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Health Pre-Professions Policies

The following policies have been approved by the Health Professions Advisory Committee (HPAC) and every attempt should be made to abide by them.  These policies apply to all C-N health pre-professional students (excluding the Nursing and Athletic Training Programs).

For C-N students in health pre-professions, the following are required:

  • Complete and pass ID 208
  • Complete and pass two lab science courses at C-N by two different instructors
  • Experience in the field (at least 40 hours recommended)
  • Interview before the committee
  • Committee composite letter sent to the professional programs

1.  ID 208 Required

ID 208: Career Planning in the Health Professions is required before HP students may complete their HPAC interview.  It is strongly suggested that this course be taken during the first fall semester at C-N.

2.  Residency Requirements for HP Interview

A student must complete with a passing grade a minimum of eight (8) semester hours of laboratory based science courses, taught by at least two different professors at C-N, in order to participate in the HPAC interview/recommendation process.  The HPAC believes that at least two CN professors in science need an academic experience with transfer students before an effective evaluation can be made for professional school.  This residency requirement could potentially impact any transfer students.  Incoming transfer students who plan to participate in a medical school early decision program and therefore need a spring interview during their first year, must pass two C-N lab science courses under two different professors during their first fall semester at C-N.  Transfer students, who need a letter of recommendation before this restriction can be met, will need to get recommendations from former professors at their previous institution.

3.  Career Experience Required for Interview

The Health Professions Advisory Committee believes that before a student can make an educated decision on a career in a specific area of the health professions, the student must have some direct exposure to this career area.  We believe that our students should have a good concept of what they are getting into before spending several years of their life preparing for a career they may not like or be suited for.

We require that students gain this experience before coming before our Committee for their interview (which is required prior to application for admission to professional school).  This experience can be obtained by volunteering or by obtaining a job in a hospital, clinic or private practice.  Furthermore, Hospital Externship (CHEM 308) is designed to allow students to earn academic credit while gaining experience, if this option is desired.  The experience should be in the area of the student's career choice and should be of significant length for the student to gain insights into the career.  Our Committee recommends at least 40 hours of experience in a given career area.  During the advising sessions each semester, please spend a few minutes with your advisor outlining plans to gain this experience prior to the Health Professions interview.

4.  HPAC Interview Requirement

All HP students have been required to come before the HPAC for a 20-minute interview prior to their Committee composite letter of recommendation being written and prior to their application to health professional schools.  Interviews are conducted in the early fall and late spring.

5.   Letters of Recommendation for Admission

For a number of years the HPAC has had the policy that all students needing a letter of recommendation for their application for admission to a health professions school must follow a procedure which culminates in a composite, Committee recommendation letter.  This procedure includes first the student soliciting individual recommendations from across campus on our specific HPAC forms for our files and then coming before our Committee for an interview.  The Committee determines the final level of recommendation for each student and assists in construction of the letter.  The final letter is written by the Director of Health Pre-Professions and proof-read by a member of the Committee.  This letter is held on file in the Office of HP and only upon request by the student is the letter sent to professional schools as part of the student's application process.

Faculty members at C-N are asked not to write individual letters of recommendation to support admissions to health professional schools on behalf of our health professions students.  Rather, please direct the student to the Office of Health Pre-Professions in order to follow our procedure and policy.  Adherence to this policy will help us be more consistent and fair with our students and in our relationships to professional schools.  Of course, this policy does not apply to letters involving graduate school in an academic discipline, summer employment, scholarships, etc.

All past, present, and future C-N students are required to follow this procedure.  All C-N faculty are expected to abide by this policy.  A list of HP schools which will not accept Committee composite letters will be kept on file and in these rare cases individual letters may be sent after approval is given by the Director of Health Pre-Professions.

6.  Origin of Courses

Health professions students are strongly encouraged to complete all science courses which are required in their career area on our campus.  In doing this, the HP faculty more fully understands the depth and grade of our courses and can more effectively evaluate the HP student through the interview/recommendation process.  If science classes are completed elsewhere - a statement is placed in the letter of recommendation indicating the origin of required science courses and drawing appropriate conclusions. 

HP students should be aware that there are some health professional schools that expect required lab science courses to be taken on the home campus.  For example, pre-medical students need to realize that Wake Forest School of Medicine does not presently accept prerequisite courses taken at community colleges.  Our purpose in this encouragement is to prevent our HP students from being limited during their application process and to allow a more accurate evaluation by our HP faculty. 

7.  Career Change After an Interview 

If a student changes from any HP career area to a new area then the student must start over in the interview process including the 4 distributed faculty recommendations, the personal data form, the interview itself (with video, follow up, etc.) and the letter of recommendation.  The exceptions to this policy are: MD/DO, PT/OT, and PA/SA.  This means that a PT student could have his/her letter (with 10 item ranking and overall rating established at a PT interview) sent to an OT school.  This policy is based on the opinion that a student would not have adequate experience in and be genuinely motivated for two different HP careers at once.  These exceptions noted above were granted because of the significant overlap of the career areas.

8.  Repeat Performances

If a student changes their career choice, they must go through the whole process again (see #7 above).  For a student to go through the process a second time in the same career, they must have applied, been rejected in the admission process for that career, and have shown significant improvement in their resume.

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