Office of Pre-Health Programs prepares students for MCAT, applications, and jobs in medicine

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The Healthcare Opportunity Program Experience (HOPE) Program is a partnership with the Virtua healthcare system to obtain a phlebotomy certification and training. Students who graduate from the program are employed by Virtua and also can receive credit for their work. The program started in 2021 and has successfully graduated 19 students. - Graphics Editor / Julia Quennessen

As the year kicks up to speed, Rowan’s office of pre-health programs is releasing a broad variety of resources and opportunities for students aspiring to careers in healthcare. Some programs include a reduced-price Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) preparation course through The Princeton Review, a phlebotomy certification pathway, and research opportunities.

MCAT is a required exam for students applying to medical schools. The exam’s results weigh heavily on applicants and their odds of getting into medical degree programs.

“It is something that needs to be prepared for and it’s something that takes a while like this is not a test that you just study for a month and you go in. We’re encouraging students to really take the time to incorporate their MCAT prep study into their schedules,” said Assistant Director of the Office of Pre-Health Programs Keyona Walker. 

The MCAT prep program in partnership with The Princeton Review closed registration on Monday, Sept. 25. It’s catered to and exclusively for Rowan students and costs $1,099. It will run from Oct. 18 to Feb. 28 with the class meeting virtually from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but lecture recordings and notes will be posted online for students enrolled in the course as well. The partnership program has been in effect for several years and is offered annually. According to Walker, the program will continue to be offered in the future.

Walker also shed some light on The Healthcare Opportunity Program Experience (HOPE) Program that is also offered through the office of pre-health programs. HOPE is a partnership with the Virtua healthcare system to obtain a phlebotomy certification and training. Students who enroll and graduate from the program are employed by Virtua and also can receive credit for their work. The program started in 2021 and has successfully graduated 19 students. 

“We’ve been doing this for about four semesters now. And students are getting clinical hours, they’re getting employment and exposure to the Virtua hospital system as Rowan students,” said Walker. 

So far, the program has been a success and will therefore continue to be an option for Rowan students looking to pursue careers in medicine. 

According to Julius Grayson, the pre-health advisor, both the MCAT prep and HOPE programs are valuable to students and are part of an effort to empower students interested in health professions. 

“Our office has just been intentional about building different experiences as well as different resources and collaborations with Virtual with the Princeton Review. So that way we can provide these resources to students looking to transition into those health professional careers,” Grayson said. 

HOPE and MCAT prep are just two of several programs and opportunities put together by the Office of Pre-health Programs. Grayson listed off several others, many of them research programs including the Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) and Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE). 

Grayson also noted that the office of pre-health programs is planning their annual experience workshop, which will inform students about opportunities to build experiences related to the medical field. According to Grayson, the workshop will most likely take place in Nov. and students will begin to see it advertised in October.  

According to Grayson building up experiences is vital because it sets students up for success as they apply to graduate programs and medical schools, but it also prepares students to thrive in their careers. 

“We really want our students to be global learners as well as global leaders and so being informed about the different things that will allow them to not only be competitive but be global citizens and in the healthcare realm are extremely important to us,” said Grayson.

Dr. Grace Farber, the director of pre-health programs and an associate dean in the College of Science and Mathematics, also noted the importance of these programs for students. 

“So really experiencing what you want to do, especially when it’s such a large commitment, like going to a professional health school. Really experiencing it, can help an individual feel empowered that they’re following the path that’s right for them,” said Farber.

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