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Health Professions Advising

Health Professions Advising [HPA] at Virginia Tech assists students and alumni pursuing a health care career in medicine, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, chiropractic, occupational therapy, nursing, physician assistant, veterinary medicine, or other graduate health professions.

Any Virginia Tech student, alumna, or alumnus, in any major, can use our services. Although the majority of health professions students choose to major in a science field, it is not required.

Welcome new Hokies!  In this video, we introduce you to the offerings of Health Professions Advising [HPA], and how to set yourself up to be a successful applicant.


  • Please join the HPA Hub on Canvas to be notified of events and opportunities of interest and to access informative materials. To join, complete the brief enrollment form and you will be added.


  • During fall and spring semesters, we offer these info sessions that cover the basics for students thinking about health professional careers and preparing to apply to professional school. See EVENTS below for more information.
  • During summer, you can view, at your convenience, videos on relevant topics in the HPA Hub under the “Modules” tab.


In accordance with the Virginia Tech COVID-19 information for the university community, HPA appointments and drop-in advising are conducted by phone or Zoom until further notice.

HPA appointments by phone or Zoom

  • To schedule, call 540-231-7287. Leave a message if you call outside of office hours or we're on another call.
  • Conducted by phone or Zoom.
  • Typically 30 minutes long.
  • Typically held 8:30 am-noon, and 1:30-4:30 pm.

HPA drop-in by phone or Zoom

Summer 2020 dates: Mon. May 11, to Thur. Aug. 20.


  • Ms. Carol Robinson  |  Director of Health Professions Advising
  • Ms. Annie Laib Jenkins | Assistant Director of Health Advising
  • Ms. Melissa Obenhaus  |  Health Professions Advising Program Coordinator


For questions or administrative assistance:


Health Professions Advising is located within Career and Professional Development in the Smith Career Center. At this time, VT personnel are working remotely, and the SCC is not physically open to the public, so you'll contact us by phone and email.


  • Please view, at your convenience, videos on relevant topics in the HPA Hub under the “Modules” tab. To join the HPA Hub on Canvas, complete the brief enrollment form and you will be added.


These 60-minute info sessions are held about every two weeks during fall and spring semesters. Dates and times will be posted on the HPA events calendar.

HPA 101: General Information Session

  • For: All VT students potentially interested in health professions.
  • What: HPA services and the path to gain entrance to a graduate health program.
  • When to attend: As soon as you have an interest in health professions! First-year students are welcomed and encouraged to attend.
  • Length: 60 minutes.

HPA 202: The Competitive Applicant

  • For: Students who plan to apply to a graduate health program in the next two years.
  • What: Gain more knowledge on the application process and the HPEC committee letter process.
  • When to attend: As soon as you know you want to apply to programs. Sophomore year is not too soon!
  • Length: 60 minutes.


  • Health Professions Advising typically hosts several additional events each year for students to network with professionals and best prepare for careers in a health profession. Please join the HPA Hub to stay up-to-date on event offerings.


  • 1-credit | A-F graded | fall semester only
  • Course: BIOL 1214.
  • Fall 2020: Wednesdays, 5:30-6:20pm.
  • Open to any interested VT student.
  • A variety of health professionals and admissions officers speak to the class about careers, preparation and admission processes.




Many health professional schools/programs expect, encourage, or accept, as part of the admission application process, a "committee letter of evaluation" (also known as a "committee letter") that is written by the applicant's undergraduate institution. The Health Professions Evaluation Committee (HPEC) at Virginia Tech exists to write these "committee letters." The HPEC writes such letters only after a process which includes a formal interview with the student-applicant.

HPA FAQs related to COVID-19

Usually, these decisions are made on a school-by-school basis.  Please consult with your professional programs of interest to inquire if modifications for online courses are being made due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Check your testing center's website. In some cases, flexible rescheduling has been implemented. Please visit the HPA Hub on Canvas for additional information.

  • In general, for prerequisite and science courses, schools may request that those be taken with an A-F grade mode. With that said, some schools may be making adjustments to their usual policies based on the current COVID-19 situation. At this time, there is no clear consensus as to whether health professional programs will be willing to accept novel grade modes.
  • Please take this information into consideration as you make your decisions regarding grading options for the spring 2020 semester for your prerequisite and science courses. If you would like to discuss your particular situation with an advisor, please feel free to attend HPA drop-in advising (information above) by phone or Zoom.

Although research, observation, and patient care experiences may be limited due to guidelines on social distancing, there are other ways for you to make progress toward your professional-school goals:

  • Investigate professions programs. Now is a perfect time for you to get familiarized with specific professional programs of interest.
  • Focus on your community. Do your friends or neighbors need help with childcare? Do you have an elderly community member who would appreciate regular phone calls to check in? Are you technology-savvy and able to volunteer your time remotely? Think of ways to serve your community within the current environment.
  • Reflect and journal. Reflect on the experiences that you have already had. What have you accomplished and what impacts have you made? What qualities did you demonstrate? What did you learn from your experiences? Write this down to save for later when you will be writing personal statements and descriptors.
  • Read and expand your understanding of others. Take this time to read some books surrounding your professional interest area. You may also consider reading to expand your cultural awareness. Perhaps you could even create a book club to discuss what you read with peers.
  • Learn for free. There are several opportunities to take free online courses. For example: