Health Career FAQs

What percentage of St. Lawrence students get into health professional schools?

This is a common question but it has a complex answer. How should the percentage be calculated? Should it include a student who applies late to only one school? How should transfer students be counted? How should reapplications be counted? How should students be counted who do not apply right after college? Should osteopathic schools be considered medical schools? Given a relatively small sample size (15 to 30 students per year) the answers to these questions can have a profound effect on the results. In addition, we do not want to be in a position of worrying about how a student might affect our percentages. We want to be in a position to provide honest advice to all students who are interested in a health career and, if they choose to go forward with an application, to support then as best we can. In addition, we don't calculate a percentage because giving a precise figure is often interpreted by students and parents as an implied guarantee. We can't get you into a health profession school, but we can advise you about how you can be successful in this endeavor. Even though one fourth to one fifth of each incoming class are health career enthusiasts, by the time of application and MCATs at the end of the junior year, this number is substantially smaller. About 15 - 30 of our students apply to a health professional school each year. Most of these students are accepted, mainly because we provide a strong background in the sciences and because these students have put in the effort to demonstrate that they have the intellectual ability and personal qualities that will make them good health care provides. The long and short of it is that most of our students who apply to health professional schools get in at some point. Certainly over three quarters of the students who apply to medical school are accepted, with similar success for students applying to dental and veterinary medical schools.

What is the Pre-med at St. Lawrence University?

St. Lawrence offers a strong basic premedical curriculum which has enabled its graduates to gain admission to medical schools throughout the United States and Canada. Acceptance into a high-quality professional school depends upon extraordinary academic achievement, a high score on the Medical School Admissions Test (MCAT), outstanding faculty recommendations, and a successful personal interview. Medical schools also weigh he applicant's participation in extracurricular activities. It must be remembered that there are about two applicants for each opening in medical schools today. Therefore, the schools can afford to be highly selective. Admissions requirements for medical schools in the United States and Canada are summarized in Medical School Admissions Requirements published by the American Association of Medical Colleges. Medical schools at which St. Lawrence students have been accepted include Georgetown University, University of Vermont, University of Rochester, SUNY Medical Schools at Buffalo, Syracuse, Stony Brook and New York City, Cornell University, University of Cincinnati, University of Pennsylvania, Albany Medical School, New York University, Vanderbilt University, University of Maryland, and Johns Hopkins University.

What is the Pre-dent Program at St. Lawrence University?

Each year new areas of dental service are created, and each year many St. Lawrence graduates apply for admission to dental schools. Criteria for acceptance are similar to those for medical school: outstanding scholastic achievement, strong recommendations, and successful interviews, as well as noteworthy performance on the Dental Admissions Test. The American Dental Education Association publishes an annual bulletin on admissions, titled Admissions Requirements of U.S. and Canadian Dental Schools. Pre-dental students have entered Tufts University, Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Connecticut, Northwestern University, SUNY at Buffalo, New Jersey Dental School, Farleigh-Dickinson University and Boston University.

What is the Pre-vet Program at St. Lawrence?

Acceptance into a veterinary school is contingent on the same criteria listed above under pre-medical requirements except that the MCAT is not required. Most veterinary schools require biochemistry, and microbiology in addition to the requirements listed below for medical and dental schools. Students need to be aware that admission to veterinary school is significantly more competitive because there are few veterinary colleges and many applicants. More specific information is summarized in Veterinary Medical School Admission Requirements in the US and Canada published by Betz Publishing Company, Bethesda, MD.

Pre-vet students have recently been accepted at veterinary programs at Cornell University, Tufts University, University of Pennsylvania, Ohio State University, Kansas State University and North Carolina State University.

What are Related Health Career Possibilities?

There are many attractive alternatives to medicine and dentistry within the health careers field. Hospital administration, physical therapy, clinical psychology, counseling psychology, podiatry, optometry, medical social work and medical technology are a few of the fields open to skilled, dedicated men and women. More and more undergraduates are choosing these rewarding and satisfying professions. There is much more information on health careers that can be accessed from the department Health Careers Page.

What is the Curriculum for Health Careers?

Preparation for the study of medicine and related health fields requires careful course selection beginning with the freshman year. Most professional schools require substantial study in these areas: biology, general and organic chemistry, physics, mathematics, and English.

The courses required by most medical and dental schools are:

  • General Biology (BIOL 101, 102)
  • General Chemistry (CHEM 103-104 or 105)
  • Organic Chemistry (CHEM 221-222)
  • College Physics (PHYS 103, 104, or 151, 152)
  • Mathematics (two college level courses)
  • English (two college level courses)
  • Biochemistry (BIOCHEM 309)
  • Mathematics (2 college level courses - requirements vary from school to school)

In addition, a significant number of medical schools require or strongly recommend one semester of biochemistry (BIOl/CHEM/BIOCH 309) and general psychology (PSYCH 101).

Pre-health students should also use their time at St. Lawrence to gain as much in-depth experience as possible in the humanities and social sciences. For further advice, consult the department of Biology or Chemistry or any member of the Health Careers Committee.

Does St. Lawrence have Pre-Med Internships?

Medical internships with the Canton-Potsdam Hospital or Hepburn Hospital in Ogdensburg are available providing there is sufficient individual student motivation. Students interested in an internship program should consult the coordinating faculty advisor (Dr. Hornung,, phone 5291). After meeting with the advisor, an application and appointment with the hospital's Director of Volunteer Services will be arranged. During this interview, the details and schedule of the internship will be determined. In brief the:

  1. Volunteer must be scheduled to work one shift per week unless otherwise planned with the Nursing Office.
  2. Dress Code is to dress neatly (i.e. no jeans) and wear the white short lab coat provided by Hospital.
  3. Duties are as determined during interview.
  4. No academic credit is given for the internship.

In addition, applicants must provide certain health data as prescribed by state law. This information will be provided through coordination with the University Health Center. They must also maintain patient confidentiality as defined by federal and state laws.

Does St. Lawrence Have Early Assurance Programs With Professional Schools?

There are early assurance acceptance programs at the SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, and the SUNY at Buffalo School of Medicine. These programs are designed to give acceptance to academically gifted students so that they may explorer academic opportunities that might otherwise coincide and conflict with the timing of the regular schedule of application. EAP applications are submitted at the end of the sophomore year and are coordinated through the health careers committee (HCC). The requirements for this application are generally similar.

GPA in Science 3.5 3.75
Science requirements by end of 2nd year 3 of 4 3 of 4
English requirements by end of 2nd year no no
HCC Interview yes yes
HCC recommendation yes yes
SAT score 1300+ 1400+
Personal statement yes yes
Medical school interview yes yes
MCAT required no no
Academic plan if accepted yes yes
Clinical experience-exposure yes yes

Acceptance is not assured by simply completing the above steps. The quality of performance in each category will determine how well the applicant compares to all other EAP applicants from across the nation. There are also other requirements needed by all health career students. Students must identify their interest in the EAP application early on in their academic career at St. Lawrence. This is why it is important to get a health career adviser as early as possible.

The academic prerequisite for application to SUNY Upstate is the completion of three of the science courses generally demanded by medical schools, with highly satisfactory performance documented not only through course grades, but also through instructor evaluations. Successful applicants will be expected to carry a normal overall course load during the ensuing two years, completing the additional premedical requirements as a part of that study program. It is understood that acceptance carries a commitment to vigorously pursue intellectual depth in a field(s) of concentrated study.

It is expected that relatively few students will be interested in such a program, and will apply only after significant reflection and counseling. Applicants will be required to support an application with: 1) a statement of the advantages seen for their personal participation in such a program; and 2) an outline of the educational goals and objectives for the remaining two college years, as well as a proposal for achieving them through specific academic and extracurricular activities.

The application and admission procedure will include:

  1. preliminary expression of intent to apply, followed by screening at the undergraduate level, to be completed by April 1st of the sophomore year;
  2. information communication between colleges and medical schools about potential applicants;
  3. formal application to be submitted to medical school by June 1st;
  4. complete credentials and supporting documents to reach medical schools by July 1st;
  5. medical school action on applications will be taken by August 1;
  6. for successful applicants, the commitment of a place in the medical school two years later will carry a reciprocal commitment by the student to enroll at that school unless there were compelling reasons to change.

Continuation in the program will require: 1) satisfactory general academic progress that is consistent with past performance; and 2) evidence of progress toward achievement of individually specified goals.

A significant component of the program is the close coordination that will be required between and among the medical school, the student, and St. Lawrence University. It will include:

  1. an informed undergraduate advisor who will meet at least once each academic term to discuss with individual students their progress, problems, attitudes, etc;
  2. an informed medical school faculty member who will meet with each student at least once a year, and through whom possible elective work at the medical school might be arranged;
  3. regular communication between undergraduate and medical school advisors of individual students;
  4. periodic meetings, at least annually, of college and medical school representatives involved in program implementation to discuss progress, problems, necessary program modifications, and other important questions that affect the medical school/liberal arts college interface.

What is the BS/MD-DDS combined-degree programs?

A promising student can apply for acceptance to the SUNY Buffalo School of Dental Medicine after their sophomore year upon recommendation by a faculty member. The student then interviews with both the Biology department's Health Careers Committee and with the Admissions Committee of the SUNY Buffalo School of Dental Medicine. If accepted, they are guaranteed matriculation in the school after their senior year at St. Lawrence. This allows the student to become more liberally educated (perhaps go abroad) and gives them four years rather than the normal three to complete requirements prior to taking the Dental Admissions Test.

What is the Rural Medicine Program?

The articulation agreement between St. Lawrence University (SLU) and SUNY Upstate Medical University (College of Medicine) is a pre-college matriculation early assurance program for students interested in rural medicine. The agreement allows for students accepted into the program to have a place at Upstate Medical University waiting for them after they complete four years at SLU.

Medical School Admission and International Students?

In most other countries around the world, prospective physicians enter medical school upon completion of secondary school. In these countries the medical school course of study is usually at least 5 or 6 years.

In the US, medical school is an additional 4 years that follows completion of at least three years of baccalaureate study (most successful applicants complete 4 years of college). Undergraduate students who intend to apply to US medical schools must complete the coursework prescribed by the Association of American Medical Colleges. Students may complete any major as long as they complete the prescribed courses and also satisfy other medical school admissions requirements. 

International students (defined as persons who are not US citizens or permanent residents) may pursue pre-medical studies at SLU and may also apply for admission to US medical schools.  International applicants must understand, however, that admission to a US medical school is difficult and that just a small number of these applicants are admitted to US medical schools each year.

2009-2010 Enrollment for US Medical Schools
Status International Applicants Total Applicants
(US citizens and international)
Applied 1,293 42,269
Enrolled 163 18,390

International students may also find that there are limited or no financial aid opportunities available to them.

This information is not intended to discourage international students from applying to US medical schools, but rather it is provided so that they aware of the challenges they may face. It is recommended that students research medical school admission in their home or other counties and that they also investigate other medically-related career opportunities that do not require an M.D. degree.

For more information about the St. Lawrence University pre-medical program, please follow the Health Careers links from the Biology Department web page.