This is a guide for developing and enhancing high-quality pre-health advising for students at institutions of higher education. This document will be most helpful if used in conjunction with its companion document, "Best Practices for Academic Institutions Supporting Pre-Health Advising,” given that there is a symbiotic relationship between the two.
At institutions of higher education, pre-health advisors serve in a variety of positions – as academic advisors, career counselors, student services personnel, instructional faculty, administrators, retired or practicing health care professional, etc. – and the expression of the best practices listed below will of necessity differ from position to position. The expression will also differ between the Chief Health Professions Advisor (CHPA) and those who serve under the CHPA, as well as between pre-health advisors working together in an office and those serving as the sole pre-health advisor for their institution. Pre-health advisors are encouraged to meet the best practices in a manner appropriate to their positions, funding, location, size of office, and staff support.
Throughout, "institution" refers to the institution of higher education where the pre-health advisor is employed, and "program" refers to the pre-health advising program.
The Twelve Best Practices
A pre-health advisor:
- Articulates the vision, mission, and philosophy of the program and explains how pre-health advising contributes to achieving the vision, mission, and philosophy of the institution.
- Manages available resources and advocates as needed for additional resources.
- Manages the program office efficiently, maintains accurate and confidential student records, and develops advising initiatives, programs, and services as needed.
- Develops and maintains a pre-health advising syllabus that articulates the program’s mission, curriculum, student learning outcomes, and advisor and student responsibilities.
- Develops a system for training new pre-health advisors, and develops and maintains appropriate training materials.
- Manages the program's internal and external relationships by serving as the program's spokesperson, operating in partnership with other student and advising services on campus, and ensuring the program serves the needs of the pre-health population, the institution, and the community.
- Develops into and serves as a knowledgeable and skilled advisor who exhibits professional values and behaviors.
- Develops and shares expertise in pre-health advising with students, colleagues, and the community.
- Operates with a professional development plan that includes short- and long-term career goals. Engages regularly in professional development and scholarship, both as a member of the institution’s academic community and as a member of the local, regional, and national pre-health advising communities.
- Tracks the pre-health population and maintains statistics about the population and program.
- Develops and maintains a comprehensive assessment of the pre-health advising program.
- Coordinates or oversees a pre-health committee and/or advisory board that informs the direction of the pre-health advising program.