USM Preprofessional FAQs

Who is the USM Healthcare Preprofessional Advisor? How do I contact the Preprofessional Advisor?
    • Dr. Jeffrey Evans (jeffrey.evans@usm.edu) is the Preprofessional Advisor. He meets with students to discuss academic questions and concerns about healthcare professions and gives advice about course sequences, application to professional schools, etc. Call 601.266.4883 and the receptionist will make a mutually convenient appointment.
    • Ms. L. Machell Haynes (ladonna.haynes@usm.edu) is the Preprofessional Assistant and meets with students to discuss general questions and concerns about the healthcare professions. She also maintains the Preprofessional mailing lists. Call 601.266.4741 to make an appointment.
    • The Preprofessional Office is housed in the College of Science and Technology and is located in the Dean’s Office complex in the Chain Technology Building (TEC 103).
What areas are considered “Preprofessional”?
    • The healthcare preprofessional areas include dentistry, medicine, occupational therapy, optometry, pharmacy, physician assistant, physical therapy, veterinary medicine, dental hygiene, cytotechnology, health informatics & information management, and radiologic sciences. See the Preprofessional website for information about specific areas. http://www.usm.edu/science-technology/preprofessional
    • Nursing programs are administered by the School of Nursing (http://www.usm.edu/nursing) in the College of Health.
    • The Medical Lab Science program is administered by the Department of Medical Lab Science (http://www.usm.edu/medical-laboratory-science%20) in the College of Health.
I want to major in a Preprofessional area (premed, predental, preoptometry, prepharmacy, pre-occupational therapy, pre-physical therapy, prevet, pre-physician assistant, etc.). Can I do that?
    • No. The “preprofessional curriculum” is NOT an academic major, a minor, or an emphasis area. It is just a list of courses that are required for admission to a particular professional school (medical, dental, optometry, pharmacy, occupational or physical therapy, vet, physician assistant, etc.).
    • Instead of having a preprofessional major you will major in an academic area such as biological sciences, chemistry, physics, polymer science or other areas that allow you to take courses for both that major and the preprofessional curriculum at the same time. See FAQ question - What should be my major?.
    • The USM Preprofessional Office does track students by their chosen preprofessional area by using specific student group codes, so please contact Machell Haynes (ladonna.haynes@usm.edu or 601.266.4741) and tell her your name, student ID number, USM email address, and the preprofessional area you plan to pursue. This helps the Office better assist students.
Whom do I notify at USM if I want to be a student in one of the Preprofessional areas?
    • Contact Machell Haynes (ladonna.haynes@usm.edu or 601.266.4741) and tell her your name, student ID number, USM email address, and the preprofessional area you plan to pursue.
    • She will enter a student group code for you in SOAR, the university’s computerized record keeping system, and will put you on the appropriate preprofessional mailing list(s) so you can receive email messages of general interest and of specific interest for your chosen preprofessional area.
I am applying for a Preprofessional Scholarship, but I have to be listed officially as a Preprofessional student at USM. How do I do that?
    • Contact Machell Haynes (ladonna.haynes@usm.edu or 601.266.4741) and tell her your name, student ID number, USM email address, and the preprofessional area you plan to pursue. She will enter a student group code for you in SOAR, which is what you need to be considered eligible for a preprofessional scholarship.
What should be my major? I want to go to medical/ dental/ optometry/ pharmacy/ occupational or physical therapy/ vet/ or physician assistant school after I graduate from USM.
    • Professional schools in the healthcare area do not require a particular major. Although many students choose a major in one of the departments in the College of Science and Technology or select a healthcare related major in the College of Health, majors in other areas are entirely acceptable.
    • Students should select the major in which they feel the most comfortable and in which they would like to work if they are not successful in gaining acceptance into a healthcare professional program. In other words, students are advised “to prepare for at least two careers with one major.”
    • There are a number of majors that prepare students for careers in a healthcare related field immediately after obtaining the B.S. or B.A. degree and without having to go to a professional school. These include Medical Lab Science, Nutrition Science, Therapeutic Recreation, Kinesiotherapy, Exercise Science, Athletic Training.
    • Prior to applying to a professional school, students opting for Occupational Therapy or Physical Therapy must provide evidence of a certain number of hours of observation in a clinical setting. Many such students select a major in the College of Heath because they will get those experiences as part of their undergraduate curriculum. However, students in other majors are able to arrange for clinical observations on their own.
Does USM offer any courses that help students prepare for healthcare professional entrance exams like the DAT, MCAT, OAT, PCAT or GRE?
    • Yes, there are several such courses.
    • BSC 399 MCAT Prep is a 2 hours nonmajors course offered via IVN each Spring semester (Mon & Thurs 6:30 − 8:30 pm). The course originates in Hattiesburg and is received at the Gulf Coast. This team taught course reviews Biology, Chemistry, Physics (and Math), verbal reasoning and critical thinking skills, and helps students to write an effective personal statement.
    • Although students in the course practice by using MCAT exam questions, students who want to review the subject matter for other entrance exams (DAT, OAT, PCAT) may also take the course.
    • “Department Consent” is required to register for BSC 399 because of the prerequisites (see below). Contact Machell Haynes (ladonna.haynes@usm.edu or 601.266.4741) and tell her your name and student ID number to get permission to enroll.
    • Prerequisites are:
      ENG 101, 102; BSC 110/L, 111/L; CHE 106/L, 107/L, 255/L, 256/L; PHY 111/L, 112/L; (MAT 101, 103) OR (one Calculus course); minimum overall GPA 3.4.
    • There are review classes for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE):
      MLS 480 Conquering the GRE Computer Adaptive Test
      MLS 481 GRE Preparation: Quantitative
      MLS 481 GRE Preparation: Verbal
    • Check the university’s Class Schedule Guide to determine when these courses are offered.
Does USM offer courses that are useful for students in the Preprofessional areas?
  • Yes, in addition to the courses required for admission to specific professional programs, other courses thought by previous students to be useful include:
    MLS 110 Phlebotomy I
    MLS 111 Phlebotomy Practicum
  • NOTE: students must be accepted into the Phlebotomy program in order to take MTC 111 http://www.usm.edu/medical-laboratory-science/phlebotomy-certificate-program
    MLS 201 Medical Terminology
    PHI 452 Health Care Ethics
  • NOTE: a healthcare ethics course is required for admission to the Ole Miss Pharmacy program
  • BSC 392 Preprofessional Externship is a 1 hour nonmajors course offered each Fall semester (Wed 3:30 − 4:45 pm). During the semester Premedical and Predental students “job shadow”, which is a critical aspect of their preparation for admission to medical school or dental school. Students may participate twice in the Externship course.
  • http://www.usm.edu/science-technology/hatten-premedical-externship
  • http://www.usm.edu/science-technology/predental-externship
  • BSC 399 MCAT Prep is a 2 hours nonmajors course offered via IVN each Spring semester. The course originates in Hattiesburg and is received at the Gulf Coast. This team taught course reviews Biology, Chemistry, Physics (and Math), critical thinking skills and helps students to write an effective personal statement.
  • Although students in the course practice with MCAT exam questions, students who want to review the BCPM subject matter for other entrance exams (DAT, OAT, PCAT) may take BSC 399.
I want to take the Hatten Premedical or Predental Externship course but when I tried to register for BSC 392 (Preprofessional Externship) on SOAR it said I need permission. How do I get permission to enroll?
    • BSC 392 Preprofessional Externship is a 1 hour nonmajors course offered each Fall semester (Wed 3:30-4:45 PM). During the semester premedical and predental students “job shadow”, which is a critical aspect of their preparation for admission to med school or dental school.
    • “Department Consent” is required to register for BSC 392 because of the prerequisites. Contact Machell Haynes (ladonna.haynes@usm.edu or 601.266.4741) and tell her your name and student ID number to get permission to enroll.
    • Prerequisites are:
      ENG 101, 102; BSC 110/L, 111/L; CHE 106/L, 107/L; (MAT 101, 103) OR (one Calculus course); minimum overall GPA 3.2.
    • Sophomores and Juniors are encouraged to participate, so Freshmen must complete the prerequisites in the Spring or Summer semesters. Students may participate twice in the Externship course (in two separate Fall semesters).
I tried to register on SOAR for BSC 399 (MCAT Prep), but it said I need permission. How do I do that?
    • “Department Consent” is required to register for BSC 399 because of the prerequisites. Contact Machell Haynes (ladonna.haynes@usm.edu or 601.266.4741) and tell her your name and student ID number to get permission to enroll.
    • Prerequisites are: ENG 101, 102; BSC 110/L, 111/L; CHE 106/L, 107/L, 255/L, 256/L; (MAT 101, 103) OR (one Calculus course); PHY 111/L, 112/L; minimum overall GPA 3.2.
I am applying to a medical school (or to dental/ optometry/ pharmacy/ occupational or physical therapy/ vet/ physician assistant school) and need an evaluation letter from the Preprofessional Advisory Committee. How do I do that?
    • USM does not have a Preprofessional Advisory Committee; therefore, it is not possible to submit a composite evaluation. You must submit the required letters of evaluation from college faculty, preferably those who taught your prerequisite courses. Be sure to ask someone who knows you well and who can offer detailed comments about your work and your abilities.
I am applying to medical school (or to dental/ optometry/ pharmacy/ occupational or physical therapy/ vet/ or physician assistant school) and need an evaluation letter from the Preprofessional Advisor. How do I do that?
    • If a letter of recommendation from a Preprofessional Advisor is OPTIONAL but the student has never had Dr. Evans in a class nor met with him for preprofessional advisement or for help with the student’s Personal Statement, then it is in the student’s best interest to request letters of evaluation from college instructors.
    • If a letter from the Preprofessional Advisor is REQUIRED by a specific professional school (or if a student who has never had Dr. Evans for a class, but wishes to obtain a letter from the Preprofessional Advisor), then the student must make an appointment for at least one face to face meeting at least three weeks prior to the date the student wishes to submit his/her application and must submit the items listed below prior to that meeting.
    • If the student has never had Dr. Evans in class, then the letter of evaluation from Dr. Evans obviously must include the following sentences (or something similar):
      “This letter constitutes my evaluation of Student Name who is applying to ______ school. I serve as the Healthcare Preprofessional Advisor at USM and have a good understanding of the requirements for admission to ______ school. However, I have never had Student Name in class, so my remarks must be taken in this context.”
    • In order to write an effective, individualized letter of evaluation for any preprofessional student, Dr. Evans will need the following items. The documents mentioned in #3, 4, 5 must be submitted as separate attachments to a single email message and all the other items should be answered in the body of the same email message. Send the one email message to jeffrey.evans@usm.edu
      1. USM ID number, so we can access your SMART sheet.
      2. All your admission test scores (MCAT, DAT, OAT, PCAT, GRE, etc.) and the date(s) you took them. Include the individual scores and the composite score for each time you took the test.
      3. Your resume or CV that includes jobs, college organizations, positions of leadership, volunteer and community service activities, etc.
      4. Statement detailing all preprofessional exposures/experiences (work, shadowing, etc.), including supervisor, place, duration. 
      5. Your Personal Statement for admission to the professional school.
      6. A statement of your strengths and your weaknesses.
      7. Your target date for the letter and the official Deadline for the application. Dr. Evans needs sufficient lead time (at LEAST three weeks if he has never written a letter of support for you).
      8. Electronic version of evaluation form, if there is one.
      9. If a printed letter is needed, then you must include the complete addresses of schools/ departments/ businesses etc., with contact person’s name and job title. Also, is this person “Dr.” or “Mr.” or “Ms.” etc.?
      10. Your phone number, in case there are questions.
      11. The student must fill out and sign a form waiving his/her right to see the evaluation letter. Form is available from Dr. Evans (jeffrey.evans@usm.edu).
I am applying to a professional school. Should I waive or not waive my right to see the recommendation letters?
    • Most applicants waive their right to see the recommendation or evaluation letter. Some Admissions Committees may believe, rightly or wrongly, that letter writers are more candid and detailed when writing about students who have waived their right to see the letter.
I planned to go to a medical/ dental/ optometry/ pharmacy/ occupational or physical therapy/ vet/ or physician assistant school but my GPA is not high enough to be competitive. I still want to work in a healthcare field. What can I do now?
I applied but didn’t get into medical school (or to dental/ optometry/ pharmacy/ occupational or physical therapy/ vet/ physician assistant school). What should I do now?
I’ve been accepted to the healthcare professional program to which I applied. How can I pay for it?
    • The professional school will work with you through their financial aid office to determine how you can best pay for your professional education. Financial sources may be scholarships, grants, loans, service scholarships, self-financing, or combination of these funding sources. The service scholarships may involve funds for the student from an organization or governmental body that expects the professional graduate to serve in a specific geographical area, or have a specific type of professional practice, or serve in a governmental body such as the military.
    • Examples of funding source information: University of Mississippi Medical Center Financial Aid Office http://www.umc.edu/financialaid/
      Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program http://www.umc.edu/mrpsp/