Podiatry is an exciting field with a large variety of opportunities for an individual to influence and affect the life of the patient and society on a whole. There are currently seven colleges of podiatric medicine. The programs are competitive, but it is a great profession to pursue.
Courses required for admission to podiatry schools are quite similar, although each podiatry school sets its own requirements. It is very important that you check the individual schools requirements as you near the application time (http://www.aacpm.org/). The seven podiatry schools belong to a centralized podiatry association called the American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine (AACPM). Podiatry schools require applicants to have completed the pre-podiatry curriculum prior to application. The minimum science preparation courses for admission into podiatry school, with a few exceptions, include the following:
- Principles of Biology I and II (lectures and laboratory)
- Introduction to Chemistry I and II (lectures and laboratory)
- Principles of Organic Chemistry I and II (lectures and laboratory)
- Physics I and II (lectures and laboratory)
- Calculus I
In addition to these courses stated, many podiatry schools also recommend upper division science courses, such as: Cellular Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Cellular Structure and Function, General Physiology, Comparative Anatomy, Genetics, Histology, Embryology, Microbiology, and Quantitative Analysis.
For the student who expects to complete a degree in four years and go directly into podiatry school, the pre-podiatry curriculum must be completed by the end of the junior year of college. These courses serve as a common denominator between applicants and are also the foundation upon which students build once in a professional school. The pre-podiatry curriculum given above should be considered the minimum science preparation for a health professions school. You should strive to take additional upper division biology and chemistry courses to strengthen your background in the sciences, especially if you elect a major in the humanities or social sciences.
Podiatry schools are stressing a broad, general training at the undergraduate level. The CORE requirements of the College of Arts & Sciences at Saint Louis University include courses which satisfy non-science requirements. These courses include General Psychology, Composition, English and other courses which develop communication skills. Take more than the minimum CORE requirements in humanities and social sciences.
General Academic Preparation
Podiatry school admissions committees recognize the importance of a liberal arts education which includes a strong foundation in the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and development of excellent communication skills.
Although the completion of a college degree may not be specifically required by a podiatry school, there is an expectation that the applicant has pursued some discipline in depth. The successful applicant typically has a four-year degree, thereby studying a discipline in depth. Skills are developed through many avenues of study, such as in the natural sciences, in the humanities, and in the social and behavioral sciences. Development of effective written and oral communication skills are especially important for podiatry school applicants.
Selection of a Major
Professional schools do not select students based on the undergraduate major. The process of selecting a major should include consideration of interest and your individual strengths and weaknesses. The most important aspect of major selection is a consideration of what careers, other than a career in podiatric medicine, the major prepares you to enter. Think of the major as a "Plan B."
Although successful pre-podiatry students have completed majors in many disciplines, both in the sciences and the non-sciences, it is necessary for the pre-podiatry students to do well in their science courses. These courses will adequately prepare the student and will be viewed favorably by the admission committees of the podiatry schools for entrance into podiatry school.
Click here to see sample curricula of majors.
The Successful Applicant
Any applicant to podiatric medical school will need to complete an application to that school. Six of the seven podiatry schools belong to the American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine's Application Service (AACPMAS). The one school that does not belong to this service is the New York College of Podiatric Medicine. For that school you will need to contact the school directly. For the schools utilizing AACPMAS, you can obtain information about the application through the Internet at http://www.aacpm.org/careercenter/require.asp.
Diversity within an entering class is considered highly desirable by podiatry schools. Avoid the common misperception that admissions committees seek some ideal combination of characteristics in the applicants they select for admission. What is important in the admission process includes:
- High level of scholastic and intellectual potential. These are measured by academic averages, both overall cumulative average and overall math/science grade average, the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores, and an evaluation from the Pre-health Professions Committee on Evaluations.
- Personal Qualities. Does the applicant have the leadership skills, motivation perseverance, social maturity, curiosity, and sense of commitment deemed important in a podiatrist?
- Knowledge of the profession. Has the applicant demonstrated an interest in the podiatric profession and developed a knowledge of the profession? Experience in a health care setting, which you can get by volunteering, awareness of current events related to the podiatric profession, and interaction with health care professionals provides evidence for this interest and knowledge.
- Demonstration of a commitment to helping people. Participation in community and social service programs such as, Morro House and SLUCAP or working at a shelter for the homeless demonstrates the applicant's degree of commitment to being of service to others.
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