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COVID-19 Impacts on Pre-Health

This page is dedicated to impacts on health professional program applications. For current information on Dartmouth-specific policies related to Covid-19, please visit their official page.

Current applicants for all health professional programs, you can find the most up-to-date information from accrediting bodies and common application systems here. Given the rapidly changing landscape, we recommend the following: 


  1. Should I avoid pre-health prerequisites?
  2. I am still figuring out how to excel in remote courses. Should I wait?
  3. Will the online courses prepare me well for my subsequent courses and standardized exams?
  4. What about taking more than one lab course, since they're remote?
  5. Will there still be tutors and study groups?
  6. What if I don't have great internet at home or a quiet place to study?
  7. How do I adapt to online learning?

Should I avoid pre-health prerequisites?

This will not be necessary for most of you. Your professors are working overtime to produce these courses for you. They are devoted to making this work well and to ensure you will be well prepared.

Consider the following:

  • This is an opportunity to dive into a learning experience to continue mastering the material, strengthen your preparation for future courses, and continue building your own strong foundation.
  • You may have other reasons for waiting on a course, and they may be valid. Reach out if you need to consult.

I am still figuring out how to excel in remote courses. Should I wait? 

Not necessarily! Remote or in-person, most Dartmouth students adapt to their Dartmouth courses and develop new learning strategies for success. It's most important to fully engage with these courses. They teach the building blocks for MCAT and medical school preparation.

Learning Resources: 

  • Teaching Science Fellows (TSF’s): meet about study strategies, even if they’re not part of the course you’re taking.
  • Your professors: sign up for their office hours as you would a course or job. If you can’t make their hours, ask if they could meet with you at another time. Be explicit that you are requesting assistance in understanding the best approaches to their class and coursework.
  • Your peers: this is could be a time to connect with your classmates as a community. Reach out to each other for help and support. It will take intention, but peers in your courses are often great resources. You can study over zoom together, prepare for exams, practice verbalizing questions and problems, share tips through Canvas or GroupMe, and start building your peer support system. You may also be able to reach out and offer to assist if you notice a peer who could use assistance or encouragement.
  • The Academic Resource Center: meet one-on-one with an advisor, participate in a study group, and/or ask about tutors.

If you feel your current situation would not allow you to keep up with the material and prepare for other subsequent courses, it may be better to take another course at this time. If you change your courses, we can work on new d-plans over the spring term with you.

Please feel free to consult with an HPP Advisor about how to address this question individually. 

Will the online courses prepare me well for my subsequent courses and standardized exams? 

Yes. However, it will depend on your own level of engagement and participation. It is still your responsibility to dedicate sufficient time and energy to learning the material. Your Dartmouth faculty are working overtime to ensure you can be well prepared. There will be adjustments in how you access the material, but they will continue to provide the content you would need to move forward.

What about taking more than one lab course since they are remote?

We caution against multiple prerequisite courses, live or remote, if they are not already part of a well-reasoned plan.

Possible Exceptions:

  • If you already have a strong showing in your prerequisite science grades, and perhaps some upper-level science courses, so there will be a lot of evidence of your science competencies.
  • If you are a first-year student and your prerequisites have been going well. You have ample opportunity and time to demonstrate your scientific competency. In this case, you might build in a little flexibility moving forward.

Reasons to Avoid Loading Extra Prerequisites:

  • If you are a first- or second-year student and still developing your skills in these courses. Use the time to work on building a stronger foundation in a single course. Success is more important than speed!
  • If you have the desire, but not the means. As an example, perhaps your internet connection or physical space doesn't lend itself to the amount of work you'll need to do with more than one prerequisite course.
  • Based on your previous experience with such courses, you know that it will take significant time and attention to work sufficiently on one prerequisite. The workload will still be substantive. Don't put yourself in a position where you need to drop or have no-credit.

Will there still be tutors and study groups? 

Yes. Check the Academic Skills Center website for details.

What if I don't have great internet at home or a quiet place to study? 

  • If you have technical or physical barriers to engaging sufficiently with remote courses, this could be a reason to consider arranging some or all of your pre-health courses for later or choosing asynchronous courses. 
  • Communicate clearly with your professors about your situation. They tried to anticipate challenges, but they may not have fully anticipated every scenario. While they may not be able to accommodate everything, most of them are going to do their best. 
  • Your HPP Advisors can assist with d-plan reorganizing. There are multiple patterns for completing these courses. 

How do I adapt to online learning? 

Please be patient with yourself and others. Remember, even in-person courses often require adjustments in learning styles. These ongoing adjustments are part of life-long learning. This could be a time to really connect with your classmates as a community. Reach out to each other for help and support. Whether through Canvas forums and messages, or a class GroupMe, share tips and ideas. Offer to share insights into your biology, chemistry, or physics problems if you realize someone needs assistance. Reach out if you need help. You're all in it together.