Health Professions - Course of Study
Fairfield's program is designed to prepare you for an exciting career in one of the many fields of the health sciences. Consistent with national standards, there is no major in the health sciences. Although most students choose one of the sciences - biology, chemistry, physics - as a major, it is possible to complete the national requirements for admission to medical school, dental school, or veterinary school while majoring in any of Fairfield's academic programs.
Introduce yourself to Dr. Church and pick up a copy of the Health Professions Handbook. Dr. Church will sit down with you and discuss your plans or thoughts about a career in the health professions. You will then be asked to fill out an enrollment form. This imparts no obligation and should be filled out even if medicine is not your finial objective.
Due to the number of required courses your schedule is tight. In the freshman year you should register for General Chemistry (CH 111 and 112) and college mathematics depending on your level of achievement in high school. While not necessary during freshman year you may consider taking General Biology (BI 170-171).
You should be earning good grades in all your classes, especially the science classes. This year you may register for one or more of Organic Chemistry (CH 211-212), Physics (PS 15-16), and General Biology (BI 170-171).
The best time for students to gain valuable experience within the health care setting is usually during the summer before the junior year. Make sure that you investigate various options for clinical exposure or research with the health professions advisor during the sophomore year so that you know what you will be doing for the summer.
This year you may take any of the above mentioned courses which you may not have taken yet in the first two years. It is strongly recommended that you take at least one English course by this time. Most entrance exams including the MCAT have a verbal section. Scientific thinkers often do poorly on these sections. Therefore it is wise to balance your skills by taking humanities courses which will force you to do critical reading and lots of essay writing. Philosophy, Religion, English and History are good examples.
Most students (excluding pre-meds) take their pre-professional admissions exams at the end of their junior year. Since these exams test your understanding of basic Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics it is imperative that you have completed your required courses by this time. The MCAT is given several times throughout the year, but it is recommended that you take it in late spring/early summer so that your application can be complete by June.
Remember to request a letter of recommendation from the Health Professions Committee. The deadline for applications is April 1. The committee interviews each candidate, reviews their academic performance and votes whether or not to recommend that student. Students whose performance is not up to Fairfield's standards may not be recommended. If this happens, you may support your application with three letters from individual professors in lieu of a committee letter.
Summer Between Junior and Senior Years
This is a busy summer. Now is the best time to fill out applications. This is more complicated than it sounds (will take you hours!) so allow plenty of time. Nearly all health professions schools have rolling admissions so it is to your advantage to get your applications in as soon as possible. However, it is most common for pre-medical students specifically to apply after senior year.
Students who were not ready in the spring or who did poorly on spring entrance exams may elect to take them in the summer.
Your applications should be in and you will be watching the mail. You may have secondary applications to fill out but your real concern should be interviews. See Dr. Church for lists of commonly asked interview questions, or to schedule a mock interview to help you prepare for the BIG day!
If you have finished all core and major requirements you may take whatever classes interest you. This is a great opportunity to learn something special! Remember to keep your GPA up! As a rule, medical students should have at least a 3.5. If your GPA drops below 3.0 it is unlikely that you will be accepted into any American medical schools. Other programs have somewhat lower GPA requirements, but whatever your aspirations you should strive to stay above 3.0.