Health Careers Advisement Office (HCAO)
Location: Biological Sciences 170, 174
The primary goal of the HCAO is to provide support services and information for pre-health professional students before, during, and after they apply to health professional schools. The HCAO serves pre-health professional students who are interested in the following professions: medicine (allopathic, osteopathic and chiropractic), optometry, veterinary medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, podiatry, and physician assistant. If you are interested in a career in Nursing, click here.
The HCAO gives students the opportunity to open a confidential recommendation letter file in their freshman year (or later) and to continue to update it until they are ready to apply to a professional school at the end of their junior year. At the HCAO, students find faculty support, advisement, and services they need to achieve their professional goals.
HCAO services include:
• Orientation session
The HCAO holds comprehensive orientation sessions throughout the academic year. At the orientation sessions students will learn about the different services the HCAO offers and general information pertaining to the different health professions. All students are welcome to these orientations and they are especially relevant to new incoming freshmen students.
• Academic and pre-health professional advising
The HCAO offers a wide-range of services including advisement on which courses you need to complete to be eligible to apply to a health professional school and on the ins and outs of the health profession application process. Our office aims to serve you from the very moment you know you want to become a health professional all the way through the moment you hit submit on your health professional application.
• Volunteer and research opportunities information
The staff at our office has created a Website and a Facebook page with links to various clinical and non-clinical volunteer opportunities and summer research internships around the southern California area. The Health Professions Advisor can help you find a volunteer or research opportunity for you.
• Conferences and open house information
Our Facebook page is a great resource for current and pertinent information regarding conferences and open house days at local health professional schools.
• Personal and confidential LOR file
A major component of your health professions application are the letters of recommendation/evaluation (LOR) and the HCAO serves students by housing their letters as they collect them throughout their academic career at CSULA.
• LOR mailing service
The application process can be daunting and quite expensive. Our office serves students by mailing (uploading) their letters of recommendation/evaluation to the different application services (AMCAS). This is a great benefit for students and their letter writers as they can house their letters at the HCAO and then request that their letters be mailed out at appropriate times.
• Personal statement assistance
Your personal statement helps health professions schools get to know you better. The HCAO can help you demystify the personal statement and provide guidance on the process. You may also bring in a completed personal statement and the Health Professions Advisor will review it for you and offer feedback.
• Seminars and Workshops
Throughout the year, the HCAO offers excellent seminars and workshops for pre-health students. Check out the Seminars and workshops page for the current seminars and workshops being offered. Some of the most popular workshops include; How to write a personal statement and How to apply to medical school.
• The Health Careers Evaluation Committee (HCEC)
Some medical and pharmacy schools highly recommend and in some cases require a committee letter. A committee letter is a comprehensive letter of recommendation/evaluation written on behalf of the eligible student by a pre-health committee. The HCAO coordinates the activities of the HCEC. Consult with the Health Professions Advisor and check out the HCEC page for more information.
• Mock interviews
If you have been asked to come in for an interview at the school you have applied to, the HCAO can conduct a mock interview with you. The Health Professions Advisor will conduct the interview and then debrief with you in regards to your strengths and opportunities. The HCAO also offers interviewees the option of having their interview taped. Consult with the Health Professions Advisor for the requirements to have a mock interview.
• Post-baccalaureate and summer enrichment programs information
Should you not be accepted to the health profession of your choice, the Health Professions Advisor can sit down with you and together conduct a comprehensive review of your application. The Advisor will offer guidance as to what the best next step should be. In some cases, this may include participation in a post-baccalaureate program before you reapply to health professions schools.