January 14, 2014
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
The journey to medical school is not one that you take alone. The medical field has always been dedicated to treating people first, conditions second. When you commit to pursuing a medical career, the pre-health advisor at your undergraduate institution becomes your compass, counselor, and companion. Take full advantage of what a pre-health advisor can do for you.
Meet with a pre-health advisor early in your post-secondary career. Though it’s never too late to develop a relationship with this key career contact, sooner is better than later – do not delay! A knowledgeable and experienced pre-health advisor can assist you in building a competitive medical school application beginning in your freshman year.
Your pre-health advisor can counsel you in course selection and sequence. Particularly if you have chosen a non-science major, the pre-health advisor can recommend and plan out a suitable schedule of science courses that medical schools require their applicants to take as undergraduates. Your pre-health advisor can coordinate study groups for you as well, linking a cohort of students pursuing the same career path together, creating camaraderie through student learning communities. In addition, your pre-health advisor can coordinate MCAT preparation strategies that specifically address your academic strengths and weaknesses. He or she can direct you to prep classes if needed or link you to on-campus MCAT study groups. Your pre-health advisor can also counsel you through obstacles you might encounter along the way. If you have problems with your science classes, or find yourself with a low MCAT score or GPA, your pre-health advisor can help you make the most informed decisions about your career in the medical field. She or he might recommend a different career choice, or she might recommend additional supports to bolster your stats.
Your pre-health advisor can identify medical-related opportunities to fill the time you’re not taking classes, such as internships and volunteering and shadowing options. These additional activities round out a medical school application. In addition, if you’ve spent the summer shadowing a current professional in a hospital or lab, you may realize that medical school is not for you, so these activities also help you clarify your future plans through practical, real world experiences that you are likely to encounter if you pursue a medical career.
Your pre-health advisor can work with you in drafting a powerful personal statement. Don’t expect your advisor to correct every typo in your essay; instead, your advisor will make sure that your essay presents you as a commitment medical school applicant whose goals and experiences capture the attention of an overwhelmed medical school admissions officer.
Medical schools look for enthusiastic letters of recommendation supporting your application. Your pre-health advisor can assist you in obtaining these letters, helping you identify the best recommenders, and even writing a letter themselves.
Once you’ve been admitted to medical school, your pre-health advisor can guide you to the resources that will allow you to finance your medical school training. Pre-health advisors know the high costs associated with pursuing medical school studies. They have access to financial aid information, scholarship opportunities, and other information that will allow you to afford to attend medical school.
So don’t delay! If you have not yet met with a pre-health advisor, contact your school’s advising office today to begin taking advantage of the expertise of this key figure in your medical school journey! — Post by Madelaine Kingsbury.