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Pre-Health Program

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Information For High School Students and Parents

Choosing a healthcare career is a major commitment – with regard to time and money. Most careers require the completion of a 4 year Bachelor’s degree and then the completion of a graduate degree, which can be anywhere from 2-6 years beyond college depending on the career. PA schools are typically around 2 years, whereas medical, veterinary, and dental schools are 4+ years.

Given the time and expense, having an idea that this is really a career for you before you start down this path is important. Some of the ways to learn more about what it means to be a doctor, PA, veterinarian, or other health professional include spending time shadowing or interviewing the health professional, volunteering at a hospital or clinic, doing your research on-line, and considering summer health and science camps offered by colleges and health professions schools. Marist does offer a two week Summer Pre-Health Pre-College Institute for high school students.

It is also important to reflect on your skills, strengths, motivation, and interests. Accomplished and happy healthcare professionals tend to have:

  • a strong interest in science
  • the deep desire to help others
  • the willingness to work hard for long hours
  • the ability to persevere and take criticism

Some reasons to reconsider becoming a health professional include:

  • pressure from others as a primary reason for pursuing healthcare
  • being interested primarily in the drama shown in medical television shows
  • discomfort around body fluids, needles, and/or stressful environments

One of the primary criteria for acceptance into any health career graduate program is academic distinction. Challenging yourself in high school will help you be better prepared for the rigors of college. Taking a variety of math, English, and advanced science courses are advised, as is a foreign language – Spanish being particularly helpful in American healthcare.

Another important criterion for entering the healthcare field is personal integrity coupled with the desire to help others. Being involved in activities that demonstrate you care about your community, society, and other people is essential. Look for opportunities that you can continue to be involved with even after you go to college.