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Washington and Lee University

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First Steps in Planning

Planning for your health professions career should begin in your first year at Washington & Lee.  In addition to seeking the advice of your assigned freshman advisor, you will also need to the contact a member of the Health Professions Advisory Committee to discuss appropriate choice of major, course scheduling, and available summer opportunities.

Health Career Advisors and Staff

The advising of students seeking eventual admission to graduate work in health related fields, particularly to medical and dental school, is conducted by the Coordinator of the Health Professions Advisory Committee and the Committee of Advisors which she chairs. Members of this committee are:

  • Dr. Lisa T. Alty
  • Coordinator, Health Professions Advisory Committee
  • Professor of Chemistry
  • Office: Science Center, Room A329; Phone 8927

  • Dr. Helen I'Anson
  • Professor of Biology
  • Office: Science Center, Room H405; Phone 8974


  • Dr. Erich S. Uffelman
  • Professor of Chemistry
  • Office: Science Center, Room A427; Phone 8040 
  • Dr. Paul Cabe
  • Professor of Biology
  • Office: Science Center, Room H303, Phone 8894
  • Dr. Fred LaRiviere
  • Associate Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry
  • Office: Science Center, Room A429, Phone 8257


  • Mrs. Barbara D. Higgins
  • Office Manager, Chemistry/Health Professions
  • Office: Science Center, Room A330A; Phone 8872

The Health Professions Advisory Committee Evaluation

  1. At the end of winter term of the junior year, each student should come to Mrs. Higgins' office and complete a biographical data form. This is how you indicate those professor(s), in addition to your choice of health professions advisors, from whom you wish to obtain evaluations.
  2. In the spring term of the junior year, your choice of health professions advisors and additional professors will be asked to complete a standard evaluation form.
  3. During the summer, this information is compiled into a single composite letter, which is the format preferred by most professional schools.
  4. When a student has been requested to send evaluations (usually at the time the secondary application is filled out), he or she must request in writing, by phone, by email, or by fax that Mrs. Higgins send the composite. This request should not be made until a school has requested the information. In non-AMCAS schools (such as Texas medical schools) and for dental schools, this information may be requested with the original application.
  5. This information is kept on file, and may be used in subsequent years.


What Is Important?

In a survey conducted by the AAMC in its Group on Student Affairs it was found that the preadmission variables accorded high importance by medical school admissions personnel included:

  • MCAT scores
  • undergraduate grade point average and overall GPA
  • involvement in health-related work or volunteer experiences
  • personal comments on AMCAS and supplemental applications
  • interview ratings
  • letters of evaluation
  • involvement in extracurricular activities
  • quality of degree-granting undergraduate institution

For dental and veterinary applicants, hours spent in a dentist's or veterinarian's office are a top criterion for admissions. Local dentists and veterinarians have accommodated W&L students in the past and/or you may need to get additional hours during the summer.