Skip to content

Academic Preparation

What you'll need

  • a Bachelor’s degree
    • any major is appropriate, so study something you love!
  • completion of prerequisite classes
    • vary from school to school
    • the most common classes are outlined below

Extracurricular Preparation

What you'll need

Experiences that develop and demonstrate skills in

  • communication
  • leadership
  • community service
  • research
  • familiarity with the profession

Extracurricular Activities

  • Make sure you have contact information for supervisors and health professionals you work with or shadow in case you need a recommendation letter. Try to keep an open relationship with them after you discontinue activities.
  • Keep a record of all hours of service and experiences. The PreHealth Planner Spreadsheet can help with this.
  • Writing reflections on each activity in a journal will be helpful when you write your personal statement.

Shadowing & Experience with Athletic Trainers

This should be one of your first experiences as a PreAT student. Observing Athletic Trainers in action, working in different environments will help you understand the profession. Shadowing will also help you get to know ATs. This is important, as many AT programs require at least one recommendation letter from an AT. (UofU MAT requires students shadow a minimum of 50 hours). Only hours with a certified AT will count toward this requirement. Most students observe an AT long enough to get a strong recommendation letter.

Maturity & Professionalism

ATs work with clients from a variety of backgrounds. It is important to demonstrate you can maturely interact with all clients with good interpersonal and communication skills. Demonstration of strong work ethic through various activities will show your professionalism as a future healthcare professional.

Community Service

Because you are preparing for a humanitarian profession, it is important to have volunteer experiences that demonstrate a commitment to serving others in your community. It is suggested that this be ongoing throughout your college years prior to application for admission.

Visit Bennion Community Service Center for what’s available at the U!

Leadership Experience

As an athletic trainer, you will be a leader and team member in many ways – with your patients, your staff, your colleagues, and in your community. Examples include offices held in organizations, committee work; leadership in church activities; coordinating a project; managing, training, supervising at work or in other activities; teaching experience of any kind; coaching; peer counseling or mentoring, etc.

PreAthletic Training Coursework

This guide is designed for applying to a range of AT programs. It is not a comprehensive list. Requirements may vary by school so applicants should look closely at what is required at the schools at which they are applying.

See a PreProfessional advisor for more information.

AP & IB Credit

No AP/IB will be accepted, per CAATE standards.

Community College Credits

Many programs will accept prerequisite courses taken at a 2 year community college, but some may have a preference for courses from 4 year university over from a community college.

  • CLEP Credit & Correspondence Study—You are required to report all of the courses and credit hours that you earned through CLEP exams or Correspondence/Independent Study courses. However, those credits may not be accepted as completed prerequisite coursework. Check each program’s requirements online.
  • AP Credits—No AP will be accepted, per CAATE standards.
  • Online Courses—Accepted by most schools as long as they are not independent study courses.
  • Withdrawals—W’s should be used only for emergencies, although W’s will not affect your GPA.
  • GPA—Most AT programs require minimum overall AND prerequisite GPA of 3.0. Competitive applicants for most programs have higher GPAs in both the overall and prerequisite GPA. For example, UofU MAT’s minimum GPA is 3.0 for both cumulative and prerequisite (courses required by AT program) GPA. For UofU MAT, if undergraduate GPA is below 3.0, a GPA will be calculated based upon the last 60 semester credits if the student attended a US institution.
  • Repeated Courses—ATCAS will include all of the grades, but, how each AT program view repeated courses varies; for example, UofU’s MAT will take the best grade. However, many programs will consider your performance in each class and the frequency of repeats. It is better to take it once and do well.
  • Minimum Grade Requirement—Most programs set a minimum grade requirement for prerequisite courses of C or better. Check each school’s requirements.
  • Grade Expiration—Check each program’s requirements. UofU’s MAT does not have grade expiration.
  • International Students—Depends on program. UofU MAT accepts international students. Most schools which accept international students usually require taking TOEFL in addition to GRE. 

Course Guide

UofU MAT program: applicants must have 7 out of the 10 prerequisite courses complete at the time the application is submitted. BIOL 2325 and 2420 must be completed with a final grade at the time of the application.

  • BIOL 1610 Fundamentals of Biology I (4 credits) Prerequisite MATH 1010 Required by UofU MAT
    • Formerly BIOL 1210
  • BIOL 2325 Human Anatomy (4 credits) Prerequisite BIOL 1610  Required by UofU MAT
    • Lab included
  • BIOL 2420 Human Physiology (4 credits) Prerequisites Biol 1610 & Chem 1210 Required by UofU MAT

  • CHEM 1210 General Chemistry I (4 credits) Prerequisite MATH 1050 Required by UofU MAT 
    • CHEM 1130 may also be accepted
    • The most common chemistry requirement for AT programs is one semester of chemistry. The lab may or may not be required.

  • MATH 1050 College Algebra (4 credits) and/or MATH 1060 Trigonometry (3 credits)
    • May be needed in order to complete other prerequisite courses
  • MATH 1070 Stats (3 credits) Prerequisite B or higher in MATH 980, C or higher in MATH 1010 or 1030 Required by UofU MAT
    • PSY 3000, FCS 3210, SBS 3000 SOC 3112, PRT 3780, MATH 1070 at UofU 
    • MATH 1040 or 2040 at SLCC 

  • PHYS 2010 General Physics I (4 credits) Prerequisite MATH 1060
  • PHYS 2015 General Physics I Lab (1 credits) Required by UofU MAT

  • KINES 3093 Biomechanics (QI) (3 credits) Prerequisites BIOL 2325 & MATH 1050 Required by UofU MAT
  • KINES 3091 Exercise Physiology (3 credits) Prerequisites BIOL 2325 & MATH 1050 Required by UofU MAT

  • NUIP 1020 Scientific Foundations of Human Nutrition and Health (3 credits) Required by UofU MAT
  • PSY 1010 General Psychology (4 credits) Required by UofU MAT
    • One semester of psychology is generally required by most programs
  • ATSM 3300 Intro to Sports Medicine (4 credits) Preferred course for UofU MAT

Prepare for Letters of Recommendation

Types of Letters Needed


Students are required to submit Letters of Recommendation through the ATCAS. ATCAS limits applicants to 4 letters, but most programs just require 2-3 letters.

  1. Almost all AT programs require a letter from an AT.
  2. Some schools require a letter from a professor or any supervisor of your choice, or both.

U of U MAT Requirements

  1. Athletic Trainer you shadowed or worked with
  2. Professor OR any professional who can write about your academic ability

Get to Know your Professors

During the Semester

Tell professors at the beginning of the semester that you would like them to keep an eye on your performance in class. It will give them a longer observational window.

Visit their offices regularly.

End of Semester

At the end of the semester, if you do well, ask them if they would be willing to write you an excellent letter of recommendation when you are ready to apply.

How to Establish a Relationship

A key to a good letter is the establishment of a relationship between student and professor based on shared academic interests.

  • Ask thoughtful questions
  • Delve deeper into concepts presented in lectures
  • Share your academic and career goals
  • Ask for recommendations for additional reading
  • Inquire about their areas of interest and research

Ask about Opportunities

After you have gotten to know professors, ask about further opportunities, e.g., teaching assistantships, individual research projects, etc.


Downloadable Resources

PreHealth PlannerKeep track of your activities, GPA, and your research on medical schools.

downloadable summary

personal statement guidE

Helpful Websites

Last Updated: 6/24/22