Objective

This study explored self-reported experiences of alternate admission track plan (AATP) students who completed a chiropractic training program at a US chiropractic college.

Methods

Our institution conducted semistructured exit interviews with 16 graduating AATP students. Our consensus-drafted open-ended interview questions probed in-depth for these students' experience throughout the training program, with national board exams, their personal characteristics, their satisfaction with the training program generally, and with the AATP program specifically. We employed a content analysis to identify themes and patterns of responses across the blinded deidentified interview transcripts. We used a combination of deductive coding based on our interview guides, and inductive coding to identify newly emerging subthemes.

Results

Perceived facilitators of student success were strong commitment to chiropractic, cooperative, and supportive environment (eg, student study groups and a highly committed faculty), work ethic, and time management skills. Although many recommended that AATP entrants without science backgrounds take prerequisite courses in biology and chemistry, they also observed that a capable student could dedicate the time and effort to obtain the needed information via available college resources.

Conclusion

Graduating AATP students were positive about the AATP program overall, and their preparation for national board exams and for clinical practice. They greatly valued the opportunity to accelerate their entrance into chiropractic college. A major limitation of this study is that the perspectives of AATP students who did not complete the doctor of chiropractic program are not represented in these interviews of graduating students.

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Author notes

Norman Strutin is a professor in the Basic Sciences Department at Life Chiropractic College West (25001 Industrial Blvd, Hayward, CA 94545; nstrutin@lifewest.edu). Suzanne Ray is a professor in the Basic Sciences Department at Life Chiropractic College West (25001 Industrial Blvd, Hayward, CA 94545; sray@lifewest.edu). David Straub is the Department Chair and professor in the Basic Sciences Department at Life Chiropractic College West (25001 Industrial Blvd, Hayward, CA 94545; dstraub@lifewest.edu). Donna Odierna is a research specialist in the Research Department at Life Chiropractic College West and with Samuel Merritt University, School of Nursing (25001 Industrial Blvd, Suite 138, Hayward, CA 94545; dodierna@lifewest.edu). Monica Smith is the research director at Life Chiropractic College West (25001 Industrial Blvd, Hayward, CA 94545; msmith@lifewest.edu).

Concept development: NS, SR, DS. Design: MS, DO, NS, SR, DS. Supervision: MS, DO. Data collection/processing: MS, DO. Analysis/interpretation: NS, SR, DS, DO, MS. Literature search: NS, DO, MS. Writing: NS, SR, DS, DO, MS. Critical review: NS, SR, DO, MS.