Learning Enhancement & Academic Development (LEAD)

Summer Preparedness and Readiness Course (SPaRC) FAQ

  • LEAD
  • SPaRC
  • Summer Preparedness and Readiness Course (SPaRC) FAQ

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Following are the answers to some common questions about SPaRC. If you would like to know more, please don’t hesitate to contact us at harryo@westernu.edu

What are this year’s dates?

June 11, 2018-July 13, 2018

What is the cost?


Who can participate?

SPaRC is open to any incoming student from the following colleges:

  • College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific
  • College of Health Sciences (DPT and MSPA)
  • College of Dental Medicine
  • College of Optometry
  • College of Podiatric Medicine

What are the benefits of participating in SPaRC?

Participating in SPaRC allows students to:

  • Understand the realistic academic and emotional demands of their program
  • Utilize academic-based learning and wellbeing coping strategies
  • Meet and interact with college deans and faculty
  • Access crucial resources on campus
  • Develop supportive friendships with students in and outside of their program
  • Collaborate with other WesternU students in Service Learning

What science courses are covered in SPaRC?

As an academic preparedness course, science content includes:

  • Skeletal system overview
  • Anatomy cadaver lab
  • Anatomy lecture
  • Pharmacology
  • Program-specific content

What readiness courses are covered in SPaRC?

As an academic readiness course, content includes:

  • Learning strategies
  • Time management
  • Anxiety management
  • Test-taking strategies

What does a typical SPaRC day look like?

A typical SPaRC day runs from 9am-4pm.  However depending on the college, program specific content can be delivered before or after SPaRC hours.


Program specific content lectures


Anatomy cadaver lab




Anatomy large group lecture


Anatomy small group breakout lectures


Program specific content lectures

What are my options for housing?

As the program is on the Pomona campus, students may have to move to the area earlier than expected.  Available short-term and long term housing options can be reviewed: https://www.westernu.edu/students/students-housing-moving/ or by contacting the SPaRC Director: harroyo@westernu.edu

Are there opportunities for service learning?

In collaboration with a local organization, SPaRC culminates with a community health education fair.   In small interprofessional groups, students select a topic of their choice and develop an interactive presentation.

Do I receive any credit?

SPaRC students receive a CR/NCR grade for the course. It will not be included in their GPA calculation, but will appear on their transcript. Additionally, there are established standards (report card) to be met to receive a Certificate of Completion. Colleges will receive the report card and Deans distribute the Certificates of Completion. 

How do I register for a Summer Institute?

To register for SPaRC: SPaRC Application

What are the academic expectations for students?

Students are expected to attend class every day.  Attendance is mandatory since students learn from participating in lecture and lab discussions.  Students are expected to complete a high volume of nightly studying. Additionally content covered in class is formally tested on exams.