Warren Wilson College Catalog 06-07

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Pre-Medical Studies

Advisor: Michael A. Torres

If you are interested in a career at any level of medicine (Traditional western medicine), Osteopathy (Traditional medical approach to alleviate the illness and the symptoms), or alternative medicine (Naturopathy, Herbalism, etc.), our advising program will help you design a course of study within our traditional liberal arts curriculum to help you reach your goal. The strength of our college is in providing the appropriate science courses for students interested in the traditional health professions (medicine, osteopathy, dentistry, pharmacy, optometry, chiropractic, and physician assistant) and students interested in admission to alternative medicine programs. Students are encouraged to not simply take a "straight" pre-medicine series of courses, but to also identify and enhance, through internships, service, and work experience, the unique abilities and characteristics that particularly suit them for a career in health care.

ACADEMICS: The Pre-Med and Pre-Allied Health program is not an academic major but a course of study that can be incorporated into any number of Warren Wilson degree-granting programs. Most medical schools require a minimum of one year of biology, two years of chemistry, one year of physics, and highly recommend taking additional science or math courses. Consequently, most pre-med or pre-allied students opt for a degree in either biology or chemistry, but students are encouraged to consider other majors (or minors). It is possible to major in a field outside of the sciences and still take all the recommended and required courses for admission into the school appropriate for the student's career choice.

WORK AND SEVRVICE LEARNING: One of the most important questions applicants to any type of medical school have to answer is "Why do you want to be a ______?" The work and service-learning components of the Warren Wilson Triad are well suited to discovering the answer to this question, and for this reason students are encouraged to devote as much planning to these aspects of their college experience as to their course loads. All types of medical schools are looking for candidates with demonstrated ability to solve problems, work under stress, deal with different personalities, work together in teams, and inspire confidence in others. Both the Service and Work Programs can provide ample opportunity for students to cultivate these skills in themselves. A service-learning project can be a critical component of a student's preparation for a career in healthcare. Students may elect to volunteer with a number of different hospitals, nursing homes, and health education or advocacy groups. This could be a way to learn more about the opportunities available and about the sort of health career that the student would enjoy. Alternatively, students can design extended service projects that specifically address their particular passions and provide practical experience. The service project should be designed and executed in such a way that the student gains a realistic understanding of what it means to practice in their specific field of medicine.

THE CAREER RESOURCE CENTER: Applying to any type of medical program (traditional or alternative) involves dealing with deadlines and a significant amount of paperwork. The advisor, in conjunction with the Career Resource Center, assists the student with assembling this material in a timely manner, critiquing a personal statement, arranging for letters of reference, and, when possible, identifying sources of financial aid. Some careers in medicine require the student to take the MCAT as part of the medical school application, and an ability to excel on standardized exams is required for licensure and continued board certification. For this reason, the Career Resource Center offers coaching and practice for the MCAT. Most of these schools also have an interview as part of the application process. Hence, we also offer coaching and practice in this important area.