There are more than 1400 living F&M alumni physicians and they have pursued a broad range of medical specialties. Roughly 75% of pre-health students at F&M identify as pre-medical students (about 300 students total).
A new MCAT exam debuted in April 2015 and in addition to the previous topics tested (biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, and verbal reasoning), the new exam also tests concepts from biochemistry, psychology, and sociology. Students receive guidance and numerous resources on MCAT preparation including F&M purchasing an official practice test from the Association of American Medical Colleges for each applicant, online materials, and tips/strategies compiled from discussions with F&M students and alumni with very high scores on the new exam (90th percentile or higher). If students want to take a commercial test preparation class (Kaplan, Princeton Review), the companies offer a discount to F&M students/alumni.
At most research universities, labs tend to have post-doctoral students, doctoral students, other graduate students (Master’s degree), and then may take a few undergraduates. Since as a liberal arts college, F&M does not have graduate students, undergraduate students work directly with faculty on high-level research. At F&M, there are numerous research opportunities available both on and off campus. Through the Hackman Scholars program, students receive funding to do full-time research with an F&M faculty member on campus during the summer. We also have a wonderful clinical research opportunity at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine available in the summer to a couple of motivated young scientists. For students interested in getting funding for their own research projects off campus, they can apply for the Hershfield-Rosenthal Endowed Scholarship for Off-Campus Summer Biomedical Research or the Rackow & Kaminsky Endowed Fellowship for Pre-Health Students. Depending on their science background, some students start research as early as their freshman year.
Examples of institutions where students have done summer research in the past 2 years:
Human Epilepsy Project at Yale University, Penn State College of Medicine Department of Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon Institute, Hadassah Medical Center in Israel, Lankenau Institute for Medical Research, University of Pennsylvania Institute for Translational Medicine
The Health Professions Advising Division coordinates several formal shadowing programs for pre-medical students. A popular opportunity is our sophomore Preceptorship program at Lancaster General Hospital, where 30 pre-health students are paired with family medicine residents who serve as mentors. Through the Preceptorship program, sophomores also get to shadow physicians in departments including the neonatal intensive care unit, the cardiac catheterization lab, pediatrics, physical therapy, the in-patient wards, and even experience being on call in the hospital at night.
Our second, unique mentoring program is called Physician Mentoring Opens Doors (PMOD). Students apply during the spring of their sophomore year and if accepted, students are paired with an alumni or community physician who serves as their mentor during their junior and senior year. This program enables students to gain an understanding of a life in medicine from both professional and personal perspectives. Students get to meet their mentors and the mentors’ spouses/partners, and everyone in the program is invited to attend a PMOD social event each semester. Recent events have included a piano concert given by one of the mentees and a walking tour followed by a dinner event at a historic venue in downtown Lancaster.
Many of our students also volunteer at local hospitals and clinics: Lancaster Regional, Lancaster General (LGH), and Southeast Lancaster Health Services. Some students choose to take local courses to gain EMT certification or have already done so back home. These students can serve on our two local rescue squads, F&M EMS and Lancaster EMS.Students with a specific area of interest within medicine also receive guidance and support in cultivating clinical opportunities with alumni. This has led to students being able to shadow in fields like orthopedic surgery, neonatology, and more.
Community Service Opportunities:
Pre-medical students engage in a number of service opportunities. The Ware Institute for Civic Engagement is an excellent resource and they oversee community-based programs (for example, organizations working with refugees) as well as popular alternative spring break programs such as a week-long medical mission trip to Honduras. Pre-medical students often get involved in working with local middle schools by serving as science teaching interns and tutors. For those students who are involved in Greek life, each organization works with a specific charity/philanthropy (for example, Relay for Life, the Ronald McDonald House, etc.).
Campus Clubs/Activities :
This fall, we are launching a pre-health club that students from any class year can join. More details will be posted soon. We also have the Benjamin Rush Pre-Health Honor Society, which students can apply for in the spring of their sophomore or junior year. Both clubs host programs and events and also create a sense of community among pre-medical students.
Pre-medical students also pursue other activities on campus. Many are involved in music groups such as the orchestra or a cappella singing groups while others play sports at the varsity or club levels. F&M has a number of ways to get involved in clubs devoted to a range of topics.