Health Care Professions FAQs

Is there a pre-med major at Siena?
Students may enroll in any major provided they fulfill the medical school admission requirements. In the past, most students enrolled in biology.

What are the admission requirements for medical school? 
One year each of biology, chemistry (inorganic and organic), mathematics, physics and English. Some institutions may require a semester of psychology or additional biology courses.

How can I find out about specific requirements for a specific medical school? 
Requirements are included in "Medical School Admissions Requirements" published by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), “Osteopathic Medical College Information Book” published by the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), and "Admissions Requirements of U.S. and Canadian Dental Schools" published by the American Association of Dental Schools (AADS). These are available in the health professions advisor's office.  Students are advised to purchase personal copies at the end of your junior year.

What majors are medical schools seeking?
Medical schools are seeking well-rounded individuals who have demonstrated the academic skills necessary to complete the rigorous medical school curriculum. For the 2007 entering class, 67.5 percent majored in the sciences, 10.6 percent in social sciences and less than 5 percent in the humanities. Of those who majored in the sciences, 80 percent were from the biological sciences and 20 percent from the physical sciences. Siena's broad liberal arts core curriculum makes our science majors attractive candidates for medical school.

What factors determine acceptance into medical school? 
An applicant’s GPA, scores on the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), letters of recommendation and the personal interview are generally of equal importance. Medical schools are seeking students involved in extracurricular activities with some healthcare experience.

What index is necessary to compete for admission to professional school? 
At Siena, a 3.5 index is competitive for M.D. programs and a 3.3 for programs in osteopathic medicine, dentistry, optometry, podiatric medicine and veterinary medicine. Professional schools pay special attention to science grades.

Will one or two bad grades prevent me from entering medical school? 
No, not necessarily. An improving record may overcome poor grades received early in one’s career. The science performance in the final few semesters is an important factor in gaining admission. However, with the increased number of qualified candidates, medical schools are "less forgiving" of poor early performances.

Are Siena graduates well prepared for professional school?
The Siena graduate is highly regarded by professional schools. This is evidenced by the number of formal articulations that Siena College has with professional schools.

Is it difficult to get into medical school?
Medical school applications peaked in 1974 when there were 2.88 applicants for each seat then tapered off. During the early part of this decade there was a 26 percent decrease in applications. The number of individuals applying to medical school is again increasing. There were 42,315 applicants for the entering class of 2006 for an applicant-to-seat ratio of 2.38 applicants per seat. Most accepted students have GPA’s between 3.75 and 4.0.

Is it difficult to gain admission to dental school? 
In 2006, there were 12,010 applicants for 4,599 seats in dental school, which represents 2.61 applicants per seat. In the past ten years, 78.8 percent of Siena applicants have been accepted to dental school. There has been increased interest in the dental profession of late and the number applying continues to increase.

Would you recommend attending a foreign medical school? 
Siena encourages students to attend good foreign medical schools such as those in Canada and Western Europe. Siena urges students to exercise extreme caution with regard to most other foreign medical schools, especially those in the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, Mexico, the Philippines and India.

What happens to those students who are not accepted? 
Options available to a student after an unsuccessful medical school admission attempt depend on the reasons for his/her rejection. If the GPA was marginal, he/she may enroll in graduate school. Some medical schools have special master’s programs specifically designed to help marginal candidates improve their credentials. Those lacking healthcare experience can work in a medical setting for a year. Many graduates have been successful when re-applying. Other students initiate careers in health related areas such as public health and hospital administration.

Is it difficult to be admitted into a college of veterinary medicine? 
A few years ago it was extremely difficult. The number of applicants has decreased in recent years so that a 3.3 index is now competitive. Recent Siena graduates have attended:

  • The College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University
  • The College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University
  • The College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois
  • Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine  
  • St. George's University School of Veterinary Medicine
  • University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine
  • University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine

Would Siena provide good training for the Allied Health Professions? 
Each year a number of our graduates enter physical therapy and physician assistant programs. There is renewed interest in PT programs after a drop-off in applicants. The number of applicants to PA programs remains strong.