Auburn students planning to apply for acceptance to a medical, dental, or optometry school may have heard the term PPAC (pronounced pea-pack). What exactly is PPAC? PPAC stands for the Premedical Professions Advisory Committee. This committee is charged with helping Auburn pre-health students through the complex process of applying to professional schools. The committee is chaired by the Director of Pre-Health Professions Programs, who is located in the Dean’s Office of the College of Sciences and Mathematics at Auburn University. The other committee members are faculty in various disciplines, who have a special interest in health issues, from scientific, societal, or ethical perspectives. Students who enter the PPAC process begin workshops in January, eighteen months prior to their proposed entry into professional school. For most students, this is the January of their junior year. The workshops, along with web-based instructions, outline all the steps the student must take to successfully complete the application process to professional schools.
One of the committee’s greatest responsibilities is the compilation of individual letters of evaluation into a “composite evaluation.” Most professional schools prefer a confidential, composite evaluation from someone who is familiar with all of the applicants from a particular university and who can rate each applicant in relation to the other applicants. Every applicant completes an interview with the Director of Pre-Health Professions Programs at Auburn and another member of the PPAC committee chosen at random. Each applicant also chooses three other individuals to conduct interviews and write individual evaluation letters for the applicant. Subsequently, the PPAC committee member and the Director of Pre-Health Professions Programs meet to discuss the applicant’s file. Finally, the Director compiles all of the information about the applicant, including the evaluation letters requested by the student, into a composite evaluation, which is sent to the professional schools at the student’s written request. The PPAC process, although complex and meticulous, frees students from having to coordinate their applications alone and provides a clear path through the application process.