Pre-Professional

Pre-Professional

PUC offers a variety of pre-professional programs that provide either a four-year degree that leads to graduate school or shorter programs providing prerequisites for going on to a bachelor’s program at another institution.

Fast Facts

1

PUC has an associate degree in health sciences that is a great fit for students going on to pursue programs like dental hygiene, clinical lab science, and speech pathology at other institutions.

2

PUC alumni have graduated from some of the nation’s most prestigious law schools, including Harvard, Yale, and Georgetown.

3

PUC students have uniquely high acceptance rates to top-notch medical and dental schools like Loma Linda University.

4

A plethora of research and internship opportunities prepare students for rigorous programs and providing care.

5

PUC’s special four-year programs in the humanities allow students to prepare for graduate school while studying in an area that interests them!

6

Academic advisors serve as experts on getting in to the school of your dreams and acing standardized exams like the MCAT, LSAT, and DAT.

Degrees

Dr. Pak Explains Why You Should Be "Pre-" at PUC

“I believe that the high interest in health professions among PUC students reflects the culture of “service” that is a part of PUC’s mission.”

Marie Pak

Professor of Chemistry Marie Pak advises many students in pre-professional programs. Here, she answers a few questions about how these programs work and why PUC is a great place to prepare for an amazing career!

What is a “pre-professional” program?

The pre-professional programs are preparatory programs that function as stepping-stones to a variety of professional schools.  Our pre-professional programs provide either a four-year degree preparatory to graduate studies or shorter programs providing prerequisites for going on to a bachelor’s program at another institution.

What do PUC’s pre-professional programs offer?

We offer more than 15 pre-professional programs, ranging from various professions in health sciences to law.  Students receive a comprehensive liberal arts education as well as Christian perspective in their academic preparation.  Many of our programs allow students to major in a complementary area of interest such as music or religion while fulfilling the pre-professional requirements.  I also believe that the high interest in health professions among PUC students reflects the culture of “service” that is a part of PUC’s mission.

How much extra work does a pre-professional program take?

The pre-professional programs will take from one to four years to complete, so for a traditional undergraduate student, pursuing such a program does not take any more time.  When they’ve completed the pre-professional program, the students are prepared to move on to whatever step comes next in their chosen area of training.

Why is PUC so well known for pre-med and pre-dent?

PUC has a strong reputation for its pre-medicine and pre-dentistry programs because of the very high acceptance rates our students have.  Our students are consistently accepted to dental and medical programs, with medical school acceptance rates in the top 10 percent of the nation.  Students are well prepared through science courses in the pre-med and pre-dent programs, and they generally perform well on MCAT and DAT.

First in Class: UC Davis Law Grad Brittany Cheney

“One of the most important skills in law school is writing and I had a lot of good writing experience at PUC. I felt like I was really prepared for that in law school and I think a lot of people weren’t.”

Brittany Cheney

In 2012, PUC alumna Brittany (Collins) Cheney, ’07, graduated at the top of her class at the UC Davis School of Law, one of the top law schools in the nation. We caught up with her following graduation to discuss the factors of her success in a competitive and challenging professional program.

Why did you choose to go into law?

I had considered it off and on since high school but I didn’t have the desire to do it right after school. So I worked with a couple of non-profits, but I knew I needed to continue my education if I wanted to do something more than being someone else’s assistant. So I looked at my options and considered a number of different graduate programs. I knew a lot of lawyers who really enjoyed what they did and felt like they were making a difference. It’s not necessarily something that non-lawyers think of the profession, but having those people in my life who really enjoyed what they did was helpful for me.

Tell me about UC Davis.

It was a great school. It was a much friendlier learning environment than most law schools, so that was a nice surprise. It has a very good reputation, a very good academic and clinical program.

What were some differences between your time as an undergraduate and in law school?

I went to Adventist schools from preschool through college, so this was my first experience in a public school or even in a non-Christian school. There were a lot of things that were very different. I don’t think I ever really got used to it, but I got less and less surprised at how people’s lifestyles were so different from mine. But both [PUC and Davis] were very excellent academically, so they did have that in common, and a lot of wonderful professors who were really good at what they do and really passionate about teaching students.

What factors in your time at PUC helped you in law school?

I learned that I had to be very disciplined and I couldn’t bite off more than I could chew. I knew my limits, so going into law school I knew what extracurricular activities I could be involved in without falling behind in school. I played basketball and volleyball at PUC, so I was used to having a very full schedule, which actually really helped me. I got to be competitive in athletics and I think that gave me an advantage. One of the most important skills in law school is writing and I had a lot of good writing experience at PUC. I felt like I was really prepared for that in law school and I think a lot of people weren’t. And being on Student Senate definitely helped me prepare for being in the courtroom.

Did you continue that level of involvement at UC Davis?

At Davis I tried not to get over-involved in extracurriculars because I really wanted to focus on my academics. Also a lot of law school activities are on Saturdays, like moot court and mock trial, so I had already decided ahead of time that I really wouldn’t do much of that. But I did participate in the Family Protection and Legal Assistance Clinic, which provided legal assistance to low-income victims of domestic violence. We had a supervising attorney and ten or twelve law students. We actually had real clients, went to court for them, wrote court documents for them and advised them. That was my second year of law school and I loved it. That’s really what got me interested in family law and got me to consider that as my specialty after law school.

You excelled academically at both PUC and Davis. What did it take?

It was a lot of work. I remember I was interviewing for a job and the person interviewing me made it sound like I was just, you know, brilliant, and that I hadn’t had to work at all. I said, “No, actually, I just worked a lot.” I have a really supportive husband who didn’t mind that I was working so hard. That made a huge difference. It’s also a ton of reading, and I really enjoy reading. I wouldn’t say that I enjoyed all of my law school reading, but actually enjoying reading was very helpful as well.

One other thing that I feel gave me an advantage was taking Sabbath off. At first, I was kind of worried about how I would perform academically if I was studying one less day a week than my classmates. But I found that I could perform better when I had a day to rest and spend time with my family and friends and go to my church. I think that was essential to my success and I’m really glad I did it.

Were you surprised when you found out you would be graduating top of your class?

I was! I didn’t expect it at all. I knew there was a chance but I didn’t think it was going to happen so it took me by surprise.

You had to give a speech at your law school graduation ceremony. What did you say?

I decided to take the chance to thank the people who had gotten me through law school and helped me be successful.

So you’re done with law school and the bar. What are you doing now?

Well, I am sleeping in and relaxing for the first time in three years. I took the bar exam and it was as horrible as everyone said it would be, but I made it through. I’ll be practicing family law at Downey Brands, the largest law firm in Sacramento.

PUC Groups Provide Medical Aid in Brazil

Brazil

Since 2012, groups of Pacific Union College students and staff have spent time during Christmas and summer vacations providing medical care and health information to villagers along the Amazon River in partnership with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Brazil. These trips provide learning opportunities, the ability to provide hands-on health care, and most importantly, service to those living in this impoverished area.

On their first trip in 2012, the group traveled along the Amazon River aboard a boat, the Luzeiro 26, stopping in the remote villages which line the river. The Luzeiro 26 is one of ADRA’s river boats dedicated to reaching the villagers in the interior Amazon Basin in Brazil. 

With the help of local professionals, the group set up medical clinics for villagers to consult with a physician or receive dental care. They also conducted medical screenings, health presentations, workshops, and expos to aid the communities in preventing future medical issues. The educational programs make a notable impact in the locals’ lives, explains Fabio Maia, service and missions coordinator at Pacific Union College.

“The problems you see in these communities are the same,” says Maia. “A lot of the people are dehydrated because they don’t drink enough water and they sweat like crazy—it’s 100 degrees and 100 percent humid, so people complain about headaches all the time. Talking about water helped them understand they should be drinking more water.”

The trip’s focus on health care and education made it an especially attractive option for students in the health sciences to gain valuable field experience working under consummate medical professionals. 

“This was my first mission trip so I was pretty excited,” says Bianca Tolan, a sophomore pre-med biology student from Yorba Linda, Calif. “I wanted to get experience in the medical field to make sure that was what I wanted to do. At first I was debating between dentistry and medicine but I’m definitely going into medicine now.”

“I felt like I was actually doing something worthwhile,” Tolan adds. “It was great playing with the children, experiencing the culture and trying new foods. It was just a feeling of satisfaction—meaningfully helping people out [and] meeting them.”