COLLEGE OF APPLIED & NATURAL SCIENCES
Pre-Med/Pre-Dent Advisory Committee
The Pre-Med/Pre-Dent Advisory Committee at Louisiana Tech is a University-wide committee created to advise Premedical and Predental students, conduct personal interviews of applicants to medical and dental school, and prepare committee recommendations for these applications. The committee is comprised of faculty and staff whose areas of expertise best meet the needs of students applying to medical school, and so includes members of the faculty from Biology, Chemistry, Psychology, Biomedical Engineering, and Technical Writing. There is also a member of the committee from the University Career Center who will provide insight and advice on interview skills so that our students are best prepared not only for the committee interview but for their interviews at professional schools.
Dates of interest
Students are encouraged to interview with the committee the spring quarter they plan to prepare their application for medical or dental school. If students change their mind about applying and have not yet interviewed, it is best to cancel the interview and schedule it for the following year when they are ready to apply. Students can only interview with the committee one (1) time unless there are significant changes to their packet and they are no more than one year past graduation.
- Committee Interview Applications go out mid-February
- Committee Interviews scheduled for early- mid-April
- Medical and Dental School Applications open as early as May with Submission opening by early June
Things to make sure you do
- Check the requirements for the schools to which you are interested in applying. Most schools have similar requirements when it comes to courses, shadowing, volunteering, and standardized testing, but it is wise to closely examine admission requirements for all professional schools, as some do have unique requirements.
- Keep track of your activities. You will need to report your volunteer hours, shadowing and clinical hours, leadership experiences, etc. Start early keeping a record of everything you do, what you did, and how many hours you participated in a given activity.
- Join professional student organizations including AED, the PreDental Society, and MAPS.
- Visit the application websites to learn what you will need to do when the time comes to apply.
Frequently asked questions
If I want to go to medical school or dental school, what should I major in?
You can really major in any discipline you want. The most important thing is to choose a major you are passionate about and make sure that whatever that is you take the courses necessary for you to be successful on the MCAT (medical school entrance exam) or DAT (dental school entrance exam). Most students major in Biology, Chemistry, or Biomedical Engineering where there are pre-med concentrations to help guide students through the courses required for these professional degree programs. These degrees are not required for application to medical school or dental school and so we may have students who major in Psychology, English, or History. These students do have to ensure, though, that they are able to take the classes required for admission to medical school or dental school as these will not be part of the degree curriculum the way that they are for students who are majoring in Biology, Chemistry, or Biomedical Engineering.
Should I minor in a discipline?
Some students do pursue a minor or even a second major if their schedule allows. This is certainly not a requirement and is generally done by students who have time in their schedule and additional areas they want to study. These may include a minor in chemistry (this is common as there is a significant amount of chemistry required for application to medical school), a foreign language, Psychology, or English. Nearly every degree program has a minor to allow students the opportunity to learn more in a discipline without having to complete a major. Some students may also be interested in obtaining a business minor to help prepare them for aspects of healthcare and business management.
What do I need to do to go to medical school or dental school?
Every medical school and dental school has slightly different requirements, so the best thing to do is to look at the requirements for those schools you are interested in applying to. You will need to have shadowing/clinical experience, volunteer hours, and leadership experience in any area in which you are interested. Be sure to record all of your activities, awards, scholarships, and leadership opportunities so that you have them easily accessible when you complete your applications. Creating a Google Doc or some kind of document that is stored on the cloud and can be easily accessed and updated from anywhere may help you best keep track of your activities. You may also want to provide some description of the activity so that you can recall details of what you did even after some time has passed.
Research is not required for successful application to medical school or dental school, but may help your application if it is something you did for an extended period of time and can speak knowledgeably and passionately about. Remember that these schools want well rounded students who show commitment, passion, investment in others, and time management. So do those things that you are passionate about, that demonstrate your commitment to your goals, and where your work ethic and discipline indicate your ability to succeed in reaching those goals.
What topics are covered on the MCAT?
There are four sections on the MCAT – Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems; Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems; Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior; and Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills. While you don’t necessarily need to take all your relevant courses before taking the MCAT, it’s a good idea to take courses that cover these content areas as part of your preparation for the MCAT- biology, organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, biochemistry, physics, introductory psychology, sociology, and english. Many students have also found Animal Physiology and Cell Biology to be helpful prior to taking the MCAT.
What topics are covered on the DAT?
There are four sections on the DAT – Natural sciences (biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry), Perceptual ability (two- and three-dimensional problem solving), Reading comprehension (dental and basic sciences), Quantitative reasoning (mathematical problems in algebra, numerical calculations, conversions, etc.). Similar to the MCAT, it’s a good idea to take courses that cover the content areas listed above as part of your preparation for the DAT.
I am not in a pre-med concentration. How can I learn what classes I should take to prepare for Medical/Dental School?
The committee application and interview can be seen as a precursor to the medical school or dental school application. The application asks you to list your strengths and weaknesses, extracurriculars, research, shadowing, grades, achievements, and explain why you are pursuing a career in medicine or dentistry. The application goes live towards the end of Winter Quarter when the chair of the committee sends a campus-wide email regarding the Committee Application. If you are planning to apply to medical school or dental school that upcoming cycle, then you must email back requesting the application itself. The application is due back to the committee in March and interviews are held in early April. The goal of this process is to give you experience with the application and also practice interviewing. The committee provides feedback on your application and interview and also provides you with a committee letter for your application. Medical and Dental schools like to see this committee letter because it provides them with a diverse perspective on a single applicant that is unbiased and reflective of the applicant.
If I have already graduated, can I still interview with the committee to receive a committee letter?
Students who graduate within an academic year (Fall or Winter) may still interview with the committee during that spring quarter. Students who have graduated in earlier academic years are encouraged to acquire individual letters of recommendation. These will likely be the strongest letters of support for the student as they are from people who know the student well. The more time away from campus, the less valuable the committee is and the more valuable those individual relationships with professors and physicians/dentists will be.
Do I need to participate in research to go to medical school?
You do not need to participate in research to be competitive for medical school. Students are encouraged to consider participating in research and if they like it, then they should continue to work in a research program. However, research is not for everyone and the most important thing you can do is to pursue those activities in which you are passionate. If you are passionate about research and have found a lab or research program that supports that, you should do it. If you are not passionate about research, then don’t worry about research and instead find something that you are excited about and go do that.
Are there any shadowing or clinical opportunities in Ruston for students?
The best way to find clinical or shadowing opportunities is to reach out to local physicians and dentists. Many students also earn these hours when they are home over the holidays and are able to shadow their family healthcare providers.
Are there scholarships available for PreMed or PreDent students?
All scholarships are posted on Academic Works. There are some that are for students interested in health sciences and new scholarships may be created, so check Academic Works for available opportunities.
Some students also explore the Health Profession Scholarship Program (HPSP) through the US Armed Forces (Navy, Air Force, Army). They offer a number of competitive scholarships for medical and dental students. For more information on this program visit
When should I apply to Medical School or Dental School?
As far as the application cycle goes, the earlier you apply in the cycle the better. Most schools review applications as they come in so it is beneficial to be among the earlier applications as they begin to invite students for interviews as early as late August and throughout the fall.
If considering when to apply during your time as a student, apply when you feel ready. It is not uncommon for students to take a gap year after graduating and apply after having had some time to work, save money, or develop a more competitive application. Students should not apply unless they have met the requirements for the school(s) they are interested in applying to and have a competitive standardized test score. As a student pursues their undergraduate degree, having conversations with their advisor and/or members of the PreMed/PreDent advisory committee and being part of preprofessional student organizations can help guide them and the timeline that is best for them.
Current members of the Advisory Committee
Dr. Jamie Newman, Professor, Biological Sciences
Carson-Taylor Hall 242
Dr. Rebecca Giorno-McConnell, Associate Professor, Biological Sciences
Carson-Taylor Hall 219
Dr. Kyle Kemege, Senior Lecturer, Biological Sciences
Carson-Taylor Hall 211
Dr. Marilyn Cox, Senior Lecturer, Chemistry
Carson-Taylor Hall 343
Dr. Richard Thurlkill, Lecturer, Chemistry
Carson-Taylor Hall 339
Dr. Jane Jacob, Associate Professor, Psychology
Woodard Hall 101C
Dr. Mary Caldorera-Moore, Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering
IESB 129, BMEB 208
Mrs. Michelle Jimmerson, Instructor, English & Technical Writing
George T. Madison 214
Mr. Avery Broussard, Career Services
Keeny Hall 339