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High School Counselors

Pre-professional studies can be daunting for students. Their high school preparation is very important for their future success at Purdue and in a professional program. We are happy to answer any questions you and your students have about pre-professional studies in general and at Purdue specifically.

How can you help prepare your students for pre-professional studies in college?

Help Them Develop Study Skills

As much as possible, students need to focus on preparing their study and test-taking skills. They also need to be prepared for the possibility of needing to relearn how to learn when they start college. Many students find that the way they studied in high school no longer works for them in college where professors ask them to apply their knowledge and not just memorize. Often this is a shock—especially to great students. It helps if they at least know they might face this issue. Purdue has resources to help students learn new study skills if they find it necessary.

Pre-professional studies are demanding and high school students should challenge themselves with rigorous courses to prepare for the college course content they will face.

Using AP, IB and CLEP Credit

At many healthcare programs, AP credit in required classes — especially the sciences — can be problematic. Professional programs need to see those grades. While these courses are great preparation for college, they may be counterproductive for pre-health students. Most students should plan to take the course in college even if they have AP credit. If they do not wish to do this, they should at least take more courses in the same academic area to supplement that AP credit with graded courses. Read more about this on our AP/IB Credit Handout.

Encourage Reading

A common pattern on the aptitude tests to apply to professional programs, such as the MCAT for medical school, is that students often have the most difficult time with the verbal reasoning section. One of the best ways to prepare for this portion of the exam is to have been a regular reader. If you are working with students who hate to read, please encourage them to do so anyway. It will be immensely helpful not only for their time at Purdue but when they take their aptitude tests. They can read anything they enjoy, but they need to spend time thinking about what they read. Reading for facts is not what the aptitude tests ask. They want students to interpret what they read. Reading longer articles online is also beneficial as most of the aptitude tests are now online exams.

Developing Problem-Solving & Critical Thinking Skills

Once in college, your students will be asked to make use of the information they are learning — not just memorize it. Helping students identify which classes in high school work on these skills will be critical for their preparation for college.

Practice Self-Reflection & Talking to People

Continuing Career Exploration

Many students come in with tunnel vision. They want to be a doctor or dentist or lawyer because they have wanted to do so since they were young. It is important for them to continue to explore their options and to ask themselves difficult questions about why they want to enter that field. These websites may be useful for them.

Choosing a Major

One of the more confusing parts of college is choosing a major. Being a pre-professional student is a vocational interest — not a major. Our students can be pre-medicine, pre-physical therapy, pre-law or any other of the pre-fields from any major on campus. Each professional field has a set of required courses students must take along with their major to apply to that field. We encourage students to pursue a major that interests them even if it doesn’t seem related to their professional school plans.