premed advising

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by jayhawk premed, May 21, 2001.

  1. jayhawk premed

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    Greetings all!

    I have an appointment with the premed advisor of the school I am transferring to, and I am interested in hearing what questions you would ask, or what questions you wished you had asked.

    Thanks!
     
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  3. star23

    star23 Senior Member

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    For a more specific answer please tell: Where are you transferring to and what year are you? I transferred as a sophomore and let me tell you...it isn't the easiest thing in the world to do successfully...but it can be done. I transferred to a school where i knew virtually no one which made it a little more challenging. But I worked really hard for 3 years and got involved with a lot of campus activities and that diligence made a good point of discussion for my interviews. As for what to ask: just try to figure out the best way to schedule your classes so you can still graduate on time and be sure to clear up any issues you might have with classes transferring. Perhaps ask them if there is a premed club on campus that you can get involved in. After tranferring myself and advising undergrads about the experience I would like to put in my 2 cents about transferring itself: the ONLY reason it should be done is to better your educational experience. If you do it for other reasons such as a better social life, to be with a significant other, etc you are likely to run into problems.
     
  4. jayhawk premed

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    Hi Star-- thanks for your reply.

    To give you a little more info: I am transferring from Park University, a small private university in Kansas City, to the University of Kansas. I am transferring because Park University doesn't have a formal premed program, no premedical advisors, poor lab facilities, and offers only one general biology degree. I am 35 years old, and my wife is 31, and also premed. We have 5 kids-- which makes studying interesting and, as you can imagine, we are often fairly poor. LOL At the University of Kansas I can major in Biochem. or Human Biology. Both interest me, but I think Biochem. would be a more practical degree if for some reason I was unable to attend med. school. We are both sophomores with good GPAs-- I have a 3.9 and my wife has a 4.0. I have already been accepted into the honors program at KU, but I want to find out what resources are going to be available to me through the premed advisory department. I have done a bit of checking already-- they do have a premed club, they are active in the community, and they offer a summer mentorship program for shadowing local physicians. I feel like I've done a pretty good job of investigation, but I'm worried that I might be overlooking something-- yes I'm an anal type A personality. LOL Anyway, I appreciate your input and would appreciate any additional insight or advice.
     
  5. pre-hawkdoc

    pre-hawkdoc Senior Member

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    all i can say is that my hat's off to anyone who can balance a marriage, 5 kids and (presumably??) a job and still keep a 3.9+ in any major, let alone a pre-med track. and all while your spouse is doing the same?? wow. i don't have any of the above responsibilities, and i'm still envious of your grades. i think you've got everything under control, and commend you and your wife on following your dreams. good luck.
     
  6. jayhawk premed

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    Thanks Hawkdoc, but no I do not work. When I first returned to school I was working-- a lot actually. I was pulling 60-70 hrs. per week plus a full time school schedule. Then we came to find out the darndest thing. We actually came out ahead if I didn't work. Because my wife and I are both full-time students and neither of us works, we max out on all financial aid, qualify for more grants, receive free day care courtesy of the state of Missouri, food stamps, and free health insurance. And since I've been paying into this system for years and years, I thought "what the heck, might as well use some of the benefits I've been paying for." Besides, everyone with the social services agencies we've been working with have said that they would much rather see the benefits go to people that are trying to improve their lives and give back to society than distribute handouts to the unmotivated and unemployed. Anyway, thanks for the nice comment.
     
  7. star23

    star23 Senior Member

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    Jayhawk:
    Sounds to me like you have all of your bases covered. I was a biochem major and I too transferred from a smaller school. After experiencing both the smaller school and big research university...I say big is the way to go. Especially if you are a biochem major, there will be more research opportunities than you know what to do with. I would definitely take part in the doc shadowing opportunities. It seems to me that during my interviews they wanted to know if you had shadowed someone, what your research experience was, and how you handle stress. I assume you do that latter just fine with a family and school. Best of luck.
     
  8. gower

    gower 1K Member

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    Be careful about "maxing out on all financial aid." When you are admitted to medical school and apply for financial aid the amount you might be able to borrow for your medical education may be limited by the amount of outstanding debt you already have. Don't count on any scholarships or gifts.

    You ought to check this out with the financial aid office at your college and especially with the financial aid office at your local medical school.
     
  9. kris

    kris Senior Member

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    Jayhawk,

    I may post something a little more thoughtful later, but I just want to warn you about pre-med offices and non-trads.

    I got my pre-med advice at a big university (35,000), and I was a non-trad. I got, as I found out later, the exact same advice as the traditional med students, and it was not appropriate advice for me. I didn't know any better at the time.

    Let me add this tidbit that the most damaging advice they gave me will have nothing to do with you. So perhaps my warnings are a bit premature. They told me that I was a prefect candidate in a situtation in which I wasn't, i.e., had not finished my graduate program. They just had no clue themselves.

    For an example applicable to you, this office wanted drafts of my AMCAS essay and had me write it in some cookie cutter fashion that schools did not like. This format was suitable for trads, but not for non-trads. I really regret that I took their advice without getting a second opinion. Unfortunately, no profs I knew had any specific knowledge of non-trad apps either. Live and learn.

    I just want you to be careful, and quite frankly, I do think these forums are a good place to start--not as your primary source of information, but perhaps as a backup.

    What would I ask? Probably stuff you've already thought of. How does this office handle letters of rec--so you can get them appropriately lined up. What kinds of letters are expected from the schools you're interested in--the office has the books that answer this. You seem to have a grip on these fundamentals.

    As a non-trad I would sort of 'test' the office by asking a question like: Is there any advice you have that is specific to a non-trad application? What kind of answer you get may let you guage their experience with non-trads.

    I hope you enjoy KU.
    --kris
     
  10. jayhawk premed

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    Kris--

    Thank you for the advice. You are dead-on target. I went to meet with the director of the premed program at KU last week. He was very nice, but was not able to offer me much more information than I already had. I think he may have been a bit surprised by my preparation and thorough investigation of the premed/med school process. I would love to hear any more thoughts/advice you may have. Anyone that tells you that you are not the odd man out being a non-trad is full of beans. However, I have found that non-trads also have advantages in the process as well, i.e. developing strong relationships with professors/advisors, discipline, determination, organization. Perhaps most importantly, we seek advice because we realize that the older we get the less we know. ;)
     
  11. kris

    kris Senior Member

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    Wow! That was fast. I just finished editing my post again! I'll think on this and get back to you in an hour or so! :)

    I probably sounded bitter--and I am for I wasted funds on an entire application process that failed. I even pushed the office for advice specific to my needs, but kept being reassured in the wrong direction.
    Sigh.

    Take it easy!
    --kris
     
  12. jayhawk premed

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    Just curious Kris-- where are you from? Nebraska? If so, what part? I was born in Kearney and lived in Omaha for the first 16 years of my life. My parents were both teachers in Omaha as well.
     
  13. kris

    kris Senior Member

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    I'm from Omaha (pretty much)--a military brat. I went to college at UNO, then left to go to grad school.

    Just FYI, if you graduated high school in Nebraska, you get in-state tuition for life, even at the med school. All I have to do is sign a lease, register to vote there, and get my Nebraska Driver's license--poof, instant residency for tuition purposes.

    Did you leave just before graduation?

    Where did your parents teach? Just curious. I went to school in Bellevue (West).

    So I suppose you've kept up? Kearny is now a part of the UN system! UNO started adding DORMS! Can you believe it? The Huskers are still delinquents <ducking from flying debris>. Did I say that? Who said that?

    I can't really think of any more advice at the time. I do think you should pick up a couple good books about writing the AMCAS personal statement (one that addresses non-trads) to see what the advice is.

    You are totally right about the benefits of being older. I think a poster by the name of Adrianshoe summed it up very well once a few months ago. Play it to your advantage! You'll be great in an interview--relaxed, knowing the game, lots to say, etc.

    --kris
     
  14. jayhawk premed

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    Hi Kris--

    Actually, I haven't kept up much about NE. I go back occassionally because I have a grandmother that lives in David City. I moved to Houston when I was 16, so I graduated high school in Texas. My parents both taught in District 66 in Omaha. My father taught English at Westside High School and my mother taught special education at a couple elementary schools. My father also taught English at the community college in Bellevue. I'm guessing your father was stationed out there. My parents both got their Masters at UNO. I lived in Lincoln for about a year after graduating high school. That was a drunken mess. LOL
     
  15. 12R34Y

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    Jayhawk doc,

    I'm a senior at KU in Lawrence and I'm also non-trad (26y/o). I'm assuming you met with Paul Crosby at KU. He's an okay source for general info, but not for specifics. I'm a HUman Biology major and would recommend it. I'm applying to medical school this summer and KU is my first choice (in state tuition!).
    Any more questions about KU just let me know!

    later,
     
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  17. jayhawk premed

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    Hey! Thanks for replying! I sent you an email with some questions1 :)
     
  18. EUROdocMOM

    EUROdocMOM Senior Member

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    So, I have nothing to do with KU or Nebraska, but I have kids, and am applying to med school. I am shaddowing a military doc, who went to med school with three kids. I live overseas and have NO access to any pre-med advisors-or programs for that matter.
    So,I am waiting for my MCAT scores before I apply so that I can make sure I'm still a competitive student, 8 years out of college.
    What was said about "bad advice" on the AMCAS essay caught my attention!
    What GOOD advice do you give to non-trads, based upon your experience, for the essays? :rolleyes:
     
  19. kris

    kris Senior Member

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    disclaimer: this is just one school's advice.

    Since I was a non-trad with a circuitous route to med school, I obviously had a different route than the trads. Duh.

    What the med school told me is that it wasn't as appropriate for me to dedicate an essay to why I wanted to be a doctor. It was an essay complete with a lead-in of a 'verifying hospital experience' I had as a phlebotomist. I was forced to write it that way by the head of the pre-med advising office, who also wrote a cover letter to med schools for each applicant. I felt I couldn't defy her wishes and still get a decent letter. I realize now I should've stuck with my instincts and lied, giving her one essay while turning in something else on AMCAS.

    Anyway, my med school explained that the 'why I want to be a doctor' essay was perfectly suitable for trads since they pretty much all have had the same path in life: high school, achievements, college, volunteering, research. Thus, trads could talk about some specific part of that ubiquitous path that helped them affirm a commitment to medicine. Their journeys are pretty much all the same (for the most part).

    On the other hand, non-trads certainly have unique paths to medicine and more unique experiences. Thus, they wanted to hear about that journey that brought someone back around to medicine, or perhaps brought you to medicine from a completely different field.

    Does that make sense? I still recommend reading some good books that address the essay for non-trads. I have this fear of someone sending me an email next year saying they didn't get in because of their essay, which they wrote with my advice! :eek:

    I want to emphasize that my essay was not the leading factor in my rejection, though it obviously didn't help. It was my grad student status.

    I'd be happy to answer other questions you might have.
     

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