This is not a normal time. You don't have to pretend that it is. You can be sad, angry, disappointed, confused, displeased...whatever you feel--you be you. You also don't need to feel guilty about those feelings. Yes, people are sick and some even dying. You are upset about missing your friends or missing out on opportunities, but right now those are big parts of your life and it is ok to feel what you feel. Really, it is. We are all going through things right now. This is all happening so fast and every one of us is scrambling to keep up.
The best thing we can do is talk to each other. Are there things that Purdue or Pre-Professional Advising or your Department still needs to help with? Tell us. We can't help if we don't know what the problem is. Do you just need to have a good rant? We can handle that. Sometimes we need them too. So together we can do this.
This new section of our website is here to provide you with information, updates, and resources as the COVID-19 situation unfolds. This is all new for professional schools as well. They are adapting as they go along too.
Let us know what questions you have and we will try to answer them. If you just need to chat, we can do that too. We are here to help.
It is important throughout all of this to take care of yourself. Take time to practice self-care. It is easy to develop change fatigue.
Learn more about managing anxiety and stress during a pandemic for yourself and those around you at these sites.
- CDC on Managing Anxiety and Stress during a Pandemic
- Mental Health Considerations from the World Health Organization
- Self-care advice from Wirecutter
- Daily Meditation from Ten Percent Happier
- Caring for Your Mental Health in the Face of Uncertainty
Remember that you have many resources available to help you.
- Make an appointment with a pre-professional advisor if your impending application is stressing you out or if you need someone to chat with. For right now these will be virtual appointments, but hopefully we will be back in our offices soon.
- Need further help with career planning? See a career consultant in the Center for Career Opportunities (CCO). Yes, these will be virtual appointments for now too. You can also meet with one of the excellent career consultants in your college (look at the Parallel Planning section of our Learning Center for more information).
- Make an appointment with your academic advisor who also wants to help you through this time. Most of them will be meeting with you virtually. As with pre-professional advisors, they look forward to being able to meet face-to-face again.
- Other offices are still around to help you. Look at campus websites to find out their current policies for how they will be providing services.
- You don't have to miss out on the Co-Rec! They have some amazing virtual offerings.
- Now is a great time to reach out to friends and family. Check on them. See how they are doing. Reaching beyond your own daily concerns to see how someone else is doing is a good way to help others even when you can't be there in person.
Enjoy some fun even if it is virtual.
- The Kennedy Center offers lunch doodles with artist Mo Willems.
- Create your own handwashing poster at Wash Your Lyrics
- On Instagram #SAVEWITHSTORIES has celebrities reading children's books.
- Also on Instagram look for the #TogetherAtHome concerts by musicians such as Chris Martin and John Legend.
- Lists of Virtual Concerts to watch from NPR and Billboard.
- From USA Today 100 Things to Do While Stuck Inside Due to a Pandemic
- Visit a zoo or aquarium--virtually, of course. No crowds during a time of social distancing.
- Or just watch live cams of nature from around the globe at Explore.org.
- Expand your mind by visiting an art museum (look at these online or use the Google Arts and Culture App to explore more).
- Check out the stars! NASA allows free use of their images at their website. And they have an awesome NASA Selfies App where you can spend hours learning about constellations and putting your face in a space suit in front of them to send to your friends!
- Learn how to help your lungs during a respiratory infection with exercises designed by an osteopathic physician
- Pre-Vet students, add to your anatomical knowledge by petting this kitty which shows you 3-D anatomy of a cat at Cat Explorer
- Ever feel like you just need to SCREAM??? Do it in Iceland! Looks Like You Need Iceland provides a beautiful backdrop of Iceland and a place for you to virtually scream or giggle while other people do so.
Professional programs look for students who show resilience and persistence. During this disruptive time, you can show them that you were able to make the best of this time.
Here are a few suggestions.
Follow Current Covid-19 News from a Policy Stand Point
You never know when something like will become a question for interviews or applications.
- The U.S. Justice Department is following fraud cases.
- The Southern Poverty Law Center is tracking how the virus impacts different communities.
- Centers for Disease Control
- National Institutes of Health
- World Health Organization
- Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy
- Operation Warm has 25 volunteer opportunities you can do from home.
- Paper Airplanes arranges tutoring online for people living in areas in conflict.
- Do Something suggests 9 places to volunteer online that make a real difference.
- Crisis Textline Counseling this one is in Los Angeles but you can also look for one closer to home.
- Smithsonian Museum Digital Volunteer in the Transcription Center.
- Tutor disadvantaged students through Upchieve.
- Uncover humans rights violations for Amnesty International as an Amnesty Decoder.
- Participate in research through Zooniverse.
- Help digitize cultural works through Project Gutenberg.
Great General Collection of Opportunities through the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions (many are great for Pre-Law students too)
- This Google doc is updated periodically with new opportunities as the NAAHP learns of them.
- 450 free Ivy League courses
- Class about pandemics from Harvard
- Essentials of Global Health from Yale
- An Examination of Covid-19 from St. George's University
- 10 University Art Classes you can take for free
- Learn a language
Read Something Amazing--It's Food for the Brain--Suggested Books
- The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
- Being Mortal
- When Breath Becomes Air
- The Emperor of All Maladies
- My Own Country
- Teeth: Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America
- Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States
Good Reads has a list of popular books on medicine.
Also check out Blogs and Podcasts in your future field.
Here is one Blog post by a doctor about her recent experiences.
Start researching professional programs and creating spreadsheets for yourself. Include information you think will important for your school selection process.
- Average GPA
- Average Test Score
- Required Courses
- Required Shadowing and/or Direct Patient Care Hours
- Structure of Curriculum
- Location of School
- Large city?
- Distance from home?
- What is weather like?
- Can I see myself living there?
Can/should I take my classes P/NP? (For both pre-healthcare and pre-law students)
Traditionally most professional schools want students to earn grades--especially in prerequisite courses. A number of school policies are emerging at this time.
- Accepting P/NP if the whole undergrad institution shifts to that.
- Officially accepting P/NP but discouraging it.
- Accepting it for this first group of applicants, but for later applicants trying to figure out what the grade would have been.
- Note: law schools have stated they will be flexible on P/NP courses.
We encourage you to keep striving for a letter grade and wait until later in the semester to make a decision until we know more about what schools are doing. That provides you with the maximum flexibility to apply anywhere.
If you will have a B or a C, take the letter grade. Professional programs will understand those grades in the context of this unusual semester. If you have a C-, you might want to look at how that impacts your overall GPA depending on the rest of your grades. Unless you are facing personal difficulties (illness, family illness, difficulty adapting to online courses), you are better to take the letter grades. See below in this section for some additional thoughts on this decision.
Also check back in this COVID-19 section of our website. We will continue to update the next drop-down block when we get additional information from schools and application services.
Health professions programs typically don't accept online courses--especially labs. What happens with my lab classes this semester?
While it is true that health professions programs typically would not accept online lab courses, this is an unusual time. Even they have moved their courses online. Practically all students nationally are facing the same situation. Proceed with your spring prerequisites as planned.
That said, we have heard from some programs that they recommend waiting until you can take in-person lab courses. We feel this needs to be weighed against staying on track with your curriculum and that these programs will be understanding of the financial need to graduate on time. See below for more on this.
Can I take a prerequisite lab class over the summer even though it will have an online lab?
Some schools, including IU School of Medicine, have strongly encouraged students to wait until they can take in-person lab courses. Again, we feel that you need to weigh this against your need to stay on track. If it is possible to wait, fine. If you can take electives over the summer instead of labs, that would be great. But if you have discussed it with your advisor and you really need to fit in that lab class and it will be an online lab, then ok. You can always call some schools where you plan to apply to see what they say about it. See more below.
The "See Below" thoughts--Defending your choices
Remember that if you manage to have grades this semester it demonstrates adaptability and resilience--characteristics that professional programs value. In the hyper-competitive world of professional school applications, you will be applying against students who have letter grades for all their courses. You will be applying against students who have in-person labs.
All of that said, you also have to set yourself up to be the most successful that you can be. We want you to get through this time period feeling emotionally strong as well. You have to be financially responsible and hopefully, if possible, graduate on time.
So what we recommend, is that you make sure you can defend the academic choices you make should a school ask you about them. Whether you choose to opt for P/NP or an online lab, you need to be able to explain the choice to a professional program in a way that they think of as sound decision-making.
When it comes to P/NP and knowing that schools look for resilience, reasons like "it was just too much change" and "I was nervous about my grade" are probably not convincing reasons. Going to professional school will be a lot of change. You are probably always nervous about your grades. A class not being adapted well to online formats, problems with internet access, family crises, health issues--these are things that schools will understand.
In terms of continuing to take online lab classes past this semester if there is an in-person option, we know that some schools are resistant to this and worry that these courses may be of lower quality. Reasons would need to be strong such as needing to maintain progress toward degree for scholarships or to keep costs down because you pay for part of your education yourself.
We are happy to chat with you about this decision and, as always, talk to your academic advisor about these issues as well.
I'm scheduled to take my aptitude test, but I'm afraid it will be canceled. Should I go ahead and reschedule it or wait to hear if it is canceled?
Most of the aptitude test sponsors have waived rescheduling fees so it won't hurt to go ahead and reschedule your test, but you want to check to make sure they have waived those fees just in case. We are all assuming the testing sites will reopen this summer. If so, they will do their best to open additional test dates to accommodate all test takers. Test sites are already thinking about safety measures for when they re-open. A few tests are now offering remote options (see below). For those that don't, those programs are contemplating how they will run admissions without tests if testing centers cannot open before fall.
Can I take my aptitude test remotely?
For those with an April LSAT that was canceled, you have the option of taking the LSATflex.
The new Physician Assistant aptitude test--the PA-CAT--(if you even need it) is available remotely starting May 1st.
The MCAT does not have remote options, but will work to add test dates. Rescheduling fees have been dropped.
Information on scheduling/rescheduling the PCAT is available through PearsonVue. No remote test is available.
As you know, Purdue remains open during this time, but we are adapting our services as needed to prevent the spread of infection.
Please continue to make appointments through BoilerConnect. Until further notice, the advisor your appointment is with will contact you via email ahead of the appointment to establish the best way to meet (WebEx, Zoom, Teams, or phone). We are always happy to answer questions over email as well: firstname.lastname@example.org
Personal Statements Reviews
Submit your personal statements to email@example.com and one of us will read and comment on your personal statement and send comments back to you. If you have questions AFTER you receive the comments, you can schedule an appointment then. Please keep in mind that we have a high volume of personal statements at this time of year and it does take time for us to return them. We review them as quickly as possible.
At present we will not be offering drop-ins. Sign up for our e-newsletter (on our homepage) to stay informed.
As interview season is gearing up, remember we can help you prepare for your interviews.
- Keep up with current events and health news in your area.
- Email a pre-professional advisor for lists of practice questions.
- Practice online with Big Interview.
- Set up a mock interview once you have an interview scheduled.
For more information on online practice and mock interviews, please follow the interview practice information in the Interview section of our website. You can also find tips on virtual interviews in this section.
We will be hosting a number of online workshops this fall. They will be posted in our News section of the website and in our e-newsletter.
Clearinghouse on Health Professions Information
- MCAT News
- The April MCATs have been canceled. You should have been contacted about rescheduling if you were signed up for one of these dates. Stay up-to-date on current MCAT and COVID-19 news.
- Association of American Medical Colleges AAMC COVID-19 Updates
- *The MD application is no longer counting P/NP courses in the GPA.
- Google Doc of MD Programs P/NP & Online Lab Policies
- American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine AACOM COVID-19 Updates
- Coronavirus Resources for DO Applicants including P/NP and Online Lab Policies (scroll down the page for these)
- Texas Medical, Dental, and Veterinary Schools TMDSAS COVID-19 Resources
- American Dental Education Association ADEA COVID-19 Updates
- Google Doc with Dental School P/NP & Online Lab Policies
- DAT COVID-19 Information
- Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges AAVMC COVID-19 Updates
- Google Doc with Veterinary School P/NP & Online Lab Policies
Physician Assistant Programs
- Physician Assistant Education Association PAEA COVID-19 Updates
- Google Doc with Physician Assistant P/NP & Online Lab Policies
- Online PA-CAT (new aptitude test if you need--probably not) starting May 1st
Physical Therapy Programs--more info coming soon
Occupational Therapy Programs--more info coming soon
Multiple Fields--Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
- The GRE is available as an at-home exam until test centers are open again.
- GRE Information COVID-19 Information
LSAT Updates and Other Frequently Asked Questions Related to COVID-19
As of now, the April LSAT has been canceled. Those scheduled to take it have been offered the option of taking the new online LSATflex at home or scheduling a later exam. More information will be available on the LSATflex on April 17th. Watch this LSAT website closely for any changes as local authorities and the CDC may make changes as they feel necessary. LSAC will reach out to you if changes are necessary so watch your email as well.
Choosing a Law School
Congratulations to those of you who were admitted to a law school and who are now trying to decide which one to attend. Unfortunately most schools are now canceling admitted student events at their schools and making them virtual events. You should still attend these. You might also want to try to reach out to alumni from those institutions. You could try using LinkedIn to see if Purdue has any alumni who attended that law school. CCO Career Consultants can help you if you aren't sure how to do this.
Some schools may extend the seat deposit time, but as of yet we have not heard of a global extension of seat deposit deadlines. You can certainly contact schools and ask about this.
Taking Courses P/NP in Spring 2020
The LSAC website listed above issues the following statement, "Law schools will be understanding of the situation and will not penalize any applicant for having pass/fail grades."
In addition, over the next several application cycles, LSAC will include a notice in the files of applicants as a reminder to admissions offices that the student was enrolled as an undergraduate student during the spring 2020 COVID-19 semester.
Spring or Summer Law "Internship" Cancellations
So the internship you lined up to work in a law firm was canceled? That is unfortunate, but not the end of your future application. (This is addressed on the website, above, as well.) Admissions committees will be interested in what you have learned while doing the things you HAVE done. What you have not done will not impact your application. Make the most of what you HAVE done. Find another volunteer opportunity or job where you can help people impacted by the epidemic or caring for people in your community. Whatever it is, focus on what you can learn from that activity.
Law-related opportunities are important for helping you decide whether a legal career is right for you. So if it doesn't work out for this summer, try again. You do want to be sure that a legal career is the best fit for you.
Follow the News
Numerous legal, Justice Department, and social justice issues are occurring as our society and the global society experience this pandemic. Think about all of the repercussions and how they impact various groups of people. Pay attention to how new policies may impact different groups. Look at sites like the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Justice Department to follow the actions they are taking. This Legal Aid Fact Sheet discusses issues that some people face during this time. Read about how social distancing may be tied to social justice issues. While we are experiencing a time of great disruption, we also have an opportunity to learn from this experience.
While we can't generalize for all schools, these statements from a program director are likely a good indication of how most schools will be looking at this time period.
Completing Courses Online: While many professional programs prefer that required courses not be online courses, that will not be an issue in this situation. First, your Purdue courses will show on your transcript as regular Purdue classes. Second, many professional schools are doing the same thing Purdue is doing in moving their courses online and having students stay off campus for a period of time. You should not take all of your pre-requisite courses online, but if this is what we need to do for now, it will be ok. This is what most universities are doing as well.
Clubs, Activities, Volunteering: Schools will want you to practice what the CDC is recommending in terms of social distancing. It is difficult to volunteer while maintaining a distance of 6 feet from others. If you are creative, however, you might find some great ways to be involved. Crisis hotlines, for example (after training), stocking food pantries, food delivery to shut-ins, etc. Some agencies may need help with a website (if you have those skills). Check with volunteer agencies in your area to see what is available.
Healthcare Shadowing and Volunteering: Until everything calms down, shadowing is not encouraged and unless facilities are looking for volunteers, your presence as a volunteer in a healthcare setting may not be welcomed either. While you may want to be on the frontlines of the pandemic, you may not have the skills needed at this time unless you have additional training and certifications.
Sometimes helpers can be a burden. Our healthcare providers will be putting all their energy into helping patients and protecting their own health. They won't have time to watch over untrained volunteers.
Your job right now is to watch and learn from all of this. We often talk with students about what a great privilege it is to work in healthcare but that it is not a decision to be taken lightly. This pandemic is a great illustration of that.
Other Options: Given all of this, it could be a time to look for opportunities to be involved in research or to work and make some money.
Remember: Healthcare programs like to see students with resilience and adaptability. While difficult in many ways, this period can also serve as a time of learning as you witness one of the most remarkable public health events in recent times.
One former student who is a DO and an infectious disease specialist and running the COVID-19 response at her institution said this:
"I have never been more proud of those I am working with day and night 24/7 on what has become the most significant epidemic/pandemic in my career thus far. We have come together during this time not because we have to, but because we truly want to share out talents and step up even if it is not asked of us to be a part of this mitigation response. It is an honor to be an infection specialist at this time."
Want to keep up on information about the outbreak? Here are some trusted sources of information.
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation to look at projections for the country and state-by-state
It is useful to remember that the steps Purdue and other institutions have taken was to provide increased social distance and hopefully disrupt the spread of the disease. The idea is to prevent overwhelming our healthcare system. Most of intensive care beds across the country, for example, are full most of the time already. If we need them for this outbreak, what would we do?
If these social measures work, we will likely look back and think we overreacted. But we only have to look at the situation in which Italian doctors find themselves to understand how important these steps are.