II. FROM HIGH SCHOOL TO COLLEGE, MAKING THE ADJUSTMENT
is fair to assume that it takes a certain amount of time for new students
to adjust to a college environment. The move from high school to college
is a giant step. College is not an extension of high school; there is a
big difference, and to make a smooth adjustment you may need to shift many
gears. Perhaps the biggest adjustment will come in acquiring the
self-discipline required to manage free time efficiently. Good students
tend to be efficient managers of their time. They organize their daily
schedule so they have ample time for studying as well as extracurricular
activities. Although most students have the intellectual ability to obtain
a degree, it is generally the lack of good study and organizational habits
that cause some to have problems in attaining their goals. To master new
material (at times it may seem the facts, figures, equations, and concepts
are overwhelming), you may need to improve your reading, retention
and note-taking skills, and log in more study hours. New college students
will also have to adjust emotionally and socially. A student's role
changes when he or she enters college in that he or she develops into a
unique individual with duties and responsibilities.
for Professional School
Following are some
suggestions on how to prepare for professional school while in college:
1. Declare a preprofessional major when you first enroll in college, regardless of the degree you plan to pursue.
2. Become acquainted
with your Preprofessional Advisor and with the other members of the
Preprofessional Advisory Committee. (See list on page 2 of this book.)
3. One major goal for a preprofessional student is to obtain some sort of professional experience. Visit a professional of your career choice at their office to learn about the actual workings of the practice of the profession. A preprofessional student's inner commitment must be strong and deeply rooted to complete the professional curriculum. You will not truly know whether the health profession is a valid personal career choice until you have seen at first hand what a clinical life entails. Examples of such experience might be as an orderly in the hospital emergency room or a technical job in a medical laboratory. These experiences will help to crystallize and clarify your thinking about what a health related career is, and more importantly, is not. Fictional and television portrayals of professionals are poor models. Such experience also relieves the selection committee of some justified doubts as to your suitability for the profession. This experience must be well underway before you send in your professional school application in order to enhance your acceptance. Significant research experience is nearly as important as clinical experience in the eyes of the selection committees. To be a part of a research team, led by a faculty member, provides an insight into research methods and experimental design beyond the normal classroom laboratory/lecture experience. Preprofessional students may participate in several ways either for credit in undergraduate research courses or for pay on funded research grants, and/or involvement in special topic courses. The various university department chairs will be happy to provide information on what research is in progress in the department.
5. Be sure that your
college courses include those required by the particular professional
school(s) to which you plan to apply. That information is available
in this handbook, the Lamar catalog, and the Preprofessional Advisory
Committee. For most health professions you do not have to major in the
sciences for your undergraduate degree. However, you MUST include the
minimum preprofessional course requirements REGARDLESS of your major.
Remember that your freshman grades count as a part of your overall grade
point average (GPA). It is important that you do well in ALL
academic courses, particularly in the required ones.
Another goal for the preprofessional student to accomplish would be to
explore other fields of learning. When one considers that professional
school curricula have only one goal: to educate the professional, college
is the last opportunity to explore humanities subjects or to pursue a
cultural interest, for there will be no time to pursue such interests for
many years in professional school. Professional schools have often stated
that they are not searching for applicants who will become technicians,
but persons who will be both well-rounded human beings and good health
topic currently popular in the public mind is dealing with stress.
Students in the health professions have always had to deal with stress at
levels unimaginable by those outside of professional schools. As an
undergraduate, you should find your own best methods to recognize and
reduce your stress. These methods, once identified and used, will benefit
you as a professional.
means to finance your professional education should be your last and least
consideration in determining whether to apply to professional school. Your
main goal should be to prepare yourself to be the best possible qualified
student. A realistic financial assessment would be a realization of the
costs of establishing a residence near the medical school and meeting
living expenses, including typical fees/tuition/school supplies cost.
Financial aid is available once you are accepted and you will not be
disqualified from consideration because of lack of financial support.
10. BEWARE OF ADVICE OR
INFORMATION FROM OTHER STUDENTS OR FROM SELF-APPOINTED AUTHORITIES. THAT
ADVICE OR INFORMATION IS OFTEN INCOMPLETE OR INACCURATE. THE FINAL
AUTHORITY IS THE MEDICAL SCHOOL WEBSITE INFORMATION.
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