Professional Services Grant Assists Students with Grad School Prep

Last May, 20 students graduated with a degree from Ferrum College in Health Sciences or Pre-professional Science; more than 65 percent had a 3.0 GPA or higher. Over the course of the past four years, nearly 30 students gained admission into postgraduate health profession educational opportunities. While this achievement is one that certainly should be celebrated, there are just as many students for whom that dream has yet to become a reality. Many other graduates will be unable to pursue graduate or professional studies due to their graduate exam test scores. Increased student numbers and course offerings have made it difficult for professors to dedicate large blocks of time solely to test preparation and testing techniques. Therefore, there are a number of Ferrum graduates who wish to continue in their fields of study but are unable to achieve the necessary scores on required graduate exams.

In an effort to better serve students such as these, the Professional Services Grant has been created to cover the cost of approximately one-half the fees associated with a Kaplan Test Preparatory course; additionally, should the student score in the 75th percentile or higher on the exam, he or she is eligible to be reimbursed for the remaining course costs. Scores in the 75th percentile are an almost guaranteed acceptance level, which means many more Ferrum graduates will achieve their dreams. A higher level of admission into professional fields raises the status of Ferrum College in the eyes of future applicants, both because of the unparalleled support they will receive as students and the possibility of continuing on in their desired fields of study.

As can be seen in the letter shown to the left from Professional Services Grant recipient, Brittany Nicole Hawks ’13, this grant is an integral part of the complete Ferrum College experience, showing donor contributions at work to give Ferrum students the tools they need to succeed. Currently, Hawks is in her first year of pharmacy school in the Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy at East Tennessee State University. While she notes that it has been a transition for her, she feels that her education at Ferrum prepared her for the challenge. “Many of the topics discussed in class were an in-depth look at the material covered in my classes at Ferrum; it is very helpful that I already have a basic understanding of these topics so I can expand upon what I already know by focusing on how it specifically pertains to pharmacy,” says Hawks. She notes that without the grant she received for the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) preparatory class, she believes she would have had to take a year off to fully prepare for the PCAT. “This program gave me the chance to take a course that provided a certified instructor to aid in my preparation while still attending classes. It was very beneficial because it resulted in a higher test score and, ultimately, a seat in a pharmacy program the following fall.”

Questions about how best to support this initiative and the future of Ferrum College students’ postgraduate education should be directed to Kim Blair, vice president of institutional advancement, at 540-365-4210 or

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