Picture of SDSU

San Diego State University
Preprofessional Health Advising Office

Bridge at sunset

Spring 2014

BIOLOGY 249 Schedule #23896


Monday 3:00 pm-3:50 p.m., Room # LS-134

Dunia Anwar, Hilary Chan and Zach Martinez

Instructor: Estralita Martin Assistant Dean, College of Sciences

Preprofessional Health Advising Office GMCS-323
Phone: 594-6638

Prerequisites: An interest in a career in the health fields.

Course Content: This seminar course is designed to provide a survey of health-related careers and to teach students about the preprofessional health school admissions process, from opening a file in the SDSU Preprofessional Health Advising (PPHA) Office through the application procedure.

Required Text:
Huntington, Barbara and Masse, Linda, 2003. Writing About Me: A step by step guide to developing a powerful personal statement for your application to schools of medicine, dentistry, chiropractic, optometry, pharmacy, physician assistant, podiatry and veterinary medicine.

Recommended Text:
Iserson, K.V. 2004. Get Into Medical School, Second Edition

AAMC. Medical School Admission Requirements 2008-2009, United States and Canada. (bookstore- Study/Reference)

There are other admissions requirements books for Dentistry (ADEA), Pharmacy (AAPC), Veterinary Medicien (AAVMC), etc that can be found on-line through the college organizations.

Medley, A. Sweaty Palms. 1992. Ten Speed Press.

Sanchez, Carlos, MD. The Soul of the Condor: A Forgotten Holocaust. 1996.

Course Evaluation: C/NC based on:
1) Attendance (based on weekly journal)
Students must attend all class sessions. Submission of your weekly journal will substantiate your attendance. ONLY ONE UNEXCUSEDABSENCE IS ACCEPTED and must be made up by submitting a one-page paper on the missed topic no later than one week after the absence. Two excused absences (illness, death in family) will be accepted but they must be submitted in writing to Dr. Martin no later than one week after the absence.

2) Timely submission of assignments and weekly journal.

Homework must be typed and is due at the beginning of each class. The speaker review sheet must be submitted before leaving class. In cases of excused absences, homework will be accepted up until the next class meeting. Please retain copies of all assignments. Only three late assignments are allowed in order to get credit for the class, and that they are to be turned in up until a week after they are due. The Personal Statement and the Ethics Paper are not included in assignments that are allowed to be late, they must be turned in on time.



Health care professionals are held to high ethical standards. Please be aware of the school's policy on academic dishonesty requiring professors to report all cases of academic dishonesty.

Due Date Assignment
January 27

Obtain a copy of the 2014 application from an application service (AMCAS, AACOMAS, VMCAS, AADSAS, PHARMCAS, CASPA, AACPMAS) or a specific allied health school using the application for the field you are most likely going to enter. Download the application from the web. Do this immediately. Some applications will go off-line in the very near future. Be sure to copy/download/print your completed application before February 1!

Obtain Transcripts (these are just for your use, so unofficial transcripts are fine) so that you have a record of every college class you have ever taken (including college classes taken during high school).

Purchase Writing about Me and read Chapter One.

Feb. 3

Read Chapter 2 of Writing about Me and turn in Self Assessment Step I.

Assignment due (Write 1/2 to 1 page) Title: Personal Statement Starter #1: What special attributes/skills/experiences/languages make you unique? (This will help you get started with the personal statement)

Feb 10

Assignment due (Title: Health Careers): List three health careers that you are most interested in and five attributes/activities important to ensure your acceptance. Do some research!

Assignment due (Write 1/2 to 1 page) Title: Personal Statement Starter #2: What pivotal experience(s) made you realize you wanted to pursue (or strengthened your desire to pursue) your chosen health career?

Feb 17

Continue reading Chapter 2 of Writing about Me and turn in Self Assessment Steps 2 & 3.

Assignment due (Write 1/2 to 1 page) Title: Personal Statement Starter #3: Describe a personal role model in the health professions. What attributes of that person do you admire?

February 24

Assignment (Ethical Topic Thesis):

1.) Finish research on the ethical issue you signed up for at the first class.
2.) Find and list three sources on your ethical issue. (Record in APA format)
3.) Write a thesis statement on your ethical topic. (1 paragraph)
4) Keep a copy of your topic thesis to assist you in preparing for the ethics discussion and your rough draft. Be sure that your references are from authors with opposing viewpoints.

March 3

Finish reading Chapters 2 & 3 of Writing about Me and turn in Self Assessment Steps 4 & 5.

Assignment due (Write 1/2 to 1 page) Title: Personal Statement Starter #4: How did you test your desire to be a physician/dentist/nurse/etc? (Research? Volunteering? Clinical Work? Shadowing?...) Include any special intances where you felt inspired or enthusiastic about medicine.

March 10

Work on personal statement.

March 17

Fill out the biographical data part of your professional school application as well as colleges attended, awards, honors, work and volunteer activities

March 24

Submit a draft of your Applicant Essay/Statement of Purpose (2-3 pages, double-spaced). If you feel your life experiences are limited, you may include those you plan for the future.


April 7

Assignment due -Ethics Paper: Submit a three to five page (double spaced, 12 pt.) essay on a current ethical issue in healthcare. Be sure to provide citations for all ideas and quotes within the text with a list of references at the end. Regular and/or on-line journals may be used. A minimum of three references must be used. Be sure to include references from both sides of the issue (not one side's viewpoint of the other side). Include at least one reference from an on-line source. Be sure to follow the guidelines for listing a web source.

Note: Refer to "Writing a Paper for the PPHA Office" and "Ethics in the Age of the Web" for information on research and writing a paper. Remember, do not cite Wikipedia or other mass media.

April 14

Fill out coursework section of your professional school application

April 21

Assignment due (Write 1-2 pages) Title: Where Do I see Myself in 10 years? (A common secondary application question.)Where do you see yourself in ten years from the time you apply to medical (pharmacy, dental, veterinary, optometry) school? Where are you practicing? (Area, specialty, location, hospital/private or group practice?) What about your personal life? What will you have accomplished? do you know exactly what you want to do? Why or why not? Keep an open mind when explaining where you thik you will be. don't limit your future by narrowing your options. You will probably see this question again on your secondary applications.
April 28

Work on final Assignment

May 5

Submit your portfolio for this class. It should include:

  • Your completed health professional school application (AMCAS, AADSAS, AACOMAS, etc.) including a revised applicant essay and all completed and planned coursework.
  • A paragraph delineating other careers that could be pursued by someone with a prehealth curriculum background.
  • Re-evaluate the list of the top three career choices you made at the beginning of this class. Have they changed? List your top three choices today.
  • Create a list of the top three professional schools you would like to attend. For each school list:
    1. The average standardized test scores for accepted applicants
    2. The average GPA for accepted applicants
    3. Does the school have any specific scholastic, volunteer, or other requirements?
    4. Does the school subscribe to a common application ­ is a secondary application required if they do?
    5. What is the approximate tuition cost for one year?
May 12 (4 pm.) Finals--Come to class, pick up any remaining assignments, and complete evaluation of speakers.
*Please retain copies of everything you turn in. Be sure your name is on each page!

Topics for Spring
Date Speaker Topic
January 27

Class Coordinators

Introduction to the course. Sign up for ethical paper topic.

February 3

Sue Hollander, SDSU Science Reference Librarian--Meet in the library, LA-78.

Meet in the library, LA-76.(To get to LA76, take either the dome stairs or elevator down two levels to the basement. On your left is long hallway. Head down that hallway to the picture of the garden gate. LA76 is to the right of the picture.

How to find peer reviewed journals and avoid plagiarism

February 10

Jaime Ferguson, DDS-Smile by the Sea

February 17

Aaron Werner, OD Werner Optometry

February 24

Roy Phillips, DPM- DPM Podiatrist, Podiatry Clinic

March 3 TBA
March 10 Andrew Myerson, PA
Physician Assistant

March 17

Marc Matanza, D.C. – San Diego A.C.T.I.V.E. Chiropractic & Wellness Center


March 24

Paul Curry, MD - Hoag Hospital


March 31 Spring Break Spring Break

April 7

Ethics Paper Due and Presentations  
April 14 Presentations continued  
April 21

Gary Vilke, MD

Emergency Medicine and the UCSD RA Program
April 28 Jacob Fleming, DO

Osteopathic Medicine

May 5

Brooke Best, Pharm, D Clinical Research--UCSD Skaggs School of Pharmacy


UCSD Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceuticals Associate Dean of Admissions