When deciding what college to attend as a pre-med student, one of the issues you want to consider is the quality of pre-med advising at a particular college.
Most colleges have some type of pre-med advising for their students. The intent of this advising is to make sure the student is doing what they need to do to be a competitive candidate when applying for medical school. Items that are typically discussed in a good pre-med advising program include what classes to take, how to prepare for the MCAT, when to take the MCAT, what clinical opportunities should the student engage in and for how long, what research opportunities should they take, how to get doctor shadowing experience and how much is needed, the importance of things like leadership and why considering a gap year is important. While these are not all of the topics that need to be considered, a pre-med program at the college that covers these topics is doing a pretty good job.
Unfortunately, what we see in reality is that many of these issues are not discussed or their importance is not made clear. I regularly talk with college students that have used their campus pre-med office. When I ask them questions about some of the above issues, they often tell me that the issue was never covered by their pre-med office. One of the most basic issues is what classes have to be taken to prepare for the MCAT and applying to medical schools. Yet, time after time, I hear from students that have not taken the required classes. Or students that did not understand the importance of clinical volunteering.
This is not to say that some colleges don’t have good counseling. Some do, particularly some of the smaller colleges. But it is important for you the pre-med student to ask questions about the advising before deciding which college to attend. You need to make sure that your college will help you with the process of becoming a strong candidate for medical school. If your not sure about how well the college can help you with the medical school admissions process, give me a call and we can look at your options.