As you navigate your college experience, you develop a profile of who you are and how you will be perceived. Below are some thoughts to help you get started. Remember, becoming a well-round and qualified applicant is not simply checking things off a list. Be fully engaged in your academics and take advantage of the many opportunities part of the college experience.
1. Do well in all of your courses. Both the cumulative GPA and the science GPA are considered in applications to professional health programs. Be sure to use the "help" centers on campus, including CFAR, The Mac Center, the Connors Writing Center (Durham) and the Center for Academic Enrichment (Manchester). In addition, many departments/professors offer help sessions for their courses as well as keep lists of student tutors. Utilize professors' office hours to ask questions.
2. Get to know your professors. When you apply to professional schools, you will need in-depth letters of recommendation from UNH faculty, both in your major and the sciences. Try to make yourself known to your professors by asking questions in class, seeing them during office hours, becoming a teaching assistant, and getting involved in on-campus research.
3. Demonstrate professionalism in your face-to-face and email interactions. Be sure to manage your online presence.
4. Well-rounded applicants are more interested in Health profession programs than those that are narrowly focused. Take a wide variety of courses. Challenge yourself to learn more about other people and cultures. Stay informed by reading and listening to news about world events, issues in health, health policy, and social problems. Courses that will develop your reading comprehension and both written and verbal communication skills are especially helpful.
5. Get involved in your community. Become comfortable working with people from diverse backgrounds. Health care professionals work with people from around the world, from all socio-economic backgrounds and with a wide variety of belief systems.
6. Keep a journal of your experiences and your reactions. These experiences may be paid, volunteer, sports, clubs, student organizations; the list is up to you. Jot down your role, responsibilities, what you liked/disliked, memorable moments and interactions, events that stood out. Were there experiences that helped reinforce/develop your strengths or made you realize you were uncomfortable and need to become better in those settings? Include supervisor names and dates of involvement. When you need to develop your resume and personal essay, the information will be in your journal.
7. Research and determine which health professions you are interested in. Research the possibilities at ExploreHealthCareers.org, Career Cornerstone Center. Start exploring your interests as early as possible.
8. Start getting experience in a health professional setting and ensure that some of your experience involves direct patient contact. Experiences can be gained in a variety of ways, including volunteering at a local hospital, clinic, or nursing home; or becoming a Nursing Assistant or certified as an EMT through UNH and working for an ambulance corps. Other non-health-related community service experiences are also beneficial, but they cannot substitute for direct patient contact. You may also want to shadow physicians, PAs, or PTs to gain a first-hand perspective on the profession. Please review the Experiential Opportunities page to learn more about some of the local opportunities.
9. Investigate different programs to see where you would like to apply. Once you have determined your field of interest, have begun your sciences and gained experience to confirm your interest - start to look at programs. This is especially important if you think about Physician Assistant or Physical Therapy programs since each program has its own pre-requisites. The most current information is usually available at the organization and school websites.
10. Behave responsibly. Health professions programs will ask if you have ever been arrested or sanctioned by a university judicial conduct board.