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The College of Health Sciences expands partnership preparing students for graduate application process

Kelsey Nelson (left), a career success coach in the College of Health Sciences, meeting with a student in 2019.

Applying to a graduate or professional school, like a medical or dental school, can be an intense and daunting process for students. The College of Health Sciences’ student services and academic advising office is partnering with Boise State Career Services and the Future Physicians’ Club to prepare students for personal statement reading and writing, mock interviews and providing additional preparation.

“Students’ ability to articulate their experience, skills and knowledge is crucial as they come to the next stage in their life,” said Alex Gutierrez, Career Services senior associate director. “I truly value this partnership because it demonstrates the value we all share at Boise State in wanting our students to succeed in life, the community, and their careers.”

On March 30, the Future Physicians’ Club is sponsoring a virtual mock interview event where experts from the college’s advising office and Career Services will conduct mock interviews to give students an idea of what to expect in professional school interviews and to provide personalized feedback. Students who have participated in past mock interviews have felt more comfortable and confident about interviewing for their desired schools.

“The benefits that students receive by participating in these workshops are a place for them to start in a complex application process,” said Erin Colburn, a pre-health professions advising coordinator in the College of Health Sciences. “Each workshop is recorded and shared with any students who are unable to attend, but those who do attend get the most value out of interacting with their peers who are going through the same process and have similar questions.”

Students rotated through offices and practiced interviewing with volunteer faculty, advisors and career counselors and coaches during the first mock mini interview event in 2019. Boise State employees conducted the interviews and then offered feedback to interviewees while an additional 12 students observed. With the positive feedback from participating students, the staff started planning an expansion to help prepare more students for other aspects of the application process. Though COVID disrupted plans in 2020, the team transitioned the mock interviews to a virtual format for fall 2020 and spring 2021.

The team also has offered a personal statement workshop and an interview preparation workshop (find recordings here). Application workshops and a series of current student and alumni panel discussions are in the works as well, where pre-medical, pre-dental and other pre-health students and recent alumni who received acceptances to the professional schools will share their experiences of the application process with current pre-health students.

“This partnership is immensely beneficial because students get to have vital resources shared across our campus,” Colburn said. “I always say that it takes a village to help a student grow and develop. These partnerships model the collaborative behaviors we strive to give our students before they leave and go off to amazing programs. We have the added value of skills honed by Boise State Career Services, the voice of the student’s desires and our amazing advising teams’ knowledge on best practices.”