The A Center is available to support students during the COVID-19 situation.
We are online and ready to meet with you!
Our advising services are available via Zoom appointments. For any questions about appointments and availability, please call The A Center: 520-621-7763.
If you need emergency financial support, you may qualify for the Arizona Student Emergency Fund.
NOTE ABOUT RECOMMENDATION LETTERS
Students applying to health professions programs will submit Individual Letters of recommendation from recommenders who have worked with them closely. The University of Arizona does not offer recommendation letters that are Committee Letters or Letter Packets.
Pre-Health Professions Advising FAQs for COVID-19
We are here to support you and we are available for meetings via phone and Zoom appointments.
We know that there is a lot going on at the moment with COVID-19 and we know you are having to make difficult adjustments to your life and your education. We encourage you to keep doing your best in your classes and prioritize your health. While the situation is evolving quickly, our team wanted to provide some information around common questions you might have as they stand now. Just remember that nearly every student and university in the country, including health professions schools, are in the same position as you right now in trying to figure all of this out. The strongest sentiment we hear from health professions programs is that they want to be as generous as possible, knowing how disruptive COVID-19 has been.
Use the above page for some links to updates for different health professions. NAAHP is the national organization of health professions advisors.
As of May, 2020, there is no consensus among health professions schools regarding whether P/F grades will be accepted in place of letter grades for prerequisites.
Because you have been given the option of taking the courses for grades at The University of Arizona, we recommend maintaining that grading option for your sciences, especially prerequisite courses. You may consider switching to P/F for other courses, especially if this allows you to focus more on your science courses. Be sure to use the resources from The Think Tank to maximize your learning this semester.
If your circumstances dictate that you need to take science and/or prerequisite classes as P/F, our hope is that health professions schools will understand when you apply. Many health professions schools are currently developing policies around this that are even evolving further over time and The University of Arizona plans to notate the circumstances around this semester on your transcript so that schools will be aware when you apply. Remember that the revised policy allows you to change your grade option until the end of the spring 2020 semester and so you have time to decide.
Another consideration is your mastery of the material in the class this semester and how that may affect your ability to succeed in subsequent classes in a sequence. If you are considering a P/F grade, then it is likely you are not performing at the level you hoped. Consider whether you feel you have fully mastered the material in a way that provides you a strong foundation to move on to the next class in the sequence or another course for which this class is a prerequisite. Though not ideal, it may be appropriate to think about retaking the class in a subsequent semester to make sure you have the needed foundation to move on to the next class(es). In this case, if you plan to retake the course for a letter grade, it may be appropriate to switch to P/F this semester to protect your GPA and use the letter grade option when you retake the course.
The sentiment we are hearing from health professions programs is that they want you to prioritize your health and they want to be as generous as possible. Remember that some schools are moving toward competency-based entrance requirements and so you may still have some good options if a school decides not to accept P/F grades for certain classes. Watch national organization sites for each health profession for updated information as this situation evolves or contact schools you plan to apply to (see link above for some useful information by profession).
Your performance this semester will be a testament to your resilience and adaptability, both of which are strongly valued by health professions schools.
We recommend that you regularly check for updates on the professional organization website for your chosen medical profession (e.g. AAMC, ADEA, PAEA, et cetera).
NOTE: Policies are changing and evolving quickly. See below for the growing list of schools who have even shifted their policies recently beyond what is shared in some of the spreadsheets below. If you have a specific school in mind, it may be worth contacting them for the most up-to-date information about their thinking about P/F. For example, there is a growing list of medical schools signing on to a call of action to accept P/F grades without prejudice (50+ and counting); see the link below for the list. These schools expressed a desire not to "pressure" students to take their spring 2020 classes for a letter grade.
Specific School or Profession Updates as of April 28, 2020:
1. Updates for Several Professions Check out these pages where some schools have posted their policies around P/F Classes for several different professions:
- Medical School Policies (MD & D.O.) or the most recent AAMC Report
- AAMC Guide to Grading and Transcript Notations Read more about how the AMCAS reports GPAs with Pass/Fail in mind
- D.O. School Policies Read their very generous letter extending support for P/F, online coursework and accommodations around MCAT scores
- Dental School Policies
- Physician Assistant (PA) School Policies
- Optometry School Policies
- Pharmacy School Interview Policies (PDF) and Pharmacy School Survey on Online Classes & P/F (PDF)
2. Podiatric Schools: All podiatry schools have decided to accept online coursework going forward and all will accept P/F grades for spring 2020 semester.
3. Joint Statement from California Medical School Deans Take a look at the generous approach being taken by many California medical schools around P/F and MCAT.
4. Call to Action List of Medical Schools Across the Country This list was initiated by the provost at Notre Dame and has been signed by many medical schools across the country with a generous approach to P/F in mind.
While most Arizona schools haven't yet made an official decision about their policies around Pass/Fail for prerequisite classes in spring 2020 (like most schools around the country), we wanted to provide some information around their initial thinking at this stage. We hope this will be useful as you make decisions during spring 2020 but be aware that this information does not constitute an official policy. We recommend that you keep a careful eye on schools’ admissions pages as they should post policies there once they are officially decided. We will update this page and add schools as more information becomes available:
NOTE: Policies are changing and evolving. This information could be out of date due to the speed at which decisions are made. Please contact specific schools/programs to confirm details.
The University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson (from their website)
"The UA COM-Tucson Admissions Office are aware of the many scheduling challenges due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Below are the changes we are making for the 2020 Admissions Cycle.
We have extended our primary application deadline to December 01 and our Secondary deadline to December 15th (or 21 days from the date you received your secondary, whichever comes first to give students extra time to apply.
We are adding a question on the Secondary application-"How did COVID19 impact your application process?"
Students can submit their AMCAS application without their MCAT. We will place your application on a MCAT hold. Notify us when you are taking the MCAT. The last MCAT date we will accept is September 12 and this is subject to change should there be further delays/closure due to the pandemic.
We will be accepting pass/fail grades for 2020 Spring/Summer courses.
We will continue to be flexible as this all unfolds."
The University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix (from their website)
"We will accept pass/fail graded courses taken during the COVID-19 pandemic, regardless of whether you opted in or if pass/fail was implemented school-wide by your current university. A grade of “pass” is required for the course to be accepted."
AT Still School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (DO)
They shared this on the Google Doc linked in the previous section: "P/F is not encouraged for pre-requisites, and limited P/F in other courses. Letter grades are strongly preferred. We will be paying close attention to the essay answers that will be on the new AACOMAS applicationg regarding how COVID-19 affected them, and in particular the question about pass/fail." That said, this may be out-of-date as all D.O. schools signed on to a pledge to accept P/F. Contact the school to confirm.
Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (AT Still)
Admissions shared that they will accept pass/fail if the student does not have a choice, suggesting that UA students should stick with letter grades. That said, this may be out of date. Contact the school to confirm.
Midwestern University Physician Assistant Program (PA)
Admissions shared that they recommend students opt for letter grades if possible. They will only accept P grades during Spring 2020 if P grades are awarded only to grades of a C or higher at your undergraduate institution, which is not true for UA. They also shared that online labs will be accepted only during Spring 2020. That said, this may be out of date. Contact the school to confirm.
Some health professions schools see online courses as easier than in-person courses but they likely understand that, right now, nothing about this transition is easy. The sentiment we are hearing from health professions schools is that they want to be as flexible as possible. Keep in mind that some medical instruction is moving online as well, and so practice with this modality could also be useful for you in that regard.
We recommend that you continue with your current courses as planned and keep an eye out for updates from health professions schools and organizations.
The national organization of health professions advisors (NAAHP) has been brainstorming around this topic and here are some ideas. Remember that every pre-health student in the country (and perhaps beyond) is in a similar position at the moment. This is, by no means, an exhaustive list.
Remember to prioritize your health and the health of others:
- Check Out this Evolving Document from NAAHP for ideas: Google Doc with Ideas for Pre-Health Students during COVID-19
- Volunteer Virtually See if there are crisis lines in your region that could use your help or find other virtual volunteering opportunities. It may even be possible to work as a scribe remotely for telehealth care. See links in the above document. With COVID 19, Contact Tracing may be another option. ASU posted some interesting ideas and links recently as well: ASU Career Center Virtual Volunteering.
- Do some Pre-Health Reflection and Journaling Take the opportunity to do some reflection about yourself as an applicant. See resources in the above document.
- Read and Listen Consider learning more about your chosen profession by reading or listening to podcasts. See lists in above document.
- Participate in Virtual Seminars, Fairs & Info Sessions There are many virtual events happening at the moment. See links in the above document.
- Research Professional Schools Take this opportunity to read more about schools you may consider applying to in the future. See some good links in the document above.
- Watch Professional Organization Websites for Updates It may be worth watching the national organization websites for your profession to get updates about how they may handle coursework taken P/F, online classes, deadlines and more. See some useful links in the above document.
As of April 24th, MCAT has released new information about added testing dates, a shortened test and more. Read more on their opdates page: AAMC MCAT & COVID Updates Page
In the meantime, here are some ideas about what you can do:
- Follow the guidance from Pearson about how to reschedule and keep checking the MCAT COVID updates page
- Use practice tests to gauge your performance and keep practicing
- Consider submitting your AMCAS application even before your MCAT scores come in—your application can still be verified by AMCAS and sent along to schools. If you were able to take your MCAT by early July, your application file could still be complete by the time some schools start taking a careful look at applications in August. Some schools may adjust their policies around how they decide on interviews and so look at specific schools for more information as these policies develop. For example, many D.O. schools may invite students for interviews before receiving MCAT scores.
- Remember that many students planning to apply this cycle were scheduled to take their MCAT after testing centers closed down and so you will be in the same position as many other students as you plan for taking the MCAT later in the summer. Medical schools are aware of this and they will likely need to make adjustment to fill their medical school classes up. Check out the joint statement from California medical schools here, which addresses MCAT: Joint Statement from Deans of California Medical Schools
Are you currently a UA student? Are you in high school and thinking about coming here or planning to transfer from another college? Have you already graduated from UA or elsewhere?
The answers to these questions may determine how we can best help you. Learn more by choosing the category of student that best fits you in the menu box on the left: "prospective/transfer," "current," or "returning" (meaning that you have completed a 4 year degree).
Notice also that different health care career paths are linked to the menu bar above. From any page you may choose to explore information pertinent to a particular career.
You've already started using resources available to you by locating this web site. To learn more about these resources you can schedule an appointment and meet with a Pre-Health advisor. Also like us on Facebook (we use this as an info resource) for up-to-the-minute information, club meetings, research, clinical opportunities and more!
This will help you access the information most applicable to you and let you know how the Pre-Health Professions Advising team can best support you in your pursuit of your professional goals.
We look forward to working with you!
Meet the Pre-Health Professions Advising Team