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Health Professions Advisory Committee Sponsorship Policy

Supporting Health Professions Students

Health Professions Advising works with students and alumni who are preparing for a career in the healthcare industry. Our mission is to guide students and support engagement in a developmental process that readies them for post-baccalaureate education. College Advisors build relationships with students throughout their academic careers by encouraging regular meetings. Students also maintain an online health professions profile. The profile is designed to mimic the centralized application services at most health professions schools, and is reviewed by the Health Professions Advisory Committee during the sponsorship process.

Students use the profile to organize and maintain personal records that are important in their preparations for careers in the health professions. We ask students to assess their own motivations, potential fit with a professional school and their chosen field, and involvement in the pursuit of their professional goals. Ideally, our advising process culminates in Health Professions Advisory Committee sponsorship. Based on a student’s interactions with College Advisors, online profile, letter interview and letters of recommendation, the committee will determine its level of sponsorship of a student’s candidacy to professional school.

Qualities Desired by Admissions Committees

Our committee carefully considers each student’s progress in reaching the rigorous standards of admission to professional schools. Admissions deans seek certain qualities and characteristics in applicants who will contribute to the academic environment at their institutions. Criteria of interest include:

  • Strong overall and math/science Grade Point Averages

  • Evidence of personal and interpersonal skills, including maturity, poise and professionalism

  • The ability to communicate effectively with various ages, social and educational status groups

  • Proven motivation to work as a team member and assume leadership roles in organizations as needed

  • Evidence of engagement in community service in a meaningful and constructive fashion

  • Documented motivation and commitment to the profession through participation in internships and/or sustained voluntary activities in which there is interaction with patients and healthcare providers

  • Strong letters of recommendation addressing academic performance, character, commitment to life- long learning and strong interpersonal skills

Health Professions Advisory Committee Sponsorship Process

Medical and dental school admissions committees seek the inclusion of a committee letter from any existing health professions advisory committee at undergraduate institutions. Committee letters provide testimony of a student’s qualifications in the areas of academic preparedness, clinical exposure, volunteer and community service, research participation, and personal motivation and character. Our Health Professions Advisory Committee rates students who are eligible for sponsorship, and a committee letter is provided for qualifying students.

Health Professions Advisory Committee Sponsorship Requirements

In order to be reviewed by the Committee, students must meet the following requirements before applying to their intended cycle:

  • Achieve a minimum overall GPA of 3.2 if a medical applicant, and a minimum GPA of 3.0 if a dental applicant

  • Achieve a minimum overall science/math (BCPM) GPA of 3.2 at Syracuse University if a medical applicant, and a minimum overall science/math (BCPM) GPA of 3.0

    at Syracuse University if a dental applicant

  • Complete the prerequisite courses assigned by the committee (see Table below)

  • Submit a Health Professions Profile

  • Submit 3-5 Letters of Recommendation; two must be from science faculty and one must be from a faculty member within one’s major department

  • Complete a Letter Conversation with a College Advisor

  • Provide a submitted centralized application to Health Professions Advising

Health Professional Courses
Course Course at Syracuse University*** Required for HPAC Sponsorship Required for professional school* Recommended

Two semesters Biology

BIO 121 and 123/124

(Certain majors may be exempt from 123/124; but student must complete additional Biology lab credit hours)



Two semesters Chemistry

CHE 106/107 and CHE 116/117 (prereq: CHE 106/107)



Organic Chemistry with Lab

CHE 275/276 (prereq: CHE 116/CHE 117) and CHE 325/326

(prereq: CHE 275/276)



Physics with Lab

PHY 101 and PHY 102 or PHY 211/221 and PHY 212/222




BIO 326




Cell Biology

BIO 327





BCM 475 (prereq: CHE 325, BIO 326 and BIO 327 recommended)



General Microbiology

BIO 409 (prereq: BIO 326 and BIO 327)




MAT 285 or MAT 286 (prereq: MAT 285) or MAT 295 or MAT 296

(prereq: MAT 295)**




Examples: MAT 121, MAT 221, PSY 252, APM 391, CEN 212



Expository Writing

WRT 105 and WRT 205



Social Sciences

examples: PSY 205; SOC 101, 102; ANT 111, 121, 462, 463; MAX 123, 132




Public Health and Ethics

examples: HTW 307, 309, 401; ANT/HTW 463; PHI 398, PHI 593; HTW 415




*Individual schools vary; check requirements for schools to which you plan to apply (Not all schools require Biochemistry or specific social sciences; Math requirements vary; Introductory Biology may not be required for those with adequate upper division Biology credits.)

**Precalculus is recommended before Calculus first for those whose placement exam results do not include Calculus

*** SUNY ESF and transfer students may fulfill course requirements through courses with different titles but equivalent content

Health Professions Advisory Committee Rating Criteria

The Health Professions Advisory Committee will review the student’s profile, letters of recommendation, transcripts, letter interview notes, and any other materials provided to establish a rating for each student prior to providing sponsorship. These ratings correlate with the committee’s assessment and consensus of each student’s qualifications. The committee evaluates the student’s rating based on certain evidence of development in distinct areas, including, but not limited to:

  • GPA: A strong GPA is required in a rigorous program of study. To be considered outstanding, for

    medical applicants a minimum GPA of 3.7 is required both overall and in BCPM, and for dental applicants a minimum GPA of 3.5 is required both overall and in BCPM. A competitive GPA is considered to be 3.4 for a medical school applicant and 3.2 for dental applicants.

  • Strong Letters of Recommendation: documentation of academic performance, character, commitment to learning, interpersonal skills, and other criteria showing the potential for life-long scholarship

  • Clinical Experience: documentation of the student’s motivation and commitment to the identified profession through sustained participation in internships, employment, sustained shadowing, and volunteer activities involving interaction with patients/health care providers and exposure to health care delivery systems

  • Community Service/Civic Engagement: demonstration of service to others through active participation with meaningful purpose; evidence of a need to work, maintain an athletic scholarship, or uphold other significant personal or family commitments is also considered

  • Research: evidence of sustained, in-depth research and/or lab experience

  • Interpersonal/Leadership Skills: demonstrated ability to motivate others and take initiative; evidence of maturity, congeniality and professionalism; proven communication skills, including the ability to express ideas and listen effectively

Health Professions Advisory Committee Rating Categories

Based on the above criteria, students who qualify for committee sponsorship are ranked by consensus in one of the following four categories:

  • Non-Sponsored: The student does not meet the criteria for Recommend.

  • Recommend: The student is judged outstanding in at least two of the criteria and satisfactory in at least two of the remaining. He or she has earned the minimum required BCPM and cumulative GPA.

  • Strongly Recommend: The student is judged outstanding in at least three of the criteria and rated satisfactorily in at least one of the remaining. BCPM and cumulative GPA are competitive.

  • Highly Recommend: The student is judged outstanding in at least four of the criteria and deemed satisfactory in at least one of the remaining. BCPM and cumulative GPA are competitive with challenging coursework.

  • Exceptionally Recommend: The student meets the criteria for “highly recommend” and, based on the holistic review of all materials submitted to the committee, is deemed to be an exceptional applicant.

Non-Sponsorship by Health Professions Advisory Committee

After thorough review of students’ preparation materials, the Health Professions Advisory Committee may determine the committee is unable to recommend an applicant. In such cases, the committee informs the individual. A non-sponsorship letter is available to students who do not qualify for sponsorship. College Advisors are available to discuss students’ options in the event of non-sponsorship.

Access to Letters

Committee letter packets are confidential unless a student does not waive access. Before seeking individual letters of recommendation and a committee letter, students sign forms waiving or retaining their rights to see each letter of recommendation and the Committee letter. Please discuss any questions or concerns about waiving access rights to letters with a College Advisor.

Policy approved by Committee January, 2016

Committee Members

Voting Faculty Members

Chairperson - Nancy Totah, Department of Chemistry, College of Arts and Sciences

John Chisholm,  Department of Chemistry, College of Arts and Sciences

Scott Erdman, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences

Eleanor Maine, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences

Natalie Russo, Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences

Maureen Thompson, Department of Public Health, Food Studies and Nutrition, David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics

Ex Officio Members

Lauren O’Neil, Director of Pre-Health Advising, Advising and Career Services, College of Arts and Sciences

Barbara Carns, Student Support Coordinator, Pre-Health Advising, Advising and Career Services, College of Arts and Sciences

Advisors Supporting Health Professions Students and Committee Members

Sam Castleberry, Alison Cridge, Mary Louise Delmarsh, Yuan Dickerson, Vicki Donella, Genevieve Fridley, Brent Fujioka, Gabriela Jakubowska, Dorothy Kou, Amy Mirabelli, Nathan Raybeck, Katie Shaw, Susan Sugar, Jim Tiedemann, Rachael Vines, Elena Williams