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Getting Started

How to Establish Yourself with the Pre-Health Advisory Committee (PHAC)

First Semester at ODU:

During your first semester at ODU, you will attend a PHAC Orientation Session with Reneldo Randall, your first point of contact for all things pre-health.

During this meeting he will:

  • Provide an introduction to the application process;
  • Provide you with a timeline and action steps;
  • Introduce you to the services offered by the Pre-Health Advisory Committee.

If you have any questions regarding this process, please contact Reneldo Randall at rrandall@odu.edu.

Pre-Health Process Year by Year

First Year

  • Prioritize your coursework and aim for a competitive GPA as a foundation.
  • Join clubs and/or organizations to stay involved with your campus.
  • Begin building relationships with your professors and advisors.
  • Attend Pre-Health orientation.
  • In the spring, begin searching for summer research and/or volunteer opportunities.
  • Create resume and portfolio.

Second Year

  • Continue to expand upon your foundation from freshman year.
  • If you fell short in one area your first year, be sure to compensate for that your sophomore year.
  • Attempt to gain leadership rolls in your clubs/organizations
  • Begin looking at the MCAT/DAT/GRE/PCAT exam process.
  • Start to build a list of prospective professional programs.
  • Try to gain some clinical experience.
  • Continue to keep in touch with your professors and advisors.

Third Year

  • Begin studying for your MCAT/DAT/GRE/PCAT.
  • Become familiar with the professional school application process.
  • Continue acquiring clinical and volunteer experience.
  • Look for more research opportunities.
  • Be sure to keep in contact with first and second year professors for prospective letters of recommendation.
  • Begin to draft your personal statement.
  • Have ready an up-to-date version of your academic resume and portfolio.

Fourth Year

  • Finish up professional school prerequisite coursework.
  • Have taken or take the required professional school entry exam.
  • Begin the process for the Pre-Health Committee Letter.
  • Sign up for a Pre-Health Mock interview.
  • Finish and submit professional school applications.

Helpful Links from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)

Pre-Health Advisory Committee Letter Process

Students planning to apply during the current application cycle should complete the following steps in order to schedule a committee interview. The committee interview is required for students requesting a committee letter from the PHAC for applications to medical or dental school. Students applying to all other professional health programs (pharmacy, physician assistant, optometry, podiatry, etc.) are encouraged to attend the pre-health interviewing workshop.

Step 1

Be eligible and have applied officially to work with the pre-health advisory committee PHAC Registration Form.

Step 2

Fully complete and submit the PHAC Letter Request Application.

Step 3

Sign up for your pre-health mock interview HERE. Committee interviews will be conducted between May 1st and November 1st.

Step 4

Participate in Mock Interview.

Step 5

Submit Committee letter writer request/submission details (AMCAS -MD, AACOMAS - DO, Interfolio information, etc.) to Reneldo Randall (Pre-Health Advisor) at rrandall@odu.edu.

Step 6

Committee letters are typically completed in two to three weeks after the mock interview has been completed and the committee letter details have been received.

If you have any questions regarding this process, please contact Reneldo Randall at rrandall@odu.edu.

Resources for Pre-Health Students

GPA Calculator

Download this Excel spreadsheet to help calculate your GPA.

Clinical & Volunteer Opportunities

One of the best ways to make yourself a competitive candidate for admission to the professional health program of your choice is to gain experience through shadowing, volunteering and internships. Do not put this off; you should start gaining experience in your chosen profession starting in your freshman year at ODU.

Hospitals that accept volunteers

  • Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters
  • Sentara
  • Riverside
  • Bon Secours

Local organizations & clinics

  • Virginia Beach Emergency Medical Services
  • Jordan Young Institute
  • Scribe America
  • Hampton Roads Cardiology PLLC
  • Intrepid USA Healthcare, Inc.
  • Wagner Macula and Retina Center
  • The Virginia Volunteer Health System (VVHS)
  • Western Tidewater Free Clinic
  • Chesapeake Care Clinic
  • EVMS HOPES Student-Run Free Clinic
  • Virginia Association of free and Charitable Clinics

Pre-health mentorship

Contact: prehealthmentor@odu.edu

Pipeline Programs

Learn more about the Summer Academic Enrichment Program (SAEP) at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Writing a Personal Statement

Please view this video on personal statements brought to you by the Pre-Health Advisory Committee at ODU. This presentation will provide strategies for crafting a personal statement that reflects your accomplishments while helping you stand out from the crowd.

You will also find resources here that will assist you in formulating some ideas for your own personal statement:

If you are applying during the current application cycle (June) and would like to have a one-on-one discussion to further workshop your personal statement, there will be opportunities available during the spring semester. You will receive an email from prehealth@odu.edu with further details.

Officially Joining Pre-Health Advisory Committee

Pre-Medical and Pre-Dental Students

Any student wishing to apply to a postgraduate professional health program may use the PHAC's services, regardless of major. Applying to a professional health program is a long and rigorous process; therefore it is important to establish yourself as a pre-health student early in your college career so that you can utilize the various people and resources that are dedicated to helping you succeed and achieve your goals.



  1. Completion of BIOL 121N/122N, BIOL 123N/124N, CHEM 121N/122N and CHEM 123N/124N

  2. At least some experience in one or more of the following categories (80 cumulative hours):

    • Volunteering (Clinical or Non-Clinical)
    • Internships
    • Scribing
    • Shadowing
    • Research
    • Other
  3. Attend PHAC Orientation Session

    • Introduction to the application process
    • Timeline and action steps


  1. Professional schools typically require a minimum of a 3.0 GPA