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The Adventures of Zander and Taylor, or How I Found Gold in the Pre-Health Advising Office

ZANDER I just talked to my prehealth advisor and I’m so glad I did!

TAYLOR I’m afraid I did too… He said he didn’t want to talk to me.

ZANDER That doesn’t sound like the Dr. Jack I know! Did he really say he didn’t want to talk with you?

TAYLOR Well, he acted like that.

ZANDER Hmmm … I know someone broke into his lab and stole his laptop yesterday so he had a lot on his mind. It had all that experimental data on rare South American fauna on it, so he’s been pretty down. Did you have an appointment or go to his open hours?

TAYLOR Nah, I just dropped by his lab. He’s always messing around there, but he doesn’t have time to talk to me!

ZANDER He posts the times he’s available on his office door and on his lab. He will set up an appointment with you. Did you email him to see when he’s available?

TAYLOR I didn’t know I could do that. Does he even know anything about how to get into vet school?

ZANDER Sure! I’m pre-med, but preparing to be a vet isn’t all that different than getting ready to apply to medical school. You know we both need shadowing, volunteering, great grades and good entrance test scores. We’ll be applying next year, you know!

TAYLOR Next year????!!!!! Yikes! Here I am trying to finish up my sophomore year and I don’t even know if I have all the classes I need.

ZANDER Yep! Dr. Jack has all that information and how to apply through the Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service – or TMDSAS for short.

TAYLOR But you didn’t list the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical School in that mouthful of letters…

ZANDER Yeah, I know, but Dr. Jack said that he’s helping someone apply to the vet school right now… using TMDSAS. He told me to look on for all kinds of information about getting ready to apply. Plus, Enrique Jasso at TMDSAS in Austin is amazing and knows a ton of stuff about medical, dental AND vet school applications. AND he will share it with all of us for FREE!

TAYLOR So then I don’t even need to see Dr. Jack.

ZANDER Wrong. Believe it or not, Dr. Jack also knows about applying to health professions schools outside the state. He also knows the classes here. AND he’s writing my committee letter.

TAYLOR What’s that? Is that for JUMP?


TAYLOR Yeah, that deal for medical school.

ZANDER Oh, you mean JAMP – Joint Admission Medical Program. It CAN give a bit of a jump, but you must work to stay eligible. Check and Dr. Jack knows all about it. He writes recommendations for that program, but the committee letter is an evaluation sent to medical and dental schools. I don’t think colleges of veterinary medicine ask for those, but you should check with Dr. Jack. He can talk with you about letters of recommendation. Not all universities have committee letters, but pre-health advisors still help with recommendation letters.

TAYLOR Well, are you sure that application service handles all three kinds of health professions schools? Veterinary Medicine, Dental and Medical schools?

ZANDER Absolutely! I checked out and it handles all the applications for all the public medical and dental schools and the vet school. Mr. Jasso has two Facebook pages – one for non-traditional applicants and the other is for ANY question you want to know about applying… and that information came directly from our pre-health advisor, Dr. Jack! He even knows about other professions if you decide you don’t want to be a vet. I overheard him telling Oli that she would need more than 700 hours working and shadowing a vet! Or was it 100 hours? I forget. But we don’t even have to have that many to get into med school! And that doesn’t include all the experience you need with both large and small animals!

TAYLOR Really? LARGE animals? Like LIONS AND TIGERS AND BEARS? Oh, my! Would it count to maybe work in Dr. Jack’s lab, helping take care of those rare South American fauna? Those things are GI-NORMOUS!

ZANDER Gosh, I’m not sure, Taylor, about the large animal experience. I think Dr. Jack meant cows and horses and maybe the occasional elephant, but you’d better make an appointment to see Dr. Jack – he’s the expert on how to get into ANY health professions program! You better go see him soon, so you can get all the prerequisite courses you need – I also heard that you need an advanced statistics course to get into TAMU! And that class has a bunch of prereqs too!

TAYLOR Good grief, no, I didn’t know I had to do all of that, too! Maybe I’ll see what he says is required for something easier… I wonder what it takes to be a dentist? I heard that dentists make a lot of money! Or maybe a brain surgeon!

ZANDER I have absolutely no idea, Taylor. WHY DON’T YOU MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH DR. JACK?

TAYLOR I’m afraid he will just tell me my grades aren’t good enough to get into any health profession. I had that bad semester when I first came to Texas Uphill University. To tell the truth, I made a C in my biology class – I’m afraid to go talk to him.

ZANDER Understandable, but Dr. Jack has all sorts of resources that might help – the tutoring center, the resource center, summer internships… he even knows about professors who may need help with their animals in the lab – you might even get paid to do it. How do you think he can help you if you don’t tell him what’s going on????!!!

TAYLOR Maybe you’re right, Zander. You learned about all this extra stuff you must do to get into medical school from Dr. Jack?

ZANDER I sure did and he even helped me find study materials for the MCAT!


ZANDER That’s the entrance test for pre-meds. The pre-vet students don’t take the MCAT. I believe Dr. Jack has information on the Pre-Health website that tells you all about the entrance test required for pre-vets.

WREN Hey all! Where are you off to?

ZANDER: Oh, hi, Wren! Taylor and I are headed over to the Advising Office to see if Taylor can get an appointment with Dr. Jack.

WREN Oh, I just saw him yesterday. He is so cool. He really does care about us… maybe even more than he cares about those rare South American fauna! I am so terrified about the DAT since I’m taking it Saturday! He told me about some cool ways to calm down… and he said to take time to rest and relax the day before… just ways to stay cool! So, Taylor, when are you taking the GRE?


ZANDER I guess that must be the entrance test for pre-vets?

WREN Yes. I used to be a pre-vet student, but after talking to cool ole Dr. Jack, he helped me see that being a dentist was a better fit for me. I still like animals and everything, but I could never euthanize a dog or cat.

TAYLOR EUTHANIZE????!!!!! The Rainbow Bridge? That big Chicken Coop in the Sky?


WREN He can help you find something you’d like to do for the rest of your life.

TAYLOR Wow! Maybe I could be a biology professor! Dr. Jack sounds like a cool guy after all. So, if I should still want to be a vet, do I have to treat snakes? And spiders? And chickens? I am deathly afraid of chickens. And I don’t care too much for lizards… and salamanders… and toads… I don’t do slimy OR slithery…



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About the author: The Texas Health Education Service amplifies TMDSAS and JAMP’s missions to serve students, collegiate advisors, and professional schools in Texas by providing students with accurate educational resources to enhance their preparation for a career in the health professions, and supporting efforts by advisors and professional schools to reach students and enrich the applicant pool.

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