Our post about everything your premed wishes you knew might have you wondering what practical things you can do to support your premed student. Whether the premed is your child, partner, or friend, you might be feeling desperate to help them with what can be a very stressful process. It’s also one that can be mystifying to premeds and their families alike.
Be their partner in this process.
One of the best ways to support your premed is to be available to them. What they need from you will change depending on where they are in the process. They might need you to quiz them for their finals or help around the house. There are also ways you can help them from a distance, like giving some of our top gifts for premeds that can make their life a little bit easier.
If you know someone who you think can help them, offer to set them up with a meeting or shadowing opportunity, but don’t force it.
Don’t overwhelm them with all the knowledge you have.
You may be a physician yourself or have knowledge about other types of graduate admissions. It can be really tempting to want to share your years of wisdom about networking, admissions, or getting a job in the medical field.
Giving them all of the information you’ve accumulated over the years at once can be more stressful than helpful. The information and advice you have to give may also be out of date. A better alternative is to let your student know that you’re willing and able to help when asked, but then let them come to you with questions as they have them.
Be curious about the premed process.
Staying informed about the premed process is helpful to your premed students in several ways and is a great first step to supporting them. Premeds often have to explain everything their path entails over and over to their friends and family. Becoming informed about the process can take this off their plate. It will also make you aware of when stressful times in their year are coming up like when they need to prepare for or register for the MCAT. If you know ahead of time that they might need extra support, you can be ready to offer it.
If you’re aware of current best practices in the medical school admissions process, you can make sure that all the advice you want to give them is up-to-date and accurate. Your student might also be more willing to take your advice if they know it comes from good information. You can learn more about the premed process by listening to The Premed Years.
Be aware of the costs and ready to problem solve.
Being a premed can be expensive, especially as premeds get close to applying to medical school. With that time in a premed’s life comes the cost of MCAT registration, prep materials, and the costs of actually applying.
Helping your premed with application costs doesn’t necessarily mean you need to have the cash to pay the costs. It could mean sitting down with your premed and planning how they’re going to afford to apply to medical school or take the MCAT. It can also look like helping them apply for fee assistance through AMCAS or AACOMAS.
Advice from the Parent of a Current Medical Student
One of our wonderful staff members, Veronica Keaton-Barker, went through the premed process with her daughter, and now offers her best pieces of advice for the loved ones of current premeds.
1. Let your student lead the way.
Let your student guide the conversations and allow them to let you know what they need instead of the other way around, which is what you might be used to doing.
2. Anticipate their financial needs ahead of time and plan for it.
You don’t need to be an expert. You can ask your student what big expenses they might have coming up, do some research on the costs and how to cover them, or join a parent support group where people share advice and resources you might find helpful.
3. It’s okay if they make mistakes!
This is a long journey and no one is perfect. It’s instinctive to want to help your student by keeping them from making mistakes that may cause them to falter, but some of those lessons will mold them, shape them, and drive their determination to become a physician. The culmination of their experiences is what makes them the physician they will become. They know the way. Whatever you do, don’t give up on them and their dreams regardless of the detours!