The Diagnostic Medical Sonography programs in 2017 have competitive admission processes. This puts the onus on students to carefully read and closely follow the program requirements for submitting complete and timely applications. There are many ways to improve ranking on the list of eligible admits, including following recommendations for non-compulsory requirements and maximizing possible points allowed. Take the time to prepare a thoughtful and complete application, and greatly improve the odds of being admitted.
Becoming a Competitive Applicant for Diagnostic Medical Sonography Programs
Requirements for Diagnostic Medical Sonography programs vary from college to college so closely reading the admission requirements is important. Though some requirements are similar from program to program, no two accredited sonography programs have identical admission procedures or requirements.
Following are a few tips on how to strengthen program applications and examples of real-world admission requirements:
- If a program recommends taking a particular course then follow the advice, even if the course is not required. For example, the sonography degree program offered by Orange Coast College recommends taking Counseling A102 for program preparation. It is only a recommendation, but following that recommendation can create a good impression.
- Meet all deadlines. There are application deadlines set for admission to the school and to the sonography program. Sometimes the dates are the same, but often not. After selecting the preferred CAAHEP accredited sonography program, the first thing to do is create a calendar with all the dates that must be carefully met without exception. In addition, many schools establish a date for submitting required documentation that becomes part of the program admission packet.
- Pay attention to each and every requirement because failing to meet any of the minimum requirements will cause the application to be rejected. For example, the University of Missouri School of Health Professions requires:
- Minimum undergraduate 2.75 GPA (Grade Point Average)
- Minimum ACT (American College Testing) composite score of 22
- International students have a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score of 100
- Complete additional requirements as required in a timely manner. The accredited sonography degree programs offered by University of Southern Indiana requires applicants to complete 20 hours of observation of sonography procedures and submit verification of observation before the application deadline.
Ideally, the observation hours will include time watching procedures in the ultrasound specialty the student is interested in pursuing. For example, students who want to enter one of the cardiac sonography training programs should observe cardiac sonography procedures, if possible. Making the effort to ensure some observation hours match career goals proves true commitment and contributes to the strength of the application.
This is just a sample of the typical requirements of accredited ultrasound technician schools. Read the admission applications and requirements word-by-word.
Adding Up Points
Most sonography program admissions procedures use a point system for ranking purposes. Maximizing the points earned is important to final eligibility for program admittance.
Following are some typical examples of ways to increase points.
- GPA and ACT Score – Wallace State Community College takes the GPA for pre-sonography courses and multiplies it by 7.6 to generate a weighted GPA. The weighted GPA is added to the Composite ACT score to establish ranking within the current group of applicants. The higher the GPA, the higher the points.
- Specific Classes – Some schools give additional points for taking certain courses. the accredited sonography associate degree program offered by Cape Fear Community College in North Carolina awards extra points for taking college medical terminology course and two designated computer courses.
- Medical Background – the sonography degree program offered by Tidewater Community College awards points for having a medical background or education. The most points at 30 are earned for being a radiography senior student or a registered radiographer. Twenty-five points are awarded for completing a two-year health program. Fifteen points are awarded for completing a one-year health program and earning a state license as a CNA.
Ten points or less can be earned by anyone who does not have a medical background but is willing to take a CNA course. The full 10 points are awarded to those who complete CNA programs and are licensed. Three points are earned when the medical background is work-related only.
Perseverance is an Admirable Quality
Sometimes the hopeful Diagnostic Medical Sonographer student prepares an ideal application and still does not get admitted. If that happens, it is not the time to give up career dreams. There are always options if the first choice Diagnostic Medical Sonography program is full. It is important to persevere. Anyone who desires a career in ultrasound technology can make it happen.