UMBC's Health Professions Evaluation Committee (HPEC)
What is a Pre-health Committee?
Since the 1970s, most undergraduate colleges and universities in the United States have instituted a pre-health committee. Because the professional schools were at the fore-front of encouraging undergraduate institutions to form pre-health committees, most schools expect applicants from colleges that have a pre-health committee, to use it and to apply with the assistance of their university’s pre-health committee.
Professional School opinions on Pre-health committees:
Each university’s pre-health committee functions differently, but they share a common mission: to evaluate an applicant’s credentials and overall competitiveness for professional school. The pre-health committee at UMBC, the Health Professions Evaluation Committee (HPEC), is comprised of faculty and staff from the Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Physics, and Psychology departments and is chaired by Ms. Roelke, Health Professions Advising Coordinator. The HPEC-process, also known as the Pre-Application Phase of the application cycle, assists students with preparing and gathering the necessary documents needed for application to medical, dental, and podiatry school. The “HPEC-process” mirrors the centralized application service process, provides a confidential credentialing service for applicants and the UMBC faculty, ensures consistent and holistic recommendations to professional schools from year to year, and provides professional schools with an executive summary or composite letter for each applicant. Some of the factors considered in the comprehensive review include academic accomplishments, intellectual ability, motivation to pursue a health professions career, leadership and teamwork abilities, standardized test scores, professionalism, and interpersonal communication skills.
A previous edition of AAMC’s Medical School Admission Requirements book provided an excellent summary of the purpose and contents of a pre-health committee composite letter: “One important service provided by the advisor to pre-health students, and frequently also to alumni, is the pre-health committee letter of recommendation. This is usually a composite letter written on behalf of a medical school applicant by the college or university’s pre-health committee. The pre-health advisor may be a committee member or the committee chair, and is usually the liaison between students and the committee, facilitating letter-writing and the distribution of letters to schools. This letter presents an overview of the student’s academic strengths, exposure to health care and medical research environments, contributions to the campus and community, and personal attributes such as maturity and altruism. The letter may also address any extenuating circumstances that may have resulted in deficits in the student’s performance during a course or semester, or provide perspective on challenges and problems that student may have encountered. The letter can also explain school-specific courses and programs in which the student has participated.”
The credentialing arm of the Health Professions Evaluation Committee acts as an intermediary in the recommendation letter process. The Committee collects and stores recommendation letters written for active applicants and then transmits them to the professional school admission committees, along with the HPEC composite letter or executive summary.
The minimum requirements to access the services of UMBC’s HPEC are fairly consistent from year to year and unless a new policy is implemented, potential applicants can assume that the requirements will be very similar to the ones listed below for the next Cohort.
Requirements are subject to change and potential future applicants should check back to this website for updates and modifications applicable to future cohorts.
UMBC HPEC Cohort Minimum Requirements
The deadline for first-time applicants to join the Fall 2015 Cohort is Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 4:00pm. At the Kickoff Workshops, instructions will be shared about what information needs to be submitted by the deadline. February 26 is NOT the deadline for recommendation letters.
For current UMBC students (current UMBC undergraduates and UMBC post-baccalaureate students):
Of the three minimum recommendation letters, two of the letters must be from two UMBC Biology, Chemistry, or Physics instructors/faculty who have served as the instructor for the applicant in a UMBC Biology, Chemistry, or Physics course.
Note: Applicants can obtain any combination for their two UMBC science instructor letters. For example: one Chemistry and one Biology letter; two Biology letters; one Physics and one Chemistry letter; two Chemistry letters, etc.
After obtaining two UMBC science letters, other potential recommenders include research mentors, employment/work supervisors, healthcare professionals the student has shadowed, supervisors from clinical-related experiences, supervisors from community service experiences, coaches, and/or advisors. Applicants are encouraged to secure the most relevant and strongest references and this will vary per student.
For UMBC alumni who graduated within the last two years (within the past 24 months, between August 2011–August 2013)
Applicants within two years of their graduation from UMBC are required to obtain only one letter of recommendation from a UMBC Biology, Chemistry, or Physics instructor who taught them during their tenure at UMBC.
If an alumnus desires to obtain more than one letter of recommendation from a UMBC science professor, they can certainly do so. Applicants are encouraged to secure the most relevant and strongest references and this will vary per student. After obtaining one UMBC science letter, other potential recommenders include graduate school professors, research mentors, employment/work supervisors, healthcare professionals the student has shadowed, supervisors from clinical-related experiences, supervisors from community service experiences, coaches, and/or advisors.
For UMBC alumni who graduated more than two years ago (graduation date was in May 2011 or earlier)
Applicants who graduated from UMBC more than two years ago are not required to secure any letters of recommendation from UMBC science professors.
If an alumnus desires to obtain letters of recommendation from a UMBC science professor, they can certainly do so. Applicants are encouraged to secure the most relevant and strongest references and this will vary per student. Other potential recommenders include graduate school professors, research mentors, employment/work supervisors, healthcare professionals the student has shadowed, supervisors from clinical-related experiences, supervisors from community service experiences, coaches, and/or advisors.
- A maximum of FOUR letters will be accepted for each dental applicant.
- A maximum of FIVE letters will be accepted for each MD-only, DO-only, or podiatry applicant.
- A maximum of SIX letters will be accepted for each MD-PhD applicant.
- Allopathic and osteopathic 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 official Fall 2015 Cohort. When students register for the MCAT, they should select the option to release their scores to Ms. Roelke, UMBC’s PreMedical Advisor and Health Professions Advising Coordinator.
- All applicants must complete (with C or better grades posted) at least FIVE non-laboratory UMBC Biology, Chemistry, or Physics courses by the end of the Spring 2014 semester. These five lecture courses, native to UMBC, must be considered as prerequisites required by the professional schools to which the student is applying (medical, dental, podiatry) or upper-level (300 level or above) Biology or Chemistry courses. Transfer courses do not fulfill any of the five science lecture courses. Independent studies, tutorial projects, laboratory or field research, co-op, service learning, or similar courses do not fulfill the aforementioned criteria for the five, lecture course minimum.
- All UMBC faculty, staff, and other personnel are required to submit their letters of recommendation to HPEC and use the credentialing services offered by our university. If a student chooses to have any UMBC employee, faculty, staff member or any person affiliated with UMBC, submit a letter to any professional school independently and outside the auspices of HPEC, the student-applicant will thus be choosing to not be a member of the official Cohort and therefore that student-applicant will be eliminated from the Cohort. In essence, that student is deciding to apply to professional schools on their own and without the support of UMBC's HPEC. Being eliminated from the Cohort includes giving up access to UMBC's letter credentialing service and the HPEC composite letter. Applicants who violate this policy will be immediately removed from the HPEC process.
- A list of applicants will be submitted to the appropriate UMBC offices to check for any judicial or institutional actions and acknowledgement of any institutional actions will be communicated to the professional schools.
HPEC’s Kickoff Workshop
HPEC Kickoff Workshop
The Kickoff Workshop dates are advertised on the News section of the PreMedical Office website at the beginning of each Fall semester.
CURRENT UMBC Students:
MANDATORY attendance is required at one of the Kickoff Workshops for any current UMBC student who is expecting to matriculate into medical, dental, or podiatry school in Fall 2015. Current students who are taking classes at UMBC in Fall 2013 are required to attend one of the Kickoff Workshops.
UMBC Alumni who are not taking classes at UMBC in Fall 2013 are not required to attend any of the Kickoff Workshops. Alumni are always welcome to attend a Kickoff Workshop if they desire, but attendance is not mandatory for alumni who are not taking classes at UMBC in Fall 2013. All HPEC homework assignments and other tasks are handled via email and/or a Blackboard site, therefore an alumnus does not have to be living in the Baltimore region in order to participate in the HPEC process. UMBC Alumni should email Ms. Roelke before the end of November to express interest in joining the next cohort. This early notification will ensure that alumni will receive information distributed during the Kickoff Workshops. The first-time applicant deadline of Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 4:00pm also applies to first-time alumni applicants. Please include the month and year of your UMBC graduation and if you will be a first-time applicant or a re-applicant.
Re-Applicants from a previous HPEC Cohort (students who already applied to medical, dental, or podiatry school with the assistance of UMBC’s HPEC) are not required to attend any of the Kickoff Workshops. Re-Applicants are always welcome to attend a Kickoff Workshop if they desire, but attendance is not mandatory for Re-Applicants who are not taking classes at UMBC in Fall 2013. Re-Applicants should email Ms. Roelke before the end of May 2014 to express interest in joining the 2015 cohort. Please include the month and year of your UMBC graduation. Re-Applicants do not share the same deadlines as first-time applicants.
The Kickoff Workshops explain the application time line for each professional school area. Students will also be introduced to the pre-application documents that must be submitted to UMBC's Health Professions Evaluation Committee (HPEC), along with the minimum requirements to be a member of the next cohort.
For additional information, please visit the Applying sections for each career area on the office website:
The same content will be covered in both workshops. There is no need to RSVP.
Monday, February 17, 2014
University Center 312
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
University Center 312