Students Benefit from Thriving Pre-Health Programs

Published: November 09, 2009 | Read Time: 3 minutes

Last year, 92 percent of all SUU applicants were accepted into graduate health programs, the University's largest percentage of successful applicants ever. 

And now that midterms have come and gone, and SUU’s most recent pre-health graduates have all settled in to the grueling schedule that goes along with their new health programs, these soon-to-be doctors and dentists are looking back on their undergraduate experience at Southern Utah University with gratitude. 

2009 SUU graduate Laura Fisher, who is now attending The Ohio State University's College of Dentistry, believes she would not have made it to dental school without the unique experience and training she received at SUU. Fisher, one of the first female graduates from SUU to be accepted into dental school, credits her success to the personal assistance she received from her professors and SUU’s Utah Center for Rural Health. 

In the classroom, SUU prepares students for the rigorous graduate work ahead by providing a challenging curriculum, individual attention from highly-qualified professors, and hands-on experience in professional settings. 

Additionally, SUU is home to the Utah Center for Rural Health, which offers a variety of unique experiences through the Rural Health Scholars Program. 

According to Rita Osborn, Associate Director of the Utah Center for Rural Health, “The Rural Health Scholars Program provides students with a complete package of training and graduate school preparation.” 

The program focuses on seven major characteristics that will help strengthen medical or dental school applications: academic ability, extracurricular activities, leadership, community service, research, patient exposure and job shadowing. It is this holistic approach that provides the students with such strong graduate school applications, says Osborn. 

The amount of applied work SUU’s students are able to do beyond the walls of the classroom and the professional partnerships through the Rural Health Scholars Program give Thunderbird students an advantage over students from larger schools who cannot all be accommodated with similar experiential opportunities. 

Fisher, who is enjoying and thriving in her own graduate work, can’t say enough about the strides her SUU experience has helped her make as a student. Through a demanding regimen of volunteering and job shadowing, both of which were available to her through the Rural Health Scholars Program at SUU, Fisher learned to better balance her time and gained an increased understanding of the demands that would soon be placed upon her. 

In addition to hands-on experience, SUU and its Rural Health Scholars Program work to keep students informed and on task when it comes to the application process and graduate school considerations. 

Looking to each student’s future, SUU’s pre-health programs also prepare students for the rigorous environments they will face in graduate school, easing the transition from undergraduate to graduate work. 

With student success rates on the rise, increasing professional and alumni partnerships for SUU’s current students to learn from, and an ongoing focus on students as individuals with varied backgrounds and ambitions, the University's pre-health programs are hoping for even more graduate school acceptances in 2010. Meanwhile, SUU is rooting for those T-Birds who have already taken that next step. Our hopes are justifiably high.

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