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University of Arizona Pre-Health Fact Sheets


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.



We are here to support you and we are available for meetings via phone, Zoom & in-person appointments. 

There is no consensus about exactly how schools will be handling COVID at this stage, a few years on from the start of Pandemic. While schools have certainly been more generous, as we come out of COVID and opportunities are more available, schools may continue adjusting their policies. Some schools may revert back to their policies prior to COVID and others may change their policies based on what they have learned over the last few years. Take a careful look at school policies and check in with us regularly as you approach application or make decisions about online courses or other factors.

The majority of schools seem to be willing to honor their very generous policies during spring 2020 and fall 2020 and they seem to be ready to honor anything that you couldn't control (like if you had to take an online class in spring 2021). Most schools will also give you a chance to talk about your COVID experience in the application process at this stage.

NAAHP COVID-19 Updates Page

Use the above page for some links to updates for different health professions. NAAHP is the national organization of health professions advisors.

Updated March 2022

As of March 2022, you will not want to take any prerequisite courses pass/fail. Schools will very likely honor any courses you took this way in at least spring 2020 and fall 2020 if not beyond that but you will want to select the letter grade option at this point. 

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 but most seem to be very open and generous for at least spring 2020 and fall 2020 if not beyond that.

Details below relate to Spring 2020 only as an archive of this information:

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 during the pandemic 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, etcetera).

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:  

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.

Updated March 2022 See above for more details. Arizona schools are like other schools in the country in this regard at this stage. 

Details below relate to Spring 2020 only as an archive of this information:

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.

  1. 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.

  2. We are adding a question on the Secondary application-"How did COVID19 impact your application process?"

  3. 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.

  4. 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 application 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.

Updated March 2022 Schools appear that they will be very generous with spring 2020 and fall 2020 and any other semester where you only had the choice of online courses or needed to choose this for your health in the midst of COVID lockdowns. At this stage, you should opt for in-person classes wherever possible and look at specific schools' policies about online courses.

Details below relate to Spring 2020 only as an archive of this information:

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.

Updated March 2022 Schools will continue to be generous at this stage for student whose experience is a bit limited because of COVID, but most schools do want to see at least some in-person clinical experience at this point. They also want to see the ways you creatively stayed involved during COVID within the constraints of what that meant. At this stage, schools are looking for at least some clinical and shadowing experience but recognize this has been and may remain a little harder to get. Our sense is that they will revert back to pre-COVID expectations the further we get from the height of COVID.

Details below relate to Spring 2020 only as an archive of this information:

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:

  1. Check Out this Evolving Document from NAAHP for ideas: Google Doc with Ideas for Pre-Health Students during COVID-19
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Read and Listen Consider learning more about your chosen profession by reading or listening to podcasts. See lists in above document.
  5. Participate in Virtual Seminars, Fairs & Info Sessions There are many virtual events happening at the moment. See links in the above document.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

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

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John Kozlowski

Pre-Health Professions Advisor

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Neti Gupta

Neti Gupta

Pre-Health Professions Advisor

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Diana Silva-Nidez

Pre-Health Professions Advisor

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