Dear Pre-Health Students,

As you know, Johns Hopkins University has adopted a universal Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading policy for all undergraduate students enrolled in Spring 2020 courses. This decision was made to best serve the majority of students and faculty as we navigate challenges in our personal and academic communities.

  • For an overview of Hopkins policies and procedures pertaining to S/U grading, please refer to the HUB.
  • For an overview of how this semester affects future pre-med/pre-health applications, please see the FAQs below.

Will medical schools accept pre-med requirements S/U?

Regardless of a school’s usual admissions requirements, all medical, dental, and other health professions schools know this is an unusual time for students and applicants. As such, we anticipate that most schools will accept the S/U on your transcript since it is the universal policy of Johns Hopkins University. Please keep in mind that medical schools are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, and many admissions committees have not yet articulated formal policies, so please be patient with them; they are making decisions as quickly as possible.

What should I do about my grades and coursework for spring 2020? Should I drop classes?

We recognize this is a unique time in your academic journey, but in most cases, our expectation is that you stay enrolled in all of your courses. We encourage you to continue focusing on your education and look at your accomplishments beyond a grade. Start reflecting on ways to enrich other aspects of your application that extend beyond the classroom (extra-curricular experiences, letters of recommendation, etc.).

  • If you have concerns about your schedule or university policy pertaining to coursework, please speak with your Krieger or Whiting academic advisor.
  • If you are not yet applying to medical school, you will have future semesters to demonstrate academic competence. Medical schools will be looking for additional coursework that demonstrates you can handle the rigors of a science curriculum.
  • If you are getting ready to apply for the 2021 cycle, your GPA will be as it stands from fall 2019. Some applicants were hoping this semester would demonstrate an upward trend and boost to their academic profile, and they should rest assured that medical schools will be conducting holistic review of applicants. Therefore, it’s important to highlight your strengths outside of the classroom.

Should I drop a course I am retaking this semester since I will not be receiving an improved letter grade?

There are many factors to consider when making that decision. We suggest you schedule an appointment with your academic advisor or pre-professional advisor to talk through your options.

How do online courses look to medical schools? Will they understand if I take a pre-med requirement online because of COVID?

Given the COVID situation and the “stay home” message, we expect medical schools to be understanding and flexible in regard to taking pre-med requirements online and for a grade this summer.

Can my first-semester freshman year grades be uncovered to bolster my GPA?

Seniors are the only undergraduates who still have first-semester covered grades. Those grades will stay covered, per University policy.

I am scheduled for an MCAT this spring (or summer). What should I do?

The Pre-Professional Advisors recently received this message from the AAMC:

As you may know, the March 27 and April MCAT administrations were cancelled globally due to the evolving health and safety threats of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

We know how disruptive these circumstances are for students, and we are committed to preserving the 2021 application cycle by ensuring everyone who wants to test in 2020 can do so. To immediately help affected examinees, we are offering flexible rescheduling options and have waived all rescheduling fees for all 2020 MCAT exam dates until further notice.

Our goal is to safely test students and emphasize fairness to examinees. We will be adding new test dates, and our priority is to schedule them as early in the testing calendar as operationally possible. We will update you as soon as these dates are available to examinees. We are also exploring how and when to expedite score reporting, which will help those students who must reschedule their exams later in the testing calendar due to cancellations. In addition, as schools prepare for the upcoming cycle, we have asked that they consider flexibility with the deadline for applicants to provide scores with their application. Please look out for further updates in the coming weeks.

Please follow the AAMC for MCAT updates:
Twitter: @AAMC_MCAT

How will this semester affect my future application?

Medical schools know your learning environment has changed, and as a result, they will be fair, flexible, and humane. We expect many schools to add a question to their secondary applications that allows you to explain if the COVID-19 pandemic affected your pre-med plans in any way. This semester (and possibly summer) are now part of your story—be prepared to talk about it. Remember, med schools are experiencing similar challenges with their own students, and many faculty on admissions committees are immersed in COVID-19 patient care, so they are acutely aware of the hurdles you may be facing.

What relevant work can I do while away from Hopkins?

Word Document: Attached is a comprehensive list of ideas for pre-health students to consider while inside for the immediate future. The list was comprised by members of the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions (NAAHP), and ideas range from self-care to virtual fairs and virtual volunteering. This is a great time to try something new, be creative, and consider unique ways in which to help our communities.

What is the latest COVID-related information from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and other health professions services?

For an overview of health professions (allopathic, osteopathic, dental, physician assistant, etc.) COVID-19 links and information, please click here.

In closing, as a pre-health student, you are going to face tremendous challenges in medical (or other health professions) school, residency and clinical practice. You will have to perform in situations where human well-being is the outcome, not a grade. You may have to conduct your medical duties under stress, such as during an acute emergency or extended pandemic. So, use this time to learn from a new and unsettling situation. COVID-19 has presented all of us with unexpected challenges, but this can be your time to shine. We suggest you continue to work hard, persevere, and demonstrate to schools and programs that you are adaptable, resilient, and flexible.

Wishing you all the best, in good health and wellness.


Pre-Professional Advising

The Office of Pre-Professional Advising serves current students and alumni pursuing career interests in the healthcare or law professions. Our role is to help you make informed decisions in your pre-health or pre-law course planning, secure relevant experience, overcome obstacles, and navigate the application process.

Our office offers individual advising appointments, small group meetings, and informational sessions, specialized workshops and experiential programs, bi-weekly newsletters for pre-health and pre-law highlighting upcoming events and opportunities, online guides and resources, and other services to assist you in every step of your journey to your career.

Pre-Professional Office Hours

Beginning Tuesday, September 3, the Pre-Professional Advising office’s new Student Advising Space will be located in Shriver Hall, suite 30. In the meantime, Pre-Professional staff can be reached during normal business hours, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., by calling 410-516-4140 or by writing to Students may also feel free to contact Pre-Professional Advisors directly via email. All Pre-Professional Advising meetings will be conducted virtually by telephone or Skype/Zoom, and by appointment only until in-person appointments resume on September 3.

Administrative Office

Garland Hall 300

Our staff is available by phone and email ONLY Monday–Friday 8:30 a.m.–4:30 .pm.

Student Advising Space

Shriver Hall 030

Administrative staff will be available from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Advising is by appointment only. Drop-in advising hours are Tuesday–Thursday 12–1 p.m.