COVID-19 Pre-health Advising FAQs

Official Updates – Check here for accurate information and try not to rely on secondary sites

For Premedical Students
For Predent Students
  • DAT- see 'Important Updates...' section
  • AADSAS:  click on the Coronavirus updates link on this page
  • TMDSAS (Texas Medical & Dental Schools Application Service)
For Pre-PA Students
  • PAEA Coronavirus Resources
  • The 2020-21 CASPA application cycle:

    First, for those applicants who are unable to obtain official transcripts, CASPA will grant an exception and allow them to upload unofficial transcripts instead. Applicants will be shown on-screen text that provides detailed instructions for how to take advantage of the new Transcript Hardship option. This exemption should only be pursued if applicants are unable to have their official transcripts sent to CASPA from any regionally accredited, post-secondary college or university they attended. Furthermore, this exception should not be used to circumvent any administrative holds that have been placed on student accounts that prevent the distribution of official transcripts. More information about this process is available in the CASPA Applicant Help Center.   

    Second, PAEA has added a COVID-19 hardship essay to the CASPA application which will allow applicants to express how the pandemic has impacted their pathway to becoming a PA. This essay is optional, will be up to 2500 characters in length, and PAEA will continue to have the essay in CASPA for at least the next 5 application cycles.  


COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do about the EP/F policy and my pre-health courses?

We strongly recommend keeping your pre-health requirements as letter-graded.  Ideally, you would also keep your other course work as letter graded.  The EP/F grading policy should not be utilized as an opportunity to boost your GPA, but rather for extenuating circumstances due to COVID that may impact your academics.  This may mean using tutoring and office hour resources that you have not used in the past.  Making this choice can be an indicator that you are resilient, can deal with unforeseen circumstances, and are a good self-directed learner.  Consider the competencies that health profession admissions officers want to see in their applicants.

Additionally, students are strongly advised to discuss their decisions regarding EP/F grading with their advisors. It is recommended students wait until after midterms to determine if this is an appropriate course of action.  Once a student submits a form to change a course grading method to EP/F, it cannot be undone.  The deadline to opt in for EP/F grading is 3pm (EST) on May 5, 2021.  

What academic policies have changed for Tufts undergraduates for the spring 2021 semester?

The AS&E faculty have voted on some special exceptions to academic policy for spring 2021. You can review full information on the Academic Policy Exceptions for Undergraduate Students: Spring 2021 webpage.

What if I am earning a C or D in a course? Should I keep the letter grade or take it pass/fail?

Consider these two points. First, are you certain you have an accurate idea of how you are doing in the course and what your current grade may be?  Faculty are working very hard to make the transition to online teaching, and adapt to the circumstances.  Read your Canvas site carefully so you are sure you have an accurate assessment of your status.  

Second, you should be aware that if a student earns credit for a course at Tufts, even if the grade is a pass, they may not retake that course for credit. So, if you choose pass/fail rather than withdrawal, you will not be able to retake the course for credit. Keep in mind these courses are required because they build the necessary foundation for your future health professions studies. In most cases, they are also tested on the standardized test you will take.  Are you sure you will have the understanding and foundation you need if you keep a course in which you have only earned a C or D?

Where can I find answers to other FAQs?

You can view responses to other FAQs by visiting our database.

Can I / Should I take a summer course?

As we continue to adjust in the era of COVID, it is still important to weigh the pros and cons of summer courses. Consider these questions below:

*Are there other productive or meaningful activities you can do this summer to help you grow and learn, and perhaps make a difference to others? (see our list of COVID specific volunteer opportunities, check out Tuft's Career Center for additional resources, or sign up for our weekly newsletter, Health E News for a list of updated opportunities). 

*Are you ready to focus on school work again after having just completed a stressful semester?

*Does it make sense financially to take a summer course?

Can/should I take a major pre-health lab science in the summer?

It is not a problem to take one of your four pre-health sequences in the summer. It is best not to do more than that. Do not break up the four course Tufts pre-health chemistry sequence if at all possible. It is somewhat unique to Tufts and builds on itself. If you take one or two of the course elsewhere we cannot present our Tufts chemistry sequence as fulfilling your pre-health requirement.

Things to consider: what am I forfeiting (e.g. valuable health experience, income); will this course prepare me well for future courses, standardized tests, and professional school; can I get transfer credit at Tufts (use SIS to request this)? Avoid taking a science at a much less rigorous institution if you need to build on it at Tufts. In other words, a weak introductory biology course may cause problems as you take additional biology such as genetics or physiology, etc.

Can I/should I take my summer course at Tufts or elsewhere?

If you take a course at Tufts, it is on your Tufts transcript the same as your fall and spring courses. The course automatically fulfills whatever requirement is coded in SIS. The grade is on your transcript and becomes part of your GPA and can be used among the courses considered for Latin honors.

If you take the course elsewhere you will have another school’s official transcript that you will have to send to med, dent, vet, etc. schools. The course will not be transferred to Tufts unless you use the Request a Transfer Credit process in SIS. If approved, the credit will be added to your Tufts transcript but not the grade – it will not impact your Tufts GPA nor be used for Latin honors. It will not be used to fulfill any specific requirement – e.g. distribution, major, etc. – unless you take an additional step to get approval.





My volunteer/research/shadowing opportunity has been suspended and I'm not sure when or if it will resume. What should I do?

We know many of you truly enjoy being able to help others, and that this is a disappointing loss. The future is uncertain for everyone right now, and it’s normal to feel anxious about this. However, not being able to participate in activities right now is not making you “fall behind,” and will not reflect poorly on your candidacy to health professions schools.

Right now, it’s vitally important to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy. Community needs are soaring, especially for vulnerable populations, and you can help by volunteering virtually.

This is a good time to read, listen to podcasts and watch documentaries related to become a health professional – all of these can provide insight into your chosen profession. You can still look for summer or fall opportunities (through Handshake, Linkedin, etc.) but be prepared for slow response times, and for the possibility that these, too, may be canceled.

Prehealth advisors across the country have been compiling a document with all sorts of suggestions and tips

Here are a few other suggestions:

  • Think about offering to do errands for an elderly neighbor, or offering tutoring or childcare to working parents whose day care centers and schools have closed
  • Offer to help families who are healthcare providers who may not be off work when stores are open, particularly if they are working overtime
  • Get involved with the initiative to make facemasks for healthcare workers
  • Donate at a Blood Bank near you


If you are still in the Boston area, here are some local volunteer opportunities to consider:

Tufts Community Response Volunteer Groups 

During this unprecedented and challenging time, Tisch College and the Office of Government and Community Relations are supporting the University’s response to our communities via our online platform: Tufts Civic Impact

Tisch College Summer COVID Response Program

Tisch College of Civic Life has announced a new program to support students who wish to aid in the COVID-19 response this summer. The Tisch Student COVID Response (TSCR) Summer Program will provide stipends for students to innovate, self-design, or work with an existing project that addresses the impacts of COVID-19. Students may address needs in their hometown community or address a broader need whether domestic or global. All work must be done remotely, and projects must directly address an issue related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grants will be awarded from any amount needed up to $3,000 to support payments and/or the purchase of materials, supplies, and any other resources required for the successful implementation of the projects. Projects can start as soon as May 12 or anytime throughout the summer. Students can work independently, as a group, and/or with a partner organization. All currently enrolled Tufts students are eligible. More information is available here.


Our very own Professor Shalini Tendulkar of the Community Health Department has initiated a neighborhood volunteer support network in Newton. Read about it here and visit their Facebook page Newton Neighbors Helping Newton Neighbors

Here is one for Medford and Somerville.

And lastly a template of sorts for starting one yourself.