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Pre Med College Search

swanmamaswanmama 1 replies1 threads New Member
I am trying to help my daughter, who is a Junior, identify colleges to visit. She loves Science and wants to major in premed. Hoping to stay within a 5 hours drive from Philly. On the Autism Spectrum and totally independent. 3.8 GPA, 30ACT. I am so lost and need guidance other than the typical lists online.
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Replies to: Pre Med College Search

  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 6543 replies1 threads Senior Member
    There are hundreds of universities in the US with great premed programs. The really top ranked schools (eg, Harvard) have a higher percentage of their premed graduates accepted to medical school. However the consensus here, which I agree with, is that this is due to the type of student who goes to Harvard in the first place. Thus the same students would probably have about the same chances at acceptance to medical school if they had gone somewhere else.

    What is the budget? Would your daughter prefer a small school or large or is either okay?

    One issue with picking a university for premed is that so many schools are very good for this. Another issue is that the large majority of students who start off as premed end up doing something else. The third big issue is the enormous cost of medical school.
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  • mikemacmikemac 10582 replies154 threads Senior Member
    There is no such thing as a premed major. There are a dozen or so classes required of med school applicants, and a student can take those classes with any major from Anthropology to Zoology (although admittedly it is easier if the classes are already required for the major).

    As for colleges to visit, once visits open back up start by visiting local types of colleges. A large one, a small LAC, one in a city, one in the suburbs, one in a rurual area. Get a sense of what types of colleges are a fit, then start to find ones of that type.

    At this point, though, our daughter should be thinking about why an M.D? When a lot of HS kids think of a career in medicine it becomes "I'm pre-med!" and they embark on a track that will take 11+ years of school/training plus enormous debt. Doctors are far from the only ones in the health field that help people. Physical therapists, radiology techs, nurses, speech pathologists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, to name but just a few. as you can see on http://explorehealthcareers.org Unless she's carefully considered the alternatives and has spent time actually working in a health care setting (which is an unwritten requirement to get into med school and is explicitly required for some other medical fields) its better to think of her as interested in exploring a career as a doctor rather than someone who has already made the decision.
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  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 10994 replies235 threads Senior Member
    As mentioned above--admission to medical school is not dependent on attending a "pre-med" undergrad, nor majoring in a particular field. Pre-med is merely an intention to apply to medical school down the road.

    In my daughters' med school classes there were students in early every major you can imagine--public health, biology, neuroscience, biochemistry, biomedical engineering--and some you probably can't-- forestry, English lit, Italian language & culture, history, theology, music composition, gender studies and physics/mathematics.

    I would strongly urge you and your daughter to consider the fit, affordability and opportunities offered of an undergrad first. Put "pre-med" way down low on the list of things to consider when choosing an undergrad.

    Your daughter needs a place where she can thrive as student--academically, socially and personally. Medical schools are looking for students who are not just top students academically, but also interesting, well rounded individuals with specific social competencies and leadership skills.

    Core competencies for incoming medical students--
    https://www.aamc.org/services/admissions-lifecycle/competencies-entering-medical-students
    https://students-residents.aamc.org/applying-medical-school/article/med-schools-looking-for-15-competencies/

    Your daughter also needs a undergrad that won't put you or her into debt. Medical school is enormously expensive. New medical school grads have, on average, a quarter of million dollars in unsubsidized education loans just for their medical education. (An average that skews low, btw, due to 18% of new grads having NO debt thanks to the Bank of Mom and Dad.) And it will be another 3 to 10 years of residency & fellowship before your child will be earning a "doctor's salary" to start paying off those loans. (Residents & fellows don't earn anywhere close to a doctor's salary while working 80 hours/week.)

    You and she also need to consider that an estimated 2/3rd of freshmen pre-meds will never actually get to the point of ever applying to medical school. And of those who do persist and apply to medical school, 60% of those will not a get a single acceptance. So she needs an undergrad that will offer her the opportunity to explore different majors and different career pathways.

    So, if you list some more specific criteria--like how much you can afford to pay per year for her college, any geographic preferences, school size preference, etc, you may be able to get some more tailored suggestions.

    BTW, in my personal sample of 2, there was zero difference in outcomes between attending a large state U and small, private research U. Both Ds ended up with multiple med school acceptances and had the opportunity to get personal mentoring from their professors, engage in meaningful lab research, get involved in campus activities, work as TAs and tutors, and find their social & academic peer groups on campus.

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  • swanmamaswanmama 1 replies1 threads New Member
    thank you so much for your thoughtful reply! What she has determined she likes is : not too small and definitely not large like Penn State...so medium size. She definitely wants to study Science. She thoroughly enjoys both science and math, but does well in all areas. The surrounding area is important. It may sound odd, but the ability to sit on grass under a tree with a book is important (which ruled out Drexel). Also liked some things about Lehigh but the housing was awful and she did not like the surrounding area. Also definitely not a party school. Her autism leads her to be more focused on her academics but does enjoy school spirit.
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 43231 replies471 threads Senior Member
    You could visit Temple (very large, urban -schedule a visit to the Honors college/dorm), WCU and Bryn Mawr (suburban large, suburban medium with Haverford nearby), Muhlenberg, Lafayette, UScranton (small colleges, small towns). They also cover a broader spectrum of selectivity.
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