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Start your journey to the health professions this summer!

By Taryn Hayes, Marketing and Program Coordinator, Division for Health Sciences Diversity, Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Health Sciences PipelineWhether you are looking forward to your first day of summer vacation, or you are thinking about your first day of middle, high school or college it is never too soon to begin your journey to a career as a health care professional.

In the fall of 2016, 17.5 million students enrolled in undergraduate programs in the United States. As this number continues to increase, distinguishing yourself from other students will be crucial to your future success. How? That’s what the VCU Health Sciences Pipeline is here to answer!

The VCU Pipeline features programs and initiatives for students just like you in their journey toward a health care profession! We aim to educate, excite and expose diverse students to various health care professions by providing them with hands on experiences, resources to strengthen their academic skills and simply helping them make informed decisions while pursuing the health care profession of their choice. From Dental Hygiene to Physical Therapy, our programs explore various disciplines and give you the opportunity to learn from current college students, health care professionals and admissions faculty about the extensive and exciting options in the health care field.

Your senior year of high school or college may seem light years away but molding yourself into a competitive applicant for admissions to a health professions program can start now. As the school year comes to an end, consider how to take advantage of your free time during the summer! While you are spending your first few weeks relaxing, be sure to take time to find local organizations or causes that you are passionate about. Health care professions are characterized as helping professions and being involved in your community demonstrates your desire to serve to undergraduate health professions programs.

VCU Health Sciences Pipeline

As a student interested in a health care profession, focusing your efforts on a health related cause or volunteering in a healthcare setting is a great idea and gives you the opportunity to bolster your resume. Taking initiative and creating your own opportunities is essential if you are interested in gaining hands-on experiences. Reaching out to local health care providers for shadowing opportunities or researching various internships are just a couple of great ways to find meaningful experiences.

VCU Health Sciences PipelineOkay, now let’s talk about the tough stuff - grades. While college admissions consider more than grades, a good GPA with rigorous coursework is incredibly important. Successful college students study about 40 hours a week or more. Developing effective study skills now will be beneficial when your college roommate is frantically cramming for the biology final and you are watching your favorite Netflix series because you have been studying for weeks.

Competitive applicants demonstrate effective time management and strong interpersonal and communication skills through their engagement in extracurricular activities Whether you are on the lacrosse team or have a starring role in your school play, maintaining a good GPA while being involved demonstrates these skills to college admissions. Even if you are not eligible your freshman year, consider taking on leadership roles within your student organizations throughout your high school career.

As this academic year comes to an end, be sure to check out our website to learn about our pipeline programs and our application process. Feel free to contact us if you would like to learn more about the VCU Pipeline or if you would like to support our students!

Remember, the journey from student to health professional starts with one step. Take it with us.

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