The Health Professions Evaluation Committee (HPEC) is a University Committee composed of University faculty and local physicians and dentists. HPEC evaluates students applying to dental, medical, optometry, and podiatry schools. The HPEC does not evaluate students applying to chiropractic, physician-assistant, occupational/physical therapy, public health, and other healthcare profession programs. However, the Center for Health Profession Studies will try to assist you by providing health profession advisement if you have an interest in pursuing one of these healthcare profession career tracks. Advisement of veterinary school applicants takes place in the University of Delaware College of Agriculture & Natural Resources.
The Committee evaluates the credentials of prospective candidates for professional school admission through interviews and assessment of the students’ dossier – which includes the students’ academic record (overall GPA, major GPA, and math/science GPA), letters of recommendation, volunteering statement, and the student’s personal statement. The Committee meets yearly in June, and Committee Decision/Recommendation Letters are mailed to students after the Committee has reviewed all students. The recommendations are:
- Not Recommended (no letter of recommendation is forthcoming from the University)
- Recommended (awarded to approximately 15% of applicants)
- Recommend with enthusiasm (awarded to about 55% of applicants)
- Highly recommended (awarded to about 15% of applicants)
You can begin your HPEC file as early as your first year; however, most students begin their HPEC file during their second year (and very rarely during their third year). Your HPEC file will be kept for five years after your official graduation date. All students planning to apply to medical or dental school should complete a file and be evaluated by the HPEC.*
IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE STUDENT TO DO THE FOLLOWING:
1. Set up an initial meeting with a health profession advisor in the Center for Health Profession Studies to begin an HPEC file (usually sophomore year) and obtain the necessary forms
- The office is located in 105e Pearson Hall. For more information contact, Dr. David Barlow, Director Center for Health Profession Studies or Dr. Don Lehman, Chair of the HPEC.
2. Complete the required courses:
a. BISC 207 & 208
b. CHEM 103/107 & 104/108, 321/325, & 322/326, & recommended CHEM 214 or CHEM 527
c. PHYS 201 & 202
d. MATH 221 or 241, the HPEC recommends, but does not require, a year of English courses (i.e., two ENGL courses on your transcript). Be aware that honors and second writing do not count here – the courses must have an ENGL designation. Many medical and dental schools do require a year of English so be sure to check the requirements.
e. GPA. While the HPEC does not have a minimum GPA requirement, students with less than a 3.0 overall and/or 3.0 in science courses are not strong candidates for professional schools. These students are strongly encouraged not to complete the HPEC process until their GPAs are 3 or higher. If this is not possible during their undergrduate time, they should consider enrolling in a master’s program after graduation to strengthen their applications. Although AADSAS, AACOMAS, and AMCAS calculate different subject category GPAS, for HPEC evaluation, the science GPA will be based on grades in Biology I and II, General Chemistry I and II, Organic Chemistry I and II, biochemistry, and Physics I and II.
3. Complete 50 Shadowing hours and 50 Volunteer hours**
a. Volunteering: HPEC requires that students complete a minimum of 50 volunteer hours (check with the schools to which you are applying to see if they require more). Volunteer hours can be completed in a clinical setting, but students are strongly recommended to also engage in public/community service. Students must utilize the Volunteer Verification Form to record volunteering and service experiences.
b. Also, students are required to write a one-page “Volunteering Statement” (double-spaced, 12 point font, 1 inch margins) reflecting on how their volunteer experiences have impacted their pursuit and desire to be a healthcare provider. This Volunteering Statement is separate and distinct from your Personal Statement. The Volunteering Statement will NOT be sent to medical/dental schools, but it is expected to be well written, concise, and reflective of the impact of your experiences – as it will be utilized by the HPEC in your review.
c. Shadowing: Students are required to complete a minimum of 50 shadowing hours (check with the schools to which you are applying to see if they require more – required shadowing hours do vary greatly by school). Shadowing hours must be spent in a clinical setting shadowing practitioners within and related to your future healthcare profession. It is expected, and critical, that you spend significant time shadowing professionals in the field you are pursuing. Shadowing hours can include paid work in the clinical realm, such as EMT, medical scribe, etc.Students must utilize the Shadowing Verification Form to record shadowing and patient contact experiences.
NOTE: As a medical/dental school applicant, you MUST show that you have significant clinical/patient-contact experience. These can be achieved through volunteering, paid, and shadowing opportunities. Be sure to check with the schools to which you are applying to see their specific requirements.
4. COMPLETE your file. Your file MUST be complete before you leave campus in May – it is your responsibility to check with a health profession advisor. It must include:
a. Typewritten personal statement: 1-2 pages (maximum 5000 characters) consisting of motivations, goals, special interests, volunteer- and clinical-related experiences, etc. (junior year)
b. Resume/CV: education, employment, volunteer experiences, awards, publications, etc. (junior year)
c. Transcripts: a health profession advisor will print the unofficial transcript. If you have taken courses elsewhere, you must request an official transcript from the other university or college if the courses do NOT appear on your UD transcript. (junior year)
d. Small Picture: students need to email (HPEC-UD@udel.edu) a digital “headshot” for the HPEC file in the junior year
e. Typewritten Volunteer Statement (junior year)
f. Letters of recommendation and Volunteer Verification Form: You need to provide individuals who have agreed to write a letter of recommendation a completed release form. This form grants your permission for the evaluator to write a letter on your behalf and waives your right to examine the letter.
i. You will need four letters of recommendation from:
- 2 “science” professors/instructors (e.g., Bio, Chem, Physics, Math, etc.)
- 1 “non-science” professors/instructors (e.g., Sociology, Economics, Anthropology, Nutrition, etc.)
- 1 from a shadowing experience (physician/dentist)
ii. You will need to submit your completed Verification Form for your volunteering experiences. Students can also submit formal letters of recommendation from volunteering experiences, but only the Verification Form is required.
iii. Optional: 1-2 personal letters of recommendation (employer, pastor, friend, etc.). These letters cannot replace the required letters.
iv. The HPEC wants all letters of recommendation and the Verification Form received and in your file by April 15th of the year you wish to be evaluated – usually junior year.
v. Check before you leave campus to see if all of your letters of recommendation have been received.
5. Notify a health profession advisor that you would like to have your file reviewed by the HPEC by signing up, in person, in 105e Pearson Hall. The deadline for signing up is April 15th of the year you want to be evaluated (usually junior year) in order to be reviewed during the June meeting.
6. Arrange Interviews with the HPEC members: Once a through f (above) have been received, a health profession advisor will provide you with the Interview Form and the names/emails of the HPEC members who you will interview with. It is up to you to arrange the date/time/place of these (two) interviews. Interviews must be completed before you leave campus unless special arrangements have been made with the interviewers.
An essential aspect of the HPEC process involves evaluative interviews with HPEC members. These interviews are usually conducted in the month of May during the students’ junior year. A health profession advisor will assist in identifying Committee members, but students will NOT be interviewed unless their HPEC file is complete. Interviewers are all voting members of the HPEC and include University of Delaware faculty and local physicians and dentists. The interviews may vary in length from as little as 20 minutes to over an hour. The length of the interview is in no way related to the evaluation.
The style of the interviews may also vary. Committee members may ask you questions about your academic record, future plans, and/or what you like to do outside of school, or they may ask you to read something before the interview so as to discuss the material during the interview. Others may ask very specific topics about current events that may or may not be related to the health field. At the interview, the Committee member will have your HPEC file information, a copy of your personal statement, and usually a copy of your University of Delaware transcript. The goal of the interview is to get a better feel for who you are and what your goals and interests are. Eventually, you will need to interview at medical or dental schools, so consider this good practice for that!
Below is a link to the form necessary to begin your HPEC file. Prior to making your initial appointment with a health profession advisor, please print the form, fill out (legibly) what you can, and bring this form, and your questions, to your appointment, and we will begin your HPEC file. YOU, the student, will be in charge of updating and maintaining this file. Feel free to make appointments to review your file and add to it; however, it is up to you to keep it current.
* If you transferred to UD from another institution, and have taken less than 50% of the required courses listed on the HPEC form at UD, then you MUST be reviewed by your prior institution. If, however, your prior institution does not have a medical/dental school application review board (like HPEC) or you have taken 50% (at least 5) or more of the required courses at UD then you are eligible to be reviewed by HPEC. There are, of course, extraneous circumstances that the Director is willing to review with individual students.
** Be aware that volunteering is different than shadowing, and that these are considered related, but different/separate activities. For further details and clarification please download the HPEC file form and see a health profession advisor.