1) I’ve been getting a fair number of questions about my job as an acupuncture admissions counselor. Such as, what the heck?! That’s a job? (Uhhh… yes?)
2) Plus: spring travel season has begun again for admissions counselors, so I’ve been out on the road quite a bit this month. All this travel is making me realize that I never shared my fall admissions travel photos with you… and I should have! Because seriously, who doesn’t love sneaking a peek at the travel of total strangers?
3) And: something that I’m always trying to promote on this blog is that with a little creative thinking, acupuncture can take you around the world. We’ve already talked about how acupuncture has brought me to:
And as an acupuncture admissions counselor, I’ve criss-crossed New England, which is my travel territory. That’s a lot of states! New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, and Rhode Island. Plus New Jersey, and a few colleges in New York, for good measure.
Last fall I visited 22 colleges, covered more than 4500 miles, and clocked over 70 hours driving in a rental car. Phew!
While New England may not sound as glamorous as Europe or as adventurous as Peru, it’s pretty darn awesome. There’s so much history and amazing architecture! This job has brought me to some outrageously beautiful and historic universities and towns that I never would have discovered on my own. As an avid traveler, I’m always looking for new places to visit. And new things to eat in those places! This job has me covered.
So those are the reasons I think you’ll enjoy this post today. An inside peek into the world of graduate admissions for acupuncture school, and travel, travel, travel.
For those of you who are new to the blog, I work at Finger Lakes School of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (FLSAOM) in Upstate NY. I’m relatively new to the position, as I started in June of 2014. So I’ve had the chance to experience a little more than half of the year-long cycle that tends to exist in admissions. (September to September, of course.)
So let’s answer those questions:
What does an acupuncture admissions counselor do?
I’m going to keep this pretty brief, because I have a more in-depth post coming up soon about the day-to-day life of an acupuncture admissions counselor (with pictures, of course). For now, the big picture:
1) Mainly, I answers questions.
About acupuncture, our Master of Acupuncture degree programs, and acupuncture as a profession.
Being an admissions counselor for acupuncture involves a lot of educating. Most people simply aren’t familiar with acupuncture, and as a result, they don’t typically consider acupuncture as a career. But my job is to teach them. For some people, talking with me is their introduction to acupuncture. What is it? Does it really work? How does it work?
Once I’ve explained what acupuncture is, then I answer loads of questions about our programs. What’s the class schedule like? How long will I be in student clinic? What is tuition? Can I go to China? (>> Yes, you can.)
I really enjoy that I get the opportunity to clear up a lot of confusion that tends to surround acupuncture in the general public. Stereotypes and unfounded fears, be gone!
Ultimately, I emphasize the following on a daily basis: Yes, acupuncture is a serious medical discipline that does work. And as a result, yes, acupuncture school is a serious, intense course of study. It’s not just a few weekends here and there. This is a three-year master’s degree. It’s the real deal.
2) I help applicants navigate the application process.
This is actually another subset of answering questions. Whenever an applicant has a question about paperwork, our requirements, getting to campus, or anything else under the sun, I’m the gal they seek.
I also set up applicant interviews with faculty members, occasionally give campus tours (which I love even though the work study students usually get to do it), and keep people on track to submit all their documentation on time.
3) I travel to undergraduate colleges to recruit new acupuncture students.
I actually also recruit chiropractic students as well, because the acupuncture school I work for is a subset of a larger school, New York Chiropractic College. Since chiropractic has helped me a lot (especially with migraines) and my boyfriend is a chiropractor, I’m pretty passionate about recruiting for the chiropractic program as well.
But what do you travel for? What do you actually do at these places?
The purpose of my driving 6 hours to the Eastern edge of Massachusetts (and all the other places I find myself) is primarily to give presentations that help students realize that they can pursue acupuncture or chiropractic as a viable career. I teach about chiropractic and acupuncture (in general) and about the educational programs that we offer. I usually present in classes (such as biology or exercise science classes) but I sometimes give presentations in Pre-Med Clubs or Athletic Training Clubs as well.
The idea is that I explain what it means to be an acupuncturist (and a chiropractor) and help people understand whether it might be a good fit for them. I explain what our programs are like and what our admissions standards are.
Many students have never considered pursuing acupuncture or chiropractic as a career. I love that incredible “Ah-ha!” moment when a student suddenly realizes that acupuncture or chiropractic is a great a fit for them. Suddenly all their worry and confusion about their career choice evaporates and they can visualize their future in alternative medicine. They get so excited! Now that is part of what makes my job great; it’s a pretty amazing thing to witness!
A few more notes on traveling for admissions:
The fall “travel season” for admissions counselors is typically about six weeks long, from the end of September through early November. When I traveled this past semester, I limited my travel to two to four days a week, at most. I find it difficult to be away from my office routine five days a week, so I would make sure I was in the office at least one day a week. I don’t want you to think I was traveling six solid weeks – that would be crazy!
I spend a lot of meditative hours in the car during travel season. In case you missed it above, last fall I visited 22 colleges, covered more than 4500 miles, and clocked over 70 hours driving in a rental car.
I’m happy to say I get to be in charge of creating my own travel schedule. This means that I contact the professors, schedule a day and time for a presentation, book my hotel, set up a rental car, and essentially plan out all the trips on my own. This means I get to spend lots of time studying Expedia. *Love!*
Now get to the pictures, woman!
I have a lot of pictures from Massachusetts, Maine, and Rhode Island but I have to confess: I didn’t take any photos in Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, or New Jersey. Sorry!
I was still pretty new to the job while traveling in those states and I was focused on simply getting to the right places and the right times. As a result, I completely forgot to take pictures. But the further into the travel season I got, the more comfortable with my routine I became, and the more I remembered to whip out my iPhone and enjoy the view.
This spring travel season I’ve been much better at taking photos to document my journey. You can follow me in real-time on Instagram, and I’ll be posting a spring travel season post in just a few weeks.
Here’s a look at my fall 2014 travel season through New England. I hope you enjoy how ridiculously beautiful some of these schools are – I certainly did!
I visited several Rhode Island universities but, of course, forgot to take pictures of the universities themselves. This is a good start, eh?
Beautiful weather for driving…
gorgeous ocean views…
and my first ever lobster roll defined Rhode Island.
The weather was miserable for most of my drive to and from Massachusetts.
Thank goodness for hot coffee and a good book once I arrived.
Perhaps my favorite college of all time, Endicott is literally on the ocean, and they have two man-made lakes on campus. Dreamy. The weather improved dramatically to accommodate lots of pictures!
This view is just astounding. Check out the winter photo of this exact location from last week (with ice in the ocean!) on my Instagram account.
Raw vegan bagel sandwich (with cashew “mayo!”) from the Organic Garden Cafe, around the corner from Endicott College.
I had an afternoon off so I visited Salem after Endicott and Merrimack. It happened to be the week of Halloween, and I do not recommend this. Despite the empty look of these photos, Salem was packed. I couldn’t find a parking spot after 20 minutes of driving in circles, and was ready to give up and drive to my next college in Massachusetts. At the last minute I found temporary parking, phew!
I visited the Salem Witch Museum and walked around the city for a bit. Unfortunately, my phone was acting up and I was only able to take a few odd pictures before it died for the afternoon. Better than nothing?
In Maine I visited several universities but unfortunately for them, Maine is brimming with awesome food, and I was so busy eating that I took no pictures of the universities at all. Oops! (I promise I’m doing better this travel season at actually taking photos of the campuses. Really.)
I stayed at Pinecrest Inn Bed & Breakfast in Gorham. I don’t usually stay at B&Bs, but I couldn’t find any chain hotels close to Saint Joseph’s College. The food at Pinecrest… I can’t describe it properly, so I’ll just show you:
Sweet cream filled french toast rolls. (!)
In New Hampshire, I visited River Valley Community College’s massage therapist program. A friend of mind lives near RVCC so I got to spend a little quality time with her after my presentation. Awesome! Apparently, again, I only took food photos in New Hampshire. Sensing a trend here…
I also visited a few schools near Finger Lakes School of Acupuncture, in good old New York State.
Finger Lakes School of Massage:
There you have it! Hundreds of miles, narrowed down to the highlights. I hope you enjoyed it!
Have you visited or attended any of these schools? Have any recommendations for me? As in, where should I eat next time I visit? 🙂
Do you ever have to travel for work? Tell us about it!