Health Professions Advising at Franklin & Marshall, a division of the Office of Student & Post-Graduate Development, serves F&M students and alumni who are considering careers as healthcare providers. “Pre-health” students are headed toward medical, dental, and veterinary school, as well as programs qualifying them to become physician assistants, physical therapists, pharmacists, optometrists, leaders in public health, and a variety of other healthcare professionals. There are many decisions to be made along the pre-health path—choosing courses and timing the courses wisely, securing clinical and research opportunities, and navigating the application process. The first decision, of course, is whether or not to pursue a health profession at all, based on your interests and personal strengths. As your home base for the pre-health experience at F&M, Health Professions Advising is here to help you with all of these choices, both big and small.
Guest blogger Carey Sentman '14 writes, ". . . I think about the home F&M has become. This home of ours is ever changing: the people, the professors, the buildings. Come graduation day, it will never be the same. While your home outside of F&M might be one you can return to and see your room the way you left it, the house relatively the same minus a new appliance of a fresh coat of paint, that’s not the way your college home is. While a forever family, it’s only a four-year home. Your room will never be your room again. The professors you have come to love will remember you, but new students will also come into their lives. It’s this aspect of your “home” that makes it so hard to leave. You can visit, yes. But in a way, you can never go back. Four years from now what will it all mean to me?"
Guest blogger Josh Wesalo '13 writes, "The Clinic humbles all who set foot inside. Students shadowing there fall speechless at the sight of tragic diseases, but take away a bit of scientific understanding and an appreciation for patient, dedicated doctoring. Medical practitioners from all over the country come away in awe of the Clinic’s simple, cheap solutions to complex problems. Visiting scientists are overjoyed to shake hands with the patients and families that imbue their daily work with meaning. Those of us who work there feel humble before the families we meet, who care lovingly for their special children each day . . ."
I can blather on as a pre-health advisor until I’m blue in the face, encouraging and cajoling and policing the every move of our students as they prepare for lives after college as doctors, PAs, dentists, vets, PTs, nurses, and the like, but no advice is more powerful than the advice coming from someone who has traveled down the path just ahead of you. Alumni have a potent impact on how pre-health students view the professions they are intending to enter. As a College and as Health Professions Advising at OSPGD, we have made some real strides this year to engage the alumni in healthcare . . .
. . . If you don’t worry about uttering perfect sentences but rather dive into a draft bravely, knowing that you will go through many drafts before you’re done; if you actually do revise many times (and allow enough time to do this); and if you have someone you trust read your work for tone, typos, and grammar, you will maximize the impression you make on this crucial part of your application to health professional school. Remember, the overall objectives for the personal statement are to tell them something in-depth that they do not learn from another part of your application, and ultimately to make them want to invite you for an interview. Reveal something meaningful and unique about yourself, and leave them wanting to know more . . .
For those of you preparing to apply to health professional school this summer, the time has come to draft your application essay, the document typically referred to as the “personal statement.” The rest of you are not off the hook, however—those of you who aren't applicants just yet should still write down reflections about your health-related experiences, since keeping a loose “journal” of your volunteering, shadowing (even your extracurricular activities and your research) will help you in several ways along the pre-health path, most practically by building a reserve of material to draw from when application time arrives.