Medical students hope one day to help patients by using three principles: to prevent, to treat and to educate. However, even those who plan on helping others need help and guidance of their own.
Francisco Castillo, coordinator at the Health Professions Advising Office at Cal State University Long Beach, held a workshop on April 22 in SR 138 on how students can plan their choice of medical schools to attend and which career to choose. The workshop began at noon and was attended by an audience of more than 40.
Castillo began the workshop by addressing questions that are asked most frequently by students, such as whether being a transfer student from a community college is a drawback.
“You are not at a disadvantage if you are a community college transfer student,” said Castillo. “As long as you do well and work hard in the four-year school it will be fine.” He also noted that the time for community college students to graduate is longer than four years.
He spoke about the “exploration stage” in which students find out information about what medical profession and four-year program is best for them. Castillo recommended that students visit http://www.healthcareers.org for in-depth information on the many careers that the industry offers.
He also recommended that students visit the colleges that they are applying to.
“You should visit the school so you can find out if that school is worth attending for four years or more,” said Castillo. “Talk to the students and visit the workshops at that university.”
Castillo also said that students that they should ask themselves questions about themselves such as, “Am I compassionate?” and “Am I good at communicating?”
“The most important question to ask yourself is, ‘Am I willing to make the commitment?'” said Castillo. “You should ask yourself this question every day, because the road to a health career is a lengthy and difficult process.”
As a result of the stiff competition for admission into medical schools, having a good resume is essential. Castillo said that most GPA requirements are from 3.3 to 3.8.
Aside from strong grades, a strong background of experience such as community service, medically related work and research experiences is highly recommended.
“It is highly recommended that you intern or shadow a professional,” he said. “Not only does this give you an idea what life is like in a medical profession but universities are going to want to know how dedicated you are.”
After the workshop, Castillo said, “I hope students understand the commitment and self-discipline that is needed and do well with their prerequisites. Hopefully [I] motivated them.”
Interested students can call the Health Professions Advising office at (562) 985-5720 or email Castillo at [email protected] Students can also visit the website at http://www.sascenter.org/hpao.