Many colleges have minimum physical health requirements for incoming students, ensuring that the safety and wellness of the school population is not compromised by illness or communicable disease. Physical examination requirements vary by college, although some states have mandates requiring proof of specific vaccines or other medical information. Other colleges set their own physical exam and general health requirements.
What Is Included?
A physical is an exam used for assessing risk of health conditions and discussing ways to remain healthy in the future. Health professionals recommend a blood test, vision screening, sexually transmitted disease test and an overall examination of the entire body be included. Some colleges require students to submit immunizations records, childhood health records or lab test results. Depending on state requirements, some colleges require proof of specific vaccinations.
A physical exam might discover health issues for students, some of which may affect peers, so many colleges require all incoming students to submit specific medical forms. Even if all students are not required to have a physical, students majoring in certain areas such as health care may be required to have one to determine whether students are capable of meeting the basic demands of a particular major.
Physical exams often are required of all incoming international college students, even if the school does not otherwise require a physical exam for incoming students. Because of the possibility international students might be exposed to illness or health issues uncommon to the United States, colleges generally require a physical to prevent the spread of disease throughout the campus. Some colleges also require evidence of immunization records along with physical exam documents from all incoming international students.
Physical exams typically are required of intercollegiate athletes before practicing, competing or trying out for a team sport. Physical exams prove an incoming student is healthy enough to participate in strenuous physical activity. Some colleges might accept prior physical exams as long as they were completed within a year from the start of the program.