Student - Post-baccalaureate in Health Sciences ProgramSabrina Syed had graduated with a degree in biology from Stony Brook University in Long Island, N.Y., a few years ago, but what she really wanted to do was go to optometry school.

That became a realistic option for her when she received an email from Salus University telling her about a new program it was offering – a Post-baccalaureate in Health Sciences. It turned out to be a timely correspondence.

“I was working for a few years and I needed something to get me back into school,” said Syed, ’20PBHS. “Salus emailed me saying it had this post-bacc program and it was exactly what I was looking for.”

The Post-baccalaureate in Health Sciences is the University’s newest program and is currently in its first semester. The program is designed for students who have already completed an undergraduate degree or are working toward a secondary degree from an accredited institution. It offers students a chance to take required prerequisite courses, boost their grade point average, strengthen their scientific background and help them become better prepared for admission to a professional, graduate or medical school.

And so far, so good, for the 13 students enrolled in the first cohort of the program, in which they earn a certificate after completing two semesters.

“We’re definitely seeing that the students are motivated, they’re taking it seriously,” said Darryl Horn, PhD, program director. “We teach the program at the graduate level to expose them to that because when they go out into professional school, they’re going to have graduate classes. And, they’re going to be getting a graduate level class load.”

For Corey Ryan, ’20PBHS, his goal is to eventually get into dental school. The Pennsylvania native works as a personal trainer and commutes from his home in Delaware. Even though it’s early into the first semester of the program, Ryan is pleased with how it’s helping him achieve his goals.

“Part of what I was worried about was hearing science teachers say, ‘This is going to be impossible.’ But it’s not,” said Ryan. “The teachers are amazing, they want everybody to succeed. They’re incredibly intelligent and informative. You feel like you’re part of the class. It’s been fantastic.”

The students are taking courses in biochemistry, microbiology immunology, health psychology and anatomy and will also receive instruction in patient care. With only 13 students in the program, the class size is innately smaller and personal instruction is more readily available to the students.

“My professors know my name,” said Syed. “The other thing I really love, since I want to go into optometry, is that the dean of the optometry school is my bio-chem professor. Not many people can say they’re in a post-bacc program where the person teaching the course is the dean of the program that offers the degree they want to go for.”

According to Dr. Horn, the course in patient care is particularly attractive to the students. They get some exposure to patients and how to deal with them. And, there is a course on academic success and career guidance that appeals to students.

“A struggle for some of these students is that they don’t know how to study, especially because we’re at a graduate level,” said Dr. Horn. “They don’t know how to take exams at this level. So we’re incorporating a small lecture component on those types of things. We’re giving them abilities, in addition to knowledge. Grad school is very different than undergrad.”

Post-Bacc-2.JPGAnother big advantage is that if students in the program earn their certificate and meet all the other pre-requisites, entrance exams and GPA requirements, the University will grant them an interview in the program of their choice.

“The reason why I didn’t go straight to a doctorate program was because I really didn’t know what I wanted to do then,” said Syed. “This program lets me get in, takes some courses, bump up my GPA, meet professors and hopefully get letters of recommendation, and experience what grad school is like.”

“So far, this program has been right for me. It’s checked all the boxes,” said Ryan.

Dr. Horn said the program will be assessed at the end of the second semester. He already has some questions in mind that he wants to ask the students for their feedback on what worked about the program and what didn’t. Then the appropriate adjustments can be made if necessary.

“The way I like to think about the post-bacc program is that it’s kind of like year zero instead of year one or year two,” said Dr. Horn. “My expectation is that when these students leave here, they’re going to be ahead of the curve when they go to the professions they want to go to.”
 
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