Career Center

 

 

 

CAREER TRACKS

Health

 Get Started

Whether you are just starting to explore, or have committed to a career in health, this track offers tips, tools, and action steps to move your career search forward.  See instructions on how to join the Health Track from your Handshake account.​

Assess Your Interests, Skills

The first step in beginning your career journey is to assess your interests, skills, strengths, goals, values and self to better understand your “story” and give you career direction.  Then, we can help you reflect on your story and create career exploration goals.

Interests: Know your interests, as they may help to align you with careers and possible job titles representing a match based on your likes/dislikes. Use these tools below to clarify your interests:

  • Career Cruising - Career Cruising can help you assess your interests, values and skills and recommend career options, graduate programs or career paths that may be a fit for you.
  • MyNextMove - Explore career options and interests by keyword or industry, or take their short assessment to find potential career matches based on interests.
  • Strong Interest Inventory (SII) - The SII is a widely respected career interest inventory designed to help people find a fit between their personalities and work. It compares your interests and preferences to people in general and to people who have been happy and satisfied in their careers. The results from the SII identify careers that best fit a person’s interests.

Values: Know your values, as they may help to align you with potential work environments and organizations that match your passion(s) and core belief(s). Use these tools below to clarify your values and identify possible career ideas based on your values:

  • Imperative - This online tool will help you evaluate how you can bring meaning and authenticity to your work as you identify your passion and core values. The initial assessment is free and can be brought to an appointment with us in the University Career Center for more conversation.

Skills/Strengths: Know your skills and strengths, as they may help to align you with well suited job titles, work tasks and work environments. Use these tools below to clarify your skills/strengths and possible career ideas based on your talents and skills:

  • Career Onestop - Take this short skills assessment to learn more about your skills and how they match up to potential career ideas.
  • Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) - The MBTI is a self-report questionnaire designed to make Jung’s theory of psychological types understandable and useful in everyday life. It is one of the most widely used instruments for understanding personality differences and is widely used to understand people in terms of their decision-making styles, preferences for communication, work environments and for career development/exploration.

At a minimum, as you consider the possibility of pursuing a health career, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I like to care for people from all walks of life?
  • Am I genuinely interested in and capable of delving into scientific topics, especially the hard sciences?
  • Am I committed to being a life-long learner?
  • Am I comfortable in a healthcare setting, lab, etc. (although not all health-related careers will involve direct patient contact)?
  • Do I work well in a team setting?
  • Do I appreciate the immense responsibility that comes with caring for others, having to make sound decisions, putting patients’ interest before my own, being equitable and fair, etc.?

Get Help

Want some coaching on where to begin?  Not sure which Career Track is right for you?  Make an appointment on Handshake for “Exploring Career Options”.  We’ll be happy to talk more about your Career Track options and explore your interests and skills together in a coaching relationship.

Before Your Appointment:

  1. Explore the tools on the Assess You Skills/Interests section above
  2. Create a LinkedIn account
  3. Create a profile on Handshake

 Explore Your Track

Health careers encompass a large group of fields related to the delivery of healthcare to humans (and animals) through the application of science, engineering, mathematics and technology.  There are over 100 health related careers out there.  How do you know which one is the best fit for you?  A combination of readings, informational interviews with practitioners, shadowing, volunteering and working in relevant settings will help you determine your path.  By the way, did you know that, according to U.S. News & World Report’s top jobs annual rankings list, out of the top 20 best jobs for 2016, 15 are healthcare jobs?

Although most individuals readily and narrowly associate “health careers” with medicine, there are many professions in health and allied health as this hypothetical scenario illustrates. Thus, you owe it to yourself to explore the possibilities and learn more about not only medicine, but also public health, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, nursing, physical and occupational therapy, and more.

Every year, here at UM, in LSA alone, about ~30% of all entering students indicate an interest in pursuing a health related profession.  The vast majority of these individuals will consider themselves “pre-med”.  Many students will stay true to this interest and forge ahead on their path to become physicians while others will discover new professional interests along the way.  Still others will identify their field of choice as a result of academic, co-curricular, or life experiences later on.  All of these scenarios are completely normal. Regardless of where you fall on this continuum, the information on this Career Track, your internal drive to engage, and conversations with the University Career Center staff can help you figure out the next steps in your journey.

Here is some information to get you started:

Necessary Skills

There are some variances in the specific skills needed in various health careers, especially between clinical vs. non-clinical roles.  However, a commitment to service, intellectual curiosity, cultural competence, empathy, strong communication skills, adaptability, resilience, teamwork, etc. tend to be common denominators.  See, for example, the core competencies for entering medical students.  An aspiring dentist however, and for example, will also need to possess a particular interest in the science of oral health, good eyesight, excellent manual dexterity and a steady hand, the ability to gain trust and put patients at ease, some business knowledge to run a practice, multitasking skills, etc.  Understanding the skills involved in various health professions and how they relate to your own skill set and aptitudes will help you narrow down your options.  Search and check the occupation profiles of various health careers to learn about the tasks, skills needed, and equipment used to get a good idea of the basic kinds of work activities health professionals do on a daily basis.

 

If you already  have a general idea in mind (dentistry, pharma, biotech, alternative healthcare, etc.) be sure to peruse the appropriate Vault Career Guides.

As a future health professional you will likely work in interprofessional teams.  Thus, it will be important for you to understand and develop core competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice.  Through consultations with your pre-health advisors, you will want to seek courses and experiences that foster and reflect effective communication, teamwork, patient exposure, service, and ethics.  You will also want to familiarize yourself with the range of personal, social, economic, and environmental factors that influence health status, commonly referred to as “the determinants of health”. 

For example, we recommend you:

  • Join a pre-health club or society on campus and/or other service organizations;
  • Reach out to science departments about research opportunities
  • Check with local hospitals/clinics/private practices/hospices/assisted living facilities/etc. for volunteer or paid opportunities;
  • Strive to serve and volunteer in a variety of settings;
  • Contact healthcare providers you know (your doctor, dentist, etc.) about shadowing opportunities and widen your network through your neighbors, congregation, friends’ parents, acquaintances, UM alumni networks, etc.  and, of course, be sure to tap into UCAN, the University Career Alumni Network.
  • How Long Do You Want To Be In School?
    • If you don’t want to spend many years in health profession school, there are dozens of career options that only require a master’s degree.  allhealthcare has picked the ten top health careers by compiling their salaries, potential for growth, and anticipated demand.

  • Do You Wish To Be In A Clinical Setting?
  • Are You More Interested In Research Than Clinical Practice Alone?
    • If you have an interest in scientific exploration and a desire to break new ground in medical knowledge, a career in medical research may be for you.  Combined MD/DO-PhD programs offer intensive training in the biomedical sciences and are designed for those interested in joining academic faculties in varied and often multiple capacities as researchers, clinicians and educators.  Through the National Institutes of Health-funded Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), you can receive both graduate and clinical training leading to the MD and PhD degrees, while receiving full funding for tuition and expenses, plus a yearly stipend.  MSTP positions are extremely selective and are restricted to U.S. citizens or permanent residents.  More information concerning the Medical Scientist Training Program.  The current average time to complete an MD/PhD is about seven years, but students may take longer to graduate depending on the outcomes of their research and other specific circumstances.  The typical program of study includes the first two years of the basic medical sciences curriculum, followed by three or more years of graduate school with rotations in various research laboratories, a thesis research, and then the final two years of clinical clerkships and electives.  However, different permutations of this 2/3+/2 schedule exist.  Given the specificity of requirements and application modalities for each program, you are strongly encouraged to contact the program’s directors directly.  Here are some resources to support your exploration:

      MD-PhD Dual Degree Training by the AAMC

      List of MD/PhD Programs by state

      Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) Institutions 

      College Information Book for DO/PhD Programs (see page 12 and individual schools' listings)

      Prior research experience is essential, at least two years of it, often with a leading role on a self-directed long-term project.  In fact, the level of autonomy that one had in the lab is highly regarded.  Successful applicants are those who are able to demonstrate that they have learned and practiced the scientific process.  They must show evidence of creativity, ingenuity and resourcefulness in designing and running experiments, but also resilience, maturity and ability to accept delayed gratification with unsuccessful experiments.  Evidence of critical thinking and attention to detail in analyzing the data and forming conclusions is also important.  Highly regarded are communication skills, including experience with presenting one's work in some fashion (attendance at conferences, poster sessions, and seminars).  Research publications (especially where one is the first or second author) are very helpful but not as essential as a sound research record.  For the MD portion of one's candidacy, clinical experience, volunteer work, community service, athletic and artistic talents will also be closely evaluated.  GPA is important (usually at least 3.5 for consideration) but more than anything, applicants need to be able to demonstrate a passion for research.  Nationally, the total average MCAT of admitted applicants is typically around 33-34 (91-94%) depending on the program.  All programs require the MCAT, while many schools suggest the GRE as well.

      Although a small number of osteopathic medical schools offer joint PhD programs, our own in-state school (MSU COM) is somewhat unique in that the Program Director and Administrator work very closely with prospective applicants in putting together the application to their program.  MSU COM also offers “SUPER”, a Summer Undergraduate Physician-scientist-training Education & Research program, to undergraduate students, who are planning to pursue a career as a physician scientist. Be sure to connect with Dr. Justin McCormick <justin.mccormick@hc.msu.edu> early in your exploration.

      An Interesting Alternative:  If you want to become a physician, possess a strong interest in research but are not ready to commit to a full-blown PhD degree, you may want to consider 5-year MD/MS Research Track programs at schools like Baylor, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University, University of Pittsburgh, Georgetown, Yale, Stanford, UT Southwestern, etc.

  • Are You Drawn Toward The Health Of Many Vs. The Health Of One?
    • If you find yourself being drawn to the big picture of health, domestically or internationally, you may wish to investigate opportunities in Public Health.  Whereas in Clinical Health Professions the emphasis is on disease diagnosis, treatment and care of the individual, in Public Health the emphasis is on populations, with a focus on disease prevention and health promotion for the whole community.  See more information about distinctions between Public Health and Medicine and What is Public Health?

  • Would You Like To Be On The Business Side Of Healthcare?
    • Informatics, management, sales, consulting… if you are attracted to the business side of healthcare, you may wish to explore opportunities in Health Informatics, the study of resources and methods for the management of health information.  This field focuses on the acquiring, storing, retrieving and using of healthcare information to foster better collaboration among a patient's various healthcare providers.  Quantitative, analytical, and technical skills are a must, with professional healthcare experience and programming being a plus.

    • If you would like to apply business skills in a healthcare setting, look into Healthcare Administration, a field relating to leadership, management and administration of hospitals, hospital networks, healthcare systems and public health systems.   See Guide to Careers in Health Administration.

    • If you think you would take pride in selling a product or solution that makes a positive impact in the world of healthcare, then medical sales may be for you.  A different skill set will be required in this type of career, such as persuasion, presentation skills, resilience, salesmanship, goal-orientation, ability to deal with rejection, meet sales targets, etc.  Read more about medical device sales careers.

    • If you like to solve problems, healthcare consulting may be of interest to you.  Healthcare consultants examine the efficiency, profits and structure of an organization and then offer suggestions on methods for improvement.  Most large strategic consulting firms have divisions which focus on healthcare issues, while some firms specialize only in the healthcare industry or particular industry sectors such as hospital administration, medical devices and technology, pharmaceuticals, marketing, and information management systems, to name a few.  If you are interested in consulting, you may wish to also join the University Career Center's Consulting Track.

  • Are You Intrigued By The Intersection Of Ethics With Medicine?
    • If you are intrigued by the intersection of medicine, law, public health and philosophy, you may wish to take a closer look at Bioethics.  Bioethics is the study of controversial ethical issues emerging from new situations and possibilities brought about by advances in biology and medicine. It also involves moral discernment as it relates to medical policy and practice.  In a hospital, a Bioethicist may be consulted in cases where there is uncertainty about the right course of action for a patient due to conflicting values.

      You may find these interviews with bioethicists and links to relevant resources helpful with your exploration

  • Would You Like To Develop Technologies To Improve Health?
    • If you are attracted to the intersection of science and technology, be sure to explore opportunities in Biotechnology.  Although Biotechnology has applications in several major industrial areas, one of the most prominent ones is indeed healthcare.  Biotechnology offers a wide variety of career opportunities ranging from sales and marketing, research and development, to manufacturing and quality control and assurance.   See the University Career Center’s Biotechnology Track for more information..

Industry Trends

The following highlights are from 2016 Healthcare Staffing Trends.  While other sectors of the economy are at a 8.9% projected growth rate from 2012–2022, healthcare is projected at a 26.5% growth rate, although much of the anticipated growth will be in jobs outside of the hospital, for positions such as home health aides or physical therapistsRN’s demand is projected to be very high, especially in the areas of advanced practice nursing, licensed practical nurses, and licensed vocational nurses.   As population health becomes an increasingly important part of healthcare reform, organizations will be hiring workers who specialize in data analysis, communicating and engaging with patients, and helping them to maneuver through health systems.  Medical informatics roles are growing and Clinical informaticists will have the opportunity to pioneer analyzing vast amounts of healthcare data and deciphering what it means. Social workers, behavioralists, community health workers, and outreach coordinators will be in demand to help hospitals educate communities and patients and to create opportunities for engagement.  Patient experience or patient satisfaction officers will continue to be in demand.  Along with an aging population, the increased availability of technology is the greatest driver of increased healthcare employment. As more states loosen their laws around telehealth and patients become more comfortable with seeing a doctor over their tablet or mobile phone, demand for "virtualists" will increase. See also Hot Jobs in Healthcare.

Build Your Pre-Health Community

You will be able to find many health related groups in the UM Student Organization Directory. Many of these groups will have guest speakers and may offer shadowing programs. Visit a few of these organizations until you find a group that meets your needs:  Pre-Medical Club, Alpha Epsilon Delta, Multicultural Association of Pre-Health Students, Sports Medicine Club, Pre-Optometry Club, Undergraduate Students National Dental Association, Pre-Vet Club, Pre-Pharmacy Student Organization, and many many more.  Look also into service organizations.  In addition, many of the professional student associations have an undergraduate section, which too can offer great opportunities to learn about the field, find shadowing opportunities, and connect with professionals.  A few examples include:  American Medical Student Association, Pre-Student Osteopathic Medical Association, and American Student Dental Association.

 

Search for people, groups or universities relevant to your interest through LinkedIn.  For example, are you interested in becoming a Physician Assistant?  Simply searching for “PA” will help you connect to a range of individuals from PA program administrators, PA students and practitioners.  Reach out to these individuals for informational interviews, preparation advice, shadowing opportunities and application coaching. LinkedIn groups are a great way to expand your network, contribute to a community and get questions answered.  See these tips on How to Network on LinkedIn  and these additional Networking Resources on The University Career Center website.  And, of course, make the most of UCAN, the University Career Alumni Network.

Action Steps

Get Help

Want some coaching around navigating your Career Track?  Interested in talking with a Career Coach about your exploration of a Career Track?

 

3,2,1 

You have been exploring your Career Track, and may be wondering “What Next?”  This short exercise will help you clarify your question(s) and identify strategies to answer your career exploration questions.

  1. What are three take-aways from your exploration of this Career Track?
  2. What are two questions that you have?
  3. What is 1 specific action step you plan to take, to answer your 2 questions?

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 Launch Your Preparation for Your Chosen Health Profession

Complete Pre-Requisite Courses

For information about academic preparation for medical school and other health professions, consult the pre-health advisors in the Newnan Academic Advising Center, College of LSA, 1255 Angell Hall.  To make an appointment, call (734) 764-0332.   Although most health professions schools will not require applicants to choose a certain major, they will expect you to complete at least certain pre-requisite courses and/or demonstrate acquisition of specific competencies. 

 

A good place to start is from the Newnan Advising Center’s pre-health website.

Refer to the following resources based on your focus and consult with your pre-health academic advisor for specific assistance.

To stay organized, be sure to maintain a spreadsheet of your needed/currently enrolled/completed pre-requisite courses in relation to some of your targeted schools and whatever standardized test that you will need to prepare for:

 

See also these tips to help you succeed in your pre-health education.

Plan for Whatever Standardized Test You Will Have to Take

  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
  • Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
  • Dental Admission Test (DAT)
  • Optometry Admission Test (OAT)
  • Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT)

Continue to Engage Beyond the Classroom

In addition to your academic preparation, you will be expected to invest time outside of the classroom learning about health practitioners, patients, your particular health field, and… yourself! Thus, it is important that you spend time in various healthcare settings to explore and confirm your interest in your chosen profession. Beyond fulfilling certain course requirements and developing specific academic competencies, health professions schools expect applicants to have a general understanding of their chosen career as well as a demonstrated interest in and knowledge of what is involved in that field.  Through your coursework and experiences you will want to understand:

 

  • The realities and rhythms of “a day in the life of” the type of health professionals you aspire to become.
  • What constitute good bed/chair side manners--how to interact with people very different from you, how to explain, teach and counsel...
  • The workings of interprofessional (IPE) and interpractice teams.
  • The social determinants of health, that is, “the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age”. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels, thus leading to health inequities.
  • The need for diversity in the healthcare professions to provide better care to underrepresented groups who currently do not receive the same standard of care. These resources can help.
  • The bioethical implications of new devices, surgical procedures and drugs, and the challenging questions they raise — for individuals and society — about appropriate use, access, safety, rights and obligations.  See bioethical newsletters like Virtual Mentor.
  • The way economics and policy affect healthcare delivery and access.

 

The following activities can be valuable in enhancing your exploration of and preparation for your health field:

 

Be sure to maintain a spreadsheet of all your co-curricular involvements (not just health related), keeping track of dates, number of hours, type of experience, the responsibilities you had, supervisor’s name and contact information, and especially your reflections on what you learned, how this experience may have affected your worldview, etc.  These records will be particularly handy in the short term to monitor your progress and identify areas for additional involvements.  Later, they will be equally helpful for crafting your personal statement, completing the activities sections in your applications, and identifying possible sources for your reference letters.

Connect with Professionals

A referral from a contact goes a long way when looking for an internship, summer job or gap year opportunity.  Utilize the groups you have been following on LinkedIn as one valuable referral source and/or to conduct informational interviews:

 

Internship/Summer Opportunities

Only a small portion of all available opportunities are advertised on job boards or filled through on campus interviewing, so checking job  posting sites should only be a small component of your job search, along with more proactive efforts to connect with people and organizations that may have the opportunities you are seeking.  Nonetheless, depending on your circumstances, you may find the following resources helpful:

Resumes/CV & Cover Letters

A well-written resume connects your skills and experiences to the needs of an organization.  The University Career Center’s Resume Resources will help you develop a strong resume.  Check also these resources to help you craft targeted cover letters.  Schedule an appointment to have your resume and cover letter drafts critiqued at The University Career Center.

Interviewing

Depending on whether you are applying for a summer research job, a position in pharma, or a seat in an entering medical school class, you will be exposed to various interviewing formats (behavioral, case interviews, MMIs, etc.). A prepared interviewee knows the similarities and differences between the formats and has practiced appropriately.  See: The University Career Center’s Interviewing ResourcesConsider scheduling an appointment to practice your interviewing skills at the University Career Center.

Application Readiness

Don’t be on autopilot as you prepare to apply to health profession school.  Given the competitiveness, intensity and intricacies of the process, you can benefit from taking a step back and thoroughly assessing your application readiness.  There will be both academic and non-academic factors to measure up to:

  1. Basically, your metrics (numerical academic performance in previous classes and your ability to pass standardized tests) will help admissions representatives determine if you can handle the rigors of the school curriculum and pass the various licensing exams that are required to become a practitioner in your field.
  2. Your experiences and attributes will help them determine if you have truly invested time in engagements that demonstrated care for others, understanding of the profession and a sincere passion for healthcare delivery and service.  Your application materials and your interview performance (if your application progresses to that point) will have to showcase beyond your academic prowess, possession of certain personal traits and characteristics, as well as knowledge and understanding of the profession and the healthcare arena.

In order to assess your application readiness, you may wish to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is my cumulative and, especially, my science GPA along the lines of those who have been admitted in the past?
  • Are my standardized test scores competitive?
  • Have I engaged in substantive community and volunteer service and am I capable to reflect on and discuss these experiences?
  • Do I have a good deal of medically related experiences, such as shadowing and patient exposure?
  • Have I spent time in hospitals, clinics, hospices, rehabilitation centers, assisted living facilities ... assisting patients and talking to healthcare professionals to form an accurate and realistic view of my chosen profession and current issues in the field?
  • Do I have people in my corner that can vouch for me and address the strength of my candidacy for health profession school through their letters of evaluation/recommendation?  Do they know me well enough to address my reliability and dependability, critical thinking, qualitative reasoning, resilience and adaptability, capacity for improvement, patient orientation, etc.?
  • How have I demonstrated my social skills, cultural competence, teamwork, and leadership?
  • How have I demonstrated integrity and ethical responsibility to myself and others?  If there are any irregularities or misconduct issues in my profile, what have I done to address them/put time and distance from them to "redeem" myself?
  • How have I engaged in scientific inquiry and gained research experience (esp. for MD/PhD applicants)?
  • Can I clearly articulate why I want to be a healthcare professional and what life experiences have led to that decision?
  • Do I have time to prepare for the required standardized test, put together a strong application, with thoughtful application essays, well researched schools, solid letters of recommendation, etc.?
  • Do I have any special talents and abilities that could showcase my discipline, commitment, ability to improve?

It is important that you are able to step back and assess your profile prior to applying so that you can determine both your strengths and areas that need attention.  If you find yourself falling short on several categories, consider taking a year or two off to bridge those gaps.  Remember: a dream delayed is better than a dream denied.  While the list below is not 100% inclusive, these could be sound reasons to delay application.  Give yourself permission to wait to apply if you need or want to:

  • Travel/study/work abroad for a while
  • Take a reflective pause to ensure this is still the career you want
  • Show your senior year grades to demonstrate grade improvement
  • Engage in additional coursework at the post-baccalaureate level to strengthen your academic preparation
  • Make time to finish your pre-requisites and/or adequately prepare for the standardized admission test
  • Gain more exposure to your chosen profession
  • Engage in additional research activities if applicable
  • Repair your credit score by working and saving for a while so you can be eligible to borrow money for your health profession education
  • Take a rejuvenating break prior to starting health profession school
  • Tend to some health or other personal issue before embarking in health profession school.

After realistically assessing your credentials you will be better positioned to decide whether you are truly ready to apply. Waiting a year and improving your credentials might make the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful application effort.  Remember that the national average age for entering professional students is usually ~24+ years. Thus, you will not be alone if you decide to wait one or more years prior to applying!  See the information on Postbaccalaureate Programs and Gap Years on the University Career Center website for possible ideas.

 

Ready to Apply?

Although the University Career Center staff is available to guide you through the exploration and preparation stages (beyond the classroom) of your Health Track, individualized assistance with academic requirements and professional school application is available through the Newnan Advising Center (call 734-764-0332 for an appointment) and possibly also through the advisors within your own School, College, Department or Program.

Procure Reference Letters

As you get involved in your classes and co-curricular engagements, start thinking about potential sources for reference letters.  Although the expectations for the number of letters and the content may vary across programs, all reference letters are expected to provide admissions committees with additional perspectives on your past performance and future potential, commenting specifically on your skills and abilities related to your chosen career area.  For example, see these guidelines on how to write effective reference letters in support of medical school application. Although the focus in on the letter writer, these guidelines will help you understand the expectations of a medical school’s admissions committee.

Keep these tips in mind when arranging for your letters:

  • Consider the range of possible writers, and which writers might best serve your purposes. Writers could include faculty, teaching assistants, past employers, or supervisors from volunteer and leadership experiences.
  • Request evaluations only from people who know you well enough to write strong letters of support; you may wish to arrange a meeting with the writers to discuss your future plans for an advanced degree.
  • Evaluate the pros and cons of requesting a confidential vs. a non-confidential evaluation, keeping in mind that most professional programs have a strong preference for confidential letters since they tend to be more candid.
  • Provide them with supporting materials (copy of your resume, transcript, personal statement draft, etc.) to help them write a more informed letter.
  • Ask for the letter shortly after the completion of your interaction with the author, when your work habits, skills and interests are fresh in their mind.
  • Allow enough time for the letter to be written, keeping in mind that you may be one of several applicants requesting a letter from a particular individual.

Write Compelling Application Essays

As part of your application process you will be asked to write various essays. Collectively, this long and short reflections should capture why you are interested in a certain field, what type of experiences led you to such a choice, why this field is a good match for your skills and talents, and any other information about you that an admission representative should be aware of to form an informed and accurate opinion about who you are.  See these resources for writing application essays in general and more specifically for health profession school.

Become Knowledgable About Schools and Programs

Take advantage of individual schools’ information sessions and tours, open houses, admissions webinars, virtual fairs and any opportunity you can get to understand their offerings, garner preparation and admissions tips, get a feel for their distinct mission and culture, speak with current students and faculty, and—depending on the circumstances—experience the campus and community at large.  Explore online and mark any relevant dates in your calendar!  Here are a few examples for you:  UM Genetic Counseling Events; SUNY Optometry Open House; OUWB Admissions Webinars; Pre-Dental Student Virtual Fair, WSU Monthly Pharmacy and Health Sciences Meetings, etc.

Be sure to understand the timeline and mechanics to apply for your chosen career.  Be aware that most health professions avail themselves to application services.  Use these platforms to understand how and when to apply.  Due to the large size of UM pre-medical student body, The University Career Center also sponsors a  Med App site that provides timely and detailed group application coaching.

Application Services: CAS's

Many health profession schools utilize centralized application services (CAS).  Note, however, that not all schools may go through such application services so it will be your responsibility to learn specific admission requirements and process for applying.  In general, you will have to apply as soon as possible in the year before you plan to matriculate to professional school.  Below is a sampling of application services:

 

 

If you are preparing to apply or are currently applying to medical school, we encourage you to subscribe to the University Career Center-sponsored Med App site to receive timely updates and application tips, along with announcements about events, opportunities and articles relevant to pre-medical and medical education and practice.

Cost of Applying & Attending

Applying to health profession school is an expensive endeavor.  The most significant expenses will include:

  • Required standardized admission test self-preparation materials and/or organized preparation course
  • Test registration
  • Application service’s fees
  • School-specific application fees
  • Interview suits and accessories
  • Transportation and accommodations for interviews
  • Deposits to hold seats in a class upon admission

 

All these costs and fees can easily add up to well over $5,000 so it is important to plan in advance.  If you have serious financial constraints, you may be eligible for fee waivers.  Check with the appropriate health profession organization regarding the availability of fee assistance programs.  For example, If eligible for the AAMC’s Fee Assistance Program (FAP), you will receive a reduction on the MCAT registration fee, free copies of MCAT preparation materials and the Medical School Admissions Requirements, and a fee waiver for application to the first 14 allopathic medical schools.

It is critical that you maintain a strong credit record as you prepare and apply for health profession school. Do not let a poor credit history interfere with your ability to pay for and enroll in your program of choice.

As you consider how to finance your health sciences education, strive to become knowledgeable about loan programs, the ongoing changes, and various loan forgiveness programs.  Remember that there are various service commitment programs out there, available through the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force, federal agencies and some state agencies.  Watch this video on the U.S. Army Health Professions Scholarship Program.

As you consider how to finance your health sciences education, strive to become knowledgeable about loan programs, the ongoing changes, and various loan forgiveness programs.  Remember that there are various service commitment programs out there, available through the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force, federal agencies and some state agencies.  Watch this video on the U.S. Army Health Professions Scholarship Program.

Action Steps

Get Help

Want some coaching around launching your Career Track?

Before Your Appointment: Explore and engage with the tools and links in Launch Your Career Track; Complete the 3,2,1 reflection exercise; Attend events related to your Career Track.

 

3,2,1

You have been launching your preparation for graduate or professional school, and may be wondering “What Next?”  This simple exercise will help you get started.

  1. "What are three take-aways from exploring the resources in “Launch Your Preparation for Your Chosen Health Profession”?"
  2. "What are two questions that you still have/what are you questioning now?"
  3. "What is 1 specific action step to help answer your 2 questions?"

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Photo Credit: Tiago Gerken