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Liberal Arts and Sciences places emphasis on health career advising

February 22, 2008

A health career advising group is being established in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to better serve the growing number of undergraduate students at ASU who are interested in medical and health professions.

The move is the next step in a concentrated effort to increase student success and student retention by strengthening advising and career services. The college has added 18 advisors with support and financial commitment from the provost this past semester. Some of the advisors are in the college’s central Office of Student and Academic Programs, while others were added to academic units, including history, psychology and political science.

“There are now more than 70 advisors and dedicated professional staff across the college who assist students with their academic and career planning needs,” says Jack Nelson, associate dean for student and academic programs in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Two health care advisors will be added to the college’s professional career advising group this spring to assist students who are planning careers in medical and health fields, including dentistry, podiatry, chiropractic, pharmacy, physical therapy and naturopathic medicine. The college’s professional career advising group also provides assistance for pre-law students

“One of the first steps on the path to a medical or health career is to plan early,” Nelson says. “Full-time health career advisors can assist students to choose career paths and courses of study that will prepare them for their chosen careers.”

The health career services will be available to students from across the university; from any major and any campus.

“Students often mistakenly believe that pre-med is a major; it is not,” Nelson says.

Advisors will work with students to explain that medical schools admit students from many different majors, provided students have completed the required pre-med courses. They will help students identify the courses needed to be admitted to professional schools

“Over the last decade medical schools and health professional programs have been increasingly accepting and seeking out applicants with a wide variety of majors as diverse as philosophy, music and history, provided those students have taken the health related courses those schools and program require,” Nelson notes.

“In recent years, students interested in careers in the health care field have been allowed to defer declaring a major until well into their college education. They have been assisted by advisors in the School of Life Sciences who are also responsible for advising that school’s own majors,” Nelson says.

Since a major in life sciences is not required for admission to medical or other health professional post graduate work, health career advising will be centralized in the college’s Office of Student and Academic Programs.

“The previous system is being replaced by one that requires every incoming student to declare a major at or before the time of registration. Academic unit advisors will advise about their own majors, in addition to college and university graduation requirements. Students pursuing a career in a health career field will receive advising pertinent to that field in the new college health career advising group,” Nelson says.

Students will still be able to change majors if their first choice does not work out for them, as has always been the case

Until the college’s new health care advising group is in place, students seeking careers in the health care field will continue to receive advising from the Pre-Health Professions Office in the School of Life Sciences, Nelson notes.

Additional information about health career advising services or other career services is available at 480-965-6506.

Carol Hughes,
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences