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Health Professions. Application and admission The inside scoop Dr. Steve Blain. Admissions process. Each school has different sets of criteria and goals, so find out what they are. Some schools require a secondary application

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health professions

Health Professions

Application and admission

The inside scoop

Dr. Steve Blain

admissions process
Admissions process
  • Each school has different sets of criteria and goals, so find out what they are.
  • Some schools require a secondary application
  • Staff, not faculty assemble the admissions packets. In addition, they sometimes influence decision making
  • Once the packet is complete, usually faculty review the file and it then goes through the first decision making step
admissions process cont
Admissions process- cont.
  • The candidate’s packet may be rejected, put on hold or forwarded for evaluation.
  • The committee (composition varies) reviews the packet and gives it a score.
  • Scores are compiled and the candidate may be discussed
  • Interviews are offered or not
  • Candidate is accepted, rejected or placed on hold
admissions process cont1
Admissions process-cont.
  • Acceptances are usually offered no sooner than an agreed upon date recognized by all the schools
  • Near the end of the evaluation process, the candidates on hold may go forward for evaluation or become alternate candidates
  • Delays in matriculation and appeals are possible.
  • Holding a space while you wait on another school may be very costly
academic performance
Academic performance
  • Transcripts
    • Course load
    • Repeated courses
    • Difficulty
    • Institution(s)
    • Major
    • Explain poor performance
    • Grade inflation
admissions tests
Admissions Tests
  • Make certain that you have taken the required coursework
  • Take in-house or commercial review courses
  • Study groups
  • Take the practice exams if offered
  • Review courses increase your confidence level and teaches one how to take the exam
  • Do not retake the exam unless you learn something new in the areas you are deficient
test scores
Test Scores
  • Deviation from the school’s mean
  • May weigh all sets of scores equally and note improvement
  • May consider only the most recent scores
  • May average all sets of scores
  • May use only highest set of scores or highest individual scores
test scores cont
Test Scores-cont.
  • Taking the admissions exam early may help applicant identify areas needing improvement
  • Need to check with school about implication of retaking exam
  • Exams are designed to test knowledge and skills, not comparing on a curve
admissions tests by profession
Admissions Tests by Profession
  • Dental Admissions Test (DAT)
      • Podiatry
      • Public Health
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
      • Occupational Therapy
      • Physician Assistant
      • Podiatry
      • Public Health
      • Veterinarian Medicine
  • Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
      • Allopathic & Osteopathic Medicine
      • Veterinarian Medicine
      • Podiatry
      • Public Health
  • Optometry Admission Test (OAT)
  • Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT)
  • 4 hours 15 minutes, 225 questions
  • Areas covered:
    • Survey of natural sciences
    • Quantitative reasoning
    • Reading comprehension
    • Perceptual ability

Test is designed to decrease test anxiety

Individual score compared to all who took test last year

High correlation of score with success in first two years in dental school

  • Four sections
  • Three multiply choices sections with individual scores- 1to15. No penalty in guessing
    • Physical Sciences
    • Verbal Reasoning- articulate complex ideas
    • Biological Sciences

Writing sample- two-30 minute essays- graded J-T

MCAT scores along with GPA increase the predictability of success in first two years of med school by 50%

Average student accepted- 30.8/P- MCAT, 3.6 overall GPA

  • Three sections- 3 hours
  • Analytical Writing — Measures critical thinking and analytical writing skills- two writing tasks

Two Multiple choice sections

  • Verbal Reasoning — Measures reading comprehension skills and verbal and analogical reasoning skills
  • Quantitative Reasoning — Measures problem-solving ability, focusing on basic concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data analysis


Four areas of multiple choice testing:

  • Survey of the Natural Sciences (Biology, General Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry),
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Physics
  • Quantitative Reasoning

Score a minimum of 270 and overall average of 300


Four hour, 240 multiple-choice items and two writing topics

  • Verbal Ability
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Quantitative Ability

Each school has its own standards

personal statements
Personal statements
  • Keep to 1 page
  • I do not cause the reader to strain
  • Absolutely no spelling or grammatical errors
  • Do not write about what the reader already knows
  • Focus upon leadership, creativity, unusual circumstances
  • Do not download off the internet
letters of recommendation
Letters of recommendation
  • Meet with your recommender, leave resume, personal statement and make an appointment
  • Treat the meeting like an interview
  • Leave a copy of points that the writer could cover
  • Be direct and ask if the person can write for you a substantive, evaluative and supportive letter. (Not a good or bad letter
  • Be prepared if they say no
clinical experiences
Clinical Experiences
  • Helps determine whether one’s individual strengths match one’s health career choice
  • Accomplished by Shadowing and “Hands On” experiences
  • Summer internships: paid and unpaid
  • Check UCSB Health Professions Advising and student organizations websites
clinical experiences contin
Clinical Experiences contin.
  • Can be a part of ones community service
  • Excellent source for letters of recommendation
  • Need to be self motivated and engaging
clinical opportunities
Clinical Opportunities
  • Clinical Care Extender Program- St. John’s Hospital, Ventura
  • Volunteer at Cottage Hospital and Sansum clinics
  • Private practices
  • Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital
  • Eastside/ Westside Neighborhood clinics
  • County Medical clinics
clinical contin
Clinical contin.
  • Drs. Without Walls
  • Global Medical/ Dental/ Public Health Brigades
  • Santa Barbara County Health System
  • EMT certification- SBCC
  • Medical Reserve Corp
  • Summer experiences at home.
clinical contin1
Clinical contin.
  • Aeromedicos
  • Scribe- Cottage
  • Teaches one critical thinking and how to problem solve in a formal manner- related to i.e. diagnosis and treatment planning
  • Provides new knowledge and stimulate new approaches and methods to effect project, goals
  • Variety of opportunities to include basic sciences, sociological, clinical, literature, health policy, engineering, nutrition, information technology
community service
Community Service
  • Helps determine if you are service oriented
  • Broadens one’s perspective about the world
  • Helps develop Social Intelligence as it relates to empathy, effective teamwork and effective leadership, especially serving those in unfamiliar groups or cultures
  • UCSB Associated Students Community Affairs office- good resource
  • Prefer non-medical activities
ucsb student organizations
UCSB Student Organizations
  • Health Professions Association
  • Envision- Pre-optometry Association
  • Street Health Outreach-
  • Pre-Dental Organization-
  • Los Curanderos-
  • Global Medical/ Dental/ Public Health Brigade-
  • Mu Delta Medical Fraternity
student health organizations
Student Health Organizations
  • Health Professions Association
  • Envision- Pre-optometry Association-
  • Street Health Outreach-
  • Pre-Dental Organization-
  • Los Curanderos-
  • Global Medical/ Dental/ Puclic Health Brigade-
student orgs contin
Student Orgs. Contin.
  • Pre-Pharmacy Student Association
  • Rho Psi Eta Pre-Health Sorority
  • Pre-Veterinary Medical Association
  • One-on-one (most common)
  • One interviewer, more than one candidate
  • One candidate, more than one interviewer
  • Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI)
  • Role play with an actor
  • Alone with video camera
interview cont d
Interview – cont’d
  • Practice with persons writing your letters of recommendation
  • Come dressed up and familiar with all aspects of your application
  • Familiarity with the school and the profession is a must
  • Introduce yourself if appropriate and make eye contact
  • Wait for the interviewer to be seated first
  • Maintain a relaxed posture but don’t slump
interview cont
Interview- cont.
  • The interviewer is usually a busy faculty member and perhaps not trained to interview
  • He or she may not have completely read your file but do not consider that is the case
  • Each interviewer comes from different perspectives and with different agendas
  • Questions are asked that you may not have answers or you are not expected to know the answer
  • A writing sample may be requested
interview cont1
Interview- cont.
  • Watch the body language of the interviewer
  • Answer questions honestly and say when you do not know the answer
  • Keep your answers succinct- time is usually a factor
  • Don’t talk over the interviewer or ramble
  • If unsure of the question, have the interviewer repeat
  • Try to present with a positive attitude, even though you may be stressed
general observations
General observations
  • Maximize your learning skills
  • Time management is a must
  • You will not be able to work- do your financial planning early
  • Reconcile that competency, not grades are your real goal
  • Prepare to fail
  • The faculty want you to succeed