“We understand that getting ready for college can be a busy time. If you need a school physical completed prior to starting college, we can perform your exam and help you get your paperwork sorted out as quickly as possible”.
Why is my school requesting a physical before I start school?
It’s in the school’s best interests for their students to be healthy and able to complete the program they have chosen. Some programs are very rigorous and may be physically and mentally challenging. A college physical exam may help them identify students who may have difficulty completing a program due to a physical or mental condition.
In certain programs, such as medicine, nursing, dentistry, physiotherapy and other allied health programs, students may be expected to complete practicums in the community. They may have to work with patients who are physically ill or who have lowered immunity due to illness. In these programs, students must be free of any communicable diseases and healthy enough to work safely with others. These programs are also very demanding, so the college or university may want to ensure that they are choosing candidates who can withstand the pressures that will be placed on them.
If you are attending college on an athletic scholarship, or just planning to participate in college sports, you may be required to have a college pre-admission physical before being allowed to play. This is to ensure that you are fit to play and that you don’t have any physical issues that have not yet been identified.
What can I expect when I come in for my college physical?
Most college physical exam forms ask for the same basic information. In addition to your demographics (name, age, date of birth, contact information etcetera), they will generally ask for the following information:
- vital signs (temperature, heart rate, blood pressure)
- vision (whether you wear glasses or contacts or have any problems with your vision)
- general appearance (whether you appear to be healthy)
- previous medical/surgical history
- medications you are taking/any allergies to medications, foods or environment
We will perform a physical exam. In order for us to examine you, you will be asked to change into a gown. During the physical portion of the exam, we may do some or all of the following:
- examine your skin
- listen to your heart and lungs
- look in your ears, eyes, throat and nose
- examine your abdomen
- check your reflexes
- feel your thyroid gland for any nodules (lumps)
- check your back for any spinal abnormalities
- ask you to walk a few steps to check balance and gait
Some schools may request basic blood work to check for anemia, signs of infection or thyroid abnormalities.
What about immunizations?
Many schools will ask that you provide proof of immunization or that you receive certain immunizations prior to starting school. This may be especially important if your program brings you in contact with the public. College itself can put you at risk for certain illnesses, such as the flu, due to crowded living conditions in dormitories, so it’s a good idea to protect yourself as much as possible. An illness such as the flu can mean missing classes or exams, putting you behind in your work.
You may be asked to provide proof/get vaccinated against the following conditions:
- varicella (chickenpox)
You may feel a little overwhelmed when you look at your college physical exam form. Don’t worry- it seems more complicated than it really is and we have a lot of experience filling out forms! That being said, try not to wait until the last minute to get your forms completed. Make an appointment to come in and see us and we’ll get your forms completed- one less thing to worry about.