In this second article of a 3-part series, sonographer Adrienne Hardy shares 6 tips on preparing for a successful application to ultrasound school.
Read the rest –
- What to Know About Choosing an Ultrasound School
- Tips on Preparing a Successful Sonography Schools Application
- Expectation vs Reality – What’s it Like to be a Sonographer?
Some people say that sonography school is the hardest thing they’ve ever done in their life. I would say, half the difficulty is even getting INTO a good program.
Not impossible, but it takes a good amount of work. This is a helpful guide to some requirements that may be expected of you; please keep in mind every school is different and this is not a one stop shop guide. You should consult a guidance counselor or someone at the school you wish to apply to in order to get more specifics.
Start by Finding the Right Ultrasound School
First, research schools and pick a few you like; having this in mind before beginning will give you a goal to aim for. Research the accreditation of the program. Ideally, it will be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
Learn What the School Values in an Applicant
Next, look online and make an appointment with a guidance counselor to see what the ultrasound school values in their applicants. For my school, Valencia College in Orlando, I needed to have the prerequisite requirements for an AA completed, then there were SPECIFIC classes needed in that. Classes like anatomy and physiology one and two, physics with medical applications, ethics, and professions of caring.
To complicate this, the classes were each given a points system. So, your letter grade in the class transferred to A-3 points B-2 points and C-1 point. These points would be tallied later to make my application stronger or weaker. My guidance counselor gave me a breakdown of how many points the average applicant had the last year, to give me an idea of what grades I should be achieving.
She basically explained if I received a C in a class then I would not be a competitive applicant any longer. The classes also are tricky if they are being transferred. I began my sonography education in Tampa taking prerequisite classes at a college there but knowing I wanted to go to Orlando’s Valencia college for sonography school.
When I tried to move the credits over, I found that some were not compatible. There was no physics with medical applications offered anywhere but at Valencia and my A and P credits had to be completed with one and two to be considered completed. This caused the headache of needing to commute from Tampa for my anatomy credit and to Orlando for the physics. This all could have been avoided if I just planned and talked to the counselor first.
Pay attention to your GPA in other classes as this can disqualify you as well. I had a friend who was a chemistry major before trying to apply to ultrasound school and his GPA from taking all those other classes was in the low 3.0’s. As a result he was wait listed and unable to be as competitive of an applicant. It doesn’t matter if you earn a C in Dance or in Chemistry, any of those scores can affect your GPA and take you out of the running. So work hard in anything that will show on a transcript!
Next, there are Easter eggs. This means that some classes are required for points but then there are some classes that give you a point or two that aren’t required, they just boost your application. There are also certain certifications that can give a TON of points. Additionally, applying and being considered as an alternate can give you a leg up the next year. Be sure to read the applications and search for ways to make your application stand out. Some programs have recommendation letters or relevant job experience. My program just wasn’t wired that way.
Prepare for an Entrance Exam
THE TEAS. Before applying to Ultrasound School, I thought a tea was a delightful warm drink that can make you feel warm and happy inside. After researching schools, I realized it’s also a potentially daunting entrance exam. The TEAS test is a medical exam that tests your fluency in basic medical
knowledge and anatomy and physiology. I took it directly after anatomy and physiology 1 and 2 and found that to be very effective. There are of course practice tests and study books; however, I found that my prerequisite classes prepared me adequately. If at all possible, try to take the exam while these
classes are still fresh in your mind and my counselor told me to aim for an 80.
Interviews and Orientation
Lastly, once you have been accepted, your entrance to the program is contingent on an in person interview and attendance to an orientation. Our orientation included a one-day meeting and talking to the professors and then two job shadowing days to make sure the expectations of the career matched up with experience. These are very often not the same.
I applied to sonography school fully expecting to not get accepted first time. In fact, some of my classmates applied for 5 years in a row before being accepted. Persistence and a good work ethic is what they want to see. The classes that are required are NOT easy. I would watch a classroom of 30 students dwindle to 8 almost every semester. They are trying to test how badly you care about having this career and if you will be passionate enough to see it through the two years and beyond. But if I can do it, anyone can! Stick with it, study hard and you will be so glad you did!
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