Advice for Pre Med / Dental Students

Before I will give you this article, I would like to praise its author. Mike W. is a friend of mine and when I found out he was accepted to Harvard, I begged him to write this short essay on what students should do to be competitive for graduate schools. On the list at the bottom, please click on the hyperlink to find out more information on the Mike's suggestion. Once again huzzas for our fellow Aggie who will be in Boston this next school year!

Obtaining acceptance into medical school, dental school, et al., ultimately requires a student dedicated to learning and willing to work diligently at obtaining this goal. My experience in interviewing at various schools is that exceptional grades and scores on the standardized tests will generally get you an interview. However, the competitive nature of these professional schools dictates that other criteria must be met in order to be accepted into the program. The USU Pre-professional Committee and advisors will tell you to develop a portfolio designed to make you stand out as an outstanding, well-balanced student and citizen.

However, even more important than trying to match the attributes of "the ideal applicant" (which may often become very artificial), it is in the interest of every student pursuing a career in medicine to develop a passion for whatever it is they are learning. During undergraduate studies it is essential to learn how to learn and to learn how to think. Consider the type of doctor you would like to have treating you or the type of medical researcher you would like to have developing the next miracle drug you personally require. Then strive to develop those type of attributes.

For instance, all of us want to have a doctor who understands the fundamental mechanisms of a drug he prescribes so that it be used to the benefit of the patient without serious side-effects. How do we develop applicable understandings such as these? Simple, it begins with taking seriously such related topics as organic chemistry, biochemistry, physiology…. One could continue describing a thousand other requirements to successfully enter the medical school of your choice. Yet, more important would be to learn a few generally applicable principles:
1) Enjoy every class you take.
2) Do more than merely take the required courses.
3) Get involved in research.
4) Develop a well-rounded life.
5) Work with the Pre-professional Committee.
6) Diligent, consistent effort pays off.
7) Keep your career options flexible.
8) Good luck!

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