Allegheny provides pre-health students with many, varied resources to support their career preparation. Some of these resources are outlined below. All students are encouraged to register their interest with the Office of Pre-Professional Studies in order to take full advantage of the programs available, as well as to receive notification of events, opportunities, and other items of interest. Register
- Faculty: The excellent faculty at Allegheny are your best academic resources, and you are encouraged to seek their help with course questions, advice about research opportunities, and direction for more in-depth studies. Visit during their office hours or make an appointment. Do not be afraid to ask for their help!
- Learning Commons: The LC staff can help you with a wide variety of skills ranging from basic study skills and time management techniques to improved writing and speaking skills. Let them help you hone your skills.
- Health Professions Advisor: Kirsten Peterson (KP) is available to help with such concerns as: designing a schedule that allows for an unusual major/minor combination as well as the the pre-health core; creating a schedule to allow for study abroad; designing a schedule for a non-science major; evaluating strategies for students who decide to pursue medicine later in their college career; finding an academic path for the student who experienced a rough start.
- Career Education: The Career Counselors can help you decide on a major or minor using a variety of techniques. They may also be helpful if you discover that your original career plan is not as appealing as you once thought, and need to make a change.
ENHANCEMENT: In order to stand out among the many other applicants for professional school, you need more than good grades in the required courses. To enhance your credentials, use the following resources:
- College Sponsored Programs: The EL Health Care Shadowing Term and the Shadow Program offer experience without credit. The Allied Health Internship offers experience in PA, PT, and OT for two or four credits. Many service opportunities, some medical in nature, are available through the Gateway Civic Engagement Office.
- Health Coaching: After one semester of learning about chronic disease conditions, our health care system, and the psychology of change, students are assigned to a patient with chronic disease to work with them to improve their health. The course is co-taught by an Allegheny professor and professionals from the Meadville Medical Center.
- Research: Although every Allegheny student does scholarly research in their senior year, you may want to participate in this endeavor before that time. Many students work with faculty members over the summer, or during the school year in an independent study. Students who want research as part of their career will want to have experience off campus as well. Such opportunities as SURP, PTEI, and many others are available for this purpose. Most have early deadlines and are quite competitive.
- Summer Internships and Jobs: Both research and clinical opportunities fall under this category. Gator Connect is an excellent resource for searching for a summer job or internship.
- Summer Programs for Minority and Disadvantaged Students: Many medical and dental schools have summer programs designed to help minority and disadvantaged students enhance their credentials. The SHPEP programs are the best known of this type.
- Domestic or Global Relief Programs: Alternative Spring Break trips and service learning EL Term trips provide this type of experience. There are a number of international programs available such as Unite for Sight and International Service Learning. International programs tend to be expensive, and, although many are reputable, some are not. Investigate them carefully.
- Read About Medicine: A good way to enhance your knowledge of medicine is to read about it. The Health Professions Library has an extensive collection of books on medicine (mostly human and public health, some dental and veterinary) that you are encouraged to borrow. Learn about the issues, ethics, economics, joys, and challenges of medicine. The Tuesday Science section of the New York Times is also an excellent resource for current issues in medicine as well as other scientific fields. Many professional schools send us their quarterly and alumni magazines. There is much to be learned from these resources.
- Medical Ethics Lecture: Every year Allegheny hosts a noted specialist in medical ethics. Attend the lecture. Consider taking the medical ethics course (Philosophy). Many other lectures offered at the college have relevance to medical practice.
FINANCIAL RESOURCES: Some of the experiences you find will require financial resources. There are funds available to help you obtain these experiences. Do not let expense prevent you from seeking an opportunity.
- Health Professions Office: Money is available for gas mileage, conferences, group travel (partial assistance), and other minor expenses though the Health Professions Advisor. See Ms Peterson (KP) for more information.
- Gateway Funds: Students may apply once a year for Gateway funding. They must meet with a Career Counselor and submit an application at least 6 weeks in advance of the experience. A bit of careful planning, however, may allow you to experience an opportunity that you might not be able to afford otherwise.
- Get Creative: Car pool, share a room, stay with a friend. For service or faith-based opportunities, consider asking local service clubs, your church, and family members to help support you.
TEST PREPARATION: The professional schools expect you to take graduate admissions tests such as the MCAT, DAT, and GRE only one time (although a re-take is possible). So, you must prepare well for whatever test is required for your type of school.
- Practice Tests: One of the most important ways to prepare for a standardized test is to take as many practice tests as possible. Understanding the structure of the test, knowing how questions will be asked, and having a sense of timing will help you do your best.
- Prep Courses: Prep courses are expensive ways to prepare for the MCAT, but may be helpful if you feel you need the structure of a class, or suffer from test anxiety. On-line courses are also available. Other test prep courses may be available to take over the summer in large cities or on university campuses.
- Study Guides: Many companies publish prep guides, as do the testing companies. The AAMC, for example, publishes an excellent study guide for the MCAT. Excellent prep programs for the DAT and OAT are published by Scholarware. It is important to know what will be on the test and how questions will likely be presented. Seniors who have already taken their exams may be happy to give or sell you their materials. The Health Professions library houses several popular prep guides as well as supplemental study material.
PERSONAL: It is important to take care of yourself. You will do your best work if you eat healthy food, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly. Sometimes, however, our lives get out of balance and we need more than just good common sense. Use the college resources to restore balance in your life.
- Counseling Center: The counselors can help you with everything from homesickness to mild anxiety to chronic mental health issues. Even if you do not think your problem is “that bad”, it often helps to talk to someone trained to help you help yourself. A good way to get connected is to visit with one of the therapy dogs on Monday afternoons.
- Yoga and Meditation: There are yoga classes taught on a regular basis. One of the special interest houses hosts meditation sessions.
- Learning Commons: Poor time management or study skills can generate considerable anxiety and frustration. Seek assistance from the helpful folks at the Learning Commons.
- Get Some Exercise: Work out at the Wise Center. Cross country ski at Robertson Field. Play frisbee. Or just go for a walk. You will feel better.
- Get Some Perspective: Volunteering at the Soup Kitchen, tutoring a 3rd grader struggling with math, or chatting with a lonely nursing home resident may make your troubles seem smaller. Even if it doesn’t, you have helped someone else.