Coming soon to a computer terminal near you, in 2015 actually, the New MCAT will rise up to its full height and might, a formidable dragon of a standardized test, including new sections and a longer time allotment (from the current 4.5 hours to about 6.5 hours). “Slaying” it will require the patience and focus of a saint, fearlessness in the face of the unknown, peak physical stamina, and a sharpened intellect applied in broader swipes and strokes . . .
A good number of F&M students don’t just pass through the countryside on their way from the city of Lancaster to another city or suburb. Some come from a rural setting, and plan on returning there after college. For pre-health students specifically, the goal of going home to practice medicine in a rural setting is generally met with a welcoming “hurrah!” by people in the medical field, primarily because rural communities need doctors. The impending physician shortage predicted by the AAMC and others will affect our country’s less populated areas most of all, if it hasn't already.
Off-campus study is an excellent means of developing some of the personal qualities inherent to healthcare—cultural sensitivity, powers of observation and listening skills, self-reliance, adaptability and resilience, to name a few. In your travels you might find the opportunity to observe healthcare systems different from our own (and make interesting comparisons) and see firsthand how varied cultural attitudes toward health, healing, and doctors can be.
The Health Care Handbook stares up at me from its place next to my computer bag, my ever-present phone, and a miniature regiment of TV remote controls. A fairly slim volume of two hundred pages or so, the Handbook calls itself 'a clear and concise guide to the United States health care system' . . .
As encouragement to all, I have two main things to say: Yes, there are people out there who read these letters of recommendation (in fact, it's part of their job). Thus, your work is significant and worthwhile. And remember, an individual letter writer is but one voice among several singing in support of an applicant. Therefore, each letter need not describe its subject completely; rather, it need only give an informed perspective from within the context that the author and applicant know each other.
Last Friday, I attended a one-day conference hosted by Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, the new allopathic medical school in Camden. We Philly-area pre-health advisers like to get together every January at a different health professional school, engaging in dialogue about timely professional topics, hearing updates from Admissions deans, and generally comparing notes . . .
I can’t say I’ve ever participated in a “speed dating” exercise. I intentionally call it an “exercise” instead of a “game,” since to me it sounds painful, an activity akin to Karaoke Night or watching reality TV. The idea of people lining up in a gym to present themselves to strangers in five-minute sound bites seems a little forced, even superficial...
Whether or not to take a class next summer is a common question among pre-health students this time of year. You're looking at your current workload as well as the demands of next year, including requirements for your major (and maybe minor). You're also looking at, perhaps fixedly, your grades in the pre-health curriculum thus far . . . Is doing one of the required courses for health professional school over the summer a "Way Out"? Is it advisable?
Our sophomore preceptorship program at LGH is up and running for another year . . . Some of you have secured volunteer hours at one of our local healthcare facilities . . . Some of you are volunteering with F&M EMS or another rescue squad . . . All of you, we hope, have heard by now that gaining “clinical” experience, meaning experience interacting with patients and staff in a healthcare setting, is crucial to your life as a pre-health student.