After determining a chiropractic college education is the next step, the logical area to focus on is how to achieve success in a college of chiropractic. The challenge of that 3.3-year journey to a Doctor of Chiropractic degree surprises even the best of students. Of course, a powerful, personal drive to learn all the aspects of a chiropractic profession is essential, and here are five more “must-haves” to keep in mind.
1. Know What You Need to Succeed
Healthcare is said to be a deep-seated calling. Many students will have decided to seek a graduate education early in their academic career, perhaps as early as a high school freshman. These students envision getting a bachelor’s degree, then attending a graduate-level healthcare university.
In a chiropractic college, students earn a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree. To earn a D.C. degree, students need just over three years of chiropractic school using a trimester, year-round schedule. With the right mix of courses, a chiropractic college may admit students with a minimum of 90 hours. Most chiropractic college students already have an undergraduate (bachelor’s) degree.
Some undergraduate degrees offer a solid foundation for chiropractic. Human biology, kinesiology, exercise science, nutrition, physical therapy, pre-med or pre-nursing, and other science-based programs are excellent in helping prepare students for chiropractic school.
Still, those with undergraduate degrees that are not typically associated with attending a chiropractic college are finding their background helpful. For example, a 2018 study in Medical Education noted that premedical backgrounds in the humanities and social sciences can make prospective doctors more effective at communicating with patients. Authentic communication between patient and physician is a component of achieving better health outcomes for patients.
2. Don’t Skimp on the Preparation
The key to becoming a doctor is to develop and follow an academic plan. The earlier the start, the better. Taking Advanced Placement (AP) classes in high school is always a good idea. So are summer science courses if there are struggles with specific subjects. Seeking out job shadowing experience in the community or volunteering in a medical setting indicates a deep interest in patient-care professions.
The application process for chiropractic colleges is much like any other graduate-level program. Because that process is competitive, some students apply for chiropractic school as early as their first year of undergraduate study. Making this decision as early as possible allows for “regrouping time” if there are setbacks along the way.
3. Understand Where You Stand Academically
Here are some standard admissions requirements:
- 3.00 cumulative college GPA
- Online application and application fee
- Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions
- Meet physical requirements
- Tuition deposit
- 90 semester hours of college courses:
- 6 hours of English or communications
- 3 hours of psychology
- 12 hours of humanities and social sciences courses
- 24 hours of life and physical sciences courses to include:
- biology, anatomy, and physiology
- 8 hours of general and organic chemistry is recommended
- Electives to fulfill the required 90 semester hours.
All chiropractic-minded students should schedule time with an admissions advisor to ensure their academic plan is set.
5. Get a Guide to Lead the Way
An experienced admissions advisor can determine what is lacking, and help develop a plan of action. Chiropractic colleges typically offer specific undergraduate degree programs to help meet prerequisite coursework requirements. You can apply to a school to fulfill whatever requirements are left, and then pursue admittance to that school’s graduate-level chiropractic program. Discussing requirements with an advisor is important because not all states require the bachelor’s degree before earning the chiropractic degree.
For students not quite up-to-speed on all requirements, some chiropractic colleges consider admitting students under an individualized alternate admissions plan.
Many students are able to work on their chiropractic degree while completing their bachelor’s, which saves time and money. Ask the chiropractic college advisor about concurrent bachelor’s/graduate degree programs.
The bottom line is this: Experienced admissions advisors are a valuable resource. They know better than anyone does what each student needs for admissions success.
5. Choose the Chiropractic College That Fits Your Goals
There are differences among chiropractic schools, and for most students, it’s a very personal decision. Chiropractors use many drug-free ways to optimize patients’ health, preserve, and restore proper spinal and joint functions. Some schools may emphasize certain manual techniques; others teach a variety of techniques.
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