How Illinois Helped Me Get Into Professional School
Hey guys! So, I was responding to a bunch of questions from my follow pre-meders out there about how attending Illinois has worked to my advantage in terms of professional school. Thanks to your insightful questions… it got me thinking… how has attending Illinois helped me get accepted into medical school?
An Active Community
At Illinois you are really in a campus community. I know one of my best friends from high school goes to school in the city, and her classmates live all throughout the city – some even commuting from home. At Illinois we are all in one place so it makes it easier to find your niche – both with your classmates in terms of study groups (a life saver for biochemistry) and outside the classroom for volunteering at the hospitals. You need to go where you will be the happiest, so you will have the motivation to study when some of your friends are going out every other day. You also need an environment where people also care about more things than school.
The Career Center
I wrote about how much the Career Center has helped me in a previous post. Definitely check it out if you would like to know, oh, the 20 or so reasons why the Career Center is awesome.
Tons of majors
I am sure you didn’t expect to see this one in here! But let me remind you, you can be any major and go to professional school. I have a friend who is a computer science major and he is going to one of the top law schools in the country. One of my other friends I met on the medical school interview trail majored in opera singing! You need to pick something in which you are passionate. Remember, you will be taking a lot of science courses if you are planning on applying to medical school anyway. Honestly, there is no doubt about it – you only get the most choices from a major university.
To medical schools it not only matters that you received a high GPA in your prerequisites of biology, chemistry and physics, but also where you took these courses. For example, it is much more difficult to get a great grade in general chemistry at Illinois than at a smaller liberal arts college. Still, while some of you might be a little discouraged at this, trust me – the high level of critical thinking and true understanding of science provided by Illinois science classes really prepares you for the ultimate test – the MCAT.
Advisors who know they are helping some of the smartest young adults in the country
I can still remember my first couple of advising appointments. By being open about being unsure of my career choice, my advisors were able to steer me towards resources I wouldn’t have found on my own and gave me very valuable advice. In short, they treated me like an adult. Still, your personal advising session and all of your experiences with the resources I have mentioned above will all depend on one thing…
Keep in mind though, with or without professional school, it is what you make it.
That’s honestly it. Getting into medical school is your job and your job alone. Sure, professors and teaching assistants have office hours, but you need to sit down with a book and do the work by yourself to truly do well. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but in working with freshman for over a year some expect people to hold their hand through college. Those individuals are quickly left behind.
Yet remember, they aren’t going to hold your hand in medical school either. Illinois teaches you to be independent and provides you with the knowledge to find and use resources available to you when you need help.
Also remember that good grades and a high MCAT score is not good enough to get into medical school.
Everyone will have a high GPA and MCAT score.
What will make you stand out?
At Illinois there are plenty of options – you just have to be brave enough to go out there and find ways.
Believe me, medical schools will not only like you better but more importantly you will grow into an even better professional and person overall.