Category Archives: Pre-Chiropractic

Nick Carlson’s Advice To Get To Chiropractic School

Nick Carlson
Nowadays, most aspects of the medical field are moving from treating the disease/problem/injury/etc. after it happens to prevent the disease/problem/injury/etc. from happening in the first place through the use of things like exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle choices in general. The chiropractic field isn’t really any different, rather than just adjusting joints every time they go out of alignment, many chiropractors look to prevent this from happening in the first place. The field of chiropractic medicine is also gaining ground every year, allowing chiropractors to do more with each passing year. It’s not just about adjusting and manipulating the spine anymore, it’s about nutrition and disease and muscle function and looking at disease, injury, and the entire human body holistically.
The Exercise Science program, in which I’m pursuing an undergrad, and curriculum at Michigan Tech embodies the transition both in the medical field as a whole and in the field of chiropractic medicine. It teaches you about the anatomy and physiology of the human body while also teaching you about nutrition and exercise and other aspects of preventative medicine. Also the “capstone” of the Exercise Science Program is the internship. It’s a three-credit class, where you spend 126 (or more) hours working with a professional in a field of your choosing (whatever you’re planning on going into). Honestly, my experience was by far more rewarding than pretty much any other experience I had at Tech.  I did my internship with a local chiropractor, and my patient interaction skills and my knowledge of treatments and holistic medicine grew so much, I can’t even begin to explain it.
I had almost limitless resources to use at Michigan Tech. The ones that I feel helped the most were Career Services and the Pavlis Honors College (PHC). I first went to career services during like my second week at Michigan Tech to revamp my resume from my “high school/college application” to my “college/real life” version. Not only did it give me a good outline for what my resume should look like, but it also opened up my eyes to what opportunities and experiences I was lacking in and what I should be looking for. The PHC was also huge for my development from a high school student to a graduate-school ready adult. It helped me to learn how to talk about myself and reflect on the experiences that I’ve had and the things that I’ve done (one of their big things is reflections). It also pushed me to do more and get more out of my time at Michigan Tech.
Michigan Tech, whether you’re in an engineering program or not, develops your analytical thinking skills and teaches you to ask questions and solve problems.
I will be attending the College of Chiropractic at Northwestern Health Sciences University (NWHSU) beginning in January of 2019. The Chiropractic program at NWHSU is based on scientific evidence rather than tradition and is designed to integrate basic knowledge and chiropractic technique throughout the program. These two programs meshed well for someone like me, who approaches problems from an analytical perspective. NWHSU also has programs for Massage Therapy, Acupuncture, Nutrition, and Chinese Medicine, allowing for tons of opportunity to learn about other aspects of holistic medicine. NWHSU was also the closest chiropractic school to my home (Mohawk, Michigan), so that was an added bonus.
My best advice is to not worry about it too much. I spent months worrying about doing the application before I actually submitted it. In reality, the thought of doing it is worse than actually doing it. I don’t know what the official stance is, but from my perspective application to chiropractic school is not very similar to applying to other graduate schools. While it is more competitive than most undergraduate programs, it’s not like trying to get into medical school or physical therapy school. Your GPA doesn’t need to be perfect and you don’t have to have a resume full of awards and clubs and achievements and projects.
My feeling was that the process was a lot more personal than what your resume and grades say about you. It’s about who you are as a person, about your commitment and effort and interest.
Don’t get me wrong, any chiropractic program is still intense and takes years of hard work and, to use one of Michigan Tech’s favorite words, tenacity to make it through; it’s not a cakewalk, and it shouldn’t be. Basically, take the process and schooling seriously because it’s not a joke, but remember that you’re going into a field that’s about the person, not about the numbers and definitions.
I was pretty heavily involved in the Student Athletic Training Internship program. Basically, it’s just an option for students with an interest in athletic training and sports medicine to get hands-on experience assisting the athletic trainers during practices and games. I learned a lot from this program, including how to tape and how to perform treatments like ultrasound. It allowed me to get more experience with handling people in a more professional setting. It’s also something that looks great on a resume. Also they’ve recently restructured the program so that it’s a series of classes, each with different goals and milestones, like how to fit crutches or do ultrasounds. It sounds like it’s going to be a great program. The goal by the end of the program is for the students to basically be able to handle the basic needs of an athletic team on their own, at least that’s what I gathered.