Year 1

Most successful applicants to graduate and professional programs in the health sciences have spent several years in intentional and thoughtful preparation. First-year college students who are interested in pre-medical and other pre-professional health studies should be aware of the competitive nature of the application process, and the requirements for admission to their programs of interest. As an undergraduate student, each Pre-Professional Health Science scholar is required to take a recommended series of courses and outlined activities.

Fall Term

Partner with the PPHS Team: All first year students must attend a Pre-Professional Health Science workshop in order to introduce themselves to the PPHS director and administrator. These workshops are recommended to help students to develop a four-year blueprint designed to prepare them for application to their particular program of interest. The PPHS administrator will guide each student to portfolio development.

Begin volunteering: Even though all successful applicants to medical school and other graduate programs in the health professions should explore clinical experiences, which we will discuss later, it is important for students to deepen their experience in other areas as well. Service is a fundamental motivation for a career in the health professions. According to Dorothy Height, “Community service…is important to the person who serves as well as the recipient. It's the way in which we ourselves grow and develop.” On a practical level, several studies have uncovered a relationship between decreased empathy and less altruistic professional values and burnout among medical professionals. Hence, we encourage students to engage in community service from the beginning of their personal explorations into health care.

SPU’s PPHS program emphasizes an incremental approach to community service. Graduate programs and professional schools look for evidence that applicants are not simply "checking off” their requirements. Our counsel is to avoid the short-term immersive missions experience mentality. Instead, we call for students to embrace a long-term and sustained approach to their non-clinical service work among the underserved. This incremental approach demonstrates leadership, commitment, responsibility, and public service as personal values. The PPHS director will require documented participation in an acceptable community-based program in the United States as a prerequisite to PPHS advisor assignment and continued participation in the program.

Every PPHS student should visit the John Perkins Center to discover Urban Involvement opportunities to get involved with community service based on the principles of Christian Community Development.

Winter Term

Begin the PPHS course series: Freshmen students must enroll in PPHS 1200: Introduction to the Health Professions. Our PPHS faculty have designed the course to acquaint students with the general academic requirements and extracurricular preparation that pre-professional health science students must fulfill to gain acceptance into these advanced programs. Since these programs are graduate-level degree programs, SPU’s prerequisite coursework pathway is called Pre-Professional Health Sciences (PPHS). As the course is aligned with SPU’s vocational initiative, we will explore these careers through the lens of Christian vocation.

Begin research on careers in health care: Most successful applicants to graduate and professional programs have spent several years preparing. It is important that you avoid the “black box” mentality to your program of interest. Dental, medical, veterinary, and other health science programs will have overlapping and school-specific admission requirements. The information on the Career Paths tab above will assist you in planning your path to becoming a medical professional. We will collect your research in PPHS 1200.

Other helpful resources:

Links to Health Professions Websites (NEAAHP)
Medical School 101 (AAMC)
Summer Health Professions Education Program

Spring Term

Prepare to shadow: Pre-health students need to gain experience through physician shadowing and volunteering in hospitals or other clinical settings. It is extremely important that students are certain that they want to seek such a career and pursue clinical experience to learn about the profession. Competitive physician assistant candidates have more than the minimum 2,000-hours paid, direct, hands-on clinical patient care, usually in primary care or emergency medicine. The PPHS director will require documented shadowing experience as a prerequisite to PPHS advisor assignment and continued participation in the program.

Year One Roadmap

This roadmap provides a checklist of action steps for first-year PPHS students.