Hendrix has a long-standing tradition of preparing students, within the context of a liberal arts education, for the pursuit of advanced degrees in the health professions (i.e. medical, veterinary, dental, physical therapy, nursing and other schools) or for immediate entry into health-related occupations. In preparing students for these fields, the Hendrix curriculum focuses on the principles of science and scientific reasoning. After all, science is the backbone of each of these fields, and problem solving is at the heart of what health practitioners do.
Students who are successful in the pre-health programs at Hendrix are well versed in their particular scientific field and accomplished communicators. Furthermore, while science will certainly be the focus of the undergraduate preparation, it will not be so consuming that students are restricted from taking full advantage of the breadth of a liberal arts academic program. Students who are interested in becoming physicians, dentists, or veterinarians but also want to know their Plato, Chaucer, and Marx should look into the liberal arts…they should look into Hendrix.
Hendrix students who are interested in the health sciences field usually choose to major in biology or chemistry. Post-graduate programs expect successful applicants to have taken certain science classes as well as a variety of classes outside of the sciences. Most graduate or professional schools also require satisfactory scores in one of several standardized tests, such as the MCAT (Medical College Aptitude Test) for medical school and the DAT (Dental Aptitude Test) for dental school. Faculty advisors ensure that the students are taking the necessary classes to prepare for the exams.
The classes students take to prepare for medical school usually meet requirements for a major in either biology or chemistry. It is not mandatory, however, that pre-med students major in one of these departments. Many successful medical school candidates from Hendrix have chosen to major in other fields such as religion, English, and history while staying on the pre-med track.
Graduate and professional schools generally require successful applicants to have spent time in classes that address the non-scientific side of the healing professions. English courses are required to hone writing skills, while speech classes are often mandated to polish interpersonal communication abilities. Hendrix students are able to satisfy these requirements while also meeting the diverse requirements of the Hendrix liberal arts curriculum.
The Pre-Dental Program
Many students at Hendrix will take advantage of the opportunities to get involved in undergraduate research. Unlike large universities, at Hendrix there are no graduate assistants to compete with for chances to work with professors in the laboratories. Each class at Hendrix is taught by a professor with a terminal degree in his or her field. Most science classes require weekly laboratory work to complement the work done in class. In these cases, the same professor who teaches in the classroom also leads the laboratory session. Research is a powerful tool that reinforces the analytical skills necessary for careers in the health professions. This not only has intrinsic value educationally, but also helps to enhance applications for competitive professional schools.
Working closely with faculty helps students develop relationships that lend themselves to impressive and genuine letters of recommendation from faculty. This gives a competitive edge that students may have only when they attend a small undergraduate school such as Hendrix.
Aside from wonderful research opportunities, Hendrix students benefit from an active chapter of Alpha Epsilon Delta. The purpose of this national honor society for pre-medical students is to encourage and recognize scholarship, as well as to serve as a resource for undergraduates interested in any health-related professional program. Alpha Epsilon Delta organizes informational meetings on campus, arranges tours of medical school facilities, and provides aids used in preparation for national professional school exams such as the MCAT.
For further information, contact Dr. Brenda Houck, advisor for Pre-Dentistry students.