Preparing For The Admissions Process At Naturopathic Schools

by Julie Tran

This chapter is a free excerpt from The Best Book on Naturopathy.

Highlights

  • Most ND program prerequisites include 1 mathematics course, 1 physics course, 2 biology courses, and 4 chemistry courses.
  • As long as you fulfill the prerequisites, you can apply to ND programs with any major.
  • Most ND students are in their late 20s or early 30s.
Whether you’re a senior in college or a mid-career teacher looking for a change, if you’re thinking about a future in naturopathic medicine, you should keep in mind that naturopathic schools have an extremely diverse student body population in age, background, and interests.

Students fresh out of college, former nurses, elementary school teachers, and regular MDs apply to naturopathic schools. But the application process and requirements are the same across the board.

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Highlights

  • Most ND program prerequisites include 1 mathematics course, 1 physics course, 2 biology courses, and 4 chemistry courses.
  • As long as you fulfill the prerequisites, you can apply to ND programs with any major.
  • Most ND students are in their late 20s or early 30s.
Whether you’re a senior in college or a mid-career teacher looking for a change, if you’re thinking about a future in naturopathic medicine, you should keep in mind that naturopathic schools have an extremely diverse student body population in age, background, and interests.

Students fresh out of college, former nurses, elementary school teachers, and regular MDs apply to naturopathic schools. But the application process and requirements are the same across the board.

Here are some tips to jump-start your application preparation.

Prerequisites For ND Programs

Each school has its own specific requirements, but they all look similar to prerequisites for regular medical school. ND programs generally require applicants to take 1 Mathematics course (required levels vary), 4 Chemistry courses, 2 Biology courses, and at least 1 Physics course. Some also require social science and humanities courses.

You can visit the college school websites for specific requirements:You can major in anything! As long as you fulfill the prereqs, schools welcome a diverse range of backgrounds.

I was a psychology major, but because I was pre-med at the time, I had no problem getting the prerequisites for an ND program. Psychology is now a popular major among naturopathic school applicants.

Scoping Out Your Future Class

Who goes to naturopathic doctor programs?

At Bastyr University, the average age in the 2010-2011 school year was 28 for undergrads and 31 for graduate students. 84% were female, and 45% were from the Pacific Northwest.

More info here: www.bastyr.edu/admissions/studentlife/faq.asp

At the University of Bridgeport, I was the youngest in my class (I came straight from college). Many of my colleagues were returning to school after working in a different career.

I’ve noticed that as awareness of alternative care spreads, incoming classes are getting younger. College students now are much more open to naturopathic medicine. When they graduate from undergraduate programs, they already know that they want to learn about acupuncture or Chinese herbs.

Although naturopathic medicine has been around for a long time, the schools are all relatively new. For example, NCNM was founded in 1965, Bastyr in 1978, and SCNM in 1993. The University of Bridgeport program is the newest.

Since UB has been around the shortest amount of time and interest in naturopathic medicine is more widespread on the West coast, UB has a smaller program with less competitive admission.

ND Application Materials and Overview

  1. General Application
  2. Transcript of college records
  3. 3 Letters of Recommendation
  4. Essays
  5. Interview
The application deadlines for 2012 Fall Admission at Bastyr, NCNM, and SCNM are the same:
  • November 1, 2011 for Early decision.
  • February 1, 2012 for Priority Decision.
UB’s deadline is 30 days before the start of the desired semester. Some of the schools will take applications after the priority deadline if there is still space.

In the next sections, I'll go over each application component in greater detail.
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