Some days it might seem like your premedical adviser holds the keys to your entire future. For many students, this impression is not far from the truth. For better or for worse premedical advisers do have a shocking amount of power over an applicant’s fate. At Admit2Med we have seen this benefit and hurt applicants.

Some applicants have extremely knowledgeable premed advisers who seer them towards appropriate coursework and take a personal interest in their application. These advisers help by reading over personal statements and carefully crafting the list of schools an applicant should apply to. A really skilled premed adviser can even use his or her connections at a medical school admissions office to gain a leg up for their favorite students. Conversely a bad premedical adviser can seriously harm an applicant by giving them faulty advice, discouraging them from following their dreams and not looking out for the applicants best interests. Making matters even more confusing – sometimes these descriptions can be used for the same premedical adviser! If they favor a student an adviser can be super friendly and helpful and if they are rubbed the wrong way they can be discouraging and overly critical.

How does an applicant know where they stand? First and foremost never depend solely on your premedical adviser. They are human and sometimes extremely overworked. While Admit2Med staff spends a lot of personal time with each client, a premedical adviser often does not have the luxury of doing so, nor does his or her salary change with increased effort. Therefore many cherry pick a handful of students to work with and give the rest of applicants a cursory amount of help. Always do your own research to verify that your premedical adviser has indeed given you good advice. Networking with other applicants and students that have all ready gained acceptance into medical school can be incredibly helpful. Hiring an outside consultant can also increase your one-on-one time.

Always be incredibly suspicious of advice that does not seemed tailored to your specific situation. While you should always be polite, feel free to ask your adviser more questions and dig deeper when you feel you are being given generic advice. If your adviser rattles off a list of schools you should apply to without even inquiring about your extracurricular activities, MCAT scores or family situation you should be very wary. Every applicant is unique and needs individualized attention.

Premedical advisers deserve our respect and gratitude for the hard work that they put into this system but if you are shy, have a unique circumstance, are a non-traditional applicant or just don’t hit it off with your adviser you should probably seek advice and help elsewhere. Remember this is your chance at your dream career. Do not let one person’s excessive workload hold you back!