Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) about the Fall 2015 Cohort
Q: What is a cohort?
A: The term "cohort" is used to describe a group of UMBC students and alumni who are applying to medical, dental, or podiatry school in the same year and with the assistance of UMBC's pre-health committee, also known as HPEC (the Health Professions Evaluation Committee). The Fall 2015 Cohort is a group of UMBC students and alumni who are applying for admission into professional school in Fall 2015.
Q: What is HPEC?
A: HPEC is an acronym for the "Health Professions Evaluation Committee", UMBC's name for their pre-health committee. An in-depth description of the history and purpose of pre-health committees can be found, here.
Q: What are the minimum requirements to be a member of the Fall 2015 Cohort?
A: There are certain minimum requirements for students who wish to apply to professional school with the assistance of UMBC's pre-health committee. The minimum requirements are linked here.
Q: When is the deadline for recommendation letters?
A: Students will learn more about how and when to ask for recommendation letters during the Kickoff Workshop. February 26 is NOT the deadline for recommendation letters. Students will have plenty of time to collect recommendation letters before the recommendation letter deadline, which will be revealed during the Kickoff Workshops.
Q: Assuming I meet the minimum requirements, how do I join the Fall 2015 Cohort?
A: For current UMBC students, the first step to joining the Fall 2015 Cohort is to attend one of the Kickoff Workshops. At the Kickoff Workshops, instructions will shared about what information needs to be submitted by February 26. February 26 is NOT the deadline for recommendation letters. Please scroll down for more information about recommendation letters.
UMBC alumni (first-time applicants) who left UMBC prior to Fall 2013 are not required to attend any of the Kickoff Workshops, although they should alert Ms. Roelke to their interest in joining the Fall 2015 Cohort as soon as possible, and before the February 26 deadline. Information from the Kickoff Workshops will be shared with first-time applicant alumni who are unable to attend the workshops.
Re-applicants (UMBC students who previously applied to professional school with the assistance of HPEC) are under a different timeline than the first-time applicants. Re-applicants who are interested in re-applying to professional school with the assistance of HPEC for the Fall 2015 cycle, should alert Ms. Roelke about their interests sometime between now and the end of May 2014.
Q: What is the HPEC deadline for the MCAT?
A: As listed on the minimum requirements webpage, allopathic and osteopathic pre-medical school applicants are required to take the MCAT (once) before the end of April 2014 in order to be eligible to access the services of UMBC’s HPEC and in order to be part of the Fall 2015 Cohort. AAMC's last MCAT test date in April 2014 is April 24, 2014; therefore, all pre-medical students who are interested in being a member of the Fall 2015 Cohort, should take the MCAT on or before the last AAMC April test date, which is April 24, 2014.
The HPEC MCAT deadline does not apply to retakes of the MCAT. For example, if a student takes the MCAT in January 2014, they have fulfilled the "take MCAT (once) before the end of April" minimum requirement. They can retake the MCAT at anytime. The retake does not have to occur before the end of April, because the student in this example already took the exam once before, in January.
Q: How do I know if I'm ready to attend the Kickoff Workshop for the Fall 2015 Cohort?
Answer for pre-meds: Many factors contribute to "readiness", but the prereq. pathway is the first indicator. If you completed CHEM 352 and PHYS 112 (or PHYS 122) and BIOL 303 lectures in Spring 2013 or Summer 2013 or prior, and you already started studying for the MCAT in Summer 2013 and Fall 2013, then your MCAT-prerequisite pathway is ideally aligned with the Fall 2015 Cohort. A few students might have completed Physics II in Fall 2013, but this is not the most ideal MCAT-prerequisite pathway and could lead to lower MCAT scores.
Answer for pre-dents: Many factors contribute to "readiness", but the prereq. pathway is the first indicator. If you completed CHEM 352 and BIOL 303 lectures in Spring 2013, Summer 2013, Fall 2013 or prior, then your DAT-prerequisite pathway is ideally aligned with the Fall 2015 Cohort. Most pre-dental students will begin to study for DAT in late Spring 2014 and into the Summer, taking the DAT sometime during the summer.
Q: Why is it important for me to apply to professional schools with the assistance of my undergraduate institution's pre-health committee?
A: Pre-health committees have been in existence at undergraduate schools since the 1970's. Here is the link to the history of pre-health committees, along with the opinions of the University of Maryland Dental School and School of Medicine about the importance of applying to professional school with the assistance of a pre-health committee.