Questions to Ask Your Premedical Adviser Before Graduation | Medical School Admissions Doctor

College graduation time can be extremely busy with studying for finals, finishing your senior thesis and spending quality time with friends. Although it’s a busy period, one thing you should do before leaving campus is to meet with all your mentors, including your premedical advisers.

Whether you have been accepted to medical school or are planning to apply in the future, meeting with your premed adviser can be beneficial. Here are topics you can discuss based on where you are in your premed journey.

Applying to Medical School After Graduation

Does your university have a committee letter?

Several undergraduate institutions, especially private universities, write committee letters for their students applying to medical school. A committee letter is a letter of recommendation from your college’s pre-health office that summarizes your background, academic record and other letters of recommendation. If your school offers a committee letter, I strongly recommend using this service and allocating enough time to submit quality materials.

It is important to ask your premed adviser about committee letters because materials for them are typically due much earlier than medical school application deadlines. Some med schools request committee letter materials in February or March before you apply; this means that you must have all your letters of recommendation submitted to your pre-health office before the deadline.

Pre-health advisers will also often ask you to submit additional essays and an updated resume along with your letters of recommendation.

What help and advising does the premed office give students applying to med school?

Familiarizing yourself with the premed advising office’s resources is essential to ensure that you can utilize them to their full potential. Premed advisers often host info sessions about the medical school application process. They also organize workshops with doctors and medical school students so that you can learn more about various health care careers.

Premed offices offer to students who are applying to med school. When checking about a committee letter, ask your premed advisers whether they can edit resumes, conduct mock interviews and provide personal statement feedback.

If you are reapplying to medical school, ask your premed advisers to analyze your previous application. Why do they think you did not get accepted to medical school the first time? What are the strengths and weaknesses of your application? Do they have advice on what you can improve so that you are a stronger applicant the next time you apply? Ask about any support they offer to graduated students who are applying to medical school.

Do you have any advice for my gap year?

Keeping your premed adviser informed about your gap year plans is crucial, as they can serve as your advocate when you apply to medical school. Premed advisers will often advise future medical school applicants to make sure that they continue with ample clinical activities and patient exposure during their gap period.

Ask your advisers if they know of any volunteering or shadowing opportunities where you will be located during your gap time. Finally, ask for alumni contacts in the area – you may get connected with them for shadowing experiences and mentorship. 

Accepted and Matriculating to Medical School

How can I prepare for the transition to med school?

Studying in medical school is often compared to drinking water from a fire hose. The amount of information you must read, absorb, understand and memorize is astounding. Ask your premed advisers for tips about transition to the rigors of med school. They may be able to provide learning techniques or academic resources for medical school success.

I encourage students to know their learning style. Through coaching medical students for several years, I have seen that students learn differently. Students who need repetition can try Anki flashcards for recall. Students who are visual or tactile learners may draw out organ systems and pathways, while auditory learners could listen to lectures and other podcasts about medical topics.

Are there alumni you can connect me with at the medical school?

Ask your premed advisers if they can connect you with alumni at the medical school you are attending. Alumni are often more willing to help individuals from their alma mater than individuals with no affiliation.

Before I started Stanford University School of Medicine, I reached out to one of my premed advisers for advice and asked if he knew anyone there. Fortunately, he connected me with the medical school dean, who proved to be an invaluable resource as he introduced me to other professors and physicians in my fields of interest. These personal connections proved to be tremendously helpful throughout my time in medical school, and to this day I still update the dean on my progress.

Are there ways I can help future medical school applicants?

Contributing to your university community to support future premed students is a wonderful way to give back. Premed advisers may recruit you to volunteer for panels about your medical school experience. Your premed adviser may also ask if you could help future applicants with mock interviews.

At the very least, your premed adviser may keep your contact information and connect you with premeds who have similar interests or want to attend the medical school you will be attending. Offer some ways you would like to help premed students in the future. Doing so can improve your teaching and mentoring skills.

Even if you have graduated college, your premed advisers can be extremely helpful with your medical career. Make sure to stop by and chat with them before graduation and continue to keep in touch after graduation.

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