Some people grow up knowing that they want to become doctors, dentists or pharmacists - maybe their parents were physicians and THEIR parents were physicians, so medicine is the only thing they've ever known. In the case of my friend, his uncle was an orthopedic surgeon who used to do things like fly to Portland for the weekend because someone told him there was a good restaurant there.
On the other hand, some of us are new blood and developed the interest in college. Maybe we watched a lot of "Trauma: Life in the ER" and decided to make the plunge. Life is just like TV, right?
Regardless of how we arrive at this decision, we all face a common path in undergrad which typically includes at least one year each of math, biology, chemistry, organic chemistry and physics leading up to a comprehensive marathon admission test (MCAT for medical school, DAT for dental school, PCAT for pharmacy school, etc). You typically need very good grades, letters of recommendation, leadership and clinical experience to have a reasonable shot at being considered for admission to a professional program… although there's always deviations to that rule. One FAU student had okay grades but graduated college at 19… and now she's a cardiologist (which is a very competitive fellowship to attain).
Once you clear that hurdle there are preliminary applications, secondary applications, flying out and interviewing on your own dime, forms, vaccinations, orientations - and then of course, another 4-8 years of your life spent in a grueling professional program. On that point, the shortest route to becoming a physician (M.D. or D.O.) is 11 years from the minute you step foot in college at 17-18… so you'll be approaching your 30s before your life can "begin."
Needless to say it's an investment and pre-health students want to ensure they have the best shot at gaining admission to a professional program. Sometimes the belief is that you can only get into a "good school" FROM a "good school" and young students may be concerned that FAU won't be "good enough" to help them get in somewhere.
This is nonsense.
Not only do FAU students get accepted into professional programs every year, they do so with great success. The Pre-Health Professions Office in the Science & Engineering building even posts pictures of its students and where they've been accepted. You can see for yourself that it's all over the place, though professional schools tend to have a regional bias and you see a lot of in-state acceptances as well. Regardless, part of the reason they're successful is because of the great infrastructure set up at FAU to help them get there.
With regard to pre-med students FAU has not one but TWO pre-professional classes: Premed Success and Intro to Preprofessional Studies (with Lab). Premed Success familiarizes you with the process of applying to medical school and what to expect whereas Intro to Preprofessional Studies talks about the reality of being a physician, typically through various guest speakers (surgeons, pediatricians, etc).
The key component there is the lab portion; when I did it we had to complete 10 three hour sessions of our choosing in various medical fields. I spent time with anesthesiologists, rheumatologists and even got to assist in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This is a HUGE benefit because you lock up that crucial clinical experience that so many medical schools look for in applicants.
For dental students they have a really cool experience called Introduction to Dentistry and Lab which has fortunately posted some videos on YouTube for the world to see - check it out!
If students have graduated with another degree and had a change of heart to now pursue medicine, FAU has post-bacc programs and a Masters in Biomedical Science to help applicants gain admission too. There are plenty of ways to set yourself up to nab a spot in a health professions program which are typically very competitive spots (I've read that your admission chances are anywhere from 25-50%, depending on the scenario).
Aside from the academic offerings there are the FAU student organizations that help pre-health students find community and opportunities. When I started out several years ago there was one collective club, the Multicultural Premedical Honor Society, which pooled together all the pre-health students. The problem there was that most of the students who were involved with the leadership positions (and thus planning for club meeting content) were pre-med students so all the pre-pharmacy, pre-dental and even pre-vet students felt neglected. Today FAU has several pre-health clubs, one each for the respective fields as well as collectives and even Greek organizations (Phi Delta Epsilon)! It's really kind of crazy how much it has grown in such a short time.
When students are in the application process and actually interviewing, some of us try to help fellow Owls gain admission. Take care of your own and perpetuate the success.
In my mind it's just another reason to be proud of FAU. If you know anybody who is considering FAU for pre-health studies, you can assure them that it's a good choice.
Now back to studying. Always studying.