Each year, first-year students begin their studies toward careers in medicine by taking courses in science. Although certain courses are required for entrance into medical schools, no specific major is required. Medical schools seek candidates with a specific and diverse academic background, strong critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, a sincere commitment to a health career, leadership abilities, adequate performance on standardized tests, completion of long application forms, and submission of several letters of recommendation.

Students are able to focus their studies in the areas of Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine, Optometry, Podiatry, Physical Therapy, Pharmacy, Nursing, Chiropractic Medicine and Sports Medicine.

Preparation for the health professions involves not only the study of science and technology, but also human nature and knowledge. Medical schools look for well-rounded individuals who are articulate, well-read, caring and giving of their time, and who have the historical and philosophical background to place scientific discoveries in context.

Ripon gives its students an appreciation and awareness of the major areas of human intellectual endeavor and provides a broad foundation upon which specialized studies may be based. The program stresses hands-on learning. Ripon’s small size allows our faculty to get to know our students, permitting them to write strong letters of recommendation.

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Colleen Byron

Byron, Colleen

Professor of Chemistry, L. Leone Oyster 1919 Chair in Chemistry

[email protected]

Robin Forbes-Lorman

Forbes-Lorman, Robin

Assistant Professor of Biology

[email protected]

Mark Kainz

Kainz, Mark

Professor of Biology, Associate Dean for the Catalyst Curriculum and Assessment Coordinator, Patricia and Philip McCullough Class of 1969 Professor in Biology

[email protected]

headshot of Julia Manor

Meyers-Manor, Julia

Associate Professor of Psychology

[email protected]

Barbara Sisson

Sisson, Barbara

Associate Professor of Biology, Chair of Health Professions Advising Committee

[email protected]pon.edu

Patrick Willoughby

Willoughby, Patrick

Associate Professor of Chemistry

[email protected]


Ripon College faculty and professional staff are dedicated to helping you reach your goals, whatever they may be and however often they may change along the way. It’s part of our value statement to you.

As a student at Ripon, you will be assigned a faculty adviser based on your area(s) of interest. You will meet with your faculty adviser throughout your time as a student to discuss your current aspirations, plan your course schedule and plot a future trajectory. We also work collaboratively with Ripon College Career and Professional Development to help match your interests and skills to concrete goals and construct a plan for professional success offering personalized career counseling, off-campus learning opportunities and an online job board with potential to connect with local, national and international employers. Our collaboration with Student Support Services provides tutoring and additional academic and skill development, as well as tools to help with note-taking, exam preparation, goal-setting and time management. Likewise, Mentors in the Franzen Center provide in-depth, one-on-one or group mentoring for students about class projects and college-level writing, and can share problem-solving strategies to overcome academic obstacles.

Advising at Ripon

Off-Campus Study

Studying off-campus, whether internationally or domestically in the United States, is an experience bound to change your view of the world. In general, full-time students in good academic standing are eligible to apply for admission to off-campus programs.

Learn more about Off-Campus Study


The specific admission requirements vary from school to school, and a student should plan carefully to ensure that education and work experiences enhance the chances for admission. The follow­ing guidelines should be kept in mind when planning an under­graduate curriculum: general biology or zoology (with lab), 4 credit hours (BIO 121); advanced biology or zoology (with lab), 4 credit hours (BIO 211, 216 or 219 for example); general chemistry (with lab), 8 credit hours (CHM 112 and 211); organic chemistry (with lab), 8 credit hours (CHM 111 and 214); biochemistry, 4 credit hours (CHM 422); physics (with lab), 8 credit hours (PHY 171-172); English, 6 credit hours; statistics (MTH 120 or PSC 211) for most schools and calculus (MTH 201) for some schools. Courses such as human anatomy and physiology, vertebrate zoology, genetics, microbiology, cell biology, psychology and sociology also are helpful when preparing for medical school and the MCAT.

Career Tracks

An undergraduate degree is a first step going on to receive degrees from allopatric and osteopathic medical schools.

Unique Opportunities

  • Students work with the Health Professions Advisory Committee to make sure that they are on track to achieve their goals, receive feedback on application materials, practice mock interviews, and receive a letter of recommendation from the committee.
  • Ripon students often work as part-time emergency medical technicians (EMTs) for the city of Ripon.
  • Volunteer and shadowing opportunities are available at Ripon Medical Center and other area medical facilities.
  • Early acceptance program with Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Letters of Recommendation

The Health Professions Advisory Committee (HPAC) will coordinate letters of evaluation and supply a committee letter for all students applying to medical, dental, veterinary and other health professional schools in the health area. The following procedure has been adopted.

Request letters of evaluation from at least three people following the specific requests of the school to which you are applying. Use the form provided by the school; evaluators may use these forms or provide a letter at their discretion. Letters of evaluation should be returned to the Chair of the HPAC (Dr. Barbara Sisson, Department of Biology) and NOT sent directly to the school.

After all letters have been collected, the HPAC will write a composite letter of evaluation. This letter will be based on the letters received, HPAC knowledge of the applicant and, in many cases, an interview.

The HPAC will send the composite letter, along with the other letters from the evaluators, to the applicant’s school. Please try to give the HPAC about one month to complete this process. It takes time for evaluators to write letters and for HPAC to put everything together.

Provide the HPAC with a list of the schools (with address) to which you are applying, the names of the evaluators for each letter, an updated resume and the application deadlines.

Graduate Success

One testament to the success of our program at Ripon College is the high rate for acceptance of our graduates into health professional schools. The national average for acceptance into medical school is approximately 40 percent, whereas the acceptance for Ripon students has been more than 75 percent; and for all other health-related programs, the acceptance rate has been more than 85 percent.

In addition, we take advising very seriously. Every Ripon student has a faculty adviser to provide help in planning a suitable academic program. You will find that our advisers genuinely are interested in you and your career goals.

Ripon’s Health Professions Advisory Committee (HPAC) advises students interested in preparing for a career in the health professions, organizes programs of interest to pre-health students, and helps students prepare for standardized tests and interviews.