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Pre-professional studies provide students with specialty learning opportunities

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Pre-professional studies offer more experience. | File photo
Pre-professional studies offer more experience. | File photo

CSU-Pueblo offers 31 undergraduate majors, but the opportunities within these undergraduate degree program opportunities can exceed more than any requirements listed on paper.

Pre-professional studies give students the chance to pursue more a more specialized category of study within their major and prepares them for post baccalaureate education.

Currently, 13 areas of pre-professional study are listed on the CSU-Pueblo website. But even if a category of study is not listed students are encouraged to talk to their advisor because often a program track can be designed for a pre-professional track even if it is not already in place.

“Research up front in career planning is really important. They have to hit the ground running,” said John Sandoval, associate director for the Center for Academic Enrichment.

Sandoval explained that having extensive knowledge of specific requirements when applying to post baccalaureate programs is key because different school and regions require different pre-requisites for entry into various professional programs.

The most sought after pre-professional programs include CSU-Pueblo are pre-med, pre-pharmacy, pre-vet and pre-nursing according to Sandoval.

Students enrolled in pre-professional study tracks still earn a bachelor’s degree in a field of study, but take the courses and electives specifically needed and directed toward a professional field path like dental, forestry, optometry or medical. Upon graduation, they continue their studies in these specific areas to earn certification to work in their specific fields.

“The difference really for those pre-professional programs is:  one, they need to maintain a higher GPA and two, they need to be ready for a post baccalaureate degree,” Sandoval explained. “They need to have the idea in their mind that this is going to be a longer road to get to where they want to be.”

Depending on the pre-professional program and the institution a student plans to apply to post baccalaureate, in many cases they might stay at CSU-Pueblo an extra semester or year to finish pre-requisite requirements for the professional program they are applying to.

“We are a competitive school even though some people don’t look at us that way, but we have good faculty and very good leadership in a lot of areas to be able to guide these students to where they need to be,” Sandoval said. “We’ve had success stories from here. Students go off and do great things for half the cost.”

In addition to saving money by attending CSU-Pueblo for a pre-professional program, Sandoval explained that often times the jobs pursued by students on pre-professional tracks pay more in the long run after all schooling and certifications are completed and have more job security once obtained since these are not the jobs just anyone is going out to get.

“They know what they want and go out and get it and they’re willing to put in the time,” he said. “They know what they want from the time they get here to the time they finish. They are on a mission.”

For more information on pre-professional studies at CSU-Pueblo, visit: www.gocsupueblo.com/PROSPECTIVESTUDENTS/UNDERGRADUATE/DEGREEPROGRAMS/Pages/Pre-Professional.aspx