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Premedical post-baccalaurate program helps students join healthcare field

It is not unheard of for Brandeis students to change their majors throughout their undergraduate careers. Some students begin their first years intending to pursue a pre-med track, but at some point in their college career, they change their mind and work toward other goals. For any student who pursued an interest other than healthcare in their undergraduate career but who now wants to pursue healthcare, Brandeis’ Premedical Post-Baccalaureate Program could be for them.

To better understand this program, The Brandeis Hoot spoke with Jean Deo, the Senior Advisor in Pre-Health Advising in addition to the Program Manager for the Premedical Post Baccalaureate Program, who has been employed at Brandeis since October of 2017. According to her, this program markets itself towards students who studied another topic in undergrad and are now hoping to apply their knowledge of another subject to a career in healthcare.

In the words of Deo, “A major advantage to being a non-traditional pre-health student is having time to pursue interests outside of medicine and then bringing that diversity of thought and experience to the healthcare field. Our students are critical and innovative thinkers and bring a maturity and wealth of experience to our program.”

This can be done through two different tracks: The Career Changer track or the Finisher track. In both tracks, students complete between 10-12 credits of science and other coursework per semester. Students who have not taken any college level classes in science and need to complete all of their prerequisites before heading into a healthcare career should elect to participate in the Career Changer track, which begins with General Chemistry and General Biology. On the other hand, the Finisher track is for those who took General Chemistry and General Biology in college but still need to take other prerequisite courses. These students take Organic Chemistry in the summer as the first part of the program and then take the rest of their pre-requisite classes in the academic year that follows.

According to Deo, the premedical post-bacc program is based on a cohort model. This means that students both take classes and take part in activities together. Using this model, Deo says that “our hope is that students will benefit, socially and academically, from having a tight knit peer group of folks pursuing similar goals.” To help achieve this goal, class sizes are kept small—they consist of about 10 to 15 students per year.

Two new features have been added to enrich this year’s program: An alumni mentorship program and a first year service project. In the alumni membership program, first-year students are matched with alumni of the program who are either involved in clinical training or have become licensed, practicing clinicians. About the first year service project, Deo remarked that first year students within the program choose a local non-profit organization and work together to make a “meaningful service contribution” to the organization that they choose.

Deo has had a wonderful experience with the students who participate in this program. In her words, “working with our students is the most rewarding aspect of my job as Program Manager. I love watching these students, who have limited experiences in science, transform into scientists and future clinicians. Furthermore, they contribute an incredible diversity of experiences and knowledge to our program and the classroom.”

Deo has the following message for anyone who might be interested in learning more about the program: “My home here on campus is the Pre-Health Advising Office, housed within Academic Services. Interested students can email me (phapostbac@brandeis.edu) or schedule an appointment to meet with me by calling Academic Services (781-736-3470) or booking online. We are reviewing applications for the 2019-2020 academic year now, with April 15 and May 15 deadlines for the Finisher Track and Career Track programs respectively.”

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