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How to Have a Great Conversation with Your Premed Advisor

The prospect of talking to your premed advisor may feel like anything from eager anticipation to anxiety despite knowing that they exist to support prospective students who want to pursue a career in medicine. No matter how you feel, here are some tips from Blueprint Prep that can help you get the most out of your valuable time with your advisor:

1. Have an agenda before going in! 

In certain situations, the purpose of the meeting may already be laid out (e.g., all premeds have to meet with their advisor to review their AMCAS application prior to submission). But, if that isn’t the case, the best way to ensure you’ll have a productive meeting is to put some thought into exactly what you want to discuss and what questions to ask your premed advisor, and what you want to get out of the meeting. 

For example, you might want to know more about med school requirements, solicit recommendations on research opportunities at your institution, get advice on choosing letter-writers, or receive feedback on your Medical College Admission Test(MCAT) prep and study plan. Additionally, communicating this agenda to your advisor will make sure you’re on the same page, and they’ll have a chance to compile any resources they want to give you before your meeting.

2. Have all the materials you’ll need prepared in advance

If you plan to ask about an MCAT study schedule, create a rough draft of one. If you plan to talk about research, have some idea of what you’re interested in, your prior experience, and what your goals are (e.g., wet versus dry lab, basic science or some other area). It’s always easier to give feedback on tangible things, and specific, actionable feedback beats general advice any day.

3. Don’t be afraid to bring up real concerns you have

It might feel embarrassing to ask about something that you might have read from the Internet or heard from your friends because you’re not completely sure how true it is. However, your academic advisor is there to help you sort facts from fiction, and it is almost guaranteed that they have heard a given question from a different student before.

4. If you have regional preferences or other circumstances that lean you toward a certain school or schools, bring it up 

Your advisor could have anecdotal or data-driven experience that could help you look into activities or opportunities that might enhance your connection with the health professions for a particular school or area, which can only help come application season.

5. Ask about trends they’ve seen with past applicants from your school

The power of the academic advisor is that they’ve seen cycle after cycle of applicants, and patterns are bound to emerge over time between successful and less successful premed students. While everybody’s premed journey is nuanced and unique, different medical schools tend to select for different attributes (e.g., a solid MCAT score, some form of clinical experience, demonstrated interest in community service) and students from your school may have had luck with different medical schools depending on where their application was strongest.

6. Keep in mind that your premed advisor is also a person

With that comes their own set of biases from their unique experiences, and at the end of the day, you know yourself best. When considering their advice, keep in mind that they’re not the only resource you have, and that much of their usefulness comes from their ability to refer you to other organizations or people.

Taking the MCAT can certainly be a topic you want to discuss with your premed advisor, from timing the test to best suit your application cycle to helping ease test day anxiety. Blueprint’s MCAT Courses are a wonderful resource that can not only help solidify the skills and knowledge you need to reach your full test score potential, but also provide a structured and customizable study plan to help take the guesswork and mental strain out of planning your day-to-day goals.

Try it out with a free account and get a study planner, flashcards, content guide and guide to get into med school.