COSAM News Articles 2020 November COSAM’s Commitment to the Student Experience – Katy Crider

COSAM’s Commitment to the Student Experience – Katy Crider

Published: 11/03/2020

By: Katy Crider

COVID has obviously changed what higher education looks like for much of 2020. This summer, Mrs. Beverley Childress and I strategically planned the fall semester pre-health events in a way that provides the education and support our pre-health students need and deserve while keeping health and safety as a priority. Because our office regularly hosts large meetings and utilizes the expertise of various guest speakers including representatives of professional school programs or practicing health professionals, our meetings and events have been virtual this semester. Below are a few of our regular events and meetings: 

  • Individual & Group Pre-Health Advising Meetings:
    • Beverley Childress and I meet with students on a regular basis who are interested in careers in various health professions through Zoom for individual and group advising. I advise students on the steps they should take to become competitive applicants including shadowing, participating in community service, medically related experiences, leadership activities, research, and admission test preparation. I have started incorporating more group appointments since March that mirror the Anatomy of an Applicant workshops that I held in fall 2019. These group appointments allow more students to meet with me at the same time, where they learn about the timeline of the application process, standardized exam preparation, the anatomy of an applicant (looking at academic and non-academic metrics), etc. In these group appointments, we also examine the academic and non-academic metrics of sample applicants as a group and discuss their competitiveness, and, if applicable, steps these applicants can take to become more competitive. So far, I have found that students who meet with me individually after attending these group sessions have a better understanding of the steps needed to become competitive applicants, and we can spend more time examining their personal situations. Mrs. Childress is meeting with current applicants to give them advice about interviewing, writing thank-you notes, continuing to improve their applications so they can submit updates at the end of the semester or in case they have to reapply and congratulating those who are accepted.
  • Pre-Health Orientation Course:
    • I have been instructing two sections of the Pre-Health Orientation Course virtually this semester. There is a waitlist every year for this course, but since it is a synchronous virtual course, I was able to expand the class capacity to allow more students to take it.
  • AED & Other Pre-Health Organizations:
    • Pre-Health organizations like AED, Pre-PA Club, PTOTC and the Pre-Pharmacy Club have been meeting virtually as well this semester. We have noticed large attendance numbers at meetings this semester, especially for AED.
    • The AED Officers held an initiation reception for members who were tapped to become National AED members last spring in the Sciences Center Auditorium on September 29 by maintaining appropriate social distancing and wearing masks.
  • Mock Interviews & School Fair:
    • I recently held mock interviews and a school fair for students interested in Physician Assistant, Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy programs. We had 64 students participate in mock interviews with 13 different representatives from professional schools in our state from the following programs:
      • Alabama State University - Occupational Therapy  
      • Samford University – Physician Assistant & Physical Therapy
      • University of Alabama at Birmingham - Occupational Therapy, Physician Assistant & Physical Therapy
      • University of South Alabama - Physician Assistant & Physical Therapy
    • We had more than 70 students participate in a virtual school fair later that evening where they had the opportunity to meet with representatives and young alumni from Physician Assistant, Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy programs. In the past, we have had a few young alumni from these programs join the school fair, but holding the school fair virtually allowed for more young alumni and even some students who are currently enrolled in these programs to participate. The following programs participated in the school fair:
      • Alabama State University - Occupational Therapy & Physical Therapy
      • Faulkner University – Physical Therapy
      • Mercer University - Physician Assistant, Physical Therapy & Athletic Training
      • Samford University – Physician Assistant & Physical Therapy
      • University of Alabama at Birmingham - Occupational Therapy, Physician Assistant & Physical Therapy
      • University of South Alabama – Occupational Therapy, Physician Assistant & Physical Therapy
    • PPAC:
      • Beverley Childress will lead PPAC (the Pre-Professional Advisory Committee) again this year. PPAC meetings will be held via Zoom and will begin on November 9. PPAC helps Auburn University pre-dental, pre-medical and pre-optometry students with the application process.
    • Recruiting:
      • Our office assists in one-on-one recruiting meetings with prospective pre-health students. We have been holding appointments virtually this semester as well as offering a COSAM virtual tour for these students. During the virtual tour, prospective students have the opportunity to talk with two COSAM leaders about the college, their major(s), experiences, etc.
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