The Congress of Future Medical Leaders -- Worth it?

Today I just got a massive envelope in my mail and when I opened it, was blinded by the light of a shimmering and beautiful emblem. On this particular letter, I was told,

“Dear William: Congratulations! Because of your outstanding grades, leadership potential, and desire to contribute to the filed of medicine as a physician or medical scientist […], we have selected you for recognition as a Delegate representing and the State of Florida at the Congress of Future Medical Leaders to be held June 24 to June 26, 2020, in Boston, Massachusetts.”

The letter is paired with two more letters. The second letter lists that I will encounter winners of the Nobel Prize, award-winning young inventors and scientists, prominent med school deans, leaders in medicine, and “medical futurists”; along with listing mentors of 2019; and after attending all three days of the Congress, I will be presented with an award of excellence. On the last letter, it lists that my “attendance at the Congress will enrich your academic profile […]. It may also be an important part of your showcase of extracurricular experience and achievements […].”, followed by two massive signatures and their corresponding titles: Mario Capecchi, Ph.D. and Axely Congress, Ph.D. The letters boast about the aforementioned multiple times throughout the entire read.

Also enclosed in the envelope was a “Certificate of Selection for Award” saying that I had been selected for the previously mentioned award of excellence. There was also an “Enrollment Form”, on which I found out I need to pay roughly $1,600 for this event as a whole – and there was an entire two-paged paper along with it, about their very strict Terms and Conditions for the enrollment and a shady paragraph or so about acquiring a refund.

I have read mixed reviews about these events – some calling them scams and others saying they were absolutely amazing experiences. However, everything said was in reference to other programs with different names and in different locations. It would be amazing if anyone could give me advice on what I could or should do, or any information on these people and this program. It sounds somewhat shady and like a cash-grab, but at the same time, I feel it could certainly offer benefits. So if anyone has any information on The Congress of Future Medical Leaders and/or Mario Capecchi, Ph.D. and Axely Congress, Ph.D. and will share, that would be greatly appreciated! Sorry for the lengthy read, I just wanted to express everything in a clear and concise way.

I got this too. But… until recently I’ve never expressed an interest in the medical field to anyone. No one who knows me would recommend me for this. And I know a few other people who got the same thing and who also haven’t expressed an interest. I guess there may be some way of choosing people, but it’s likely not very selective (but personalizing each person’s name is a really good way of making it seem special).

I don’t think it’s a scam in an illegal way, but I don’t think it will be as amazing it the letters imply. I can’t speak on how valuable the experience itself is but I’m pretty sure the program isn’t a worthwhile resume-booster. And either way, I personally didn’t think $1600 was worth being in a lecture hall of hundreds of kids listening to a Nobel Prize winner (it sounds less and less cool when you think about it).

This program is a pay-to-play summer camp for HS students. Many colleges offer this type of program. Colleges have unused/underused facilities during the summer–dorm room, cafeterias, lectures halls, even laboratory space-- that they would like out to work bringing in some $$$. This is one way they make those empty rooms profitable.

This program is unlikely to be “life-changing” and won’t give you any sort of admissions bump for college. You might get to hear some cool lectures/slideshows, maybe do a few simple lab experiments, but you’re not going to be shaking hands with a Nobel laureate, or spending time in a hospital or working research lab.

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My name is Sierra Smith, I live in Mississippi I go to Forrest County Agricultural High School. I have got nominated to go to the Congress of Future Medical Leader, In Boston Massachusetts. I very proud of myself. I am only 14 years old and in 9th grade. I have all “A” with a 3.8 GPA. I am the representor for the state of Mississippi for 2021. Can’t wait to start the new beginning of my life. I have more opportunity now.

How did it go Ms. Smith?