Biological & Physical Sciences
Pre-Professional School Advising Committee (PPSAC)

/PPSAC
PPSAC 2019-11-08T10:03:45+00:00

Pre-Professional Advising Committee (PPSAC)

The School of Biological and Physical Sciences understands the difficulty and anxiety that comes along with completing professional health school applications and preparing for the formal interview. To aid our students, we have established a Pre-Professional School Advising Committee to help you through this process.

The PPSAC is comprised of faculty members who help students achieve their goal of admittance to professional schools. Members of this committee serve prospective professional school students by assisting them throughout their application process. These committees are becoming a necessity at undergraduate universities, as many professional schools preferentially select applicants who are committee sponsored and some schools require committee sponsorship.

When applying to professional schools, admission committees will require that students submit letters of recommendation as part of the application process. At Northwestern State University of Louisiana in the School of Biological and Physical Sciences, we have established a Pre-Professional School Advising Committee that will evaluate students as an applicant and write a Letter of Evaluation. The goal of the Letter of Evaluation is to help frame students’ experiences, highlight their strengths, and emphasize their readiness for professional school. Pre-Professional School Advising Committees offer a credible advocate for students applying to professional schools, since professional schools view these letters as a more objective assessment of the student’s competitiveness as an applicant. Compared to recommendation letters, the Letter of Evaluation is written at a higher standard of honest evaluation, including a realistic assessment of an applicant’s strengths as well as deficiencies in comparison to successful professionals. The Letter of Evaluation also addresses other qualities of an applicant that are not often discussed in typical reference letters. Since students are required to undergo a mock interview prior to the Letter of Evaluation, the committee can speak to the communication, interpersonal, and professional skills of an applicant at much greater depth than the professor who only experienced a student asking questions during class. These are some of the many reasons committee evaluations are often preferred over standard letters of recommendation.

This committee provides various resources for students interested in applying to professional schools. Responsibilities of this committee may include:

  • Coursework planning
  • Mock interviews
  • Letters of Evaluation
  • Feasible timelines for applying to professional schools.

These committees are not required to write letters for all students applying to professional schools. In fact, they are discouraged from doing so as this can discredit the recommendation of the committee. Students must apply to the committee and be accepted by them in order to receive their support.

  • Junior year status (If senior or alumni, please contact chair of committee)
  • 3.0 GPA, both overall & science
  • Evidence of active engagement within the department and their scientific field of interest (e.g.   active participation in TriBeta; shadowing medical doctors if applying to medical school)

Meeting the minimum requirements to apply does not guarantee acceptance into the committee.

  • Transcript
  • Resume
  • Personal statement
  • Contact information for 2 references*
  • Entrance exam scores**(e.g., GRE, MCAT, DAT, etc.)

*At least one reference must be from an NSULA faculty member. **Students may apply and undergo the interview process for the letter of evaluation prior to taking the entrance exam for their school of choice. However, the committee will not release the letter of evaluation prior to receiving the student’s entrance exam scores. The committee will release the letter of evaluation within 4 weeks of receiving these scores.

If accepted by the committee, the committee will schedule an interview with the applicant. Each applicant will be assigned a faculty mentor to provide them with feedback on their application materials and guide them through the professional school application process. Each applicant interview will consist of a minimum of 3 committee members, including the student’s assigned mentor. Following the interview, these committee members will do two things. First, they will provide the applicant with valuable feedback about their interview and other application materials. Second, they will compose a Letter of Evaluation for the applicant, which will be submitted to the applicant’s school of choice. The student will not be allowed to review the Letter of Evaluation.

While the committee is dedicated to making our students stronger candidates, completion of the PPSAC evaluation process does not guarantee entrance into a future professional school.

If a student fails to gain acceptance by the committee, the committee may recommend steps for the student to take in order to strengthen their application. These recommendations may include additional coursework, participation in co-curricular activities, or pursuit of health care-specific experiences.

2019-2020

  • September 6: Informational seminar
  • November 1: Deadline for students to submit applications to our committee
  • January 6-March 13: Mock interviews with accepted applicants
  • June 1: Release evaluation letter in a sealed envelope or electronic delivery

Dr. Jonathan Akin, Dr. Wanda Goleman, Dr. Daniel Rivera-Vazquez, Dr. Leeann Sticker, Dr. Jerry Brunson,  Dr. Li Ma, Dr. Chad Thibodeaux, Mrs. Anna Dugas, Dr. Bridget Joubert, Mr. Mike Antoon, Dr. Brenda Woodard, Dr. James Woodard, Dr. Jennifer Hill, Mrs. Whitney Golden, and Dr. Christopher Lyles

If you need to contact the PPSAC, please email one or both of the committee chairs.

Chairs of the PPSAC

Dr. Jerry Brunson; email: brunsonj@nsula.edu
Dr. Li Ma; email: mal@nsula.edu