Choosing a Traditional vs Non-traditional Major as a Premed: Stick to STEM, or Follow a Road Less Traveled?

Choosing a Traditional vs Non-traditional Major as a Premed: Stick to STEM, or Follow a Road Less Traveled?

Get Started Today Call: 888-839-9997 e-mail: info@admissionshelpers.com 20 Minutes Free Consultation   By Zachary Grimmet The adage “this is what college is all about” has inspired many unconventional decisions made in an attempt to explore atypical interests, academic or otherwise (frequently otherwise). For the pre-medical student (for better or worse), this applies less to all-night parties and more to discovering fields you might not have previously considered for serious study. Pre-medical coursework includes similar basic requirements at each university but still allows for substantial flexibility, contrary to popular opinions about the stereotypically rigid premed schedule. During four years of undergrad, basic requirements for medical school account for less than half of the coursework that students will take, allowing ample opportunity for following academic passions or curiosities. Requirements vary mildly between institutions but generally consist of one year of Biology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physics, and English, and typically a semester of Biochemistry. Even with the requisite lab addendums, there is plenty of available time for exploration. However, how to go about such career exploration can be a nerve-wracking experience for the pre-med student. The notion that every choice – which classes to take, which MCAT resources to use, or which hospital to volunteer at  – is critical for med school competitiveness leads to considerable anxiety for every pre-med. But it needn’t! These choices represent the most exciting opportunities for pre-medical students, who commonly choose rigid, STEM-heavy schedules with little opportunity for exploring diverse fields of potential interest. Advantages of following your passion in a non-traditional field If your interest in a non-STEM field is strong enough, I highly recommend...
Should Premeds Write About Mental Health Issues on Medical School Applications?

Should Premeds Write About Mental Health Issues on Medical School Applications?

Need Advice on Medical School Admissions? Call: 888-839-9997 e-mail: info@admissionshelpers.com Get a 20 Minute Free Consultation   A new study says sure!  Just make sure to include the right information! By Katelyn M Cooper, Ph.D. Upwards of 50% of college students struggle with mental health, often severe anxiety and depression.  Therefore, it’s unsurprising that these conditions, just like physical health conditions, can impact premedical students as they prepare for medical school.  From an uncharacteristic drop in grades, to abruptly leaving an extracurricular commitment, to taking a leave of absence for a semester or more, mental health conditions can have a notable effect on one’s college experience and subsequently their medical school application. While students often feel comfortable writing about physical health, such as managing diabetes or navigating an autoimmune diagnosis, it’s much less common to write about mental health on a med school app.  But why?  Well, mental health carries a stigma, defined as a mark of disgrace, not only within the U.S. but also within the medical community.  However, there is some evidence to suggest that this stigma surrounding mental health is decreasing and that young people in particular are increasingly understanding of mental health struggles. As a previous academic advisor and now biology faculty member who studies undergraduate mental health, I often get asked by students if I think they should reveal their struggle with a mental health condition on their application. Historically my response was always, “I don’t know, we just don’t have enough evidence about how it will affect your application.”  After a while, I got tired of saying “I don’t know,” so an undergraduate...
PA-CAT Requirements for Various PA Schools

PA-CAT Requirements for Various PA Schools

Get Started Today Call: 888-839-9997 e-mail: info@admissionshelpers.com 20 Minutes Free Consultation     e-mail: info@admissionshelpers.com For years, physician assistant (PA) schools have been using the graduate record examination (GRE) to evaluate applicants. Students wanting to apply to PA schools in the United States need to take the GRE and report their scores on the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) as a part of their PA school application for many schools. The decision to take the GRE or not can be a difficult one for PA school applicants because the GRE is not required by every PA school. To make matters more complicated, in the last few years, a new specialized exam known as the Physician Assistant College Admissions Test (PA-CAT) has been introduced. Whereas the GRE is broader and tests verbal reasoning and math skills, the PA-CAT is more specific and focuses on various science and math disciplines such as biology, anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and statistics. Though the news of a new specialized test for PA school admissions has caused some angst among PA school applicants, there is good news for those that don’t like standardized tests. Most PA schools do not require the test – at least not for now. Currently, five programs require the test according to our latest research. Some schools do say that they expect they will require it in coming years but exactly how many schools will require it and starting when remains to be seen. We expect that over the coming years, it will become a requirement for more and more programs.   For students who are good at standardized tests...
How Premeds Can Choose the Right Laboratory for Strong Research Experience

How Premeds Can Choose the Right Laboratory for Strong Research Experience

Get Started Today Call: 888-839-9997 e-mail: info@admissionshelpers.com 20 Minutes Free Consultation     By Zachary Grimmet Most premedical students know that research is an important element of a successful pre-medical career and a great way to spruce up the medical school application. Entering the world of biomedical research for the first time as an undergraduate premedical student can be a daunting experience. The research laboratory – intimidating though it may be – also holds great promise for captivating scientific discovery, including discoveries in medicine. Laboratory research can therefore be an exciting experience for undergraduates wishing to pursue medicine or other health professions in their career. But for someone new to the game, how should you choose between the plethora of university laboratories available? First, make the commitment and dive headfirst into the world of scientific research – take diverse courses, talk to engaging professors, and peruse faculty webpages to find laboratories studying biological problems that you find compelling. Most laboratory websites will describe a lab’s current projects, recent publication record, the members of the lab, and the principal investigator (PI). A lab that is a good fit will have 1) current research projects that interest you and which you understand, 2) a PI with a track record of undergraduate mentorship, and 3) a community which includes younger trainees (medical students, clinical fellows, post-doctoral fellows, PhD students and/or fellow undergraduates). In your first research experience, it is essential to work on a project which excites you; genuine passion for your area of medical research will fuel your drive to take a deep dive into your chosen topic, formulate significant hypotheses,...
Longitudinal MCAT Study:  A More Effective Approach for Acing the MCAT

Longitudinal MCAT Study: A More Effective Approach for Acing the MCAT

Get Started Today Call: 888-839-9997 e-mail: info@admissionshelpers.com 20 Minutes Free Consultation     By Rohit Anand, MD The MCAT is arguably the most daunting exam in the length of medical education. The idea that an exam controls to a large degree not just where, but if, a student will be admitted to medical school is intimidating to say the least. This challenge has only increased in recent years with ever increasing averages for the MCAT for medical school admissions. Despite this, the study plan for many students has remained the same over the years, with little changes made to the classic model of a dedicated set of weeks to study for the exam.  There are multiple challenges with a dedicated study block for MCAT studying. For most students, the MCAT encompasses three or more years of undergraduate coursework from introductory biology to physics 2. Reviewing this amount of content in 2-3 months for a dedicated study window is arduous, as seen by the 62% of MCAT test takers that reported difficulty with content volume. On top of this, many individuals have to re-learn some of material that was earlier in their education adding to the review time for those subjects. This is particularly true for the ~50% of test takers who are no longer in school when taking the MCAT. Many sources online suggest a minimum of 300-400 hours of studying for the MCAT. If you divide that into a 2 to 3-month timeline, it is a significant portion of weekly hours, which is difficult for employed individuals, but also difficult for students who are focusing on other activities...
Flexibility in the PA Profession: What Every PA School Applicant Should Know

Flexibility in the PA Profession: What Every PA School Applicant Should Know

Get Started Today Call: 888-839-9997 e-mail: info@admissionshelpers.com 20 Minutes Free Consultation     Approximately half of all PAs will change specialities during their career By Alyson Rockhold, PA-C, MPH Do you want to know my favorite part about being a PA? It’s the flexibility! Over the last 10 years, I’ve worked in 4 different areas of medicine. Switching specialties keeps me on my toes and provides lots of excitement. I’ve gone from delivering babies to talking to patients with schizophrenia to scrubbing in for surgery. Each new job has stretched me as a PA and given me the opportunity to explore my variable interests. Sometimes, I switched specialties out of necessity. For example, one time I moved to a new location and there were no job openings in my field. I was grateful for the flexibility to apply to many different PA jobs instead of just one specialty. Being able to cast a wider net made it easier for me to find a job. The flexibility of the PA profession has given me an enviable career. Will it do the same for you? Let’s look at some common questions about PA’s professional flexibility. Perhaps these answers will help you decide if being a PA is right for you: How common is it for PAs to change specialties?  Here’s the basic answer: The American Academy of Physician Associates (AAPA) says that 50% of PAs will change specialties during their career. And, according to the AAPA’s 2019 Salary Report, roughly seven percent of PAs change specialties each year. So, if you become a PA, there’s a good chance you’ll take advantage...