This Pre-Med-Dent-Health Student Check Point is here to help you determine whether you are doing all the things you should be doing at this time to make sure you are on the right path for you. So that you know that becoming a doctor or a dentist (or whichever healthcare profession is calling to you) is the right career for you. Your entire journey is first and foremost about you determining whether a career in healthcare is actually the right career for you. You are tasked with asking yourself: Is this really what I want to do with my life? And if so, how do you know? What are you learning about yourself that lets you know this is the right path for you? Because if it is the right path for you, then it will be the right path for your future patients. Secondly, your journey is all about making sure you get the education, experience, skills, personal attributes, lessons learned, and values you need to be a future healthcare practitioner and a competitive applicant who will get in to the healthcare school of your choice. Your journey becomes about you Becoming the Best Shining You, so that you can Stand Up, Stand Out, and Shine … so you can achieve your dream of caring for others!!!
So let’s take a look at where you should be right now as you are finishing up your fall semester:
Fresh-humans: At the completion of your semester, it will serve you well to assess your first semester performance. How did you do? Are you happy with your accomplishments? Did you do everything you wanted to get done? Did you begin fostering relationships with faculty mentors? What were your strengths in your coursework? Research? Volunteerisms/Extracurriculars? What do you need to work on? Do you need to improve? What do you need to improve? What did you tackle? Are you ready to take on a more challenging course load, or do you need to cut back? How are your study skills come along? Did you avail yourself of your professors’ office hours? Were you able to balance your time such that you had the time you needed to learn, study, perform, take care of yourself, and get involved in activities that help you develop into your future healthcaring self?
Have you begun your shadowing? What are you learning? What do you want and need to do and learn next?
Are you trying, liking, … loving, and understanding science coursework?
Have you tried research? If not, and you are interested, do you know how to find which professors are accepting new students? Do you know how to look for a lab? Do you know what you might be interested in investigating? And if you have tried research, do you like it? Do you want to do more? And if so, what would you like to try next?
Sophomores: You should be doing everything that fresh-humans are doing, but you should be taking it a step further. Now that you’ve been shadowing, how are you feeling about your potential future career choice? Is the healthcare path still the right path for you? Or do you need to investigate other paths? How are your academics? How are you doing in the sciences? Are you loving them? Have you begun seeking out actual patient/people care type volunteerisms? Do you like helping people? Also, you should be making final decisions toward your major. Are you enjoying the coursework in your proposed major? Do you need to consider a different major? Are you thinking of adding a minor? What does your major give you? Meaning what are you learning and how does it help you? Personally? Interest-wise? Academically? Does it help prepare you for your future as a healthcare provider, and if so, how? Or are you more pursuing this major for interest and developing yourself in a broader scope? And if so, why is that important to you? (These are questions of self-reflection and not judgement. Your answers are for you, to help guide you as you travel forward.)
Juniors & Seniors not planning to apply this upcoming application season: Since you are not planning on applying this year, this is a good time to really buckle down and make sure your grades are hitting in the area of Spectacular. Every opportunity you have to either maintain or improve your academic excellence is an opportunity to be more competitive. By now, you are likely engaging upper level coursework which generally comes with more challenge and difficulty. Make sure you are learning and performing with excellence even though the rigor has increased. Admissions committees look at the progression of your grades to ensure you are coping well with the academic expectations as a way to assess whether you will be able to succeed in medical/dental/healthcare school.
Also, you should be engaging community service and health/patient-care related opportunities. Some schools are beginning to require a minimum number of hours of experience to help ensure your appropriate development and growth along with a demonstration of commitment to the healthcare profession. Find experiences that are meaningful to you, and get involved. Learn everything you can.
If you haven’t studied abroad, but you’ve wanted to, this is a good time to finish planning and prepare to enact this AMAZEBALLS opportunity. Experiential learning in an immersive environment??? Yes, please!!!
Also make sure you’ve done all the check points for fresh-humans and sophomores.
Juniors & Senior planning to apply this upcoming application season: The next six months are going to be BUSY for you! … Well, actually, the whole next year is going to be busy for you, but next semester is the start, so let’s talk about that. You need to be studying for your MCAT or DAT (or other standardized exam). Then you need to take the test. You need to start reflecting over your college years and your journey-to-date – this is for your ALL-IMPORTANT personal statement writing, and for filling out your application experiences and preparing for your interviews. If you plan to apply in early June, you should start writing your personal statement no later than April (and given that you’re usually taking final exams at that time, consider starting earlier. Writing that Glowing-Get-Me-In personal statement is harder than it sounds. Check out my web page Personal Statements, Wut Wut?!! Click here to go now! You might be researching; if so, talk to your PI to come up with a balanced plan for your time and research. You need to keep up with your volunteerisms and patient care. And you can’t cut back on your academic course load schedule to below full-time status (because if you do, it usually appears as though you can’t handle the rigor, and that can undermine your competitive status). This upcoming semester is a biggie. This is the one that is really going to show whether you’ve gained the ability to manage your time and commitments. You want your performance to continue to be stellar across the board. And I’m not saying that to stress you out. It’s just a part of the expectations, and it can come with stress. On top of all of this, it’s important that you keep taking care of yourself. Eating well. Hydrating. Getting sleep … what a joke, right?! But honestly, if you’re not taking care of yourself, your performance will likely suffer, and this isn’t the time. So get your calendar out, and manage your time like a Ninja! Your social life will likely take a big hit, but the people who care about you are going to be there for you all the way. And after you get your application in, you can celebrate … for a blink. Then it will be time to get on with filling out secondaries and preparing for interviews. … In short, this next semester is the beginning of a long endurance stretch. This is where everything you’ve been learning and your support team are going to come to your side and hold you up strong!!! So right now … finish this semester, then take a GIANT DEEP holiday breath. Relax and rejuve. And get your game face on, cuz January is going to bring challenge that will test your readiness. Your fitness. Your dedication. Your commitment. Your dream. Let’s help you be ready!!!
If you have already applied and are now in the interview process: Over and above keeping your academics and experiences up and going awesomely, Interview Prep is so very important. If you have already been interviewing, how are you doing? Have you been practicing? Do you know what is expected of you? And if you are still waiting for interviews, keep breathing and don’t lose the faith. For many schools there is still time, as interviews often go well into next semester. So keep practicing and prepping! Your interviews are essentially the final chance you have to show your schools that you are the right candidate for them and for your future patients! If you need interview practice and coaching (for traditional or MMI, or both), I still have openings in my consultation schedule. If you would like to schedule an appointment, you can email me from my contact page; click here.
The Best You PAL Academy offers you so many helpful and AMAZEBALLS resources for wherever you are in your journey!!! Check out some of the helpful videos available to you in the Academy to make sure you are truly Becoming the Best Shining You and Standing Up, Standing Out, and Shining!!! I’m here to help you figure out your dreams and then to achieve them!!!
Big Hugs and Happy, Restful Holidays to you!!!