One of the most common question I get as a Medical Officer Recruiter centers around the competitiveness of the Health Professions Scholarship Program. Leaving aside statistics, which can always be sliced and diced in ways that can either prove or disprove any point, I think there are some basic questions that a successful Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) application has to answer.
Assuming you get past the physical and have no other administrative issues, applicants essentially need to convince the board of four things:
1- You will graduate medical school on time.
2- You will pass your boards.
3- You will enjoy being a doctor.
4- You will be happy in the Navy work environment.
For the most part questions one and two are answered by your undergraduate experiences and MCAT score, while questions three and four are answered through references, interviews, and your motivational statement.
Taken together, these questions basically boil down to, “What are the odds this person will be a successful doctor in the Navy?” This is an important question, especially when you consider that through HPSP the Navy is hiring you as a doctor before you even begin medical school.
Understand, there are no silver bullet experiences or easy answers and I am not a member of the selection board. I am simply a recruiter whose job it is to put someones application together, in the best light possible, in order for the board to make an informed decision using the “whole person concept”.
Remember, there are only a finite number of scholarships (usually about 200 four-year slots and less than 30 three-year slots each cycle). There will always be more people who are qualified than there will be recipients. It’s not about who “deserves” a scholarship, but about who can best make the case that they will be an asset in helping the US Navy meet its obligations to our country.
The Navy is betting hundreds of thousand of dollars on each recipient, so you want to paint yourself as a safe bet. An application that can answer the questions above is a good start.
Future posts will address each of these specifically as well as what potential applicant can do to set themselves up for success. Click on the “Follow My Blog” link to be notified of future posts.
** As always the opinions on this blog are my own views and unless otherwise noted, do not reflect any official policy or directive of the US Navy or the the Navy Recruiting Command **