"So You Want To Be A" Presentation


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  • Define the term “prehealth” as it is used at UB. Ask for a show of hands to indicate how many students are interested in each of these professions. Ask the audience: Does anyone know the difference between Allopathic & Osteopathic Medicine? Ask if any of the students have considered any other health professions, and if so, which ones.
  • Try to have students list about 5-10 characteristics & write these down where everyone can see them. Pick 2-3 of these & spend a few minutes discussing why the students chose them. Point out that the characteristics they expect of their own healthcare providers are the exact same characteristics their future patients should be able to expect from them! (starting now!! . . . Why? Because the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior & admissions committees know this!!) You may want to return to this list later in the presentation, if you want to remind students how certain characteristics they listed relate to various aspects of a competitive application to professional health schools (e.g., motivation, integrity, etc.)
  • Remember that you are entering a service profession; your focus (even now!) should be on others – specifically, on how you can best prepare yourself to care for your future patients. (Again, think of the qualities & characteristics we just discussed regarding your ideal doctor. Do you honestly want a doctor whose philosophy is to do the bare minimum it takes to get by? Think about what this might mean for treating an aggressive disease!) Your undergrad/PH years are more than just a means to an end – you’re building a foundation for your future career. The habits & attitudes you develop now (good & bad) are likely to stick w/ you (Hint: Admissions committees pay attention to these!) Finally, while there are certain requirements you need to fulfill before you can apply to professional health schools, there is no magic formula for acceptance. Don’t think of required elements as items that you need to simply check off a list, but rather as a guide to aid in your planning.
  • As you begin to explore your interest in the health professions, it is important that you do some soul-searching. Start by asking yourself the questions above. (Refer students to “Why Medicine?” handout.) [NOTES for bullet points above]: Do you derive fulfillment & satisfaction from helping others? Are you a patient & compassionate person? Do you have a calm & reassuring manner? (even around people who are ill? around people who are not looking forward to going to the doctor?) Are you someone who would be capable of delivering bad news, as well as good? Ideally you will both enjoy the sciences & do well in them (If you are not finding a “fit” between your interests & abilities, you *may* need to reassess your goals. On the other hand, don’t give up on your goal of becoming a doctor after one tough semester – talk to one of us first!). You should not merely be concerned w/ earning good grades in your classes, but with gaining long-term understanding that you can use as a foundation to build new knowledge. Be prepared to engage in life-long learning to keep up w/ medical breakthroughs. After all, would you want a doctor who has not picked up a medical journal in several years? Are you naturally attracted to medical journals, documentaries about science & health, & related information?
  • This is the $100,000 question . . . literally ! You’ll invest a lot of time & $ in preparing for & completing a professional health degree – 4 years of undergrad + 4 years of professional school + up to 3-7 years of residency (for med). Financially, you’ll be >$100,000 in debt when you graduate. Now (before you apply) is the time to decide whether or not this is the right career for you! Additionally, there is a very low attrition rate in professional health schools, thus admissions committees are looking at you not only as a future student, but as a future healthcare professional! They are asking themselves if they would want YOU as their doctor & they are thinking about the same characteristics & qualities YOU listed in our earlier exercise!! 10 Minute Rule : If you are TRULY interested/passionate about the career path you are planning to pursue, then you should be able to have an intelligent, informed discussion about it for at least 10 minutes. If you are unable to do so, then you have probably made this decision without enough information! What can you do to address this? . . . (see next slide)
  • These two items are EQUALLY IMPORTANT. You need both of these in order to make an informed decision about whether or not you are pursuing the right career path. Similarly, the professional health schools need both of these in order to make an informed decision about YOU as a competitive applicant for their school!! How you perform in prerequisite courses provides evidence for your ability to succeed in a medical school curriculum. The quality, variety, & consistency of your clinical experience provides evidence for your knowledge of the medical field & the fact that you are making an informed decision. It also shows your motivation & dedication to the field.
  • One of the first decisions many of you may face is what to major in. What major(s) do you think the professional health schools prefer & why? No PH major & no “best” or “right” major; you do not even have to major in a science! In fact, having a science major (incl. BMS) will NOT give you an advantage on getting into a professional health school. Choosing the major that most interests you will help you to stand out as an individual & make you a more interesting candidate. Choose a major you like that likes you back! (you do well in) – which major you choose doesn’t matter to admissions committees, but your grades do!! Your major should also serve as a parallel plan (in 2008, 45% of all applicants to MD schools (nationally) were accepted & this # has been similar in previous years).
  • These are national averages, not cutoffs; however, you should ideally be at, or very close to, these #s in order to be competitive. Certainly you should always strive to do your best. #s represent BCPM & overall GPAs respectively.
  • Additional science courses You may decide to take add’l science courses beyond the prereqs. This is not essential for getting into a professional health school, but you may want to do this out of interest, to challenge yourself, &/or to enhance your academic record. Minimize repeated courses! Multiple reasons for doing so: Most professional health schools will average repeated courses & even if they don’t, they’ll take the repeats into consideration when interpreting your GPA (a 3.6 w/ no repeats is much different than a 3.6 w/ multiple repeats). Thinking back once again to your ideal doctor, wouldn’t you want someone who does everything in their power to “get it right” the first time?? The general rule of thumb is that if you earned a ‘C’ or higher, you should take add’l, higher-level coursework & show that you can excel in it, rather than repeating a course. You’re wasting time & $ repeating courses! New UB policy will make it more difficult to repeat certain courses during academic year (fall & spring semesters) – this is to ensure that we have enough seats for students taking these courses for the first time. 5) BOTTOM LINE : TALK TO ONE OF US BEFORE MAKING A DECISION ABOUT REPEATING A COURSE!! . . . & if you ultimately DO need to repeat a course, do so BEFORE moving on to the next level!!
  • At this stage, your only concern in preparing for admissions tests should be to do your best in the prerequisite coursework. You will not take an admissions test until (at the earliest) the semester you are completing the prereqs. Talk to one of us about this beginning junior year (or anytime you have questions) for more details.
  • You will NOT be admitted into a professional health school without clinical experience (health-related volunteering & shadowing). There are a wealth of opportunities available. You can find more information under the “Getting Started” tab on our website, as well as on the Prehealth Bulletin & listserv. Research is NOT required to get into medical school (with the exception of schools that are heavily research-oriented, such as Johns Hopkins). Therefore, you should only do research if it truly interests you. If it does NOT interest you, your time would be better spent getting add’l shadowing & volunteering &/or engaging in other activities of interest (PH- or non-PH related).
  • Don’t put off getting clinical experience! Start today! Remember, the quality & variety of your clinical experience shows admissions committees your knowledge of the field, as well as your motivation & dedication. This is NOT something you want them to question. Time permitting, have students write down an answer to question #5 on their handout: “What plans do you have to start/continue getting clinical experience?”
  • There are a variety of activities available to UB students. Beyond the required experiences (such as health-related volunteering & shadowing), choose those that are most meaningful to you. They do NOT always need to be related to your interest in prehealth. Maybe you want to volunteer w/ Habitat for Humanity, play a sport, join a choir. Maybe you need to hold a part-time job to help pay for school (hopefully you are not working too many hours!) Someone who works 15 hrs/wk & has a 3.6 GPA is different than someone who has a 3.6 GPA who does not also work. All of your activities/credentials make you who you are & will be taken into consideration when you apply to a professional health school.
  • Key factors such as passion, motivation, dedication, & integrity do not appear on your academic transcript – how do you think professional health schools assess these qualities? (Amount & variety of clinical experience, letters of recommendation, personal statement, interview, judicial sanctions-hopefully there are none!)
  • You will need several letters of recommendation before you can apply to a professional health school. Most of these letters will be academic (from faculty), but you will also want at least one clinical letter (from a volunteer coordinator or health professional). Anyone interested in DO should get a letter from a DO! (this often applies to other professions like chiropractic as well). Take the initiative to start getting to know these people now! There are several ways that you can have your LORs collected. Most of you will come through UB’s PH Comm prior to applying to a professional health school, typically in junior year. The PH Comm is a group of about 10 people (PH advisors, faculty, etc.) who interview prehealth students & write a composite evaluation to present you to the professional health schools. You will only interview with one (1) member of the Comm, but multiple Comm members will help to review your file.
  • "So You Want To Be A" Presentation

    1. 1. So You Want to be a Doctor, Dentist, Vet, Chiropractor, Optometrist or Podiatrist? Dalene Aylward/Libby Morsheimer/Nicole Schwab Office of Prehealth Advising Student Advising Services 109 Norton Hall http://prehealth.buffalo.edu
    2. 2. Professional Health Fields – Consider Them All… <ul><li>Medicine: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Allopathic and Osteopathic </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Dentistry </li></ul><ul><li>Chiropractic </li></ul><ul><li>Optometry </li></ul><ul><li>Podiatry </li></ul><ul><li>Veterinary Medicine </li></ul>
    3. 3. Your Ideal Healthcare Provider <ul><li>Take a few moments to think about your ideal physician/dentist/vet/etc. What characteristics & qualities do you expect YOUR OWN healthcare provider to embody? </li></ul>
    4. 4. REFRAME YOUR THINKING <ul><li>“ What is everything I need to do to get into medical school or dental school or vet school, etc?” ASK INSTEAD: </li></ul><ul><li>“ What do I need to do to become the best possible doctor or dentist or vet I can be?” </li></ul>
    5. 5. IMPORTANT QUESTIONS to Ask Yourself if You are Considering a Career in the Professional Health Fields <ul><li>Do I care deeply about other people, their problems, and their pain? Do I enjoy serving others? </li></ul><ul><li>Do I enjoy and value learning and gaining new understanding in the sciences and overall, not just earning good grades? </li></ul><ul><li>Am I intrigued by the way medicine can be used to improve life? </li></ul>
    6. 6. <ul><li>WHY? </li></ul><ul><li>HOW DO YOU KNOW? </li></ul><ul><li>Use the 10 Minute Rule </li></ul><ul><li>as a guide </li></ul>
    7. 7. “ Do I Have “WHAT IT TAKES” to go Into a Professional Health Field?” DO TWO THINGS to Find Out: <ul><li>Take some required prehealth science (and math) courses </li></ul><ul><li>Spend some time in relevant settings </li></ul>
    8. 8. What About a Major? <ul><li>ANY major of your choice. </li></ul><ul><li>NO ONE BEST MAJOR. YOU choose it. </li></ul><ul><li>Professional schools value broadly educated applicants. </li></ul><ul><li>DO WELL!! GRADES MATTER – A LOT! </li></ul>
    9. 9. RECENT *AVERAGE* GPAs OF ACCEPTED STUDENTS <ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Allopathic Medicine 3.6/3.7+ </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Osteopathic Medicine 3.3/3.4+ </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Dentistry 3.3/3.4+ </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Veterinary Medicine 3.5+ </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Optometry 3.4+ </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Podiatry 3.2+ </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Chiropractic Medicine 3.0+ </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    10. 10. PREREQUISITE COURSES <ul><li>One Year with Two Semesters of Lab for Each of the Following </li></ul><ul><ul><li>General Chemistry </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Organic Chemistry </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Biology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Physics </li></ul></ul><ul><li>One Year of English </li></ul><ul><li>Recommended </li></ul><ul><li>- One Year of Calculus </li></ul><ul><li>Recommended for Non-Bio Majors - Additional Science (Biochemistry, Physiology, etc.) </li></ul>
    11. 11. UB COURSES RECOMMENDED FOR PREREQUISITES <ul><li>Chemistry 101-102; 105-106; 107-108 </li></ul><ul><li>Chemistry 201-202; 251-252 </li></ul><ul><li>Biology 200-201; also for non-bio majors - Physiology 300 & Biology 205 recommended </li></ul><ul><li>Physics 101-102/151-152; 107-108/158; 117-118/158 </li></ul><ul><li>English 101-201, or additional if waived </li></ul><ul><li>Math 121-122; 141-142 </li></ul>
    12. 12. ADDITIONAL PREREQUISITES <ul><li>OPTOMETRY: Statistics, Microbiology, Psychology, Biochemistry </li></ul><ul><li>CHIROPRACTIC: Psychology, Social Sciences, Humanities </li></ul><ul><li>VETERINARY MEDICINE: Biochemistry, Genetics, Animal Nutrition, Microbiology </li></ul>
    13. 13. Your academic record includes more than just your GPA! <ul><li>Admissions committees will analyze your transcript in several ways: </li></ul><ul><li>Trends in your GPA </li></ul><ul><li>Rigor of coursework over time </li></ul><ul><li>Course types – 2 sciences most semesters </li></ul><ul><li>Credit hours – 15 credits most semesters </li></ul><ul><li>Additional science courses – many options </li></ul><ul><li>Minimize repeated courses! (& be sure to talk to one of us first!!) </li></ul>
    14. 14. ADMISSIONS’ TESTS <ul><li>MEDICINE - MCAT - spring preferred of junior year </li></ul><ul><li>DENTISTRY - DAT - spring preferred of junior year </li></ul><ul><li>OPTOMETRY - OAT - February or October </li></ul><ul><li>VETERINARY - GRE or possibly MCAT - sophomore or junior year </li></ul><ul><li>PODIATRY - MCAT - spring of junior year or fall of senior year </li></ul><ul><li>CHIROPRACTIC - NO admissions test is required </li></ul>
    15. 15. HEALTH-RELATED EXPERIENCE & RESEARCH <ul><li>Shadowing/Volunteering </li></ul><ul><li>MEDICAL - Veterans and Kaleida Hospitals; APMS Shadowing Program </li></ul><ul><li>DENTAL - UB Dental School Shadowing Program </li></ul><ul><li>VETERINARY - minimum hours </li></ul><ul><li>Research </li></ul><ul><li>Academic departments; curca.buffalo.edu </li></ul><ul><li>Check the “Getting Started” tab on the Prehealth website, as well as the Prehealth Bulletin! </li></ul>
    16. 16. “ HOW MUCH CLINICAL EXPOSURE SHOULD I GET??” <ul><li>* Sincere, Sustained/Consistent, Varied * </li></ul><ul><li>“ Too much is never enough.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ A sustained and sincere pattern in a diversity of settings” </li></ul><ul><li>“ A broad exposure to medicine” </li></ul><ul><li>“ An active history” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Start as a freshman; use your summers, semester breaks.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Continuous record” </li></ul>
    17. 17. BEYOND THE BASICS What else are they looking for in candidates? <ul><li>ALL of your activities/credentials are relevant & important! Choose to engage in activities that truly interest you – not everything you do has to be related to your interest in prehealth! </li></ul><ul><li>Community service </li></ul><ul><li>Extra-curricular activities </li></ul><ul><li>Employment </li></ul><ul><li>Honors & Awards </li></ul>
    18. 18. BEYOND THE BASICS What else are they looking for in candidates? <ul><li>Integrity/Values </li></ul><ul><li>Professionalism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Inside & outside of professional settings </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Maturity/Character </li></ul><ul><li>Motivation/Dedication </li></ul><ul><li>Key skills such as Communication, Critical thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Overall preparedness to be a health care provider </li></ul>
    19. 19. REFERENCES <ul><li>PREHEALTH COMMITTEE : </li></ul><ul><li>1. Eligibility: UB undergraduates or alumni </li></ul><ul><li>2. Usually junior year </li></ul><ul><li>3. Reviews your record, interviews you, and writes evaluation letter to the professional schools to which you are applying </li></ul><ul><li>OR </li></ul><ul><li>CAREER SERVICES OFFICE : </li></ul><ul><li>Interfolio - 259 CAPEN </li></ul><ul><li>OR </li></ul><ul><li>PREVIOUS UNDERGRADUATE INSTITUTION </li></ul>
    20. 20. EARLY ASSURANCE PROGRAMS <ul><li>Apply in sophomore year </li></ul><ul><li>MEDICAL : 3.75 overall and science, 1/2 prerequisites, *required* 1400 SAT (exempt from MCAT), Prehealth Committee Letter deadline – Dec. 1. Medical School deadline – Feb. 1. </li></ul><ul><li>DENTAL : 3.3 overall and science, 3/4 prerequisites, DAT required, Prehealth Committee Letter deadline – Dec. 1 or April 15. Dental School deadline – June 1. </li></ul>
    21. 21. “ HOW SHOULD I GET STARTED?” <ul><li>Visit “Getting Started” on the Prehealth Web Site http://prehealth.buffalo.edu </li></ul><ul><li>Volunteer/Shadow </li></ul><ul><li>Take a Science Course </li></ul><ul><li>Attend Another Workshop </li></ul><ul><li>Join a Prehealth Student Club </li></ul><ul><li>Review the Prehealth Bulletin Several Times/Week </li></ul>
    22. 22. ALTERNATIVES TO DOCTORAL LEVEL HEALTH CAREERS Nurse Practitioner Respiratory Therapist Occupational Therapist Physician’s Assistant Speech therapist Physical Therapist Counselor Pharmaceutics Social Worker Drug Information Specialists Psychologist Cardiovascular technologist Medical Technician Biomedical Programmer Nuclear Medical Technician Biomedical Engineer This list is not exhaustive...
    23. 23. For More Information . . . <ul><li>To make an appointment, call 645-6013 or stop by 109 Norton Hall </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Nicole advises Freshmen and Sophomores </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dalene advises Freshmen – Seniors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Libby advises Juniors, Seniors, Alumni, and International Students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dalene, Nicole, and Libby all advise Freshmen and Sophomores pursuing Early Assurance and the BS/DDS Program </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Please bring your completed worksheet with you to your appointment </li></ul>
    24. 24. FINAL WORDS <ul><li>“ I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” </li></ul><ul><li> ~ Dr. Albert Schweitzer </li></ul>