Pre-professional AND DUAL DEGREE programs Guide

Wesleyan College offers a clear path for post graduate outcomes for students in pre-professional programs that include allied health (eg., physical therapy), athletic training, dentistry, law, medicine, pharmacy and veterinary medicine; in addition, Wesleyan offers dual degree programs in engineering (with Auburn, Georgia Institute of Technology and Mercer University) and law (3+3 with Mercer Law School). 

In the following content you will find resources and guidelines to help facilitate your understanding of the coursework, experiential learning opportunities, and requirements for application to a graduate professional school.

Professional schools generally require either completion of an undergraduate major or, in the case of dual degree programs, specific coursework which permits entry into the partner institution’s program.

The pre-professional programs below include a selection of common professional fields; please note that these are not majors. Major in whatever interests you most and pursue one of these careers. Many professional schools require a number of credit hours in a particular academic area (for instance, dental schools require a great deal of biology, chemistry, and math), so earning at least a minor in a related field, in addition to a major in another field, is quite attainable. Students who pursue pre-professional outcomes need to be successful in their approach to undergraduate coursework, attaining a competitive GPA (minimum 3.5 for most professional schools) prior to submitting applications, generally in the summer or fall of their senior year.

Please note that the dual degree engineering and Mercer Law 3 + 3 programs have separate timelines. In addition to minimum GPA requirements, professional schools require competitive scores on standardized tests (eg., LSAT for law school) for admission. Applications may be further strengthened by engaging in career-related internships, undergraduate research, volunteer work, and extracurricular activities. 

Applying to a graduate program or professional school is an involved process that takes a great deal of time and can be costly.

You need to be well informed and organized. It is your responsibility to make sure that all your materials reach the program well before the application deadline. The best thing you can do for your application is to apply early.  Advisors will help you, but you should learn as much as possible about the application process and requirements in order to maximize your chances of a successful outcome. Please keep in mind that entrance into professional schools is extremely competitive and not guaranteed; persistence and having a parallel career plan is essential. The 3 + 2 engineering and 3 + 3 law dual degree program requirements and timelines are located after the pre-professional program descriptions in this guide. 

 

PRE-PROFESSIONAL PROGRAMS ADVISING GUIDES

 

 

DUAL DEGREE ADVISING GUIDES

 

More Information

 

GENERAL RESOURCES

In addition to faculty advisors, the Wesleyan College Center for Career Development is a valuable resource, particularly for experiential learning (internship) opportunities. 

  • CareerEco Virtual Events CareerEco virtual events occur throughout the year allowing students to chat directly with admissions representatives from graduate programs or with employers in various fields. 
  • Professional Associations in any given industry often have many resources for students considering that field, including scholarships, networking, and career advice. The resources for students are usually free, and these organizations often offer a discounted student membership rate. Examples include the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges or the American Bar Association. See suggestions in each advising resource section.
  • Purple Briefcase The majority of employers with profiles on Purple Briefcase have a direct or indirect relationship with Wesleyan College (e.g. they have posted jobs in the past, a student completed an internship with them, or a faculty/staff member referred the employer to the CCD). Search active internship postings by clicking on the “My Internships” tab on the left side of your student profile. If you don’t see any current postings in your field but want to reach out to employers directly to inquire about opportunities, simply browse employer profiles by clicking on the “Companies” tab on the left.
  • GivePulse Use this app to find current contact information and volunteer opportunities with local organizations that have specifically expressed a need for volunteers.
  • Wesleyan College Alumnae Alumnae are incredibly willing to share their knowledge about various career paths, and can often connect you to valuable resources. Wesleyan has alumnae chapters all over the country, and the Alumnae Affairs Office can connect you to those groups. You can also find alumnae in your field of interest by going to the Wesleyan College LinkedIn page, and clicking on the “Alumni” tab on the left. From there, search for alumnae using keywords or phrases. Then, message alumnae in your field and ask to schedule informational interviews with them. In an informational interview, you're simply asking for advice on searching and succeeding in that industry. This is a great way to build your professional network and get insider information. Check out this article for more tips on informational interviews.  
  • Finding Experiences Start early, and utilize a variety of resources including online postings, informational interviews with alumnae, suggestions from your professors, and the Center for Career Development. Depending on your field, Purple Briefcase, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor may be good places to start; however, make sure to check the pre-professional advising page to find specific research/internship search resources for your field. Deadlines for summer programs are often in early spring, so start your summer search in the previous fall. Make sure to talk to the CCD about the process for counting your internship, research, or shadowing experience towards your PDE 400 requirement.
  • Finding Summer Housing  Some corporate or university-sponsored summer programs provide housing, while some do not. Make sure to consider housing if you’re doing a summer internship in a new city. Try using Uloop.com (a social networking site that connects students from specific colleges), Zillow, Sublet.com, or AirBnb. If you’re doing a corporate internship in a new city, ask your internship coordinator/contact how other interns have found housing. You may be able to sublease an apartment with other interns in that program. You can also talk to Wesleyan's office for alumnae affairs to be connected to an alumnae chapter in that city. 
  • Test Preparation Several platforms provide free test preparation courses or resources, including Khan Academy. Additionally, the library and the Center for Career Development have test prep books available for you to borrow.
  • What Can I Do with a Major In... This folder houses info sheets for each major offered at Wesleyan College, specifically listing areas you can enter with a given major, types of employers where you could work with your major, and strategies for success
COMMONLY ASKED GRADUATE SCHOOL QUESTIONS

Do I need to take a standardized test to apply to graduate school?

Most graduate schools require that you take a standardized test (MCAT, LSAT, GRE, etc.) and that you send in your scores as part of your application. Students in many pre-professional tracks should take any required standardized tests in the spring of their junior year. However, the exact timeline of when you take the test varies depending on when your graduate school applications are due and on when the tests are offered. Check with the testing agency and with your graduate schools to see which test they require, and their final deadline for receiving the scores. Note that it takes some time for the testing agency to send your scores to the schools. 

 

What does the term “rolling admissions” mean?

A rolling admissions system means that admissions committees review applications and admit candidates as the applications are received. Graduate schools that do not use rolling admissions wait to review all applications until the deadline, and then admit applicants from the whole pool. If the schools you are applying to use a rolling admissions process, you are strongly advised to submit your application as early as possible after the application cycle opens. This gives you the best chance at admission and financial aid.

 

Do I need to send transcripts to graduate schools as part of my application?

Most graduate schools require that you submit academic transcripts from every school you have attended. Wesleyan's registrar’s office (Tate Hall) processes all official transcript requests. You can download free unofficial copies of your transcripts from the Portal. Make sure to check whether your schools want official or unofficial transcripts.

 

Is there any financial assistance available to help me cover testing and application fees?

Many tests offer fee reimbursement options for students who qualify. Check the “fees” section of each test website to find more information, and contact the Center for Career Development if you need help requesting the appropriate waiver.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

Finding Experiences

You may find that some internships or research programs offer limited funding for international students, or may not accept international students at all. However, many Wesleyan international students have completed internships and research with Wesleyan professors, with on-campus departments, with Wesleyan alumnae in their field, with private organizations, or with other university professors through an independent research experience. The Center for Career Development can provide additional resources, as well as an updated list of sites that have hosted international students in the past.

Visa Compliance

If you are an international student completing an internship or research experience, you must first 1) apply for and receive CPT authorization and 2) be registered for either the PDE 400 course or the 452 internship course in your major while completing your experience. These requirements ensure that you stay in compliance with your visa. Talk to the Center for Career Development as soon as you know you’re planning to complete an internship or research, and the CCD will walk you through that process.

 

Additional Testing

When you apply for graduate school, you might be required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and submit your scores. Make sure you know your schools’ requirements for this.

PARALLEL PLANNING

Setting your sights on a career in a professional field such as law, medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, or pharmacy is a challenging, but attainable, goal. The stark reality, however, is that not all applicants to these highly competitive programs are accepted. In addition, students often change their career goals as they learn more about the professional field or as they gain experiences that expose them to other career options. For these reasons, parallel planning is an essential part of your professional preparation. 

 

Developing a Parallel Plan

  • Consider whether you might find related careers just as fulfilling. For example, if you want to be an MD, you should also consider osteopathic medical (DO) programs and podiatry (DPM) schools. physician assistant and nurse practitioner programs might also be areas to explore. Anesthesiologist assistant could be a fulfilling career as well.
  • Many professional fields are available. A master’s degree in public health might fit your interests. Medical informatics is a hot field if you like computers. You could always apply to the professional program you want after your master’s is complete.
  • Many pre-law students are hoping to help make people’s lives better. They can often do that through graduate study in social work, public health, philanthropy, or public policy programs. Some of the new master of science in law (MSL) programs at law schools allow students to gain a background in law while not investing the years and dollars in becoming a lawyer. A paralegal program could also be a great fit as they are moving into a number of new areas of practice.
  • One of the most significant things to remember if you are applying at the end of your junior year is that your senior year and beyond is still important. Many students end up re-submitting what was essentially a failed application; therefore, make your next application your best application. Keep your grades up during your senior year, gain more professional experience, and keep up the volunteer work.
  • Ask yourself: what can I do to improve my credentials and experience if I take a year off and apply (or apply again)? What is my realistic (and attainable) plan for this “gap year” that helps me move forward? 
  • Many people are accepted when they apply again. So keep trying and continue to build your credentials. Be smart about your applications and critical about your qualifications so that you can realistically plan for re-application.
  • Discuss your parallel plan in collaboration with your academic advisor, a pre-professional advisor, and the Wesleyan Career Center. 
  • At the same time you are applying for professional school, prepare to enact your parallel plan. 

 

* Adapted from www.cco.purdue.edu

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