Do you want to help your pre-med child get into med school…without having to nag or stress them out? This series has loads of concrete, actionable advice that will help your premed discover their competitive advantage and get accepted!
It can be nerve-wracking to determine how to best support your son or daughter during the application process to medical school. It’s time-intensive and expensive to apply. Reading or citing statistics about the intense competition en route to medical school doesn’t help. Frequenting premed forums can foment phobia. With the right guidance and a little perspective, however, you and your premed can survive – even thrive.
Here are a few ideas to help your child thrive while applying:
1. Use all resources available.
Encourage your child to visit pre-med advisors on a regular basis, especially while in the thick of applying. Most college campuses also have a writing center or learning skills center that provide free assistance with academic or application essays, though they generally have a time limit per student. For further or more personalized assistance, working with consultants like those of us at Accepted can provide an additional edge. Talk with your son or daughter about the resources and support they will need while applying.
2. Encourage your child to network with other pre-meds or professionals in the health sciences.
Attending pre-med fairs or conferences can provide valuable information to students and parents. Most of these events are geared towards pre-med students, but parents are often welcome. If your child welcomes your attendance, consider going along; if she would rather go by herself, respect her preference and don’t attend.
You may also benefit by connecting with other parents of pre-meds so that you can support each other through the process. Reach out to anyone you know who has a child who is pre-med or in medical school or is pursuing a healthcare-related profession education. Perhaps doctors or healthcare professionals you know may even be willing to allow your child to shadow them or their colleagues. If your pre- med is interested in shadowing and requests your help in arranging for such a position, your initial introduction could be of tremendous assistance to her application cause.
3. Maintain routine.
The application process can increase anxiety, so it’s important to stick to your routine to minimize stress. By setting this example, your pre-med will find it easier to maintain balance, even while applying. Exercise regularly, and encourage your child to keep active. Keep the weekends fun and light. Encourage your child not to babysit the physical or virtual mailbox and to be involved in other activities and projects. No need for you or your pre-med to worry about what is going to happen in the future. There will be time to respond when you know what to respond to.
4. Respect boundaries.
As the application season progresses and anxiety is rising, avoid bringing up the topic of medical school admissions or calling medical schools on your son or daughter’s behalf. Most children are thrilled to share good news with their parents – once they get it. To prevent unnecessary stress, allow your child to be the person who gives you regular progress updates. (Rejoice! No need to nag.) Your children are adults now. And giving them the space that adults deserve will enhance their sense of self- responsibility and independence, not to mention your relationship with them. Applications can become a painful topic for them and bringing it up before exams or while they are focused on other goals can derail their progress in those other activities. You can even have an open and honest conversation with them early in the application process about how they would like to manage the topic. Whatever you agree to do, honor your word.
5. Stay positive.
Simply being available to your child when she needs to talk will be important. By staying positive about her options and chances, you will be able to help decrease her stress level. There may be times in the application process that students need this additional level of overwhelmingly upbeat self-affirmation.
6. Put it in perspective.
In my experience as a post-bac program director, I have known so many students who have applied to medical school unsuccessfully but who used that experience to help mold themselves into stronger applicants who later earned an acceptance.
Allow your child time to process the experience, independently. When appropriate, help her put the process and the outcome in perspective. Applying to medical school demonstrates a high level of commitment to others and the pursuit of academic achievement. There are harder things to do than apply to medical school! And there are even worse events in life than rejection from medical school. Don’t allow your child to lose sight of what is truly important.
Using these suggestions can help you navigate the stress of your pre-med’s application process. As you demonstrate your coping skills and strategies, she will follow your example and learn how to deal effectively with the stresses and challenges of life. Ultimately, these skills will help her get into, and then excel at, medical school.
However, if despite these suggestions, your child is struggling with the process or has been rejected, and you want to help your child but aren’t quite sure how to do so, please contact us and review our services. The Accepted consultants are happy to guide your child through the medical school admission process. In addition to accessing the expertise of med school admission professionals, turning to us can reduce the tension between you and your adult child. We’re here to help.
• Navigate the Med School Maze, free guide
• An Inside Look at the Medical School Journey, podcast
• For Parents: How To Help Your Premeds In Waitlist Limbo