

Medical School

Healthcare Exploration

Other Resources


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