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SHSU Pre-professional Programs
Gain Momentum

Successful Sam Houston State University graduates do not have to be limited to the careers such as those pursued by Dan Rather and Thaksin Shinawatra. A growing number of successful Sam Houston State graduates are products of the university's pre-professional programs, which often go unnoticed by other students.

Brian Sailer, pre-professional studies adviser, contends that many students fail to realize SHSU offers pre-professional programs.

"We offer two types of pre-professional programs, two-year programs in nursing, occupational, and respiratory therapy and four-year programs in dentistry, dental hygiene, engineering, law, medicine, medical record administration, optometry, physical therapy, physician's assistant, and veterinary medicine."

Nathan Liles, spring pre-medicine graduate and honor student, was recently accepted into medical school and was awarded the University of Texas Medical Branch Medical Student Aid Endowment Scholarship, a $10,000 per year scholarship for four years. He believes his achievement "was both a product of the pre-professional program and the honors program."

Though enrollment numbers are small, success rates in this department are high.

"This past year our students were very successful in getting into medical and dental schools," said Sailer. "The pre-professional advisement committee recommended three students for medical school, and three for dental school, and all six were accepted to the school of their choice."

Completing coursework for a pre-professional program is different from completing work for a bachelor's degree.

"Four year curricula students generally complete a degree in biology or chemistry while satisfying the pre-professional curricula," said Sailer. Students who complete this degree tend to be "well-rounded individuals, who are very versatile rather than having a narrow focus," he said. This is something "medical schools tend to prefer."

Pride for the programs offered is felt by faculty and students alike.

"The real strength of our pre-professional program is the personal support provided by members of the pre-professional advising committee," said Liles. "They can provide this support because the small size of the program allows for a personal interaction with the members of the pre-professional recommendation committee."

Sailer said that SHSU's relatively small size often benefits students.

"Classes at SHSU tend to be smaller than those at larger schools, and the students get a more personalized approach to their degree. We tend to work closely with the students, and it's the increased one-on-one time with the faculty which really helps our students do well down the road," said Sailer.

Liles attributes his acceptance into medical school to the faculty. "All members knew me by name and most knew me personally because I had taken courses in their areas of expertise, therefore they were able to write a personal and convincing letter of recommendation for my medical school applications." Personal attention is something not only the university prides itself in by having a 21:1 student to teacher ratio, but a benefit that the pre-professional program is intent on providing.

Graduates who have become successful say that smaller programs and intimate classes are not a bad thing.

"Those who have kept in contact have expressed how well they were prepared at SHSU for their future in professional school," said Sailer.

Students requiring more information should contact pre-professional committee members Brian Sailer, Monte Thies, Everett Wilson, or the biological sciences department at 936.294.1540.

- END -

SHSU Media Contact: Audrey Wick
Mar. 20, 2001
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