butiwuvu

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What is the general consensus regarding premed advisors? Do any of them *really* have better insight than what a moderately intelligent, informed premed knows?

For instance, my premed advisor is suggesting that beyond the prerequisites, I take an additional course in chemistry and one in biology. (I'm a music major).

Are these people just failed premeds or are they experts who know things we don't know? My prior experience with advisors is that they hand out very generic advice that helps idiots navigate college, but they rarely hand out great insight that is applicable to my goals in life and what I want to get out of college.

Anyway, I guess my question is whether I listen to her in this case. I'm not sure I'm buying what she's saying, especially as to take her advice would mean not taking a great seminar with a world-class prof that I really want to take.

Do you have any premed advisor horror stories?

PS - I want to attend the medical school that's attached to my undergrad college. What are the chances that my premed advisor can ding me if I don't take her advice? Do undergrad premed advisors have a hotline to the med school?
 

russellfx

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In my opinion pre-med advisors are horrible. For example before my first semester my pre-med advisor suggested that I only take 1 science because she felt that taking 2 sciences and calculus would be too much work.. especially for an incoming freshmen. Well I'm glad I didn't listen to her. I got a 4.0 that semester and everythings good. If I had listened to her I would be behind right now and it prob woulda tacked on some time to my undergrad.
 

crazy4clana

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I don't know if they give the best advice, but it is there job to keep up with med school admissions and they usually are beneficial. They are especially useful if your university has a med school because they have connections with the administrators there and can write good rec letters.

They are usually better if you go to a school that has a large % of pre-meds.
 
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dd128

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Most schools require a LOR from your pre-med advisor if you don't have a committee, so keep that in mind as well.
 

endocardium

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My prior experience with advisors is that they hand out very generic advice that helps idiots navigate college, but they rarely hand out great insight that is applicable to my goals in life and what I want to get out of college.
I would say that this also applies to premedical advisors, in general. I mean logic and probability would dictate that there are going to be some good ones, but by-in-large, I think you are correct to take the suggestions of so-called premedical advisors with a grain of salt. Then again, I think you should do that with any source. My experience is that premedical advisors are fairly disconnected with the actual application process. Most have never actually gone through it and therefore do not have firsthand experience.

Anyway, you'll probably learn more from perusing this site and asking questions. You should take the advice here with a grain of salt, too.

With respect to the actual advice given by your premedical advisor, we cannot comment on it's validity without more knowledge of your credentials and suitability for medical school application. In some instances it is wise and even necessary to take additional science classes, particularly if you've stumbled with some in the past. If you do well in those additional classes, then it can absolutely help you. Remember, you are trying to prove your academic ability to the adcoms. This doesn't mean you have to take ALL science classes, however. Maybe make a compromise and take one upper level science class and a liberal arts class that you enjoy? Ask your advisor to elaborate on the reasons why he/she thinks you should take these upper level science classes. If you are going to do something, at least figure out why and how it would benefit your application.

Also, you may wish to check the requirements for the medical schools you plan on making application. Some of them have science requirements beyond the standard premedical core. You'll absolutely want to take these. Then again, some schools have non-science requirements, too.

In summary, premedical advisors can be of assistance, but you should take their advice with a grain of salt (have your bullcrap meter set on high). However, you should be polite to them, regardless. You don't want to burn any bridges, particularly if your advisor is going to write your committee letter. You will have to be your own advocate, as is usually the case in life. Listen to the advice given from a variety of sources, then do what you think is right.
 

Zakaqel

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pre-med advisors suck...if I had a good pre-med advisor, I wouldn't be forced to ask strangers on the internet question concering my current situation. They always tell you the wrong information and are always on the lookout for gains for the university; if you get a B in a course and ask them if you should repeat it, they will say yes just so the school can leach an extra grand or two..

They're #4 on the List of groups of people I hate:
1. Left-Handed people
2. People who do/know how to do the "Soulja Boy" Dance
3. People who listen to Soulja Boy
4. Pre-Med Advisors
5. Librarians
 
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butiwuvu

butiwuvu

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They always tell you the wrong information and are always on the lookout for gains for the university; if you get a B in a course and ask them if you should repeat it, they will say yes just so the school can leach an extra grand or two..
Ah. One consequence of my premed advisor telling me that I should take more chem and bio is that there would be a strong chance I would have to spend an additional semester in college anr thus put off a med school application for a year. That makes sense now.

So these premed advisors are like salespeople?
 

135892

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Ah. One consequence of my premed advisor telling me that I should take more chem and bio is that there would be a strong chance I would have to spend an additional semester in college anr thus put off a med school application for a year. That makes sense now.

So these premed advisors are like salespeople?
They're not sales people, but their advice should be taken like the advice on SDN, cum grano salis. If you've aced all your science classes, then its probably not necessary for you to take upper-level science classes (althought it wouldn't hurt). If you've gotton B's or C's in all your previous science classes, then it is in your best interest to take upper-level courses to prove that you can handle the material.
 

ChubbyChaser

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Mine werent worth listening to...in fact they encouraged one guy I know to apply with a 22 MCAT in november.:rolleyes:
 

bodonid

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I had a great premed advisor. In general, the more experience, the better.


Don't let them change your mind 180 degrees about anything. Let them influence you on something only if you are on the fence about it. You are an individual, and their job is just to inform and direct you, not to hammer you into the mold.
 
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Zakaqel

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:confused:

What's your beef with us "right-brained" folk?
I went to a catholic school and they taught us that left-handedness is the apex of human perversion...
 

pride4jc727

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Well, at my university, we are undergoing a re-structuring of the pre-health advisor position. It is going from purely an advisor position to one that includes teaching and advising. The rationale behind this is that with more interaction with students, the more the adviser can interact and see the people he will be advising. There have been problems with the current advisor, and though he is applying for the position, there is a consensus by pre-meds that he does not do his job effectively. As a student leader in the area of academic affairs and I also being pre-med, I had to get this student concern out without compromising my recommendation to med schools. Once I got that out, an investigation into the effectiveness and accountability of the position began and resulted in this job application process. Hopefully, we can get this thing resolved as there are I and several other applicants who may need to reapply next year if we don't get in this year.

As to the current pre-med advisor and why people don't like him, I have heard he tries to dissuade unqualified pre-meds from going to med school. He also has said some sexist comments among others. Yes, there are other things that I have heard that I do not care to elaborate on, but pretty much, instead of telling students about the possibilities, he talks about their limitations. Now who would want to listen to that kind of adviser? Yes, we need reality checks, but we don't need to be told we just can't do it.
 

CubaLibre

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there are some good advisers out there, but very few on the whole. problem is the best advisers are already in medical school.
 

Hurricane95

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Mine wasn't all that helpful...she was real nice, but gave real generic advice. Regardless, since you need a composite rec. letter from the premed office/advisor, attend all the meetings you have scheduled with him/her and be nice so they like you and will do things in a timely manner for you when it comes time to ask. I didn't take any of the advice mine gave me either. She suggested I push back some of my engineering courses to make room for prereqs earlier, since "More than one science per semester can get pretty stressful." Had I followed her advice it would have taken me 5 years to finish my degree. No thanks. I just loaded up every semester for the first 5 and then had a really slack 12 credit semester during the mcat so I could study a lot for the exam, and it worked out great despite the fact that she disapproved the whole time...giving me that "I warned you look! :rolleyes:" the whole time...
 

Athoy

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Premed advisors, in general, are idiots.

There may be 1-2 good ones who actually know what they're talking about though. Sadly enough, I would rather go online and ask a question on SDN just because there are always posters who are willing to correct misinformation brought up by people who don't really know what they're talking about. You don't get this luxury when talking to premed advisor(s) one on one.
 

bioteach

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I went to a catholic school and they taught us that left-handedness is the apex of human perversion...
My mom's catholic school nuns would smack her left hand with a ruler when she used it. She never converted to righthandedness, though.

Me, I like being part of the apex of human perversion. Ha! :laugh:
 

MattD

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Premed advisors, in general, are idiots.

There may be 1-2 good ones who actually know what they're talking about though. Sadly enough, I would rather go online and ask a question on SDN just because there are always posters who are willing to correct misinformation brought up by people who don't really know what they're talking about. You don't get this luxury when talking to premed advisor(s) one on one.
It's amusing to me how many pre-meds assume that their advisors, who often have been advising pre-meds for years, have tracked the success and failure of their students, and have relationships with the local medical school admissions committees, are idiots simply because they offer similar advice to all of their students. Perhaps they do this because the advice is GOOD? I mean, they're not out to screw you, and if the kids they advise consistently fail to gain admission, they're not going to keep their jobs....

I also find it amusing that so many pre-meds assume that other totally anonymous pre-meds on SDN, who may or may not have an f'in clue what they're talking about, are magically right about everything just because they're on the interwebs. These people have no vested interest in your success or failure, have only anecdotal experience, and are often no farther along in the application process than you are. But, they ARE more likely to tell you what you want to hear, which may have something to do with it....

That being said, there are of course good advisors and bad advisors out there. Find the stats on how many of your advisor's advisees gain admission every year, that'll tell ya something about him/her.

As to the OP, there's no way to know if the advice is good or not. What were your grades in Bio/Chem/O.chem/physics/math? What's your BCMP average? What's your overall GPA? Obviously you want everyone to tell you your advisor is an idiot, because that way you can blow off his advice and take the seminar you want to take. You already know what you want to do, so do it. But, if you do, and then if you happen not to get accepted, you're going to have to wonder if your lack of science coursework kept you out. That's your call to make, and to live with. Your advisor is giving you the advice he thinks is right. Take it or leave it, just don't point fingers if you don't like the consequences.
 

135892

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It's amusing to me how many pre-meds assume that their advisors, who often have been advising pre-meds for years, have tracked the success and failure of their students, and have relationships with the local medical school admissions committees, are idiots simply because they offer similar advice to all of their students. Perhaps they do this because the advice is GOOD? I mean, they're not out to screw you, and if the kids they advise consistently fail to gain admission, they're not going to keep their jobs....

I also find it amusing that so many pre-meds assume that other totally anonymous pre-meds on SDN, who may or may not have an f'in clue what they're talking about, are magically right about everything just because they're on the interwebs. These people have no vested interest in your success or failure, have only anecdotal experience, and are often no farther along in the application process than you are. But, they ARE more likely to tell you what you want to hear, which may have something to do with it....

That being said, there are of course good advisors and bad advisors out there. Find the stats on how many of your advisor's advisees gain admission every year, that'll tell ya something about him/her.

As to the OP, there's no way to know if the advice is good or not. What were your grades in Bio/Chem/O.chem/physics/math? What's your BCMP average? What's your overall GPA? Obviously you want everyone to tell you your advisor is an idiot, because that way you can blow off his advice and take the seminar you want to take. You already know what you want to do, so do it. But, if you do, and then if you happen not to get accepted, you're going to have to wonder if your lack of science coursework kept you out. That's your call to make, and to live with. Your advisor is giving you the advice he thinks is right. Take it or leave it, just don't point fingers if you don't like the consequences.
^^^ What this guy said
 

sgglaze

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In my experience, premed advisers put the school's reputation and admission's % above their relationships with any individual students. Like someone else said, their primary goal seems to be to actively dissuade borderline or poor students from applying rather than do their best to encourage and nurture every premedical student at their school.

You'll get much more out of talking to a medical student about the process than an adviser.
 

Ki45toryu

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We had an MD running the premed show....you had to have a meet and greet with him at some point before applying if you wanted a composite letter. He also held 1 credit discussion courses to just talk about certain aspects of matriculation, as well as current issues in medicine.

Very informative guy...and he also had practically any info regarding matriculation you could think of...like a breakdown of every every medical school in regards to who they had matriculating each year(undergrad institution, GPA, MCAT).

So the better you got to know him...the better it was for your future.
 

eagle34

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Our pre-med adviser did a pretty good job too...before class registration for freshman year, she did tell us that it's just easier to get into the swing of things if you don't take 2 science classes (bio/chem) and I didnt...I took bio/psych/foreign language/community health and having taken two science classes ever since (I'm a biochem/community health major), I'm glad I didn't take those 2 science classes in the first semester. And I was not behind at all, since I applied to med school as a senior and matriculating next year.

Also, our pre-med adviser is pretty respectable as she has spoken at several AMSA and at the end of the application cycle, if one of our applicants hasn't gotten in anywhere, she calls the medical school connected to our undergrad and talks to them about applicants she thinks would be good to accept and why...so, I agree with past posters who said that its worth listening to their advice with a grain of salt, but personally, I feel like they know what they're saying.
 

foster033

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but pretty much, instead of telling students about the possibilities, he talks about their limitations. Now who would want to listen to that kind of adviser? Yes, we need reality checks, but we don't need to be told we just can't do it.

I thought this is what all premed advisers did...
 

MattD

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In my experience, premed advisers put the school's reputation and admission's % above their relationships with any individual students. Like someone else said, their primary goal seems to be to actively dissuade borderline or poor students from applying rather than do their best to encourage and nurture every premedical student at their school.

You'll get much more out of talking to a medical student about the process than an adviser.
This is true to a certain extent, the advisor's numbers are only affected by the students they advise to apply. If someone doesn't get in, and the advisor had advised against that person applying, that's a good thing from his point of view. But while it's true that in a lot of ways this looks like putting himself and the school ahead of students (and to an extent that's accurate), you also have to consider that this may very well be in the best interests of the student. If a kids odds of admission are a million to one, why should the advisor recommend he spend tons of money on post-baccs, SMPs, extra MCAT prep courses, etc, when all it's going to be is a waste of time and money? It's sort of like what the admissions director at South Alabama told me once about kids with great apps except for a low MCAT. Sure, they could be 'nice' and accept people with a 4.0, great ECs, and an 18 MCAT, and that person may do fine in the coursework, and may be brilliant. But, if he's unable to succeed on standardized tests, he'll NEVER get a medical license. So how 'nice' was it really for them to make an exception for that kid, allow him to go a few hundred G in debt, when he was doomed from the start from ever being able to practice? It's the same concept. Sure, advisors should encourage those they think have a shot, but they shouldn't blow sunshine up your *** if they think you don't. Also, remember you're going to be asking them for a RECOMMENDATION letter. If they can't honestly recommend you, don't expect them to like for ya.
 

kansaskid

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My college's premed advisor has some decent advice that is usually taken with a grain of salt. She has a habit of terrifying first years to discourage them from taking the curriculum...thus I didn't talk to her first year and did fine without her help. This year I made an appointment just for the hell of it and found out that she wasn't that scary...but mostly chatted about how my great ACT score meant I'd do great on the MCAT...nonetheless, I feel like it is a good idea to get to know her because she does write a LOR.
 
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