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 . . .
I recently had the privilege of listening in as two young alumni, Pharyl Weiner ’06 and Aamer Bajwa ’10, shared advice with graduating seniors about their own transitions from F&M to life after F&M. The conversation was a way for soon-to-graduate seniors to learn from the experiences of alumni who have gone before them, about what it is really like to launch from F&M.
What exactly does the LSAT test, and is it a fair measure of someone's aptitude for the study of law or potential for success in the legal profession? In order to answer these questions, I attended a two-day LSAT prep course as the guest of Penn State's Dickinson School of Law. It's been over 30 years since I took the LSAT, and I honestly didn't spend enough time preparing for it. Now that I advise F&M students who are considering law as a profession, I figured it was time to reacquaint myself with an exam that is the only common attribute for all law school applicants.
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' . . .
In a recent presentation to Franklin & Marshall students, faculty, and professional staff, Phil Gardner, Ph.D., director of the Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University, showed the audience a hierarchy of the experiences that employers value and want young job applicants to have...
“Is this a good time to go to law school?” This is the question I posed to Prof. Ben Barros, a professor at Widener Law School, when he was at F&M on Tuesday to teach his first day of property law – often the very first day of class for first-year law students. His answer: “This is the BEST time to go to law school – for someone who really wants to be a lawyer - in 30 years. Applications are down nationwide, and it’s likely that in three years, the economy will be stronger.”
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.