—How to Prepare for the Interview—
What should I wear to an interview?
Business attire is appropriate for the interview day. Comfortable shoes that you can walk around in will be helpful, as you will be walking a lot.
What should I take to an interview?
Having a personal bag/backpack is helpful. Students can also bring items if they would like to touch up before the actual sit-down interview session in the afternoon.
What is the interview like?
The interview day is very exciting. It starts with many informative meetings with staff and includes a visit to one of the clinical rotation sites that our students attend. Students are given a tour of the school, followed by lunch with current students. The actual interview is after lunch, where students are interviewed by CSPM faculty/staff.
Who will I be interviewed by?
There are several individuals who can interview you. Usually, the dean, associate dean, and faculty members will conduct your interview.
—CSPM and the City of Oakland Related Questions—
Where do students typically live when in their first year?
Students live in many surrounding areas of Oakland. In Oakland, students typically live near Pill Hill (the area where the campus is located), Telegraph, the Fruitvale District, and Jack London Square. Students also live in neighboring cities such as Alameda, San Francisco, and Walnut Creek. Other students commute from cities like Fremont, Hayward, and Union City. Public transportation is available from all areas. There is a parking garage for students that commute. Student discounts are available for Clipper Cards if students take BART. There is a shuttle that runs from the BART station to the campus.
What is the best way to reduce the cost?
CSPM offers many ways to help reduce costs. We will help you find affordable housing and help connect you with roommates. We encourage public transportation, which is readily available throughout the SF Bay Area and students are eligible for reduced-cost monthly Clipper passes. SMU has a free food pantry for all students.
What stood out to you when choosing CSPM over the other schools?
CSPM has been a school for over one hundred years. We are a school that is committed to communities. Our communities include our student community, the SMU community, the city of Oakland, and our proud community of alumni. We have many busy, established clinics for our students to rotate through while they are students in the program. Not only do students get an early start by seeing patients in their second year, but all CSPM clinics are “hands-on” with a high faculty-to-student ratio. The CSPM clinics are also embedded in multiple teaching hospitals in the SF Bay Area, providing access to a wide diversity of patients. In addition, many of the clinical rotation sites (including San Francisco General Hospital, Highland Hospital, UCSF, VASF, and VA Palo Alto) are associated with various Bay Area residency programs, so it gives students early interaction with future residency programs.
What do students do outside of school for social or community activities?
The SF Bay Area is an amazing place, with an abundance of world-class activities. The Oakland campus is surrounded by great parks, restaurants, museums, theater, music venues, sightseeing, sporting events, etc. Community service is also a big part of CSPM, with volunteer opportunities almost every weekend and many weekdays.
What the commute is like from Bart to the school and how seamless and safe is it?
BART is easily accessible and quick to learn if you have not taken public transportation before. By using Google Maps, it will tell you what train to hop on and what time each train will arrive at the selected BART station. In order to get to school, you would get off at the MacArthur BART station and transfer to the free Sutter Alta Bates No. 3 or No. 4 shuttle. Make sure to have your student ID on you. During BART rides, it is a perfect time to get some light studying done either with flashcards or your notes. It is safe during the day, but like any other city, be cautious of holding your phone out, pay attention to your surroundings, and avoid using BART when it’s darker out. To pay for your BART ride, you can purchase a Clipper Card at any kiosk you find at a BART station. The school provides a student discount that you pay monthly at the ABSMC Parking & Transportation office at 310 Summit St. Rm G615. The Clipper Card credit will be uploaded automatically to your card each month.
What is the overall safety of the area around school, Oakland, etc.?
The area around the campus is relatively safe. Like any city, there are areas that are safer and some areas where you need to be diligent. We are fortunate to have a parking garage that is very safe. The area around the campus is seeing significant development over the past few years. Within two blocks, you will find Sprouts grocery store, Starbucks, Chipotle, and Grocery Outlet. There are also campus security guards who help to limit the amount of non-student individuals from roaming onto campus. There are plenty of study spaces that are open until 10 p.m. and midnight and security can escort you to your vehicle if you do not feel like walking alone. Overall, it feels safe here.
What support is offered for students if they need help academically or with general advice?
SMU offers services that students can utilize such as Academic Advising/Coaching, peer tutoring, and more. First-year students are also paired up with a faculty advisor, a third-year mentor, and a second-year mentor. SMU Student Service offers help in areas such as testing skills, study skills, and wellness. CSPM has a faculty member who is dedicated to learning strategies and board preparation.
What kinds of clubs do you have on campus?
CSPM has many clubs and societies offered on campus that first-year students can check out at the Club Fair during their orientation. The school has clubs associated with ACFAS, public health, surgery, volunteer clinics, etc. In addition to academic clubs, there are intramural sports clubs. Students have the option to start their own clubs too.
Where can I study on campus?
• Library (there are cubicles, study rooms you can reserve, and tables you can study with classmates)
• Campus lounge (open until 12 a.m.) and patio with tables, chairs, and couches
• Classrooms are open to students until 10 p.m.
• There are no "24-hour" study rooms on campus yet
What is the relationship like between the underclassmen and upperclassmen?
CSPM has very small class sizes (48 students) and a dedicated faculty who believe in an open door policy. This creates a small community that makes it very easy for there to be a collaboration between underclassmen and upperclassmen as well as between students and faculty/staff.
—First- and Second-Year Related Questions—
What's the best thing to use for taking notes in class?
All students take notes differently but most of us have found that an iPad or Microsoft Surface Pro allows students to take notes right on the PowerPoint while also being able to label pictures easily. Some APPs used for note taking include Notability and OneNote.
How do people find roommates before meeting anyone in class?
CSPM sets up a Facebook page for all entering students to allow them to get to know each before school starts. This becomes a platform for students to find roommates.
Are there opportunities for research?
Students can talk to their professors if they have ongoing research or look for research outside of campus that is associated with a hospital or organization. With the presence of the Motion Analysis Research Center, it is quite easy to find an ongoing project to join.
Where do students typically go for rotations starting their second year?
During the second year, rotations take place in Oakland and San Francisco. The rotations are attended at hospitals, a homeless clinic, or on campus.
Are students able to be involved in organizations in their first year?
Students are able to take part in clubs, events, workshops, dinners, and more starting their first year.
Is there a dress code for first years?
There is no dress code for classes, however, there is a requirement of full-length pants, a shirt, and closed-toed shoes for labs. The school provides a couple of pairs of scrubs, which is what most students wear to labs.
What is a typical first-year schedule?
First-year students have class Monday-Friday. Class will start around 8 or 9 a.m. and end around 5 p.m. The schedule varies every year.
How many students per cadaver for anatomy labs?
The student to cadaver ratio is 6:1.
What is the faculty-to-student ratio?
We currently have a 2:1 faculty-to-student ratio. Among all other schools, we have the lowest ratio which allows for more personal interaction with faculty.