Where is the best place to find impartial advice for a nontraditional premed? Should you look to a university prehealth advisor, or hire a professional?
Questions answered here on the podcast are taken directly from the Nontrad Premed Forum over at premedforums.com. Please go ahead and register for an account, ask your question, and have fun with the community.
Also, please be sure to check out all our other podcasts on Meded Media as we try to bring you as many resources as you need on this journey.
Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.
[01:02] OldPreMeds Question of the Week
“I am currently a non-traditional premed applicant. However, I am very interested in having a one-on-one consultation with someone who is knowledgeable about the process to review my transcripts.
Is it worth me applying or should I pursue a career in some other parts of medicine? I am currently a Therapist with 20 years of experience in emergency medicine in a hospital setting.”
[01:30] The Different Types of Consultants
I have to preface this by saying that I do one-on-one consulting with premed students, mostly nontraditional premed students who don’t have access to an advisor. So I am obviously biased in my answer.
But I’ll give you a lot of context around what I think and hopefully give you some information on how you should move forward.“Consultants are awesome in all aspects of life.”Click To Tweet
Whether you’re seeing a therapist, a business coach, a sports coach – they’re all consultants. They help you maximize what you’re doing based on where you are.
Tiger Woods has a swing coach. The best baseball players have a swing coach. Everyone has coaches. Why not you?
And when it comes to something specific, like applying to medical school, when potentially there’s some confusion around where you are, and where you need to go, then a consultant may be helpful.
Now, a consultant can be a “professional consultant’ like I am for a lot of students. Or that can be your premed advisor. You already paid your premed advisor through the tuition that you pay your school. So you might as well use your premed advisor.
A mentor can also be your consultant. It could be a physician. You can shadow someone who has gone through this process. And of course, you don’t have to pay them. You may also consult by reaching out to a medical school and asking for their advice.
[03:41] Should You Hire a Consultant?
You don’t have to hire a professional consultant. You don’t have to pay for someone.
But typically, the students who do end up working with me, specifically, are already at a point where they have exhausted all of their other resources. They have read my books, they’ve listened to my podcasts. And that’s something that I 1,000% focus on, is providing as much free information as possible.
If you go and read my books, if you go and listen to my podcasts, like you’re listening to this one right now, I don’t hide anything. I don’t say, here’s how to write 90% of your personal statement. And for the other 10%, you need to work with me, I give you everything. That’s not how it works.“The students who end up working with me are the ones who have read everything, who have talked to everyone, and still need a little bit more help.”Click To Tweet
It’s not necessarily maybe that they need help, but they want a little bit of hand-holding. And that is where a professional consultant like myself may come into play.
So do you need to hire a professional consultant? Absolutely, not. But do you need an advisor in some way? 1,000%.
Do you have to pay them? Well, if you’re in an undergraduate institution, again, you already pay them with your tuition, the pre-health advisors, the pre-med advisors at your schools.
You pay their salary through your tuition, use them. Now, if you use them, and there’s a conflict there because they’re either giving you bad advice, or you just don’t jive with them, then you go to the next person. Whether that someone you’re shadowing or someone who’s your mentor.
Listen to the podcasts, read my books, and then reach out to other people like myself. And then maybe you’re paying a professional consultant because the person you already paid (the premed advisor at your school) isn’t very helpful.
[05:50] Resources You Can Use“There are lots of amazing pre health advisors out there. But there are a lot of not so good ones either.”Click To Tweet
The National Association of Advisors of Health Professions (NAAHP) has a resource where you can go find a free pre-health advisor for free. They have a list of pre-health advisors who have signed up to volunteer to help students. So go and use them.
Aside from my books and these podcasts, I’m working on lots of other things like this Mappd software product that we’re working on. That will be a very amazing platform to help so many more students who can’t afford one-on-one advising.
That is my mission with everything that I’m doing. I do have some private students that I work with. They do pay a lot of money and I’m not ashamed of that because I use that money to support everything else that I’m doing.
[07:15] Final Thoughts
If you are thinking about using a professional consultant, use all of the other steps. First, go to NAAHP. Use your pre-health advisor, use a mentor, use a family member who’s maybe a physician. Reach out on Reddit or SDN to medical students who have gone through the process.
Use these podcasts, use my books. And when, and if, you think you need something beyond that, then you start to think about hiring someone else.