This is a facet of the program that is designed to provide students with practical experience in preparing a professional school application and conducting themselves in a professional school interview situation.
Each fall semester, the Program Chair meets with the pre-health professions students who are juniors or who plan to apply to professional schools beginning at the end of the current academic year. The Chair explains the process to the students and addresses their questions and concerns. HPAC application packets are distributed and students are given a deadline for their completion and submission to the Program Chair.
“At JCU, not only did I know many of my professors well, but they helped me build the kind of environment which allowed me to grow.” – Alena Neton ‘07
Then, in the spring semester, the Program Chair recruits faculty and administrators to serve on the committee. After all student applications have been received and faculty members recruited, each student is assigned a committee consisting of the Program Chair and two to three other faculty members. Each student is assigned a date to meet with their full committee; prior to this date the student should have scheduled an interview time with each assigned committee member, including the Program Chair. Each Committee member submits to the Program Chair written commentary assessing each student interviewed regarding his or her suitability for the profession(s) and professional school(s) to which the student indicates he or she intends to apply. The evaluation parameters, as set forth by the National Association of Advisors for Health Professions (NAAHP), are as follows:
- Academic Accomplishments: the science GPA, coursework rigor, overall coursework variety and difficulty, and honors, scholarships, and other recognition.
- Intellectual ability and interest in life-long learning.
- Social intelligence: demonstration of appropriate interpersonal skills, ability to empathize, effective teamwork, and cultural awareness.
- Practical intelligence: leadership, time management, fiscal management.
- Emotional intelligence: professionalism, ethics, morality, emotional stability, competency to self assess and improve.
- Observational and diagnostic skills; manual dexterity and fine motor skills (especially for dentistry).
- Written and oral communication skills.
- Knowledge of the profession.
(from: Chuck, E.T. (2009) Competency-based holistic evaluation of pre-health applicants. The Advisor 29(2): 30-36)
The program chair then constructs a letter of evaluation/recommendation for each student based on all of the information gathered along with any personal knowledge he or she has of the student. When the letter is completed, the Program Chair notifies the student that he or she can request that the letter be sent to the appropriate professional program. The Program Chair also gives the student some feedback regarding his or her strength as an applicant to professional school. The letters are kept on file for at least five years, so that students who are unsuccessful in gaining admittance to professional school the first time or who need to shore up their credentials before applying to professional school can request an updated version of the letter at a later date.