Abby King '19
Area(s) of Study
Doublt Major in Psychology and Neuroscience
Park Forest, Illinois
What made me choose LFC:
I initially got introduced to LFC while at a recruiting camp for softball at a large university. I was speaking to the university’s coach about my intended studies, and she told me that playing a D1 sport alongside a pre-health track would be nearly impossible. Luckily for me, the LFC coach overheard this conversation and later approached me with an enticing statement: “You know, at my college we have softball players that study neuroscience.” Immediately I was hooked. I visited a few months later and knew this was where I was going to go. I was able to play a sport as a pre-health student, I was surrounded by beautiful scenery and a beach I could go to when I needed stress relief, and the people were so welcoming.
How did a liberal arts education make a difference for you?
The nature of the liberal arts education makes students very well-rounded. This was true for me, and it introduced me to many different viewpoints and subjects that I otherwise would not have been aware of. I learned about interdisciplinary education and found classes outside of my majors that I loved and took a lot away from. I was also grateful to take cultural diversity courses as part of a graduation requirement because it made me very in tune with different social issues. I learned a great deal about different cultures and different people, and it really fueled my passion for striving for equality and being an advocate in my current field for a variety of social, racial, economic, and political considerations.
What experiences outside of the classroom do you think helped prepare you for PT school?
The research I did across the 4 years at LFC put me one step ahead when I entered PT school. Northwestern has a heavy research focus, and because of my experience at LFC, I immediately felt comfortable diving into literature, joining a research project, and basing my clinical practices on evidence. This is not often an easy skill to develop, but I was fortunate enough to have begun developing it my freshman year of college. The most important PT-related experience I had was the RFUMS fellowship, where I worked in a biomechanics lab after sophomore year. I never thought I would use the information I learned in that lab, but after I got into PT school I realized how much easier it was for me to understand biomechanics, research, PT-related equipment, and observing human movement, all of which I use regularly now.
How did you time at LFC help you prepare to apply to PT school programs?
Prior to the end of my junior year, I had no interest in PT. I actually got started a bit late, so I was very anxious and knew nothing about the application process or requirements. The career center helped me in this area, and I was able to talk to my advisor about the application process, requirements, things I could do to boost my application, and she even gave me different job postings for PT aides. Getting these resources decreased my stress and anxiety over applications a great deal, and without that resource I probably would not have been ready to enter a program immediately after undergrad.
What do you think of the new Health Professions Program between LFC and RFU?
This new program was very exciting to read about. I think a big barrier for many students going into pre-health is the amount of school it takes to become a health professional. Most programs take between 6-8 years between undergrad and graduate studies, which can be intimidating and financially draining. The joint degrees that RFUMS and LFC offer give you a faster route through the education without taking away any educational opportunities a student may have with the traditional route. The interdisciplinary focus at RFUMS and LFC, when combined, will inevitably make students more well-rounded and more in-tune with not just the scientific aspects of health professions, but the psychosocial, economic, political, and public health realms of health professions, which usually does not get touched on until you enter graduate studies. I love the idea of this program because it allows students to begin learning these things prior to entering the graduate level, which prepares students more for their future fields.
What skills and experiences at LFC do you believe will help you be successful?
The liberal arts education made me very in tune with different social, racial, political, and economic considerations in my field. Because of that, I am very interested in reducing different health disparities and providing greater access for PT. The research I completed both in-class and outside of class made it easier for me to base my clinical practices on evidence, which is very important in my field.
What advice would you give a high school student looking to pursue pre-health and is considering LFC?
I may be biased because I went to LFC, but I would tell this student that LFC really does have the best interest of students pursuing the pre-health track. There are so many resources at LFC to get a well-rounded scientific and liberal arts education and dive into research which is critical to success in health professions. The career center and pre-health advisors also have a great deal of knowledge and resources to help you plan your pre-health path and prepare for graduate study later in your undergraduate career. This makes the whole process less stressful, and having guidance along the way makes it a less intimidating field to enter into.