Your son or daughter comes home from school, and you can’t help yourself. “How’s everything going?” you ask. “Well, I’m doing ok in Chemistry, but I think my Bio teacher hates me, and I had a disagreement over a lab with the Physics TA, so I don’t know what to do.” Huh. That’s quite an answer. “Oh, and I met with my advisor and she told me I might not get into med school.” Yikes!
An underutilized necessity for premeds
Networking – building warm relationships based in mutual respect and support – is a grossly-underutilized and misunderstood aspect of the medical and dental school admissions process. One incredibly-useful skill you can share with your premed daughter or son is to coach them on their networking skills. Here are some suggestions:
- Tell your professors that you’re premed or predent. Explain why you are pursuing this career path. This gives you and your professor common ground, and something to talk about beyond the confines of the class.
- Ask your TAs and professors for their experience. What made one student more interesting than others? What were some accomplishments, achievements, or effort that stood out? How do you recommend a student create engagement beyond the bare minimum?
- Be open and interested in conferences, poster presentations, networking and other social gatherings. Since college is a community, the student who participates beyond “drive to school / go to class / go home” is the one who benefits.
- Intramural sports is a great meeting ground where faculty, TAs and undergrads can all meet and connect outside of a formal academic setting. Played tennis or soccer? Find the informal nights and get involved.
- Club and community leadership. The student leaders of a club or other program on campus are the ones who interact most frequently with campus administrators and faculty advisers.
One of the big distinctions you can make between most high school versus college experiences lies in the substantial professional networking and relationship development you can have. Going beyond your classmates to find professional mentors and colleagues is a big step into the adult world, and will also help you tremendously as you get closer to applying to medical / dental school. (Letters of recommendation anyone?)
Explore more articles for parents of premeds and pre-dents at www.inquarta.com/tag/parents.
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