September 2005

Volume 25 | Number 3

Collection of Articles

From Generation X to the Millennials: The Transition to a New Generation of Students
Carol Elam, Ed.D.
Ann Randolph Flipse, M.D.
Terry D. Stratton, Ph.D.

The authors highlight some of the key differences between members of Generation X (born between 1961 and 1981) and the Millennials (born between 1982 and 2002). The latter group started entering college in 2000 and brings with it a new set of educational needs and challenges.

In general, Generation X-ers are known for their lackluster academic performance, declining SAT scores, and general lack of global competitiveness. They are viewed as private, egocentric, wary of intimacy cynical, and pessimistic. Resourceful and comfortable with technology, they are often independent and skeptical.

Millennials are generally thought to be hard working, generous, and practical. They are accustomed to structure and rules. Academically, they are collaborative and organized, accustomed to testing and feedback. Millennials are multitaskers who are comfortable with technology. Some of the concerns about this generation include poorly developed interpersonal skills, short attention span, lacking ability to think critically or self-reflect, and inadvertent racism. The parents of this generation are likely to be involved even through the college years.

Admission Requirements for Physical Therapy Programs
David A. Lake, P.T., Ph.D.

Dr. Lake summarizes a study done in 2002 of physical therapy program requirements and the subsequent recommendations made by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). Data, obtained from 186 programs, showed a wide variety of requirements, but some distinct trends. About 80% of the programs required a bachelor’s degree and a minimum GPA, typically a 3.0. About 70% of the programs required the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). About 60% of the programs required volunteer experience in physical therapy. The largest variation occurred in required courses, which ranged from 0 to 28. About 75% of the programs had 9 common course requirements.

As a result of the study, the Education Section of the American Physical Therapy Association adopted in 2004 recommended guidelines. Recommended prerequisite courses include 2-3 courses in human behavior, 4 courses in biology including anatomy and physiology, 2 courses in chemistry, 2 courses in physics, and one course in statistics. Other recommendations include a standardized test for graduate study, exposure to the field of physical therapy, evaluations of some type to assess personal qualities, and GPA standards.

Post-baccalaureate Options for the Medical School Applicant
Gerald Soslau, Ph.D.
Yolanda Pressley
Laura Mangano, M.Ed.

A number of post-baccalaureate options for the student who wants to become a physician, but lacks strong credentials. The authors outline the basic types of programs and illustrate them with specific programs offered by Drexel University. The two basic types include the career change program and the enhancement program. Career change programs offer the basic prerequisite science courses and occasionally some upper level courses as well. For the well-qualified student who is trying to decide between research and clinical paths, a thesis-based Master’s of Science program in their field of interest makes sense. By experiencing graduate level research, they can make a better-informed career choice.

Enhancement programs are quite varied and advisors can play an important role in helping a student choose one most suitable for their needs. Evaluating a student’s academic strengths and weakness is a critical component of this decision. The first type, for students with the weakest academic credentials, offers upper level undergraduate coursework in the sciences as a way of improving their GPA and preparing for the MCAT. The second type, for students with low GPAs, but decent MCAT scores, allows students to take graduate courses in science to offer proof of scientific ability. Non-science programs (i.e. MPH) are not likely to help as much if the undergraduate science GPA is low. The third type of program offers a combination of graduate and undergraduate courses allow students to improve their GPAs, prove competence at the graduate level, and improve their MCAT scores. The special master’s is a fourth type and best suited to the student with reasonably good credentials. Typically, students take the first year medical school curriculum, allowing the school to see how they will perform. The fifth type of program is designed specifically for the disadvantaged student. Postbac programs can be surveyed on the AAMC website, services.aamc.org/postbac.

Health Care in Action: A Multidisciplinary View of Patient Care
Bradley S. Bowden, Ph.D.
Erin M. Finn

Pitfalls and Pratfalls in Writing Personal Statements
Robert E. Cannon, Ph.D.

Veteran advisor Robert Cannon presents dos and don’ts for writing personal statements. He addresses the purpose of the statement broadly as a way for admissions people to get to know and help remember a candidate. He warns against clichés, lists of accomplishments, platitudes, and quotations. He recommends substance, stories, recent experience in medicine, and genuinely personal thoughts and examples. As part of the writing process, he suggests starting early, keeping a journal, paying attention to such details as spelling and grammar, and getting feedback, preferably from people who can be objective. The substance of the article is meaty; but it is written with a light touch. It could easily be adapted for use with advisees.

The Physician's Role as Undergraduate Teacher and Pre-Health Professions Advisor: Lessons from Doctoring, Transferable Skills
Laurence A. Savett, M.D., F.A.C.P.

Dr. Savett, a retired physician who serves as the health professions advisor at two colleges in Minnesota, compares the doctor-patient relationship to the advisor-advisee relationship and makes the case that a physician can be an effective advisor. He describes his work as an advisor and presents a fair amount of detail about his role in medically related courses and seminars, such as “The Human Side of Medicine”.

He discusses the skills necessary to be both an effective advisor and physician. He notes that the relationship with the advisee/patient is crucial, that it takes time to establish, and that it starts most effectively with open-ended questions. He suggests that active listening is critical; learning what the advisee/patient already knows, hearing larger unspoken fears in seemingly simple questions, and a willingness to reflect when the relationship founders. Savett likens advising to the differential diagnosis, identifying the problem and its possible courses and remedies. As with his patients, he advocates giving advisees a role in the decision-making process, recognizing their ability to accept bad news, summarizing the plan and tacitly offering hope. He encourages advisors to practice preventive medicine, warding off trouble when it is still manageable. Finally, he recommends seeking advice from colleagues for unusual or difficult problems.

From the Literature: Changing Demographics of Public Health Graduates: Potential Implications for the Public Health Workforce
Caitlin Kennedy, M.P.H.
Timothy Baker, M.D., M.P.H.

A Comparison of Personality-Type Among Seven Health Professions: Implications for Optometric Education
Patrick C. Hardigan, Ph.D.
Stanley R. Cohen, Ed.D.
Lester E. Janoff, O.D., M.S.Ed.

Highlight on a Profession: Careers in Veterinary Medicine
Compiled form staff reports by Charlotte R. Hendrix

AAVMC: Liaison Report
Marilyn Hoffman, NAAHP Liaison

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