As a prospective medical student, you might be ecstatic to learn that there are premed advisors appointed by your university to help you with your upcoming medical school applications. These individuals are meant to help you and help you with every aspect of your medical career aspirations. In this blog, you will learn how to identify whether a premed advisor can help you with your medical school journey or whether you should look for help somewhere else! We will help you choose the premed help that you need to achieve your goals!
While premed advisors can be invaluable assets on your journey to medical school, it's crucial to approach their guidance with a discerning mindset. Given the competitive nature , a knowledgeable guiding hand can be a tremendous advantage. Many institutions offer stellar premed advising, with dedicated resources to help students realize their aspirations.
However, it's essential to recognize that not all advising experiences are created equal. Due to the sheer volume of students some advisors manage or potential gaps in their understanding of the nuanced admissions process, the advice you receive might sometimes fall short of your expectations or needs.
At BeMo, we champion a personalized approach as the cornerstone of a quality medical school application. It's this belief that urges us to highlight potential red flags in the advising landscape:
Oversubscription: If your advisor is managing an extensive roster of students, their bandwidth to provide individualized advice might be limited.
Generic Guidance: A one-size-fits-all strategy never works. If the advice you receive isn't tailored to your unique profile, it's a sign to seek a second opinion.
We will discuss these in further detail below, but should you encounter any of these concerns, consider broadening your advisory network. Seek out multiple perspectives, be it through another or professional services, to ensure you're making informed decisions.
In this blog we discuss that while premed advisors can be potent allies, maintaining a proactive, discerning approach ensures you make the most of their guidance and sidestep potential pitfalls.
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Premed advisors perform some very important tasks. Each university has its own course schedules and timetable nuances. Premed advisors usually know what courses can be impacted by scheduling conflicts or interdepartmental politics. They can advise which a student should take, and when. Advisors can ensure that you graduate on time and complete all your degree requirements, as well as advise you to complete all your premed prerequisites.
However, in addition to checking off all the medical school requirements, you must also totally wow the admissions committee. And this is where you may run into some difficulties if the advice of your premed advisor is too general. Some advisors are unable to give you relevant or accurate premed advice that would – often, because it’s not part of their jobs to advise you on how to be a stand-out candidate. It’s their job to make sure that you are on the right track, but that’s about it.
However, there are many advisors that love to work individually with each student. But they are often working with thousands of students at a time and therefore have little to no time to give each student personalized advice. They are simply trying to keep track of whether each student is checking off every required box. These premed advisors work with an overwhelming number of students and do not have the resources to help a student prepare a unique, successful application. It is time-consuming to analyze every student’s history and application in its entirety and tell them what is best.
If you find that your premed advisor bases their advice not on your particular circumstances and strengths, but on the general information about medical school standards, the stereotypes, then this may be a red flag. There’s really no one way of getting accepted into medical school. Each student’s journey to medical school is unique. To generalize recommendations for a student’s application without examining their particular situation will only harm the student’s chances.
So what can you do to make sure you receive tailored advice? We strongly encourage you to do some of your own research to understand admission nuances and prepare specific questions. Unless you plan to ask specific questions about the application process, your advisor may be unable to help you. If your advisor has hundreds of other applications to work on, your prepared questions will be of great help.
Embarking on the journey to becoming a doctor is no easy feat, even when you know . As a premed, you'll likely encounter individuals who may question or even critique your choice to pursue medicine. Whether it's concerns about your GPA, , extracurriculars, or other aspects, it's essential to approach feedback with a discerning mind. Particularly, it's crucial to differentiate between well-intentioned guidance and sheer discouragement. If you find your premed advisor leaning more towards discouraging words rather than constructive advice, it's time to recalibrate.
Premed advisors should be realistic without being discouraging. It's certainly not about giving false hopes to a student with a 2.0 GPA that medical school is just around the corner. Rather, it's about focusing on constructive solutions to enhance one's candidacy. Instead of merely pointing out shortcomings, an effective advisor provides actionable suggestions, such as recommending that can boost GPA and MCAT scores, or suggesting specific that align with a student's passion and career goals. After all, the primary role of an advisor is to advise and provide tools for improvement, not to deter you from your chosen path.
As we already mentioned, many advisors juggle a large number of students, which can sometimes limit the depth and quality of advice they're able to offer each individual. They might, as a result, gravitate towards discussing backup plans more than personalized strategies for enhancement. Should you find yourself in such a scenario, don't be disheartened. Take the initiative and seek clarification. Ask your premed advisor specific questions about how to enhance your profile and what resources or paths could be beneficial for you. Remember, it's a collaborative journey. With resilience, adaptability, and the right guidance, even challenges can transform into stepping stones toward your dream of joining the medical profession.
The truth is, you are your own best advocate when it comes to . Navigating the path to medical school is like setting out on a personal expedition. While you'll encounter many guides and mentors along the way, ultimately you are your best advocate. The foundation of this advocacy lies in the understanding that while external support systems – such as premed advisors and counseling – play an integral role, it's your drive, dedication, and curiosity that form the cornerstone of your candidacy for medical school.
Premed advisors and counselors can be incredible assets. They come with a wealth of knowledge, experience, and insights that can streamline your application process, highlight potential opportunities, or even forewarn you about common pitfalls. However, they function best as navigational aids, offering a bird's eye view and suggesting possible routes. It's up to you to take the wheel and drive. This means seeking specific advice tailored to your unique strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations. It also means conducting your own research via , whether that's about schools that align with your career goals, understanding prerequisites, or getting a grasp on the intricacies of and interviews. By taking the initiative, you're not just gathering knowledge; you're showing a proactive mindset – a trait highly valued by medical schools.
Furthermore, in this expedition towards medical school, the most crucial growth happens within. No one can imbue you with the passion to heal, the curiosity to research, or the tenacity to persevere through challenging rotations. These must be cultivated by your experiences, your struggles, and your victories. When the journey becomes tough – and at times, it undoubtedly will – it's your inner advocate that will remind you of your purpose, pushing you to be the best candidate you can be. So, while you gather , get a good MCAT score, and build a strong , remember that your most compelling advocate is you, which means that the premed advisors can only really help you if you know what you want. Trust in your capabilities, lean into your resources, but most importantly, believe in your journey and the steps you're taking towards a fulfilling medical career.
Stay Proactively Engaged
It is really up to you to make the first steps and it is up to you to be in touch with the premedical advisor. To some extent, you are fighting for their attention with other premeds who are looking for advice. So make sure that you keep in contact with your advisor, sending them specific questions and letting them know of your progress.
If your advisor is available for in-person meetings, make sure to reach out to them in advance to plan in-person check-ins. Keep your documents organized, so that when it comes to your meeting you can easily present them with your progress and your questions. Remember, it is up to you to inform them of your situation – only then will they be able to give you useful advice.
Dive Deep with Specific Questions
We already mentioned this, but it’s worth repeating: premed advisors can be super helpful only if they understand your profile as an applicant, which is why it’s so important to inform them about your academic and non-academic achievements and shortcomings. This requires a lot of self-awareness and research on your end as well. The advisors can help you only if they know your situation, and therefore you need to be forthcoming with them. We advise preparing specific questions before you check in with them. This can guide your discussion and allow you to navigate the difficult admissions process with more direction.
Test Different Premed Advisors
Your school may have a group of premedical advisors. Some schools assign advisors to students based on their last name, or have some other way of appointing advisors to students. If you end up assigned to an advisor that you are not “clicking” with, consider asking other advisors for help. Or talk to the school’s administration and ask to be reassigned to a different person.
Seek External Advice
If you are not getting what you need from your school’s premed advisor, consider reaching out to one-on-one medical school advisors or admissions consulting. These companies tend to be more involved with their students because they have the resources to tailor their advice to each student.
1. Should I use a premed advisor from my school?
It is always wise to reach out to any available resources that can help your chances of getting accepted into medical school. The situation is generally better at small schools with a smaller number of students. In these types of institutions, the resources are often less stretched. Premed advisors can provide you with the materials and forms you need for your applications. They can also contact medical schools on your behalf to get more detailed information about a program's requirements and admissions process.
So, paying a visit and getting information is a good idea, but don’t assume this is the only information you need, and it should only be a starting point.
2. Can I get into medical school without the help of a premed advisor? Where can I find helpful information?
Yes, you can! Many students who matriculate into medical schools do not receive any help from premed advisors. There are many resources for students looking to enter the medical profession, including program websites and admissions professionals. You can find a list of helpful resources for your medical school application . , however, should be avoided due to their lack of reliable, factual information and hostility from moderators. Some program websites only provide general information so if you have specific questions about the program you’re applying to, it would be wise to reach out to the admissions office directly to find out details. Utilizing the services of a professional medical school advisor, with years of experience in the admissions process can increase your chances of getting accepted into medical school. have often been in your exact shoes, they’ve applied to medical school themselves or have extensive training and knowledge in the medical school admissions process. Some of them have even been on admissions committees or served as evaluators during interviews. All of this means that these individuals have a strong educational background, extensive knowledge, utilize a personalized approach, and therefore are in the best position to help you get accepted.
3. I don’t like my school’s premed advisor. Can I reach out to another school’s advising program for help?
There are times when a premed advisor gives some limited advice to a student from a different school but it is uncommon. Many schools require students to have an appropriate student ID to qualify for any kind of advising. However, no one can stop you from emailing or phoning another school’s advising program and asking if they can help you.
4. What if a premed advisor told me I had no chance of getting in?
First of all, don’t get discouraged. As mentioned above, students find a variety of ways to gain admission and there isn’t only one path that works. First, educate yourself. Education=empowerment. Explore program websites so you know what requirements are needed and what incoming class profiles look like. You can also look at centralized application sites like (MSAR) and to find out about timelines and requirements. Explore if you are on track or whether you need assistance and what things you need to improve on and go from there. Check out our blog if you need help or some ideas on how to select.
5. How can I find out if my premed advisor is qualified to give me advice?
Simple! You can always feel free to ask an advisor what their qualifications and experiences are. As noted above, true experts have experience and/or extensive training in evidence-based methods that have worked countless times to help students receive acceptances.
To your success,
Your friends at BeMo,