Applying to Pre-Med, Nursing, and BSMD Programs
Pre-medical, Nursing and BS/MD programs are increasingly competitive. Not sure where to start? Get ahead of your college admissions strategy with CollegeAdvisor.com.
Admissions experts Katie Chiou, Chino Eke, and Latisha Ogbunamiri will share their insider knowledge on how to stand out when applying to these competitive programs, during a 60-minute webinar and Q&A session.
In this webinar, you’ll have all your questions answered, including:
– What do admissions officers in these programs look for in applicants?
– What types of extracurricular activities best demonstrate interest in pre-med studies?
– What is the expected academic profile of a pre-med/nursing/BS/MD student in high school?
– Do you have to major in STEM to be pre-med?
Come ready to learn and bring your questions!
2022-11-07 – Applying to Pre-Med, Nursing, & BS/MD Programs
Hello everyone. Okay. Still waiting for it to go live. Here we go. Welcome, welcome, welcome. Hello everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s webinar, Applying to Pre-Med, Nursing, & BS/MD Programs. To orient everyone with the webinar timing. We will start off with a presentation, then answer your questions in a live Q&A on the sidebar. You can download our slides and you can start submitting your questions in the Q&A tab.
Now let’s meet our panelists. So panelists, if you don’t mind just stating your name, what college you’ve attended, and kind of your connection to the topic at hand. So we’ll start with Katie. Hi everyone. I’m Katie. Um, as you can see here, I went to Brown University for undergrad and I’m currently there as well for medical school.
I am a second year medical student. Hi everyone. My name’s Chino. I went to Princeton for my undergrad and I’m currently doing a post-grad at Yale prior to medical school. Hi everyone. I’m Latisha. I went to Texas a m, University, Corpus Christi. I got my degree in health sciences and I have my Master’s in public health through George Washington University.
Thank you. Thank you. Okay, so before we get into the content of this evening, we’re gonna start off with a poll. Uh, so we wanna get a sense of what grade you are in, so please let us know. And I see the responses are coming in. Okay, so I’m gonna share with you all, we have about 40% that are in the 11th grade.
Uh, 29% are 10th graders, 16%, 12th grade, 9% other, and then 4% are in the ninth grade. So we have a pretty wild, uh, pretty round mix of attendees for the presentation. So I will kick it off to Katie to tell us a little bit about the college admission process. All right, so I’ll start off like, Hi again. I’m Katie.
Um, so my college admissions process I think was a little atypical in the sense that I had a lot of different deadlines. Um, so I applied to a number of schools. I’m from California, so I obviously did my state schools. Um, a lot of safeties in my area, so like the UCs, Um, I applied to Ivy’s and then I also did like other top tier reach schools and that was like a traditional pre-med application.
And then I also applied to a couple of BSMD programs. Um, and so for those of you who may not be familiar, BSMD programs, exactly what it sounds like, it basically means that you are doing a combined medical program. So essentially you are getting into, or you are applying to both college and medical school at the same time, um, in your senior year of high school.
And if you get in, there is a conditional spot waiting for you in the medical school. I’m currently in the Brown BSMD program, otherwise known as PLME. Um, and what that meant is, right, I spent four years in my undergrad and then four, I’m gonna spend four years in medical school. Some programs may be shorter.
Um, so some programs may have very different requirements including mcat, et cetera. Um, but for me that was kind of what I ended up doing. Um, couple of things, you know, I got into a lot of, I wanna kind of emphasize this cuz I think people can feel very overwhelmed. I got into many great schools, but I also didn’t get into some.
And so it’s really focusing on making sure, like when I was applying, that my application was a match for what I felt like the school was about. And ultimately I think the schools that I got into sort of made sense in terms of like, oh, I was able to kind of match what the school is about in my application.
At the very least, Okay, how did I choose my major? Um, so I kind of did a very interdisciplinary major. It’s called Science Technology in Society. It’s pretty new. I think it’s at like a couple of, um, the institutions around, No, this is one at Harvard, but it’s a pretty new major. Um, but basically what I did was it’s, it’s like a create your own major kind of thing. So as I was going through my undergrad, one thing that I figured out about myself very fast was that like, math and chemistry, not really my thing. Um, so I ended up going with just taking classes that I really enjoyed, and, um, by the end of my sophomore year I was like, Hey, I’m noticing that I’m taking all these classes that I could actually kind of mish mash together and make it fit really well under this, um, title of like, anthropology of mental health.
And that’s currently, um, still what I’m really interested in. Um, I still do a lot of mental health work and have been doing that for a while. I’ll talk about that later. Um, but I do also wanna mention, right, I applied as a CogSci major. I also considered English or literary art, Health and human bio. All of these things would’ve been totally acceptable and totally great to apply to med school with.
So I do wanna emphasize that again, you do not have to have a biology related major to be pre-med, uh, or to be, you know, interested in the health professions. I also want to really emphasize, you do not need to apply with the biology related major. I think a lot of people feel this pressure, they have to put like a bio related major, and then when they come to the essay about why they wanna attend this university and why they wanna do this major, they’re like, Oh no, I don’t really have a good story about this.
I highly recommend you pick something that you could write a good story about. Which is why I ended up going with CogSci. I felt like I had a really good way of kind of tying in random things into CogSci and obviously now I am no longer a cog science major. Also, like I was saying earlier, uh, I, we declare a major at the end of sophomore year.
I think a lot of schools actually do this, a lot of the big universities at least. And so, um, I really wanna emphasize that again, whatever you apply as is really just what you’re indicating on your application, um, as like your interest or you know, how you might fit in with the university structure. Uh, but at the end of the day, like it really, you are 0% beholden to that major unless you’re engineering, in which case sometimes that can be more complicated.
and what extracurricular activities did I do? So I kind of tried to list the ones that I felt like. Did the most work in getting me into college. Um, so I’ll start with Science Olympia. Um, I, I think later, I know Chino was talking, gonna talk about this too, but this is kind of like an individual event. Um, I was very lucky in the sense that my school did pretty well at Science Olympia, like as a school we were pretty decently well placed.
And so that certainly helped me in terms of like, oh look, I’m a captain of this team and also our team, you know, does relatively well. Um, and there was kind of where I was able to show a lot of like leadership stuff as well as biology stuff I do. Um, I think I actually applied to a lot of schools, but I remember Princeton in particular pointed out, I actually wrote an essay about why I failed as a captain of Science Olympia, or how I felt like I failed.
And I thought like that. I mean, it was pointed out as like something that like, was remarkable. So don’t be afraid also to write about, you know, shortcomings and if that makes sense. Um, the other one’s team line. So I actually volunteered at a suicide hotline as a high schooler. Um, this was a pretty big, I think extracurricular for me, um, illustrated a lot of things about, you know, my interest in mental health.
Um, Excuse me, today I still wanna work with like child abuse and child neglect. That’s a very deep interest of mine. Um, and so that was kind of my field. I think for anyone out there. Like if you are interested in finding something similar like this, I wrote about this by personal statement, I would find something that really fits in with your interest.
I’ve had a lot of students who are like, How do I do this exact thing? And I’m like, No, no, no. Figure out what you wanna do and you can definitely chase after it. For me, it was a lot of like, I really wanted to work in emergency and crisis and kind of be able to show that I worked well under pressure. And then I also wanted to show this mental health interest and I really combined those two things together and spend a lot of time at T one.
And like I said, wrote about in my personal statement, um, was able to kind of formulate a lot of themes about myself in that essay that I ultimately pulled into my other essays and wrote about. Um, finally I was editor in chief of my school literary magazine. Again, like this was me trying to show, um, the BSMD program that I was well rounded that I like, you know, had liberal arts in my background as well as science.
Oh, okay. So I think I’ll pass it off Right to Chino. Awesome. Yeah. I don’t know if you wanted to answer the BSMD program at Brown Question first. Oh, yeah, I can take a look. Perfect. Take a go for it.
Okay. So the question is, did I apply for the BSMD program through the Common app? Yes. So what you do, and this is different for every school, but um, for Brown specifically, you just kind of opt in in this little, little dropdown menu and more essays will pop up. Everyone’s favorite thing, Um, when you write this essay, that’s how you apply to the BSMD program.
Um, different schools will have different formats and every school is different. So please, please, please, if you’re interested in it, you gotta do every single school, like research individually. I know it sucks, but that’s kind of the way it goes, unfortunately. Awesome. Well, so my name’s Chino, um, just recently graduated from Princeton.
And now, like I mentioned earlier, I’m doing my postgrad, um, at Yale. So I had a little bit of a different, semi more traditional path. I’m going to be applying to medical school this coming cycle. So, um, during my like high school experience, I applied to Princeton early action, and then I also applied to a state school, Michigan University early.
Um, got into both, which was very fortunate. And at the time though I had previously like written my applications for other schools that I’ve listed below, um, in addition to a few others. But, and then ended up sending those, um, applications in like pretty shortly after the November 1st deadline. I was fortunate enough to like have the extra time to be able to like kind of, you know, work with my schedule and like actually like apply.
I know like early, I know that a lot of people. Um, sometimes feel pressured in a lot of ways to like get their applications out as fast as possible. And it’s not necessarily the best way, I guess, to approach the application process, but rather in my perspective, um, spend as much time as you can trying to curate a couple schools applications and then go about applying that way.
But that was just a little bit of my journey. Um, in high school, how I chose my major was kind of a confluence of things. Um, first I kind of was always act like interested in how groups form. Um, I remember going to the local, like my mall in my town and like hanging out with my friends and just like watching how different groups of people would, uh, you know, like congregate and whatnot.
And I considered psychology for a really long time, but then when I applied to Princeton, I realized that they had the Neuroscience Institute, which is basically a collaboration between multiple departments, including psychology, um, biology, chemistry, and physics, um, that are like allow for like an interdisciplinary, um, perspective or approach to I guess the study of the brain.
And so that’s kind of why I ended up choosing neuroscience because it added a little bit more scientific rigor that I was interested in, uh, especially with all the research that I was fortunate enough to get to do during my undergrad. And then also like my, uh, more of a personal reason. My, my grandfather had dementia.
So I was really always interested kind of in like the field and trying to figure out like how we could apply the science or the hearts basic science, um, to improving individual quality of life. So that’s kind of how I approached my major. I know, um, Katie mentioned that you definitely do not need to know what major you’re going to be when you apply.
Um, I think it’s more so that way the school has a general idea of what your interests are, but I don’t think it necessarily reflects so super strongly on like who they consider as an applicant. So, and it’s very flexible. Like many of my friends, either a, started off as premed, end up leaving premed or were completely different and they saw some people that were doing the coursework and they found it interesting and switched into it.
So it’s, it’s very much, um, not major or concentration dependent. And then as per extracurricular activities, um, like Katie mentioned, I also did Science Olympia. Um, Was able to participate at the state level in a couple categories. It’s, it’s, it’s pretty wide based for those of you who have not been, um, familiarized with it.
But I competed at like the state level for like robot arm and a couple other categories and ended up doing well in those. I also played for our city soccer, um, all four years of high school. And I think that was like, it’s where Katie for science, Latisha was her like kind of leadership role. I was fortunate enough to become captain of my team and like I found team bonding in leadership through that.
Um, student government as well was kind of like one way that I felt like I could engage with my local peer or my peers in like my community. And then I worked at the local food bank and tutoring center, um, through my school to acquire what we call service hours. Um, but it ended up becoming a more, um, influential part of my high school experience.
And I think like being able to like show that you’re. Definitely part of your community and not actively just like trying to seek, um, a spot at like a high caliber school is like one of the reasons why, um, I was fortunate enough to go to the school that I attended. Um, and then I also, for like medicine, I was really just keen to like work at the local hospital.
Um, and you, I kind of started off with like the average guy who pushes people, patients around in wheelchairs to then work my way through the system and get pretty unique opportunities. So those are some of the things that I feel like kind of helped me get into my university.
Okay, well thank you all so much for sharing, uh, Katie and Chino. So we’re just gonna take a short pause cuz we wanna get a sense of where you are in the college application process and I realized that I launched the poll sooner than I should have. So I have the responses ready to go, which is great. So we have, um, 43% of our attendees are currently researching schools.
So this webinar is even more helpful for them. We have 34% that haven’t started, Uh, 9%. That’s almost done. Congratulations. We know what that feels like to be almost done with your applications. 8% are getting their material together and then 7% are currently working on their essays. So a good range of where our attendees are in the application process.
Okay, so now I’m gonna turn it over to Latisha to share about her experience. Uh, I think what’s so great about this webinar is that everyone is completely different from each other. Um, I grew up a military child. Uh, my dad was in the Navy for 22 years as an officer, so I went to 13 schools for high schools.
So my. Education was very different, and it was very hard to stay active in one thing, uh, when you’re constantly moving almost every year. Uh, but my senior year, um, I was fortunate to be part of NJ ROTC, so the Naval Junior, um, Reserves Officer Training Corps. And um, I applied probably around May or June of application open.
And so this is the NROTC Nurse Corps scholarship application. It is a full-ride scholarship that covers your education. Um, your, um, it gives you, it covers your education in your housing. It gives you a stipend. Um, and then when you graduate, you commit anywhere from two to four years in the Navy, um, as an officer.
Um, and then you get out pretty much Scott free, no, no debt, anything like that. Um, so when I completed, I didn’t really look one, the scholarship’s only available to certain schools. Um, two because it’s the nurse course scholarship. It’s. Available to only even fewer schools. Um, so when I was applying, I was the very opposite for when I applied to one school.
I applied to Georgia State. Uh, I got into Georgia State. Um, and so mine is not the like fair to ending of, I actually lost my scholarship. The military’s very strict about. What you can and cannot do, um, and what you, um, how your, your medical records are. And so I have a peanut allergy and unfortunately that was a no-go for the military, so I lost a full ride scholarship in mid-March.
Um, and so, um, living overseas in Japan, the time, the only way you can get in-state tuition is where your family owns property. And my father still owned a home in Texas and the only school I know about in Texas was Texas A&M University Corpus Christi. So that’s how I ended up at A&M Corpus. Um, I am a firm believer of applying to multiple schools, um, really making sure that yes, even if you get into your dream school, the school that checks a box for you, it’s still important.
I start applications at University of Virginia Baylor University. Um, Virginia Tech, all these different schools. But once I got into Georgia State, I just stopped. And so I do not recommend students doing that. Continue applying, continue to look at your options. You know, you have until May 1st for a lot of these schools to make a decision.
So really look at those, um, those everything that you’re getting, your financial aid, you’re looking at all of those factors before you make the final decision of, this is going to be my school, so don’t be me. Um, and then I chose my major because I have a high passion for helping people. I think everything that I’ve done, um, since I’ve been in middle school and high school up until now in my life, I’ve.
Try to help people. Um, and I have a huge passion for sexual and reproductive health, maternal and child health, women’s health. Um, really anything surrounding those areas always have a passion for me. So nursing to me was, um, always fell in that category. I researched healthcare careers and unlike my colleagues, I was not wanting to do eight years of schooling.
Um, and so nursing was a great option to be heavily involved, very hands on with patients, but not have to do, um, eight years of schooling or not have to be science heavy in my opinion. Um, and then I fell in love with nursing in its principals. I went all the way through. I was a pre-nursing major at Texas, a Corpus Christi.
I got into nursing school. Um, and then my senior year I switched my major to health sciences. So, um, when you’re looking for nursing programs, you want to make sure. One. Um, do you, are you interested in a direct entry nursing program or are you okay with doing a pre-nursing program, which pretty much means your first two years of college is getting the prerequisites to then apply for nursing school versus a direct entry nursing program?
Which means that once you get admitted into the school, you are pretty much conditionally ENT into the nursing program and you just grades and continue through the entire four years pursuing, you know, your nursing degree. Um, you also want to make sure that they’re accredited, uh, you want to make sure that you are applying to multiple nursing programs.
So especially if you’re applying, if you’re going in pre-nursing, um, even though you’re at a school that has a nursing major, it’s kind of the same thing with. People who apply pre-med to a school that has a medical school, there’s no guarantee that you’re gonna get into the nursing program at that school.
So you want to, when you’re getting to that point, usually around the middle of your sophomore year, you’re applying for nursing programs. You wanna apply to more than one. Um, they could be in the same state that you’re in. If there’s multiple schools in the same city, they can do that too. Um, but keep in mind that you wanna keep your options open because they only accept so many students.
Some programs accept as few as 30 students a year. Um, some it’s 30 students a semester. Some could do up to a hundred students, 120 students a semester. It just depends one on how big the school is, how competitive the school is. Um, and you know what? They have the funds to support that many students for that semester.
So sometimes it can even vary. Sometimes it can be as low as 90, as high as 120. Um, each semester. So keeps that in mind. Um, and then what did I do? Um, I’m, I guess a little older than my colleagues. I graduated in, um, 2011 from high school in 2015 from college. So, um, you know, at that time it wasn’t really, I guess as competitive as it is now.
But I was involved in NJ ROTC, I was in choir for four years. I was in a national honors society. I played, uh, three different varsity sports. So I played basketball, track and cross country. Um, one year that I was in Tennessee, I was part of FBLA, which is future Business Leaders in America. And I got to compete in a couple of competitions for that.
But again, it was only one year. So I really didn’t get, uh, a lot of experience under there. Um, and I did get to do a lot of part-time jobs. Um, when you’re a military student, or sorry, a military kid, they provide a lot of opportunities for you to get jobs. On the base, um, that one, they pay a little higher and they’re a lot more structured than like, if you work as a cashier at like McDonald’s or like a, you know, the area.
So I got to work at a child development center and be a teacher. Um, for pre-K and preschoolers, I was able to, um, work at a gym and work in inventory and plan special programs for them. And then I also worked at a post office and was able to do distribution and um, and reorganizing of like packages and handling mail and things like that.
So I learned like a lot of different industries across in those, you know, um, four years I was in high school as a military kid. And so, um, you know, if you’re a student like me who tends to move around a lot or you feel like. You didn’t get that one year, Um, or you only got one year and one thing that’s okay too.
Um, it’s important to have a wide variety of interests and, you know, and be passionate enough to pursue those interests. Like, like everyone else said before me, like, don’t feel like you have to sit in this box of just science focus, science focus, science focus. If you have a love for singing or playing an instrument or if you have a passion for mental health or, um, you know, or be doing a lot of volunteer.
Then do so, um, don’t feel like you have to check this box. Um, most schools are looking for a well rounded, multitasking student. Um, if you just put yourself in one box, how are you gonna thrive in a community? Um, that is going to put on you more than just the nursing and the medical side of things.
They’re going to challenge you. They’re gonna make you think outside the box. They’re looking for innovative thinkers. And so the way we become more innovative in the way that we become, um, contributing members of society is by, you know, engaging in different conversations and being open to, um, a wide variety of topics.
So, you know, don’t feel like you have to just do science focused majors. Um, sports, I wouldn’t say sports are very important to playing. Again, I think as we. It’s about your passion. So if you love to play sports, like go play sports, don’t feel like, um, you have to be like an athlete to, to get a scholarship or you have to, um, you know, uh, put something like if you only have like three or four things in your, in your, um, box, and then you have to add more.
Like it’s better to be good at, you know, two or three things than to try to be a part of like 15 different things and you didn’t really accomplish anything and all those different things. Um, yeah, question.
Okay, so now it is time for our questions and answers. Thank you all so much for sharing really in depth information. I’ve been looking at the questions that have been coming in and we will be answering those right now. Um, so let’s jump into our first question for this evening. Okay. So someone said that they live in a small town, um, and their school does not offer many extracurriculars.
What are some alternatives to help boost your college application? Maybe Latisha, you can answer that cuz you were, you were just speaking a little bit about, about that. Um, I, like I said, I went to so many different high schools and, um, and I also, you know, I am an older student in that, um, I think AP was still like not a big thing and like dual credit was definitely not a thing when I was in high school.
So, um, again, it’s pursuing your passions and thinking out of the box. So you know, if there are, um, you know, if there’s local organizations, if there’s volunteer opportunities that you can do, um, you know, going to your local library, there’s always something that you can do there. Um, maybe there might be national chapters that you can join.
Um, even your local community colleges sometimes allow students to join their organizations and get involved that way. Um, but realize that you can make just as much impact in your small town with the one or two things you’re doing as much as a student who has, uh, a, an endless supply of opportunities in front of them, you know?
So make the most impact in your small town like, If you’re able to just be a part of like, um, your national Honor society, you know, do a project that impacts your community, um, if you are only able to do, you know, orchestra, you know, um, there’s a student I’m working with that, um, they perform concerts at, you know, nursing homes and hospitals.
You know, it’s completely volunteer base. So, um, you know, again, think outside the box. Start thinking of a passion project that you can get involved in your community and don’t do it by yourself. Work with your fellow students. You don’t have to just plan this on your own, work with, uh, you know, get a mentor in your area.
Um, ask local businesses how they started, because it’s hard to start a small business is even hard to start small business in smaller town. So, um, you know, kind of reach out there as well. And I think Chino was also answering that question too, if you wanted to chime in. Yeah, sure. So I think I, I have, so I grew up in Indiana, which is relatively rural.
Um, My town was much larger. So I did have opportunities in that regard, but I have many peers who did not. I think one of the things that you can also do, um, well first off, you should realize, definitely realize that colleges consider what opportunities are present to you, um, while you’re applying. And so that’s one of the reasons why like working with your college counselor from an early point in your high school career is very important.
Um, so that way they can like be informed as to what you’re trying to do and what you’re trying to achieve. But also many, like, especially post pandemic, like there are many opportunities to start things via online basis. So like this whole webinar is hosted on a digital platform. You can utilize Zoom.
I have students I’ve worked with that have started clubs with international schools, um, that never meet, but. Consistently communicate via like, you know, online platforms. So I think there’s definitely something to be said about establishing your own clubs, um, finding your passions and creating something unique and interesting on your own.
Um, can is not necessary, I don’t think, but it definitely can’t hurt. So, Okay. Thank you. Thank you both for answering that question. So moving on to the next question, um, and this is gonna be for Katie. Do you apply for BSMD programs at Brown or other Ivy schools through the Common App? And does the BSMD programs allow, you know, follow up early admissions or early decision deadlines, or do they have their own deadlines which are different from the regular admissions or early admissions?
Yeah, it’s a good question cuz I’m seeing a lot of questions about like when to apply and what that means. Um, so typically how it works, and this is again, like there are so many BSMD programs and truly it’s one of those things where like, unfortunately it’s a little bit disorganized, the sense that like, not every school is on has their program on the common app.
Um, so Brown is a, is a good example of like probably the easiest and most straightforward. You apply, uh, either early decision or regular decision, and through the early decision, you can get into the BSMD program early or you can actually get into Brown, just Brown as the undergrad institution and then, um, not get into the BSMD program or you can get into Brown, be deferred for the BSMD program, and then get in regular decision.
So, I know that sounded complicated, but that was like the most straightforward one. Um, typically the other programs will have a deadline, uh, for applying about November 30th or December 1st. Um, this would apply to schools like Rice has a BSMD program. Same thing with Northwestern. Um, University of Rochester, R Pi, Redela Polytech Institute, um, all of these are great schools that have really awesome BSMD programs and are also due a little earlier.
And so you might, as you’re looking at, amongst your friends, like applying right, you might be a little bit more stressed in the beginning because you have a lot more deadlines than maybe your classmates have, um, when getting all these applications in. But the reason is because, um, a lot of these programs require you do an interview with the medical school, just like any other, you know, student applying to medical school has to do to do an in depth interview.
Um, and that typically they have, they need the time to kind of read over your application, send you an invite in like February, March-ish about your interview, and then, um, from there let you know if you got in or not in like, like, you know, late March, early April-ish. Um, so that’s kind of why it’s a little earlier of a deadline.
Okay. Thank you. Thank you. So our next question, let’s see, cuz we have a lots of really great questions that are coming through. Um, let’s go with, Mm. All right. So what do you recommend to a student who is considering taking on that eight years of study into the medical field? Maybe like Chino. You wanna take that one?
Or, or Katie, I know you’re, you’re on that path now, . Um, sure. Yeah. So I think, I think one of the benefits of me taking, like, one of the main reasons why I took, um, what we call, I guess a years or gap years, whatnot, um, is because I wanted to experience what adult life would be like prior to fully committing myself to four more years plus residency, plus the fellowships and everything that comes afterwards and.
I think, I think before you, like really consider, I, I think, I mean maybe Katie can speak to this more, um, with the BS and MD programs, but during my undergraduate I spent a lot of time with like, like reflecting kind of like what my real calling or like why my calling two medicine. Like, like if, if it was really tangible or if it was like something I wanted to do and pursue.
Um, but I think it’s not like an easy, the liberal, like, like knowing at 18 if you want to like pursue eight years or spend the next eight years of your life. I don’t know if that’s a good way to, um, I guess, uh, kind of pursue, go about pursuing, um, that type of question or the answer to that type of question.
But rather you should, like, even when you apply to a BSMD program or when you like are doing your undergrad. You should definitely be actively thinking about like if this is something that you want to cons or stay on that path doing. So I will defer to Katie, but that’s kind of my perspective. Yeah, I’m a very strong propeller of kind of what you just said in the sense of like, you should constantly be checking in with yourself if this is actually the right path.
Um, especially because I think a lot of, so the statistics I think kind of show, like a lot of kids go in pre-med and I think only a third of them end up staying, whether it’s because of, you know, difficult chemistry classes or it’s because they end up following up with something else, or they kind of just end up discovering that there’s more out there than medicine that they love.
And like truly, I think in high school we have like this regimented schedule, right? When you get into college, you, you learn about so many different disciplines that really, and so many different jobs. Also just like different, like things that you can do that, um, might be more interesting to you, um, and also might get you into the workforce and make money faster.
Aha. Um, so yes, , I am on. Four plus two six. I clearly, math is not my strength. I’m on year six of that kind of eight year trajectory. Right. And I also wanna mention, and I mention this to all my students, like do think about the years. I know right now you’re like, Oh, I’m used to school. I can be in school for a long time.
I’m at a point now where a lot of my like colleagues, a lot of my classmates, they’re out there making a lot of money in the tech industry or like I’m doing other things right with their lives traveling and I’m here, you know, studying medicine and it’s really tough. It is really, really hard. Um, and it’s certainly something I will also say, like I’m kind of non-traditional in the sense that I like am.
Like going to college. I thought I was a strong STEM student after college. I was like, actually I think I have more of a calling in the humanities and social sciences. Um, I think it comes to no surprise to a lot of people that I wanna go into psychiatry. Um, and that’s really what drove me to stay in medicine.
And I want me to make sure like there’s no qualms about it. Like you have eight years and then after this I’m gonna have five more years of training. I’m going to be 30 by the time I am fully done and a full-fledged doctor. And I want to like, make sure that everyone’s aware of that because it is a huge dedication.
Um, and there are totally also other healthcare professions that you might be more interested in going into when you like get there and you evaluate. Um, that all being said, um, what really draws me to medicine was, again, like I said, the psychiatry factor. Um, at this point, you know, I am a medical school.
I’ve done a lot of studying. I’ve also done a lot of research work. I’ve also like worked in the field a little bit and like, you know, spent my summer working with kids, um, working with all these different mental disorders. And I can honestly say like, that’s. There are other things that could def certainly make me happy, but this is something that I know will make me happy.
Specifically, like with psychiatry, specifically with thinking about, like for me, I’ve always been kind of like, ah, I don’t think I’m like creative or innovative enough to make a difference in the world through research I I, and I particularly like after working in the hotline was like, Oh, this one to one, kind of like helping someone and getting like their direct feedback, their direct back tube right after.
That’s really what drives me in. Just day to day interactions. Um, and that’s what I think really come back to kind of feed me and keep me going. Um, like I said, because right now I’m still in my studying years, my preclinical years as they call it, the first two years. And so like I sit here for a lot of hours studying things that like, are really, really difficult to study.
And I, I do wanna like, but that’s kind of what pushes me forward, if that makes sense. So make sure you have that like clear goal in mind. And I think hopefully it kind of clarifies as you go along. Um, a lot of these BSMD programs, or at least at my BSMD program, I could say at Brown you couldn’t drop out at any time and there’s no consequences.
You can just be like, I don’t wanna do medicine anymore, and that’s totally fine. Um, and I want to make sure that people know that they have that. Like at any point I, I want be always like, don’t like stay on a path just because you feel like you have to finish it out because it’s a very long path. Um, make sure you’re constantly checking in with yourself, um, during that entirety of those eight years.
Thank you, Thank you, thank you. Um, Latisha, I’ll ask you this question. I’m a junior. What are some things I can do to stand out when applying for schools that are harder to get into? Um, I think when you’re, um, and I, it’s kind of also connected to a question with a student asking, like, they’re doing all these things and she said, I do even more.
Like, I feel like it’s not enough. I, I think colleges want quality over quantity. Um, so for you smaller town students, for you who feel like you, you’ve done 15 things, but you should be doing 20, it’s about quality. So, um, you know, if you’re able to taking on leadership positions, are you challenging? I think that’s the most important thing, challenge yourself and then that way you’re gonna be able to speak on what it’s like to put yourself out there.
So, um, you know, if you’ve never taken on a leadership position, take on one. You don’t have to take on one for every organization you’re a part of, but, you know, take on one, challenge yourself in that way. Um, are you doing community service? How are you working in your community? Especially when you wanna pursue something where it’s about supporting and helping and caring for your community.
Um, nursing and, and medicine is about caring for your community, especially. I think that’s shown a lot with this pandemic of like the hard work that healthcare workers and, and those who are going through, you know, pre-med and nursing and things like that. All the work that they have to go through to get to that point of taking care of people.
So being willing to be out in your community, get engaged in your community, um, and then also just challenging yourself. So taking on a leadership role, pursuing, um, You know, um, maybe creating, I know students who created a mini conference for, for themselves. I know students who, um, you know, got involved with, um, supporting local competitions and were judges for that.
That was really cool. Like, went out. They themselves weren’t, um, students who did, uh, karate or jujitsu, but they were able to go and, and kind of challenge themselves and say, you know, I wanna be in this kind of like role where I have to call, um, call a win, call a file call, these different things. And it was different and unique.
To hear them talk about those experiences is not something that people would think, Oh, like that’s gonna be, um, something colleges will look for. But they do. They wanna see you take yourself out of this box, you know, because that’s what college is about. College is allowing you to grow, um, professionally, academically, but also emotionally, mentally.
Um, you know, you’re really becoming. Somewhat of an adult. I think as I hit close to my thirties, I’m still learning to be an adult. But you know, you’re, this is definitely a great huge step in becoming, um, an adult. And so you wanna kind of put yourself out there. I think that’s the, if there’s any takeaway you can take from that, put yourself out there, um, and challenge yourself.
It’s okay to fail. It’s okay to be, um, a little stressed about it. Um, because that’s what life is gonna be. You know, every time you challenge yourself, it’s gonna be different in you and sometimes uncomfortable, but you have to grow and that’s how you grow. Okay. Thank you. Thank you. Moving on to our next question at Chino.
I’ll ask this one to you. Do you think AP’s matter a lot? I’m an international student. I’ve, you know, submitted two AP scores. I’m repeating some that I failed in 12th grade. Will this affect my chances of acceptance? Do I have a lot of, you know, do I have a lot of extracurriculars? And the 4.0 gpa, unweighted, Oh, he just, the, the, they just added a little more detail.
Yes. Yeah, So I mean, I think it depends on the context of your school, right? So like, if you’re, I can’t really speak to the international experience as much as maybe Latisha can. Um, but I think that if your school is offering those courses, like, well, I guess they probably would be offering International Baccalaureate.
So if, if your school is offering courses that are, like if you’re taking the most rigorous courses that your school’s offering and you are consistently doing well in those courses, then that is probably the most optimal outcome that you can expect or hope for. I don’t know if it’s necessary to take courses outside of the school that you, um, are attending, but I don’t think it, it, I can’t, I think it’s kind of very context dependent, so.
I hope that helps, but yeah. Yeah, that helps. That helps. Thank you. Thank you. Okay, so moving on to the next question. Um, this is for Katie. So due to local hospitals are not providing clinical shadowing and opportunities for high school students, how does that impact BSMD admissions? Yeah, that’s a really good question.
And I think a lot of, and I’m gonna try, try to broaden this to pre-med as well. Um, a lot of folks think that when you’re applying, like with an interest in medicine, there’s like a couple things you to check off, which I think is where this question has caught me from. You think, oh, you have to have research, you have to have, um, hospital volunteering and you have to have shadowing.
Um, I would like to come forth and say I had zero shadowing hours going into the my VSM P program. Um, Los Angeles is very, very, very, very strict in kinda California general about like who gets to shadow in terms of like ages. Obviously I was not of age when I graduated from high school. Um, and so I think, and with Covid as well, I think a lot of these programs are shut down and schools are very aware of that.
The real reason why they’re looking for any of these things and why people have decided to simplify it down to these check marks is really just because they want to know that you have had like a genuine exposure to medicine and thoughtfully like kind of digested it and thought about, you know, why you’re interested in medicine.
Like what is it about medicine that draws you and kind of just to, for students to kind of get a sense of like, what does it actually mean to be a doctor? And so in all honesty, like you can show that in a lot of different ways, right? So I said I had zero clinical shadowing hours, um, and I still got in.
Again, like zero clinical shadowing hours. Like I did not have the family connections or whatever to get me into a hospital. Um, and so I tried to make up for it by talking about other things that showed that I had the qualities or by pointing out things that I knew about doctors, um, that I felt like I really wanted to embody.
So, for example, um, some people really hate this, but some people really love what’s called like counseling as a doctor. So meaning like, not there, but like literally like did like, uh, how do you counsel a patient on not to smoke, for example. Um, and that’s something that I’ve always loved and kind of like this idea of a doctor as like an educator.
Um, and so I talked about that a lot, my application applying to medical school and that was like something specific that I was able to draw out to show that. I have thoughtfully thought about why I wanted to be a doctor, you know, at the young ripe age of 18. Um, and you know, obviously that has changed since then, but that’s kind of like what they’re trying to get at, right?
It’s not necessarily like, Oh, how many hours do you have? Um, especially with covid, like people are not getting hours in hopefully. Um, and so it’s really kind of just indicating like, how have you really shown your interest in medicine and thought about it? Not that you’re just like picking it off like a, you know, like a random like, ah, like this is my life trajectory to do.
Um, I don’t know why I wanna do it. I just think I wanna do it, kind of thing. That’s the ideal. Thank you. Thank you. So we’re gonna take a short pause so I can share with you all more about CollegeAdvisor. So for those that are in the room who aren’t already working with us, we know how overwhelming the admission process can be, especially thinking about these programs, um, that our panelists is speaking about.
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So after scanning a QR code, you’ll be able to select a date in time for a phone conversation with a member of our team. So I am going to leave the QR code up as we continue with our questions and answers, so our next. Question. I’m gonna actually direct this one to Chino, uh, when applying to pre-med, how can I know for sure which field I wanna go in if I’m stuck between a few?
Mm-hmm. , considering I would be committed to this for a while, I completely understand how that could be. You wanna offer some insight? So I would, Yeah, I think, I think it’s, it’s necessary to rebut one thing in that, um, question. You’re not necessarily, um, committed to a specific field when you’re applying, like when you’re, you know, entering college.
I think, um, I think for a lot of students, like it might see with few exceptions, like Katie mentioned earlier, engineering, like typically a lot of the courses that you have to take over the course of four years are like necessary to complete, like at the very beginning, like first semester of your freshman year.
And so in that regards, there’s like limited flexibility. Um, but I will say that like there is, while it’s. More challenging, it is still doable to get away with taking many of the like elective courses or like the distribution requirements, um, during your first two years, and then focus in more on like the pre-med requirements and, um, more of your major specific requirements later on in college.
So I don’t, I don’t necessarily think that it’s, um, it’s, uh, true that you need to like know exactly what you wanna do entering from high school. Um, now if you have an idea and you’re like trying to debate between them, the best advice I can give, um, especially because I considered psychology before neuroscience is trying to.
A course, or you can also audit courses during your university experience. I think it’s very helpful and underutilized, um, where like you’re not actually having to do the course material per se, but you can still go to court classes, um, and be exposed to the readings and assignments in those courses if you so choose.
Um, to just get a better sense of what is, what the major might be like. And definitely sitting down with like upperclassmen is super, super necessary because they’ve gone through that particular schools program and they will have a lot of tips and tricks per se, um, that might be able to provide more insight into your decision making process.
But ultimately it should be what you’re interested in, um, is the best way to approach that. Cool. Cool. Okay. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Okay, so our next question is, I’m a junior. Is it too late to join them? Uh, what colleges, you know, would be interested in the, you know, just is it too late that we’ll go there with that?
So is it too late to participate in STEM activities? And anyone can kind of unmute and answer that question? I don’t mind starting, um, I no think simple answer is no. Um, I think, and I mean, Kay, you can speak on this even more. I think the resonating tone is that there’s no particular major to get into really any of these.
Majors, Um, even nursing. There’s some schools I know, for example, Texas a and m, there’s actually no pre-nursing or nursing direct entry. You can come in in as any major and then just make sure you get the s and you can apply for their nursing program. So, um, you don’t have to be STEM heavy or STEM focused in high school.
Um, you know, I think it’s more again about challenging yourself. So like if you took some challenging courses in English or you know, or, um, you know, competed in certain things, I think that’s really more important than saying you focus so much on stem. Um, but, you know, go ahead and, and join a couple and I think this is your first step to figuring out if you even like the STEM area and if you want to pursue a STEM focused major when you then go off to college.
Um, and I’ll open up to Chino and Katie to.
Yeah. I think, um, I know that as an 18 year old I was like, I know what I wanna do. I’m on top of the world. I’m like, you know, like I’m the biology person. Like that’s just what I am in my school right now. Um, I went to college, was like, Actually, maybe I’m not that great at biology. . Maybe I’m actually much better at other things.
And, and a particular example I think I have is I went into college thinking I was gonna love ethics. I was like, Bioethics, That’s a hundred percent gonna be my think I love philosophy. I was like, I love thinking about these ideas. I went there and I took a class exactly like Chino said, and I was like, actually, It turns out I like these, thinking about these ideas, but the actual field of like philosophy or the field of ethics, that was not like I, I actually ended up not enjoying it.
And so that’s all a really long story just to say like, I think you will constantly keep finding your interest. And as a junior, it’s certainly not too late to be like, Ooh, maybe I’m interested in stem. And take you’re toe into it. Maybe you’ll end up loving it. Maybe you’ll end up hating it. But I think, uh, please don’t feel like, oh, like, because everyone like has to know that they’re pre-med by the time they’re, you know, a junior or senior in high school, that means I can never jump back in.
That’s certainly not the case. Um, and there are plenty of people who are like English majors, like, we’re gonna go to law school. We’re like Flo, like any kind of majors, um, who apply to medical school and get in and, and, and do well and become doctors. So, um, yeah, I just wanna say that’s like not at all limited, kind of like, you know, one track kind of thing.
You can always switch on and switch off. Yeah. So just in short, it’s never too late. Um, I personally was fortunate enough to, like very early on think that I wanted to be a doctor, but again, a lot of inter self-reflection and introspection, um, has allowed me to continue on this path. And I don’t think if you ever, I think if you ever stop doing that, then you’re very quickly going to find yourself in a situation in which you might not want to be in.
Um, and so just spending time to like, reflect, um, think about what your, your, you know, your passion is, that can change. I think on average, people change career field pretty frequently throughout their adult life in general. I know medicine is more one of those like, consistent things because it requires so much training and it’s like requires a term degree.
Um, but yeah, I don’t, I don’t necessarily think sophomore year or junior year is too late to take full pivot into stem.
Okay, so our next question is, would it be the most vital and helpful thing one could do to get into medical school are ACT/SAT scores? Extremely influential in the selection process.
Yeah, so, and I don’t know if you’re applying a medical score right now, Chino. Um, so a little bit confusing about this question. So SAT/ACT scores are for getting into university. Um, and there’s been kind of this massive shift actually since I applied in terms of how important it is, especially with this kind of new advent of like test optional.
And even, like I know at the UC’s they don’t even look at test scores anymore. Um, so there’s kind of, there’s kind of like a changing environment is what I would say. And so certain. Um, if you feel as though your score is like below the school is like mean or whatever it is that you’re applying, you can certainly choose not to apply.
Um, I would not say that the SAT or ACT has any marker unfortunately on getting into med school. Um, for med school you would be taking another standardized test. I know we left those. Um, the mcat, which is an eight hour, seven, seven to eight hour long exam, um, comprised of multiple sections, Um, mo like in like kind of the STEM areas, plus I think in English and psychology.
Um, and so that would be more of a, a marker for you getting into med school and obviously doing well on the MCAT opens up more opportunities for you in terms of getting into med school and also getting into many, uh, sorry, getting into like top, top tier med schools. Um, yeah, I dunno if you wanna add anything on
Yeah. So to answer your first part of the question, I am applying this current coming cycle, So 2023. Um, I, yes, MCAT is a time. It is definitely. A probably one of the most challenging exams I’ve ever had to study for. Um, it comprises of cars, which is like critical reading and analysis. Um, psych search, bio biochem, and then chemistry and physics and all those courses that you take during your undergrad will be tested on that exam.
Um, as for like ACT or SAT, unless you’re applying to BSMD program, I do not even think that from everything I’ve read. I don’t even think that colleges look into your high school records at all. So I wouldn’t be concerned in that regard. But yes, like Katie said, your MD MCAT score, your extracurriculars in terms of like shadowing preclinical work, um, and your gpa, um, and just your holistic, you know, picture that you’re able to present in your application.
From what I’ve. Read. And also seeing my friends do tends to be the most important facet of like, getting into medical school. BSMD programs are a whole different piece, but yeah. Uh, I’m just gonna add like, one last, I’m, I’m an academic advisor for a lot of dual degrees, like MD mph and like DDS and stuff like that to a lot of students who are pursuing, you know, doctoral degrees.
And so, um, yes, just like when you’re applying to college, we only look at high school. We don’t really look at like, middle and elementary school. And same thing once you’re in college, we’re only looking at college. So when you apply to medical school and nursing programs, um, we’re not usually, we’re not looking at what you did did in high school.
Um, so, so yeah, like the, the, the only time we’re really looking at your, your SAT or your AP scores, even for like BSMD or like, um, you know, direct entry programs is really more for admissions into the college, not necessarily into. The degree plan itself, like MD or like nursing or things like that. So, um, just keep that in mind.
Um, regardless of where you’re applying, what you’re doing, it’s looking at the previous education that you had. So, uh, we’re not gonna like go back all the way to elementary school, perfect attendance. We’re just looking at what you did from that previous three. So high school diploma to get into college, you know, your bs, ms, whatever you had before you go into, um, you know, medical school.
Um, and I, it wasn’t mentioned, but another thing that I just wanted to plan out, because being a recruiter for, for schools, uh, people don’t know about specific programs I recruited here in Texas for many years. So, uh, I know that like in Texas they have this, but you know, check to see your school, your, your.
Your state programs as well. So, um, you know, a lot of the students, you know, my colleagues, they went to schools outta state. But for example, here in Texas we have what’s called Texas JAM, which is the Joint Admissions Medical Program. So it allows, um, disadvantaged students, so lower income students to get into the, any medical school here in Texas.
So as long as you get into this program, you can apply either your, um, between your junior, senior year of high school up until your sophomore year of college. So you technically have like four different years to apply. Um, and pretty much as long as you do this program, you maintain the requirements and you just have to take the mcat.
You don’t have to get a specific score, you just have to take the mcat. You’ll be able to go into any medical school here in Texas. So I don’t know how many people here are currently living in Texas, um, but also look into your own state to see if there’s programs like that as well. Um, and I don’t know if it was mentioned before, but, um, once you’re in college too and you have academic advising, um, there is something called the pre-health or pre-med or pre-Professional Advising committee.
Um, these are are faculty members and, um, professors that are there to help you get into medical school. So they’re helping you figure out how to study for the mcat. They might have classes that you can take or a program that you can join. Um, they’re going to make sure that your portfolio looks good from, you know, your freshman year all the way up to your senior year when you decide to apply to medical school.
Um, they will even be the people who write your letter recommendations when you apply to med school. Um, so that’s another layer, uh, that every school has regardless if you’re in vs. Premed program. Um, you do have to, um, contact the committee a lot. Some schools you have to kinda like apply and get, you know, accepted to be a part, to be, um, mentored by the committee.
Other schools, it’s automatically provided by everyone. It just depends on how competitive the school is. Um, but that’s another layer of resources that is available to you that a lot of students don’t really know about when they go into college. They kind of think that they’re on their own and it’s, that’s just not the case.
Um, you have a committee that is created at your school, um, to help you all four years throughout and help you prepare to apply, um, when you do so. And it’s available to you even after you graduate. So like how Chino is doing a post, um, post-back right now and doing research. He would still be able to access that through, um, Princeton or things like that.
Um, so, um, know that there are other resources once you get into college. And so just like you’re attending these kind of informational systems, These colleges do these as well for their current students. So always, always, always be open to joining these kind of webinars and asking these questions. Um, it’s great that you’re doing it now and continue to do that all throughout your entire, you know, educational career, uh, because it’s how you’re gonna get the insights group, so to speak, on, um, getting these questions answered and kind of untangling the myth from reality and everything like that as you’re going through a pretty complicated process.
Nice. Thank you so much, Latisha, for adding on. Um, let’s see. So I’m gonna ask this last question. We only have one more minute left though. Um, so as far as like course selections, any recommendations on classes that are best for pre-med, um, students who are interested in neuroscience? Yeah, so my university offered a series, like an introductory series into neuroscience.
Um, but I also took, um, Cognitive psych classes and a few, I actually took an interdisciplinary, um, bioethics course that was like really in a really interesting foyer into like why neuroscience could be applied, um, or why it needs to be considered when making like terminal care decisions. Um, but I think, I think the best way for you to approach that is all schools or all college registrars, like course registrars are available to the public.
And if you’re interested in a specific school, you might be better served looking into that particular major at that school. And then, you know, like searching into like the professors and like what they are doing research in. And then like that might, they might be teaching this one off seminar class, like my school had a lot of seminar series, so that’s something you could also probably do, but that might be a little bit down the line.
Okay. Well thank you. Like one, thank you all for providing our attendees with some really great information about your programs and your areas of expertise or areas you’re currently working in. And, um, thank you for answering those questions too, I know there were a lot of questions that were coming in, so thank you all for providing, um, answers to them through the private chats.
And that is, The end of our webinar. Um, so thank you Katie. Thank you Chino. Thank you Latisha. And last thing I wanted to share with you all is that we have more webinars that we’re gonna be doing for this month and maybe we’ll have a part two of this webinar coming up in the next month or so. Uh, so please make sure that you check out our webinars.
If you did not download the QR code or scan the QR code, there will be another screen that will pop up at the end of this webinar for you to sign up for a free consultation, um, so that we can be able to support you through this process. Okay, everyone, thank you again. Have a great evening. Good night.
Thank you all for presenting too, bye.