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Skidmore College
Health Professions Advisory Committee
& Student Health Professions Network 

Frequently Asked Questions


Getting Started

What is HPAC?

HPAC stands for the Health Professions Advisory Committee. The chair of the committee is Denise Evert, Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience. Additional members include:

  • Jennifer Bonner, Associate Professor of Biology
  • Sarah DiPasquale, Assistant Professor of Dance
  • Raymond Giguere, Professor of Chemistry
  • Eun-sil Lee, Coordinator of Upperclassmen Initiatives, Opportunity Program
  • Sylvia McDevitt, Associate Professor of Biology
  • T.H. Reynolds, Professor of Health and Human Physiological Sciences
  • Shannon Rodriguez, Associate Director for Pre-Professional and Graduate Study
  • Kelly Sheppard, Associate Professor of Chemistry
  • Patti Steinberger, Senior Instructor, Biology 

How do I get an HPAC advisor?

John the Student Health Professions Network by filling out the registration form or contact Tracy Broderson, HPAC Assistant, at or Kim Marsella, director of academic advising, at

What if I am not absolutely sure right now that I want to pursue a health profession?

Even if you just think you might be interested in pursuing a health profession, you should still join the Student Health Professions Network so that you will be assigned a HPAC advisor and so that you receive the health-related communications. That way, you will have all the relevant information to make informed decisions. It's better to have all the information up front rather than trying to catch-up at some later point in time. If you decide at any point that you are no longer interested in pursuing a health profession track, you can simply notify the HPAC Administrative Assistant or your HPAC Advisor, and you can be removed from the network list.


Do I need to be a science major to enter a health profession?

No, you may major in any subject you wish. However, it is essential that you complete the required science and non-science courses before you matriculate (and sometimes even before you apply or take the admissions exam for your profession.)

Can I take some of my prerequisite courses in summer school?

You can, but it is not advised to take one or more of the science courses during the summer. Schools want evidence that a prospective student can perform well in a science-intensive curriculum. They want to see that applicants took two science prerequisite courses with labs in at least one year, rather than taking one during the summer. If you must take one of the courses during the summer, you should take it at your home university or another that is at least as demanding.  Admissions staff are quick to notice transcripts where this is not done.  Furthermore, you may find it more difficult to get meaningful recommendations from Skidmore professors because they will not know you well.

Are Advanced Placement (AP) courses considered?

Please check with your programs of interest, as this policy varies. AP courses may count as generic credit toward the 120 credits you need to graduate, but they can't replace Skidmore courses. Our experience is that high school AP courses, while excellent preparation, are not the equivalent of college courses in many important ways, even if you've covered many of the same topics.

Should I take courses S/U?

We do not recommend taking any required course S/U. Other courses, far removed from your major field or science, may be taken S/U. Skidmore students can take only one S/U course per term, and none during the first semester. You should check with a health profession advisor before you decide.

Can I complete the prerequisites and also spend a semester abroad?

Study abroad is possible but requires careful planning. While some students are able to take an entire semester, some choose to use their winter break or summer to spend time abroad or study away at another US institution. Please consult your HPAC advisor.


How do schools define minority status?

Schools are eager to recruit students who represent federally defined minority groups that are underrepresented among practicing physicians. These groups include Native-American, African-American, and Hispanic-American.

In addition, the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) form also has a check-off for Disadvantaged status. You might consider yourself, for example, to be economically disadvantaged. Applicants may identify themselves as minority or disadvantaged on the AMCAS form. Individual schools may then request additional information, which they take into consideration during the admissions process.

Are there scholarships available?

Individual schools may have some financial aid available for selected students.

The Career Development Center has a database “Scholarships & Fellowships” through Gale: Cengage Learning. Please contact them at 518-580-5790 or stop by the office in Starbuck to learn how to search the database.

In addition, once accepted to a program you may apply to the U.S. Army for a health professions scholarship in many areas of study. It offers 1, 2, 3, and 4 year full-tuition scholarships, plus a monthly allowance. As a scholarship graduate you will be an Army health practitioner for at least three years, working in one of the largest comprehensive systems of health care in the country. This position would be a good beginning for someone who is interested in the military. More information is available in the Health Professions Office, Dana Science Center 313.

Can I still pursue the health professions even if I just decided I’m interested and I’m not a first-year student?

You can; however it is crucial that you discuss your program with a health profession advisor as soon as possible. You may need an extra year or more of study after Skidmore before applying. Your prerequisite courses can be completed in graduate school, a post-baccalaureate program, or potentially at another institution, without being in a formal program. Additionally, many fields have experiential requirements, where applicants must complete a certain number of hours in the field.