The first of three Summer Orientation And Registration (SOAR) sessions is coming up this week. Over 120 incoming freshmen will come to campus Thursday for two days of introduction to McMurry’s freshman culture, meeting with faculty associated with their chosen majors, and signing up for courses. About 10% of those students will be Biology Department majors. For them, the decisions on course selection will be among three typical freshman sequences: Anatomy & Physiology I for Nursing and Life Science majors; Botany (and possibly Unicellular Organisms) for Biology majors, and Introduction to Scientific Research (and possibly Unicellular Organisms) for BIMS majors.
Those with an interest in a pre-professional field (medicine, dentistry, physical therapy, pharmacy, etc.) will sign up for a new pre-health professions seminar to introduce them to the expectations of professional schools and give them practical experience in doing those things that make a student competitive for the admissions process. Our incoming BIMS students will take Introduction to Scientific Research (ISR) to hone their critical thinking skills as they learn to look at the world, ask important questions, and design experiments to find answers. It is a new world for those whose high school science courses were pretty much “same old, same old” approaches to science. As I’ve explained in earlier posts, BIMS is a refreshingly new approach to teaching science that whets the appetite and engages the mind to learn how life works in new and lasting ways.
More on SOAR in the weeks to come.
Starting next fall, McMurry students interested in receiving the coveted composite letter of evaluation from McMurry will be expected to enroll in a series of four pre-health professions seminars. These one-hour seminars for future doctors, dentists, veterinarians, physical therapists, and pharmacists will be taught by Dr. Larry Sharp.
Applicants to health professions schools may have submitted on their behalf letters of support from individuals or a composite letter submitted by the health committee from their college. The advantage of a composite letter is its provision of an unvarnished and comprehensive view of the student’s abilities and preparation, rather than the questionably honest perspective of the most favorable letter a student could solicit. A composite letter provides a fair and balanced view of student ability and performance. To insure our faculty have ample opportunity to see first-hand a student’s strengths and weaknesses, and to provide an environment where those positive attributes can be developed, we will encourage them to take the pre-health seminars.
The four pre-health seminars are intended to prepare students to be competitive applicants to professional schools. The first two semesters get students off on the right foot in writing personal statements, exploring the field more fully, meeting with and shadowing professionals in their chosen field, and preparing for their future entrance exams. In the second year, the returning students will serve as mentors for first-year students while taking their own preparation to the next level. More attention is paid to exposure to the field and growth as a leader. Students will participate in mock interviews, review for and take practice entrance exams, and receive other valuable experience to give them insight into health professions and the expectations of health programs needed to become a highly-sought applicant. Four semesters – two years – will be invested into the competitiveness of each student.